From cutting edge technology to social media sensations, these days Walt Disney World isn’t just about Piglets and princesses. Here are five reasons why a new crowd of kids (little and big) are flocking to Walt Disney World:
A galaxy far, far away
All over the world, Star Wars fans have waited with baited breath for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to open at Disney’s American Theme Parks. Now open at Disneyland resort in California and with an opening date at the end of August at Walt Disney World, Disney Parks are set to welcome a whole host of new first-time visitors alongside loyal Disney fans who will flock to the planet of Batuu. They will be greeted by another world, where they can hop into the pilot’s seat of the Millennium Falcon on the Smugglers Run, and later this year, join the Rise of the Resistance battle.
We know the opening of Galaxy’s Edge is big, because the Star Wars themed attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Launch Bay are already jam-packed. Star Wars fans of all ages line up to meet their favourite heroes, or villains, with meet and greets with menacing Kylo Ren and towering Chewbacca, drawing the big crowds. The Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party is the best-kept secret – guests are kept in line by tongue in cheek Storm Troopers, who patrol the sweet-laden buffet, they get to skip the line to meet their favourite characters, and are then escorted to front row seats for the park’s dramatic fire and light show, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular.
Find out more: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Walt Disney World has been dubbed the most magical place on Earth, but it doesn’t rest on its laurels. These days, as far as tourism experiences go, it’s one of the most app-connected experiences out there. And the apps are making a Disney Theme Park experience a whole lot easier. With the Walt Disney World app, guests don’t need to physically collect fast passes, they don’t need to print out maps, in fact they don’t need to waste time in lines of any kind. The Walt Disney World app lets you check wait times, consult maps, book in FastPass+ rides and pre-order lunch. Plus, you can even check into your hotel room when you get on the grounds of your hotel.
Now, if you’re the kind of person who wants to skip the line for lunch, you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to wait in line for a bus at the end of the night. Lyft and Walt Disney World have partnered together to bring you Minnie Vans. Like Uber, Lyft is an app-based ride app. Simply open up Lyft anywhere inside Walt DisneyWorld, and you’ll see the Minnie Van vehicle option. Your cute red and white van will be there in moments. The Ghirardelli chocolates, water and soft drinks are the icing on the cake. Got kids who don’t like to wait in line? Download the Disney Park Play app, specifically designed to provide kids with games to use while waiting in line.
Top notch tech
If you think location-based app interaction is cool (it is), wait until you try Flight of Passage, the immersive 3D adventure in Animal Kingdom’s Pandora – World of Avatar. When it opened in 2017, the lines were over two hours long, and even nearly two years later, it’s not uncommon to see a wait time of 90 minutes. You’re rewarded for the wait though, with the line winding through the floating mountains and inside a laboratory, where giant Avatars are suspended in formaldehyde, waiting to be linked with their human counterparts. Step inside the laboratory, undergo genetic sampling and screening, before being matched to a banshee. Climb aboard your banshee’s back, ‘link’, and then launch off into Pandora. The sights, sounds, even smells take ride realism to a whole new level.
Find out more: Pandora – The World of Avatar
It’s a purple wall. Literally. No tricks here, but when Walt Disney World painted a wall in Magic Kingdom purple, something started happening. Millennials went insta-crazy, snapping up this perfect spot for a picture and tagging their snaps with the #Purplewall hashtag. And just like that, a phenomenon was born. Now you’ll find walls over Walt Disney World earning Instagram fame – there are bubblegum walls, toothpaste walls, even a Rose Gold wall for you to take the perfect photo in front of. If you’d rather not, you can also buy #Purplewall merchandise in Disney Springs.
Tongue in cheek fun
Plenty of parents can sing the entire soundtrack to Frozen without missing a beat. The blockbuster hit inspired a whole host of new Princesses and Princes, but if the thought of hearing one more ‘Let it go’ makes you cringe, have no fear, the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will have you crying tears of laughter. The thirty-minute show is a sing-along like no other – thanks to the hosts, or by their official titles, the “Royal Historians of Arendelle”. With impeccable comedic timing, wisecracks, audience interaction and a heavy dose of lighthearted innuendo served up with clips of the movie, character appearances and even real ‘snow’, kids and parents alike are satisfied.
Find out more: Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Walt Disney World has long attracted fans of all ages, and with a host of new technology, new attractions and new takes on old classics, that doesn’t look set to change.
Fly to United Airlines to Los Angeles on the 787 Dreamliner, and then on to Orlando. – united.com
Where to stay:
Animal Kingdom Lodge will take you straight to South Africa without leaving your hotel room. The registered zoo has its own wildlife so you can watch giraffes from bed!
What to do:
Make a beeline for Animal Kingdom’s Pandora – The World of Avatar.
Walt Disney World – disneyworld.disney.go