by: Dallas Thompson
This summer at Walt Disney World has been a big one! From the opening of Frozen Ever After, to the re-opening of Soarin Around the World, to new experiences at Animal Kingdom & Hollywood Studios, there has been a lot going on. In fact, we will be over viewing most of the additions in this article, but specifics will be in their own post.
Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire
Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire had it's debut performance on June 17th at Magic Kingdom. The new show is performed several times each day at 10:30am., 11:35am., 1:05pm., 2:05pm., 4:15pm. and 5:15pm. It takes place on the recently renovated Cinderella Castle stage. For optimal viewing, it is recommended that you arrive 15-30 minutes before showtime. Since the show is character-centric, best viewing is in front of the castle and in the hub.
Not only does Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire feature the Fab 5 (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy), but it also features ten new characters from popular Disney films including, but not limited to, Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen from Princess and the Frog, Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder from Tangled, and Olaf, Elsa, and Anna from Frozen. The show runs around 23 minutes in length.
"I loved [Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire], I teared up watching it because it's so cute and amazing." - Kaitlyn Crystal
Frozen Ever After
The largest and most anticipated addition to Walt Disney World opened on June 21st. Frozen Ever After is the first ride created for the Frozen franchise and it is located in the Norway pavilion at Epcot. Since the opening, it has seen up to five hour posted wait times. Lately, it has gone down significantly, and the overall response has been pretty positive.
The main response the ride has received has been very good. This is mainly due to the animatronics, their complexity, fluidity, and the technology of the attraction. Where it falls short however, is the story. The official story is that Elsa has declared a Summer Snow Day celebration. It may not be obvious to the normal visitor, but the attraction is still a solid edition to the park, and Walt Disney World as a whole. Another complaint has been that the ride does not belong in Epcot, but that is a topic for another time! But, seriously! Take a look at the animatronics below!
"Frozen Ever After is like stepping right into the world of Frozen" - Melissa Fass
Anna and Elsa are greeting in Norway once again - but now in their own, permanent location. The Royal Sommerhus is now the place where you can meet-and-greet with Anna and Elsa. They no longer meet together, but separately instead. This is done to reduce wait times, but don't worry - you only have to stand in line once to meet both of them.
Soarin' Around The World
The other major addition to Epcot was Soarin' Around the World. After opening the previous installment for a few final weeks, the new incarnation has debuted and has been positively received. More good news! There is now more capacity for Soarin' due to the addition of a third theater, which means less time in line! Your flight takes you above six continents. Not only is there a new theater and updated footage, but also a new interactive queue experience. Through smartphone integration, you can play a game while waiting for your flight on Soarin'!
Soarin’ Around the World is definitely an Epcot must do! It was amazing and worth the wait." - April Hammond, Pixie Dust Savings
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular
Over the past few months, the Studios has seen several new Star Wars additions. Star Wars Launch Bay has a film celebrating Star Wars, a gallery, meet-and-greet opportunities, and a gift shop. Also, there is a storm trooper march, a daily stage show, and the biggest is the new night time show, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. The show is largely a projection show, but with a good amount of fireworks. The twelve minute show happens once a night at the Chinese Theater. It includes many characters from the films, recognizable music and scenes, and many effects.
"The new Star Wars show was by far our favorite addition" - Melissa Sharp
Night Time Offerings:
This is going to be a heavily-covered story in it's own post. (We will link to it when it is up.) When we went out to the parks to check out the Awaken Summer offerings, this was the main one that we got to see. Many of the others were not ready and open quite yet. Animal Kingdom is gearing up for the opening of Pandora: The World of Avatar next year, and part of that is keeping the park open at night. And guests won't stay at night if they don't have a reason to! There are several new additions and reasons you should visit Disney's Animal Kingdom at night! First, the big night time show, currently under the banner of Jungle Book: Alive with Magic, is a water projection show with live dancers and entertainment. It is a very popular show, and seating is an issue. Be sure to reserve a FastPass+ unless you want to wait hours before the show. There is not much seating, and the show is actually a temporary show. Disney has said that Rivers of Life, the permanent version, will be premiering later in 2016. However, we have heard nothing about it since then and people are starting to say that it's possible it has been delayed further.
Another great sight to see is The Tree of Life at night! The lighting is great, and the projections are amazing. Throughout the night, the Tree comes to life with mini-projection shows. If you happen to catch one, be sure to stay and watch. It is one of the highlights for sure. Experiencing the rides at night is another big highlight. Expedition Everest has a different feel at night for sure. But the ride that is a completely different experience is Kilimanjaro Safaris. Taking a night time safari should be on the must-do list. Sure, there are a few problems with the experience, but overall it's very entertaining and is a good spin. Again, we will go in-depth in another article shortly.
"Expedition Everest at night is AWWWWESOME! We rode it over and over and over. You can see so much of Orlando from up there. One of those nights was a full moon. The atmosphere of the park is better at night, in my opinion. It's my least favorite park, except for at night. I would suggest the safari right at the real sunset. The fake sunset is stupid. You can see the light bulbs on the panel. Every other animal is completely in the dark and you can't see them. I will say this, seeing just the silhouette of an elephant was beautiful." - Sarah Thornton
As you can see, and will continue to see throughout the rest of the summer as we post more from Walt Disney World's Awaken Summer, there is a lot of new stuff to see and do at the parks! Click the link below to get a quote on a vacation with Destinations in Florida Travel to check out the latest Walt Disney World has to offer, and support Relive the Magic while doing it!
Photos Courtesy of Walt Disney World Public Relations & Dallas Thompson