RIP EPCOT’s Future World

If you didn’t know already, Disney’s well known D23 convention took place this past weekend in Anaheim, California. D23 is a convention that happens every two years and is where the Walt Disney Company announces a lot of their upcoming plans for resorts, theme parks, TV, movies, etc. The biggest takeaway from this year’s D23, you ask? The complete and total overhaul of Disney World’s EPCOT.

If you have visited EPCOT at all since it’s opening in 1982, you will recall that the theme park was split into two distinct lands; Future World and World Showcase. Future World was painted as a land to celebrate technology and innovation while World Showcase was a place to teach guests about other countries history and culture. While World Showcase has held true and strong since opening day over 35 years, Future World has naturally become outdated. Those of us who once visited places like Innoventions and marveled at the exhibits inside are now uninterested in the outdated technology.

EPCOT is changing the Future World area and dividing it into three different sections; World Nature, World Celebration and World Discovery. World Nature will take over the area containing the Land and the Sea pavilions. Naturally (pun definitely intended) this takes over to celebrate the beauty of nature and teach guests the importance of nature in the world. Also in this World Nature land will be a brand new attraction themed to Disney’s Moana. If you have not seen Moana, it is an absolute must-see Disney animated movie for me. It rivals Frozen, and even for some wins out completely, as the best modern day Disney animated movie. This attraction fits perfectly with the Land and the Sea pavilions and fulfills Disney’s need for a Moana themed attraction. I’m sure a lot of Moana fans have been patiently waiting for their day to celebrate a Moana attraction, and today is finally their day!

World Celebration will be housed in the central portion of EPCOT’s current (soon to be former) Future World. World celebration seems to be somewhat of a prequel to what guests will experience in World Showcase. The main attraction in World Celebration will be EPCOT’s famous Spaceship Earth, which we all know and love as EPCOT’s iconic attraction. However, the Spaceship Earth we all currently know and love will be no more. Disney will be changing scenes and altering the ride to give guests a look at storytelling and how that has shaped our history and culture. As usual, this will not be a popular opinion among all Disney World fans. However, like I discussed earlier, Spaceship Earth has already outdated itself. Spaceship Earth is meant to be about the rise of communication. But communication has already largely surpasses where Spaceship Earth ends, and keeping up on the continued progression of technology and communication in this day and age is very difficult. At this rate, Spaceship Earth would have to change it’s scenes every few years to truly keep up with the constant progression of communication and technology. Change isn’t always easy, folks. But not everything can last forever, and I trust Disney World with keeping the nostalgia of Spaceship Earth while updating it to fit the theming of World Celebration.

Lastly, World Discovery will take place of the last piece of Future World. This will include current attractions like Test Track and Mission Space as well as future attractions like the new Guardians of the Galaxy Roller Coaster. I have to say, when we really got to hearing more about the Guardians coaster, my head did kind of tilt and wonder how exactly Guardians fits into “Future World.” For those of you who may not be hardcore Marvel fans (let alone someone like me who considers both Guardians 1 and 2 in her top 5 favorite Marvel movies) you may not know that Guardians is not set in the future. All Marvel movies are set in the current time, unless otherwise indicated. So while the movie is set in space and does seem futuristic, this isn’t completely accurate to the future at all. Guardians, Mission Space, and Test Track, along with the new Space themed restaurant, will make a perfect home in World Discovery.

Change is quite difficult to grasp and hang on to, especially when it is coming with such full force. Other additions coming to EPCOT include a new entrance, new firework show, Ratatouille attraction in the France Pavilion, new circle vision 360 movies in both China and Canada, and a Mary Poppins attraction in the UK pavilion. EPCOT is really changing, and with so many big changes likely comes some big concerns as to how this will affect the Disney World we know and love. How I choose to rationalize is that 1) Change has to happen. For those people who visited Disney World back on opening day, Magic Kingdom is nothing like what it is today. And I’m sure those initial changes did not come as a popular choice for Disney World fans of the 70’s. However, that “new” Magic Kingdom is now the Magic Kingdom I grew to love. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has changed incredibly since I first grew to love Disney (beyond just changing the name a million times.) What used to be a look into movie making has now become guests way into the movies themselves. The Back Lot Tour and Great Movie Ride’s that gave guests a look into movie making have now turned into Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land, making guests feel like they are a part of the movies themselves. This change has been fantastic and something I can definitely get behind, and I believe the same will hold true with the EPCOT changes.

I’m glad I have all of my childhood (and recent) memories of the Disney World I grew up with, but I am excited to see what they continue to do in the future to improve the parks, resorts, and experiences. Change is hard, but change is a great thing.

Endgame Instant Reaction: Spoiler Free

I just got back from seeing Avengers: Endgame and I decided the best thing to do was to try to put my thoughts and feelings into words here. For those of you that don’t care at all about the MCU, feel free to not read this. For those of you that do care, please come along on this journey with me.

I cannot remember when EVER I have seen a movie that makes me laugh, cry, cheer, smile, and more all at once. I am not lying when I say that I had tears in my eyes while I was laughing at some points. That movie was the PERFECT culmination of so many years and movies in the MCU. The Russo brothers played that absolutely perfectly. The way that this story weaves in to the overall universe was incredible.

I know that tickets are hard to come by. I know that going to see movies in theater isn’t exactly the cheapest way to spend your money. I know that sometimes it’s a pain. But if you are an MCU fan, if you are an Avengers fan, if you are a Superhero fan, you NEED to see this movie in theaters.. The experience of watching this film with a large group of people who are feeling your same emotions is such a powerful thing.

This is quite a short blog, because I really don’t want to spoil anything for those who did not get as lucky as I did to find tickets for today. If it makes you feel better, though, my seat did NOT recline because it was broken. In about a week (or so) I’ll be making a FULL recap blog of everything that happened and how I felt about all of it. For now, I will leave you with this… This is the end of a cinematic era and sometimes the end is the very best part.

Villains After Dark

If you haven’t year heard about the new Villains After Dark event being offered at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, I’m here to help fill you in, give my opinion, and let you know if I think it’ll be worth it.

Last week, Disney Parks Blog announced a brand new, After Hours type event that will be hosted at the Magic Kingdom this summer. Villains After Dark is a play on the current Disney After Hours events that are currently taking place at Magic Kingdom. After Hours, not to be confused with Extra Magic Hours, is a separately ticketed event that takes place on scheduled days. The event begins at 7:00 pm and extends until 3 hours past the closing time at Magic Kingdom. With limited numbers of tickets sold to these After Hours events, guests get the opportunity to have the park virtually empty. Most, if not all, of the major rides are open and wait times are significantly lower across the board.

My boyfriend, James, and I went to our first After Hours event in January at Magic Kingdom. The amount of rides we were able to hit between 7:00-11:00 was crazy. The only ride we really had a wait for was Seven Dwarfs, which is to be expected. However, even that was only about a 10 minute wait and we managed to get on it twice. If you want to hear my overall opinions on After Hours, check here for the blog I wrote breaking it down!

Villains After Dark sounds like it will be your standard After Hours event, just with a twist. There will be a special stage show hosted by my very favorite Disney villain, Hades. Our favorite Festival of Fantasy parade dweller will also be around. Maleficent the Dragon will be unleashed and roam around the park during the course of the event. You never know where you might spot her. This event will also offer it’s own unique merchandise, food, and beverage options. Disney Parks Blog also informed us that Space Mountain and Pirates will have some overlays that are “Disney villain” themed.

With all that being said, the price for Villains After Dark will be slightly higher than that of your standard After Hours event. After Hours at Magic Kingdom will cost you $125 per adult, while Villains After Dark will top that at $139 per. It’s now up to guests to decide if the unique qualities of this event are worth the additional $14 that it costs. For me, it’s basically a no brainer. Magic Kingdom will likely not be offering a separate After Hours event throughout the summer, so Villains After Dark will be the only opportunity for an After Hours event. Also, After Hours prices did go up after one year of events, so the price increase for these specially ticketed events kind of comes with the territory. There’s every chance in the world that once the fall/winter comes along, standard After Hours events at Magic Kingdom will run in that $139 range, so you may as well take advantage of the prices and get a unique experience with it!

The one thing I could see with this event is how the little ones may feel about it. I love the Disney villains, and I think a special stage show involving them is going to be awesome. However, your little ones may feel differently than I do. When I was little, I can’t say I would have loved the idea of watching the “bad guys” and seeing a spooky, fire-breathing dragon wandering around the park, sneaking up on me. With the darkness surrounding you in the late, nighttime hours, it could be a scene that is just too scary for some little kids to enjoy.

If you’re heading to Disney World this Summer on an adults only trip, or you know that your kids will enjoy the event, I think it’s definitely worth looking into if it can fit in your budget. Summer is a hard time to visit Disney World as the parks can get super crowded and that Florida heat/sun can be unbearable. If you can, check out this event to avoid some of those crowds and be able to enjoy Magic Kingdom in the coolness of the night.

Which Minnie Ears are Right for You?

Well folks… We are long past the days where there was a small batch of options when it comes to Minnie Mouse Ears. What was once an easy decision has been made infinitely harder by the influx of options from Disney. Now, for someone like me, I don’t really like to have to choose. They are all so cute, unique, and fun to wear. But, at $27.99 each, we eventually have to decide on one (or three) that are worth our money.

I have to say, Disney has really upped their ear game in the last few months. When I was planning for our Disney trip in late January, I almost had a tough time deciding on which 3 pairs of ears I wanted to get. You see, I have this little, teeny tiny Disney addiction. I didn’t want to wear the same ears all 3 days that we spent at the parks. So I knew I had to narrow it down. I had it all planned out. I would order one pair online, my boyfriend wanted to get me a pair as part of a gift, and I would buy one pair at Disney Springs on the first day of our trip. I knew I wanted to get the Rose Gold ears, and the Millennial Pink were definitely up there too. But, as I was browsing online, I was having a difficult time coming up with the third option. Eventually, I settled on a pair that is black with white polka dots with a red bow, all sequined. My lovely boyfriend, James, bought me the Millennial Pink pair, and I went into Disney World with a budget that included $28 for the Rose Gold pair.

During my time at Disney Spring, though, I ran into a little problem. The (then) brand new Potion Purple ears were now an option, and it was really throwing me for a loop. Plus, seeing the Iridescent ears in person added them to the mix too. In this moment, I really had to determine what I was going to do. Minnie ears are an investment. I’m sure that sounds ridiculous and, honestly, it probably is. But, for me, it was about more than just what I think is cute in that moment. I really had to take a step back and think about all of the different important details to decide how to pick my Minnie ears. You came here to learn about how to choose your ears, and now that my long anecdote is done, I’m going to get into it.

My first thought was, “what is going to match with my clothes the most?” I’ll be honest, I have a pretty boring sense of fashion. I wear a lot of neutral colors. You’ll see me in a lot of black, gray, various shades of brown/tan, army green, maroon, and occasionally some denim. So, for me, I knew I couldn’t go with some crazy, bright color because it wouldn’t fit in with my wardrobe during the trip. As much as I loved the way the Potion Purple ears looked, and I really did love the color, the fact that they would look out of place with my outfits bumped them out of the competition.

Next, I did something that maybe not everyone does. I had to see how the color of the ears did or didn’t contrast with my hair. This is where I got really nervous about the Rose Gold ears. I had seen so many people wearing them, and I though they were super cute. But, I have blonde balayage hair. I was very concerned that the color of my hair would look strange with the Rose Gold ears. If they were too close in color, which I was worried they would be, would it look weird wearing them? Would the ears just look like part of my hair? Would the fact that they blended in look good instead of bad? This was something I very much paid attention to when trying them on. This is also the reason that I didn’t decide to buy the Rose Gold ears online. I knew that I would want to see the way they looked with my hair before buying them.

Now, something I didn’t know I would have to pay attention to until I bought the polka dot ears online was the shape of the ears. In my brain, I just figured that every single pair would fit the exact same way. They’re all Minnie Mouse ears produced by Disney. Each pair is the same just with a different color or design, right? WRONG. Something I noticed with the polka dot ears is that the actual ears themselves are set more towards the sides of the headband rather than the top, whereas other ears have the ears set more toward the top. While I still really like the polka dot ears, the way they fit on my head does look a little bit off in comparison. That’s a pair that I wish I would have tried on before I bought them.

Last, but certainly not least, you have to be comfortable in going for what you want. There is always going to be a “trend” going around in the Disney community with the most popular new ears. Like I said, Potion Purple was the cool, new thing when I went on my most recent Disney vacation. As much as I wanted to be “a part” of the trend, I knew that I didn’t really love that pair as much as I did the Rose Gold. (Spoiler, I ended up choosing the Rose Gold over the Iridescent ears.) Rose Gold was definitely way “out of style” as far as the trend goes. But that didn’t stop me from swiping my card to buy them. I knew that they matched my clothes the best, looked the best on, and checked off all the boxes for me.

This blog probably seems really drawn out for just a pair of ears. But, honestly, I think it’s more important now than ever. Since the beginning of this year alone, Disney has come out with a lot of new pairs of ears. With so many to choose from, you really have to sit back and decide which pair is the best for you. Now, we have Potion Purple, Jasmine, Mint & Pink, Floral, Cinderella Castle, Small World, Donut, and probably more than I’m forgetting. It’s very easy to walk into the World of Disney store at Disney Springs and want to leap right at the most popular or most “stand out” pair of ears you see. But, next time you’re shopping, remember the things to think about.

Best Ways to Enjoy Disney World Without Hitting the Parks

A trip to Disney World can sound intimidating to many because of it’s high cost. Want to know a little secret? The most expensive part about taking a Disney World vacation is the admission to the parks. Okay, so it’s probably not a secret at all. Theme park tickets in Disney World are extremely expensive. While I personally thing that every last penny is totally worth it, it can be really intimidating to buy, say, a 4-day park hopper pass for about $500+ each. So while it’s pretty clear that theme park tickets in Disney World can be expensive, what you may not know is that there are plenty of ways to enjoy Disney World without having to spend your savings to get into the parks.

I’m a sucker for the Disney World resorts. I know, I know. It may seem like its way too expensive to afford. But, honestly, if you want to get the feel of that Disney magic, staying at a resort is a great option! You don’t have to visit the theme parks at all, but you can still take advantage of the free bus to Disney Springs other non-theme park locations. For comparison, during times of the year when special deals are going on, some of the Disney World Value and Moderate hotels can range from about $120 to less than $200 a night. If you’re planning to visit Orlando anyway, you can get a little taste of the Disney World vacation by spending a few days (or all of them) at one of the Disney World resorts.

If you don’t want to stay at a resort, I can’t totally blame you. If I were staying at a Disney World resort and not visiting the parks, I think I would have some serious FOMO. That being said, you can do so much more outside of the parks and resort stay, too.

If you want to visit a fun, crazy water park one day, take a trip to Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon. Disney World finds a way to throw it’s Disney magic into water park form with both of these spots. You’ll experience wild slides and fun attractions all while spending a day in the water and soaking in the sun. Water park tickets are significantly cheaper, and it’s still a great way to experience Disney World without having to invest too much into your vacation.

Beyond the water parks, there are a few other recreation activities you can take part in on Disney World property. Interested in a few rounds of mini golf? Disney World has two different miniature golf locations on property with 36 holes each to enjoy. And, just like Disney does, it’s not just your regular mini golf course. Each of them is themed to that high level Disney theming that we all know and love. Mini golf definitely won’t fill up an entire day, but it’s a nice way to be on Disney property and feel like you’re enjoying the Disney magic while on your Orlando vacation. Want to take mini golf a step further? You can actually golf on property, too. And, if you’re like me and not a very skilled golfer, you can play foot golf too. Basically, you’ll be playing golf with soccer balls. It’s harder than it looks, so make sure you set aside a good chunk of time to play foot golf if you’re interested!

Last, but certainly not least, you can visit Disney Springs and use that as your hub to travel wherever you wish on Disney property. If you just want to shop for some Disney souvenirs and enjoy some delicious food, stay at Disney Springs for the day! There is more than enough to do there, and buying a couple pieces of Disney merchandise is something you can continue to cherish after your Orlando trip ends. Want to do a little more? Disney Springs is a great hub to get other places on property. Buses to each of the Disney resorts have a stop at Disney Springs. Want my suggestion? Take a bus from Disney Springs to either The Grand Floridian, The Polynesian, or The Contemporary. These three resorts are Disney Worlds “monorail resorts” and all have access to the Disney World monorail. Take a trip around the monorail loop to get some great views of the Magic Kingdom. Stop off at the Ticket and Transportation Center, and take the EPCOT loop to get views from the inside of the park over in EPCOT. The best part? Monorail trips are completely free! When you get back to the TTC, take the Magic Kingdom monorail back to one of the 3 hotels on the loop and take a bus back to Disney Springs.

With all these things to do in Disney World that aren’t theme park related, I do want to leave you on this note: Disney World is Disney World because of the theme parks. If I REALLY couldn’t afford theme park tickets at all and wanted to visit Orlando, I would absolutely do at least one, if not all, of the options above. However, for me, It would be very hard to not take advantage of the theme parks at all. But, Disney World knows how to get people coming on property even if you aren’t planning on visiting the parks. They know what they’re doing, and they do it the best!

Disney World Breaking News

We have some new information regarding Star Wars Galaxy’s edge via Disney Parks Blog. We have official opening dates for the brand new land at both Disney World and Disneyland. Disneyland will open first on May 31, while Disney World’s will open on August 29.

Within my own research, I was absolutely expecting the Disney World opening date to be about a month later than this. This is just my own silly research, but I was looking up resort prices for late summer/early fall. It seemed like the prices were up a good amount higher for the first few weeks of October than they were early/mid September. This lead me to believe that October would definitely be our opening date for Star Wars Land in Disney World.

But, as Disney Park Blog noted, it is seemingly opening a little earlier than expected because everyone is so excited. I mean, of course we are! This has been extremely talked about and hyped up since it was first announced. The new rides seem to be innovative, the land very immersive, and the dining unique. There is a lot to be excited about here, and I guess that excitement is leading to an early opening!

For me, I could see a lot of the Star Wars Land construction when we visited Disney World in late January. It looked well on its way to being ready. From what I could see driving to and from the park, and in the park itself, the theming for this will be on par (if not more extravagant) as Pandora. If you don’t think I’m looking into how to make it back to Disney World before the end of the year, you’re very wrong.

What else could this mean for Disney World? As you may have seen on other Disney World blogs, YouTube channels, and various social media accounts, the Disney Skyliner has been in testing lately. We have seen picture and video of the Skyliner gondolas being tested. I would assume that the Skyliner should be open by the opening date of Galaxy’s Edge. It would be very nice for Disney World to have another transportation system to and from Hollywood Studios with the mass crowds they will have there. Does this mean we will get an opening date for the Skyliner system soon? Maybe!

As far as other Hollywood Studios action, the only thing I am left wondering about is Mickey’s Runaway Railway. Disney World has seemed to stay pretty quiet about this new attraction that is taking over the former home of The Great Movie Ride (R.I.P). Hopefully, we can get some more information about this soon. I’m not sure that the Galaxy’s Edge opening dates release will affect Mickey’s Runaway Railway at all. But here’s to hoping!

How do you feel about the opening dates in Disneyland and Disney World? Is it what you expected? Let me know!

How to Make The Best of Disney World Transportation

Staying at a Disney World resort comes with its perks. You get to head into the parks early or stay out late for Extra Magic Hours, you get the benefit of immersing yourself in Disney for your entire trip, and you get complimentary bus, boat, and/or monorail service from your resort to the various Disney World theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs. Some will say the Disney World transportation is unreliable. I’m here to tell you how to take advantage of the transportation, and what options you have when you’re visiting Disney World.

I personally love the fact that the Disney resorts give you the different transportation options. Even if it’s not something I use every single time I go anywhere on Disney property, having the option is a huge plus for me. But, inevitably, we will all have a time during our Disney World trip where we sit back and wonder if waiting in the transportation line is really the best use of our time.

One time I would say you should ALWAYS take advantage of Disney World transportation is when you aren’t in a time crunch. For me, at the end of any given night, I never even thought about grabbing an Uber or finding a different way back to our hotel. The parks are closed and I’m in no rush to get back to my resort. Now, this isn’t necessarily going to apply to EVERYONE. If you have small kids, they may be fussy and needing to get to bed. If that’s the case, then maybe alternative transportation IS your best bet. For me, however, I know that it makes very little difference if I get back to my resort at 11:20 or 11:30, so I’ll save that extra cash to buy me a late night snack.

One time I would say you SHOULD consider taking alternate transportation is if you’re running a little bit late on a morning where you’re headed to Magic Kingdom. While this could apply to any park, keep in mind that you usually have to wait in the parking lines in order to get through to the entrance. The Uber ride may save you time initially, but you’ll come to a bit of a halt when you reach the parking lot entrance lines. I specifically say Magic Kingdom here because of the (maybe sneaky) way you can avoid all of the crazy park entrance lines. Instead of taking an Uber, Lyft or taxi to Magic Kingdom, you can take it to the Contemporary Resort. After doing this last time I visited Disney World, I really don’t think I will ever go back to taking the bus on a Magic Kingdom morning. The Contemporary has it’s own walking path right up to the Magic Kingdom entrance. The best park? The walking path has it’s OWN security checkpoint! It was easily the shortest security line we waited in the whole trip, and we got to walk right past all of the long security lines at the Magic Kingdom entrance. For a pretty cheap car ride, this was definitely worth it.

Every other time, the transportation is really up to you. I, for one, think that taking advantage of the transportation systems is a huge perk of staying on site. If you can plan ahead, it can really make your trip a lot more streamlined. Plus, it’s free. I’ll take a free bus, boat, or monorail over wasting gas and paying for parking any day. With Uber, Lyft, and taxis available, you always have a second option if the Disney transportation just isn’t working out. However, overall, try to look at the Disney transportation as your friend, not your foe.