See what’s new (and next) for your family to explore.
What It Is: Everyone who has seen Cinderella knows that magic doesn’t always last – but what if it got a special boost? Guests who visit Disneyland and Walt Disney World over 2013 will get some extra special magical experiences … some might last a day, some might last a week. Some of the Limited Time Magic events (that we know of) include an Independence Day celebration that lasts all week; the Dapper Dans rocking out to tunes from favorite boy bands; a Friday the 13th Dance party in November that lasts until 1 a.m.; Valentine’s Week with both Disney Castles “blushing pink” and romance spread from coast to coast; Long-Lost Friends week featuring lesser-known Disney characters that are rarely seen in the parks (Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum for example), with guests having the opportunity to vote online for who they want to see; and a Disneyland exclusive event: the one-month return of the original Golden Horseshoe Review. Plus, both parks will offer special merchandise, food offerings and other surprises that will be revealed on the Disney Parks Blog on Friday the week before. The Disney Dreammakers Spoonful spoke to said that while the year is planned out, it doesn't mean that something can’t come back if it is popular enough.
Your Kids Will Love: Being a part of the special events throughout the year (and you’ll love that magic with them last a little longer).
Shoshana Lewin Fischer is the Play Editor for Spoonful.com and lives in Southern California with her Disneyphile family.
What It Is: Ever wanted to stay inside your favorite Disney or Disney/Pixar animated film? At the new Disney’s Art of Animation resort – you’ll have the chance. The value resort’s special Family Suites include two bathrooms, a kitchenette and three separate sleeping areas that can accommodate up to six. The standard rooms can sleep up to four. The Finding Nemo area (320 family suites) lets guest splash around the Big Blue pool and the Schoolyard Sprayground; the rooms come with jellyfish lampshades and a coral reef-themed headboard. At the Cars area (480 family suites), orange cone shaped cabanas invite guests to lounge around the Cozy Cone Pool. Pull-out beds extend from the living room sofa (which looks like the backseat of a hot rod), and the bathroom design is inspired by a car wash. In The Lion King area (320 family suites), there is an Elephant Graveyard playground (guarded by Scar’s hyenas, of course), and the rooms come complete with leaf-shaped chairs and Pumbaa and Timon décor on the shower curtain. The Little Mermaid wing (864 rooms) lets guest hang out at the Flippin’ Fins pool and enjoy Ariel’s treasures in an “under the sea” kingdom every night when they come back from the parks. The resort also sports the landscape of Flavors food court, the Pixar Play Arcade and Ink and Paint Gift Shop.
Your Kids Will Love: The theming of the rooms and the pools, not to mention the additional room offered by the family suites. Plus character artists in the lobby, hula hoop contests and poolside movies.
What It Is: Taking a vacation doesn’t typically mean your kids are learning and thinking. But on Agent P’s World Showcase adventure, your kids will learn all about other countries and cultures – and have a lot of fun in the process. Epcot guests who accept their mission will head to one of seven countries (Mexico, France, Germany, Norway, Japan, China and the United Kingdom) and follow clues that allow them to interact with people and places around World Showcase. For example, getting a puzzle right in the UK actually rewards you with a bag of tea. Sign up at one of four kiosks around the park and the cast members send you out to explore with a special F.O.N.E. (Field Operative Notifications Equipment), to thwart Dr. Doofenshmirtz (and you can play and play and play as long as there are missions to accomplish). You might even spot Agent P himself!
Your Kids Will Love: Being the family detective. They’ll enjoy pushing the buttons on the F.O.N.E. and trying to find where the next clue is hidden.
What It Is: After a long rehab – the Epcot attraction reopened in full force in December 2012, with a new sponsor – Chevrolet – and a new look. Guests will become Chevrolet designers as they create their own car highlighting four attributes: Capability, Efficiency, Responsiveness and Power. (FastPass and Single Riders can get in on the fun, but for the first-timer full experience, stick to the main queue.) How well will your car navigate through bumpy roads, icy conditions, turn-on-a-dime curves and more? Board your six-person “SimCar” vehicle and find out. But those who loved the feeling of racing around the track at 65 mph, don’t worry – that’s the best test of all.
Your Kids Will Love: Designing their own car and then “racing” it, and sending a virtual commercial out via e-mail. Then the whole family can take pictures with actual Chevy cars and send them home – Christmas card for next year maybe? You can also take a picture for a “license” and buy special car merchandise at the exit.
What It Is: This is not your typical bowling alley. Everything in Downtown Disney is fun turned up a notch – and Splitsville is no exception. Two floors of upscale, retro bowling make this one the largest in the country. Lane concierges are available every night to help maximize the fun. On weekends, the second floor is dedicated to those 21 and older, while the lower floor stays dedicated to families. Splitsville also boasts an atypical bowling alley menu, with such offerings as grilled Mahi Mahi with “voodoo” shrimp, filet slides, grilled cheese parmesan and two sushi bars – plus a kids menu. With its location right across from the AMC theaters, it makes a great destination for families hoping to get away from the hustle and bustle of the parks for an afternoon.
Your Kids Will Love: Bumper bowling! Even the little ones can get in the competitive spirit and the family fun of an afternoon of bowling. They’ll also appreciate hanging out in air conditioning on those hot Florida days. Also, why not turn the game into some Disney fun: Winner picks the next attraction?
What Is It: Similar to Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure, this brings interactivity to the Magic Kingdom as guests discover and defeat the Disney villains. Armed with magic powers in the form of special cards, guests follow magic symbols that lead them to different villain hideouts in Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Liberty Square and Main Street, USA. There are 70 special cards connected to the game – guests get five each day they play. “Sorcerers,” which has no additional cost, can be played in 15-20 minute segments or continuously for three to four hours and guess can sign up to play at the fire house.
Your Kids Will Love: What could be better than the battle of good vs. evil? Your kids will get to track down Disney villains and, in storybook style, defeat them with brainpower. Plus, they can call themselves a “sorcerer” for the remainder of your vacation.
What Is It: The Carnation Gardens next to the castle are getting a princess makeover – which adds banners and turrets and expands the borders of “the happiest land of all” to create a new destination for the princess meet-and-greet starting in spring 2013. The immersive experience lets guest meet and mingle with Aurora, Cinderella and Ariel at the Royal Hall. There is also a theater area, which will alternate telling the stories of Belle and Rapunzel (with help from some hosts, ladies-in-waiting and some special friends). And for a snack, Maurice's Treats, a wagon altered by Belle’s father will be serving a Dole Whip-like drink, along with savory and sweet breadsticks. Special touches and nods to other Disney tales will be scattered around the new area, as well. Keep an eye out on the Tangled Tower when Mother Goethel starts to sing; find the balcony with Geppetto’s cat, Figaro and see what mischief he’s up to; and turn the crank on the Festival of Fools Music Box for a “Topsy Turvy” experience. The new location “frees up” the Fantasy Faire area across from “it’s a small world,” for a new stage show, "Mickey and the Magical Map," which is set to open in the Fantasyland Theatre at Disneyland Park this summer. In the show, the wise sorcerer Yen Sid tells of a wondrous map — one unlike any other —with the power to take dreamers to any place imaginable. But when young apprentice Mickey Mouse attempts to paint the map's one unfinished spot, he stumbles into the mystery of the map's magic! "Mickey and the Magical Map" brings together live performers, popular Disney characters and theatrical wizardry to take the audience on a surprising journey through fantastic worlds of music, color and imagination.
Your Kids Will Love: Meeting all of the princesses they love and visiting the Fantasyland Treasures shop so they can dress like their favorite ones. The new Fantasy Faire is also adjacent to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
For the 2013 season, Disney Cruise Line will be sailing out of Florida and Texas, and adding a stop at Falmouth Jamaica. In 2014, the Disney Cruise Line will be moving all four ships to Florida (three out of Port Canaveral and one out of Miami), giving guests more opportunities to visit Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Even though the ship is leaving the West Coast – DCL plans to continue returning to Alaska for summers to come. As for where future sailings might go? Castaway Club members (repeat cruisers) have put Asia at the top of their “wish list.” Adventures by Disney created a “Brave”-inspired eight-night vacation to Scotland for 2013 – the first time they have used a single film to create an adventure. Another new ABD trip takes guest to Southeast Asia on an 11-night journey through Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Disney Vacation Club guests who come to Disney’s Aulani, a Resort and Spa, on the island of Oahu will notice some changes to the resort. Coming soon will be a new infinity pool, a misty grotto and an after-dark experience with glittering lights; the Keiko Cover for Toddlers that's designed to resemble a tidal pool; A poolside venue serving breakfast, lunch and dinner—and featuring an outdoor patio; a beachside quick-service eatery with grab-and-go selections; and a second retail venue off the lobby. On the other side of the country, construction is in full swing at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa for new DVC villas that are expected to open in late 2013.
Disney Parks: Limited Time Magic
Walt Disney World: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Walt Disney World: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure
Walt Disney World: Test Track - Presented by Chevrolet
Walt Disney World: Splitsville
Walt Disney World: Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
Disneyland: Disney Princess Fantasy Faire and Fantasyland Theater
Disney Adventures: Elsewhere in the World
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