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Things I Wish I'd Known For My First Walt Disney World Visit

  The first visit to Walt Disney World is stressful, confusing, and a dream come true. I am not the first on...

Saturday, January 28, 2017

This Week in Disney History (Jan 29)

Jan 29 - Sleeping Beauty is released to theaters in 1959. The film is known as Walt Disney's masterpiece. Three of the six Disney resorts have a castle dedicated to the film. It is the highest grossing animated film of 1959.

Jan 30 - Illuminations preimers at EPCOT in 1988. Over the years, the show has been updated and revised. 

Jan 31 - Rescued coal miners are the honorary Grand Marshals of Walt Disney World in 2011. The Chilean coal miners were trapped underground for 69 days. All 33 of them were rescued. Disney sponsored a well-deserved week long vacation for the survivors, rescuers, and their families. Wearing hard hats with Mickey ears and holding the Chile flag, the survivors took part in a parade. 

Feb 1 - Mulan II is released to DVD in 2005. The direct to DVD sequel received mixed reviews and added to the infamous reputation of Disney sequels.
Feb 2 - Roy announces EPCOT in 1967. Shortly after his brother's passing, Roy O. Disney announced plans for EPCOT with a short film. 

Feb 3-  A day for premiers! Pinocchio is released to Sweden in 1941. The Three Caballeros is released to American theaters in 1945. The film helped to strengthen Brazil's relationship with America during WWII. Exactly 56 years later, The House of Mouse released the episode, The Three Caballeros to honor the movie. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

This Week in Disney History

Jan 23 - Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century debuts on Disney Channel in 1999. The movie features Raven Symone and it set on a space ship in the year 2049. The success of the movie will spawn 2 sequels. 

Jan 24 - Bob Iger, CEO announces that Disney will acquire Pixar. This makes Steve Jobs the largest shareholder of any Disney employee and John Lasseter the Cheif Creative Officer. Lasseter will go on to produce iconic movies such as Up, The Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Frozen and Moana.  

Jan 25 - 101 Dalmatians premiers in 1961. It will lead to remakes, a sequel, and a TV series. It holds an incredibly high rating of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. This movie has also been credited as an early inspiration to many animators who worked on Disney's Renaissance movies. Ironically, Walt himself was not too fond of the movie.

Jan 26 - This date has fallen on Super Bowl Sundays in previous years. Many winning players have proclaimed "I'm going to Disney World!" when asked how they will celebrate their victory. This has happened on Jan 26 1992, 1997, and 2003. This is actually an ad campaing that was launched by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Walt Disney World 2017


Start Planning 
Disney Darling is a site dedicated to helping others have an amazing visit to Walt Disney World. There are several articles here to give you information, secrets, and tips. If 2017 is your first time visiting Walt Disney World, check out some tips. You can also click here for tips on how to save a dollar (or a hundred) while at the parks. For even more tips, check out the WDW page located at the top of the screen.  
Disney Springs
The transition from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs is almost completed. There will be a few new additions to the shopping district this year.
There will be several new dining options opening this year. The Polite Pig, a locally owned restaurant will open in spring. It will serve grilled items and plenty of alcohol.  Wine Bar George is another spot to open soon. The highly anticipated Planet Hollywood Observatory will finally open this year.

It has been rumored that Disney Quest will close soon. Word was that it was supposed to close early 2016. But it remains up and running into 2017.

Characters in Flight, the hot air balloon ride, takes off for the sky in a new design this January.

Wilderness Lodge will open a new area for Disney Vacation Club Members. Copper Creek will feature deluxe villas and cabins. Wilderness Lodge will also be adding a new restaurant and a zero-entry pool. 

Those looking to save money on their 2017 Walt Disney World trip may want to look into the 2017 Magic Your Way package. This deal offers all the benefits of an onsite resort guest as well as several discounts at Disney Springs. There are also dining plan options.

Water Parks
A new ride, Miss Fortune Falls, will open in Typhoon Lagoon this spring. It is a raft ride that is themed around treasure hunting. Typhoon Lagoon will be opening for its season on March 11, 2017. Until then, Blizzard Beach is open. But it will close if temperatures drop too low this winter, so always check before you go. 

 Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom will have the most exciting 2017 out of any of the four parks. A new light and water show, Rivers of Light is set to open. Exploring the new themed land of Pandora will be the highlight of anyone's trip this summer. This includes two new rides, gift shops and restaurants.  Even though it is already January, the park has already welcomed some new baby animals! Read more about Walt Disney World's best theme park.

Unlike last year, there will be no new rides at EPCOT. Instead, this park is focusing on its festivals. There is a brand new festival taking place at the beginning of the year. Everyone's favorite, Food and Wine Festival, has been extended 2 whole weeks this year. Read more to learn info about the festivals.

Hollywood Studios
Studios' huge expansion of Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land are rumored to open this year, but it might not actually happen. Click here to find out how Studios is helping Star Wars fans cope until then.

Magic Kingdom
The biggest change to happen at MK this year is how it will open to guests each day. New shows and procedures will take place. Click here to find out how the park opening will change. 


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Animal Kingdom 2017

Animal Kingdom 2016 was Disney Darling's most popular post last year, and it's time to do an update! DAK definitely will have the biggest changes of all the parks in 2017. If you are planning a visit to Walt Disney World this year, make sure to check out Animal Kingdom.

Recently, three new baby otters were born at DAK. The public can now see them  swimming and playing in their exhibit near the Tree of Life. A baby elephant will also now be roaming the Kilimanjaro Safaris. They will not be babies forever, so make sure to see them when you can. 

Kali Rivers Rapids will be temporarily closed January through February 13, 2017. It will be refurbished to make sure the ride is running smoothly and looks good.

In March, The View will broadcast at DAK! The View will be celebrating its 20th anniversary under the Tree Of Life. The show will tape March 6 through March 10, 2017.

DAK at Night activities will resume in 2017. This includes entertainment on Discovery Island, the sunset safari and Awakens. The park will be staying open until 7:30pm - 8:00pm most days. 

The Rivers of Light opening date has been pushed back, but there was recently a Cast Member exclusive showing, so it will open sometime this year. Disney Darling predicts it to open in the summer, around the same time as the opening of Pandora.

The most exciting news for DAK is that Pandora will officially open in 2017! It has been announced to open in late May, in time for the summer season. As someone who has seen construction and models of the land, I can say that it will be incredible. When the land opens, there will be two main attractions, a boat ride with the latest animatronic technology and a simulator thrill ride that the Disney CEO says is nothing like he has ever ridden before. The land will have gift shops, a bar and a restaurant. It will also illuminate at night, unlike any other Disney themed land.  

Hollywood Studios 2017

Studios has amped up the amount of Star Wars experiences in the past couple of years. 2017 will bring the addition of Galactic Night. On April 14th, guests can come to the park after hours dressed in Star Wars costumes. There will be attractions open, entertainments, and Star Wars characters. This is a special ticket event so you will have to make reservations here

Moana has been spotted by several guests and is currently meeting in Animation Courtyard. Hopefully Moana will have a permanent meet and greet location soon!

The Darkroom, aka the Photo Pass gift shop will be temporarily closed January through March 23, 2017. If you plan to look at your Photo Pass pictures, you will have to do so at another park, Downtown Disney Springs or a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.

There still have been no dates announced for Toy Story Land or Star Wars Land. Some articles predict them to open in summer 2017, some articles predict them to open in 2018. It can be certain that they won't be opening in the first half of 2017. Keep an eye out for updates!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Magic Kingdom 2017

Please be sure to also read Animal Kingdom 2017!

The biggest change to come to Magic Kingdom in 2017 is the morning rope drop. In the past, guests would crowd around the front of the Main Street Train Station to watch the Welcome Show. Once the Welcome Show was over, the crowd would bottle-neck at the entrance and run over each other to either Mine Train or Peter Pan. This was bad for two main reasons. First, it could be a safety hazard. Second, people did not take time to appreciate the park during their stampede to be the first in line, which is the opposite of what Walt and imagineers wanted.  Now, there will be no more waiting just outside of the park. Guests will be welcomed into the park an hour before it officially opens and will be allowed to wander down Main Street. The Welcome Show will no longer be in front of the train Station. Instead, there will be a new show called Let the Magic Begin on the castle stage. The rest of the areas will be roped off and guests can line up at the land they wish to enter first once the park officially opens. I predict this to be a much more efficient way to open the park. Guests will be forced to slow down and admire Main Street before the craziness. They can grab breakfast, coffee, take pictures, ask Cast Members questions, and stroll up and down the charming Main Street. The rope drops in front of each land will hopefully help to spread out the guests throughout the park instead of them all going to Fantasyland. 

Another change that will make adults happy is that more table service restaurants will be selling alcohol in Magic Kingdom.  Be Our Guest used to be the only place to buy alcohol at Magic Kingdom, but now Cinderella's Royal Table, Tony's and Skipper Canteen will be offering alcohol. However, EPCOT is still the ideal park to drink at. 

A new castle projection show, Once Upon A Time was debuted in late 2016. It will continue to show in 2017. Wishes, the firework show, will also continue to show in 2017. 

The Electrical Parade was removed in 2016. So far there is no news if another parade will replace it in 2017. 

There is some changes to Princess Fairytale Hall (again). Now, instead of rotating out the princesses, Cinderella, Elena, Rapunzel and Tiana will stay there for the foreseeable future. No news on where Aurora will be meeting. 

So far dates for the Halloween Party and Christmas Party have not been announced. But since EPCOT announced their holiday season would begin November 24, it can be assumed that Christmas at Magic Kingdom will also begin around November 24.

EPCOT 2017

Epcot had a big year in 2016 as it debuted two new rides, Frozen Ever After and Soarin' Around the World. This year there will be no new rides, but some exciting Festivals. Of course, Disney Parks are always changing. Keep your eye out for some new additions and updates.
The year starts off with a brand new festival, the International Festival of the Arts. It will be held on weekends starting January 13 through February 20, 2017. If it is a hit, we can expect the Festival to be annual.

International Flower and Garden Festival will take place March 1 through May 29, 2017. This year there will be some new topiaries, including those with detailed facial features and a giant Figment. There will also be an interactive play garden that features Cars.

And everyone's favorite, The International Food and Wine Festival will run August 31 through November 13, 2017. This is 2 weeks longer than last year's Festival.

And for those already looking forward to Christmas, Holidays Around the World at EPCOT will begin on November 24 this year.

Unfortunately, Aurora will not be meeting in EPCOT in 2017. She has been moved to the Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland. Hopefully she will be back to the France Pavilion in 2018! Belle, however, will continue to meet in France. 

Also, Aladdin is no longer meeting with Jasmine in Morocco. It will just be Princess Jasmine in her new costume that is a lot more conservative. 

Baymax, Joy and Sadness will still be meeting in Future World across from Character Spot. It is not known how long they will stay here.

The Frozen Ever After ride will still be as popular as ever in 2017 as it is still fairly new. Same with the new Soarin' Around the World. It is recommended that you book FastPasses for these rides during your 2017 visit. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

This Week in Disney History

Jan 16 - First ever half marathon at the Walt Disney Resort in 1994. It is a tradition that is still alive today.

Jan 17 - That's So Raven premieres on Disney Channel is 2003. It is one of the only Disney Channel series to have a fourth season. The show's success has spawned two soundtracks, a spin off series and a reboot to be coming in the next few years. 

Jan 18 - Beauty and the Beast is the first ever animated feature to win a Golden Globe. 

Jan 19 - Adriana Caselotti dies in 1997. She was the voice of Snow White and is a Disney Legend. 

Jan 20 - High School Musical premieres on Disney Channel in 2006. It held the record for the most views during a Disney Channel Movie premiere of 7.7 million views. The soundtrack became the best selling album of 2006, and the movie spawned 2 more sequels. 

Jan 21- Animator Ollie Johnson is hired in 1935. He was a nine old man. He is known for is work on the three good fairies in Sleeping Beauty, the puppies in 101 Dalmatians, and Alice from Alice In Wonderland. His friendship with fellow animator Frank Thomas served as the inspiration for Baloo and Mowgli's friendship in The Jungle Book. 


Monday, January 9, 2017

This Week in Disney History (Jan 9th)

Jan 9 - The Sorcerer's Apprentice is recorded by Leopold Stokowski in 1938. The recording will be used for the iconic scene of Fantasia. 

Jan 10 - Roy E. Disney is born in 1930. He is the son of Roy and the nephew of Walt. He later goes on to work with the company as a producer and chairman. 

Jan 12 - Marc Davis passes away in 2000. Davis was one of the Nine Old Men. He is known for animating Cruella DeVille, Cinderella, Maleficent, and Tinkerbell and working on Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion.

Jan 13 -  House of Mouse premiers on Disney Channel. 

Jan 14 -  The FastPass + system is introduced in Magic Kingdom in 2014. This new digital system replaced the paper printing one. 

Jan 15 - Space Mountain opens in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in 1975. This is the first Space Mountain attraction at any Disney park. 

Carousel of Progress opens in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in 1975. The Carousel was moved from the World's Fair to Disneyland to Walt Disney World. The attraction has resieded there ever since.