One of my dreams would be to visit every Disney park in the world, I have already ticked off Walt Disney World (a few times), Disneyland Paris and the original Disneyland in California. Only Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong to go.
Recommended hotels and resorts
My favourite resort has to be Walt Disney World, with four theme parks, two water parks, Disney Springs and a selection of world class hotels, there’s something for everyone. I’ve been lucky enough to visit WDW a few times and stayed in many of the Disney resorts from the moderates to the deluxe and I also have a good knowledge of hotels and villas in Orlando which make a good base for visiting Disney World and all the other attractions the local area has to offer.
On my most recent visit last year, we stayed at Disney’s Coronado Springs resort which was one we have not stayed in before. Coronado Springs is a great moderate resort with a deluxe feel, lovely quiet pools along with a main pool full of slides and entertainment – and the most amazing cocktails for the adults. The last few years we have stayed at Old Key West, Disney’s Caribbean Beach, the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian resort.
What are the benefits of staying at a Disney hotel?
Now a Disney holiday and staying on site may not always be the cheapest option, but I would recommend spending that little extra for the Disney Magic. The benefits to staying on site out do the costs for me. I always book when the free dining promotion is on, this means you get one of Disney’s dining plans with your park tickets, and this saves you a fortune! Another benefit to staying on site is taking advantage of the extra magic hours in the park exclusive to resort guests only (although this is not currently available with social distancing restrictions in place), the complimentary transfers around the resort and the use of the My Disney Experience app where you can link your booking and reserve your dining 180 days before and your fast passes 60 days before travel , so you get first selection of all the best rides. (Due to the pandemic, fast passes are currently unavailable)
When fast passes are re-instated, which they will be, I would highly recommend you do your fast passes 60 days before, some of the rides at Disney such as Avatars Flight of Passage and the new Star Wars rise of the Resistance are very popular and I have seen queues up to six hours.
What’s new at Disney World?
Walt Disney World has been changing quite a bit over the last few years, with the opening of Pandora, the World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. A complete overhaul of Downtown Disney to Disney Springs, a world class shopping experience with a selection of shops, restaurants and the biggest Disney store you’ve ever been in!
The biggest expansion to WDW in the recent years are the two brand new lands in Hollywood Studios. Toy Story Land and the highly anticipated Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.
Hollywood Studios was already home to Midway Mania, one of the greatest rides in Disney – so it was great to get a few more rides to go with it. The two new rides are Alien Saucer Swirl and the highly anticipated Slinky dog Coaster. Toy Story Land is not just for the kids, it’s a great place for big kids too! Besides – Toy Story came out in 1995!
Star Wars Land, where do I even start! I have been a huge fan of all things Star Wars since a child. I did not expect to cry when I finally got to see Galaxy’s Edge, but I did, right there in front of the life size Millennium Falcon. If you have Disney+ I would totally recommend watching the Imagineering Story, it shows a lot of what went into building Star Wars, and how much was riding on the team to get it right. Star Wars Land comes with two new rides, Smugglers Run and Rise of the Resistance. We got to experience Smugglers Run in our November trip, this ride is a little bit like Star Tours but you’re actually flying the Millennium Falcon, as either the Pilot, the Gunner or the Engineer. If you can, go for the Pilot!
Rise of the Resistance was not open when we were there, but the videos online look insane. This ride is three ride systems in one and takes you into the heart of a Star Destroyer on a journey which is almost 15 minutes long. This ride hasn’t been fast passed yet, but was so popular that you had to join a boarding group in order to ride.
It is hands down the most beautiful, immersive and incredible expansion that they have done so far. From the X wing drones, to the fighter jets, The Canteen Bar, the Droids and the Lightsabre Workshop, it truly is a Star Wars experience on the planet of Batu.
Lastly Animal Kingdom, to me this park is just perfect! It has some of the greatest experiences out of all the parks, and Pandora is just incredible! I won’t give away too much about the new ride – Flight of Passage, but it is honestly the most incredible ride I have ever been on – and although it’s been open now for two years, this ride still gets one of the highest wait times.
New Attractions Coming Soon
To celebrate Walt Disney World’s 50th birthday, a lot of changes have been planned.
If you have been recently, you would have noticed quite a lot of building work in the Magic Kingdom. Sometime in the near future, Disney’s most extreme roller coaster will be coming to the Magic Kingdom, Tron Lightcycle Power Run. The new roller coaster will be the fastest roller coaster on property and will fit in perfectly with the theme of Tomorrowland. If you want a sneaky preview on this ride, look up the one in Shanghai Disneyland!
Along with a lot of changes to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot is getting a total makeover to bring the vision back to the future. Epcot has always been about the world of tomorrow, but the world of tomorrow has changed a bit since Epcot was built in 1982. Along with a total transformation of the Centre Hub and Future World, a few new rides are coming. The most anticipated would be Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, which is a hybrid roller coaster that will debut in Future World sometime in 2023. Not much is known about this ride, but we do know it’s going to be indoors – and probably one of the most advanced roller coasters the Imagineers have worked on so far.
Another great expansion to Epcot is to the French Pavilion in the World showcase. With a few new shops and maybe a restaurant, they are also bringing the popular ride – Ratatouille to Florida. You can currently experience this ride at Disneyland Paris, and it’s so cute!
Over the years, there’s been a lot of changes to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (I still call it MGM Studios). Now if you’re a massive WDW fan, you’ll understand how upset we all were at the thought of losing both the Great Movie Ride and the Backlot Express Tour – both classics in the theme park world. However, they gave us Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land – and the first ride to feature Mickey, Mickey and Minis Runaway Railway. Along with these, a new Star Wars hotel is set to arrive in the very near future – the Star Wars Galactic Star Cruiser. A three day immersive experience where you live and breathe all things Star Wars. As soon as you arrive at the hotel, you are transported up into Space to spend a whirlwind three days on a Star Cruiser and a behind the scenes look at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, the ultimate Star Wars experience.
Along with the expansions in the park, you can also expect a few new hotels and restaurants. The newest hotel to open, Disney’s Riviera resort located next to the Caribbean Beach resort. More recently, they introduced the Gondolas which fly from Hollywood Studios to Epcot via Disney’s Caribbean beach resort, the Riviera resort and Disney’s Art of Animation and Pop Century making these resorts quite popular for new bookings.
A trip to Walt Disney World should definitely be on the cards, and I would love to help you plan a magical holiday here where dreams really do come true!