Extra, Extra Magic Hours

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard that Disney World is planning to introduce Extra, Extra Magic Hours this fall to accommodate the large numbers of visitors they are expecting. At the end of August, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This brand new, highly anticipated land is likely going to come with huge crowds this fall. In order to plan for that, Extra, Extra Magic Hours have been announced.

If you have not heard about this yet, let’s start with explaining what Extra Magic Hours are. If you stay at a Disney World Resort Hotel, Disney World offers Extra Magic Hours. These are additional hours that Resort guests are able to stay out at the parks after they are closed to regular day guests. Typically, parks will open an hour or two early or close an hour or two later to allow the Disney World Resort guests some time in the parks with a lesser crowd. Now, Extra Magic Hour crowds aren’t what they used to be. With more and more hotels and more people visiting and staying on property, Extra Magic Hours are still extremely popular. However, it is still much better than the regular day crowd that you experience when you visit a Disney World park. Usually, there is one park each day that offers the Extra Magic Hours either in the morning or at night. Rarely is there an overlap in Extra Magic Hours.

This Fall, Disney World is going to have Extra, Extra Magic Hours. This means that every day from the end of August through the beginning of November, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios will offer morning Magic Hours. This means that every single day, three of Disney World’s four parks will have Extra Magic Hours that Resort guests can take advantage of. At Hollywood Studios, in particular, the Extra, Extra Magic Hours will take place from 6:00 am – 9:00 am every day. That is three full hours each morning to experience the brand new Star Wars land, and that is going to be a HUGE advantage for the Resort guests. Staying on Disney World property already comes with its advantages like the Magical Express, Disney Transportation, the close proximity to the parks, and much more. Now, Resort guests also get hours upon hours of extra time to spend at the parks with lesser crowds.

You may have noticed that EPCOT was not a park of the Disney Extra, Extra Magic Hours. I’m not 100% sure why this doesn’t apply to EPCOT, to be honest. However, don’t be alarmed. EPCOT will still have its standard Extra Magic Hours like it usually does. Typically, that includes nighttime hours on Tuesdays and morning hours on Thursdays. That being said, every single Tuesday and Thursday for the few months that Extra, Extra Magic Hours take place, each of the four Disney parks will have Extra Magic Hours.

Do you have any thoughts about this new experience Disney World is offering up to its Resort guests? Comment!

Goodbye River Country

Times are changing, and Disney World is finally expanding onto parts of their property that have sat vacant for over a decade. Located on Bay Lake, near the current property for Fort Wilderness, once sat Disney’s first ever water park on property.

Disney’s River Country was the first water park that Disney World ventured into creating. At the beginning of it’s time, River Country was very popular. In the heat of Florida, you can imagine that an already popular Disney World was thriving from opening a water park. The park would be packed and even hit capacity. Oddly enough, the booming popularity of River Country would end up being it’s own demise.

My guess is that, due to the high demand in River Country, Disney World decided to expand and build another water park to capture more guests. In the late 80’s, Typhoon Lagoon opened, and in the mid 90’s, Blizzard Beach opened. With two, much newer, water parks that were much larger in size and included some more exciting attractions, River Country began to fall off.

Once River Country finally closed, the property was left vacant and abandoned for years and years. The craziest part? The property was located right off Bay Lake and some Fort Wilderness trails even led up to it. You could basically, without breaking any rules, walk right up to the surrounding fencing and possibly peek through. The only other abandoned Disney World location is Discovery Island, and it’s pretty clear that visiting over there is VERY off limits. So it’s pretty crazy to me that River Country was left without that many limitations to visiting it’s grounds.

All that being said, it was recently announced that the property where River Country was once located will soon be home to a brand new hotel. It seems as if construction on site has already begun. My dreams of visiting Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campgrounds and exploring what was once River Country have shattered. A little piece of Disney World history has disappeared. The bright side? If I am every lucky enough to stay at the fancy new resort on the former River Country property, I will ensure that I take the time out to glance over Bay Lake at the only other abandoned Disney World park; Discovery Island.

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.

Kicking Back & Relaxing in Disney World

None of us want to admit it, but we all need a way to relax during our busy Disney World theme park days. Every time I plan a trip, I tell myself that I won’t need to take many breaks and I can be go, go, go the whole time. Good one, Megan. Taking breaks doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy something great that the park has to offer, though. There are definitely ways to enjoy the park without having to be on your feet.

Find a show to go to. Every single park has them. From the Indiana Jones stunt show to Country Bear Jamboree, there are more than enough in-park shows that you can sit back and enjoy. Plus, some of these shows are quintessential Disney. I seriously cannot take a trip to the Magic Kingdom without parking my butt at the Carousel of Progress. It just wouldn’t be a real Disney World trip if I didn’t. The shows that are offered in Disney World are a truly great way to get out of the sun (or rain), sit down, and relax while still feeling fully immersed in that Disney magic that we all know and love.

Stop and have a drink or a snack. The parks are full of options. Plus, a small snack or quick drink requires a lot less planning and waiting than going to a quick service or table service meal. A nice, cold Dole Whip always hits the spot, and you can feel like you have a good excuse to sit down and relax. It seems really silly, but it’s hard to take a seat in the parks when you feel like you don’t really have a “reason” to do so. Having a quick snack or sipping on a cold drink is a GREAT reason to want to pop a squat and relax somewhere.

Take full advantage of the rides that take a long time. I love Rock ‘n Roller Coaster as much as the next person. But you’re on and off in what feels like 60 seconds. Whereas you can hang out with Br’er Fox, Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Bear, and all of the Briar Patch pals over at Splash Mountain for a solid 15 minutes. When you really need to feel rejuvenated, but you don’t want to waste your time, head over to one of the attractions where you know the wait will lead to a nice, long ride. Those 10-15 minutes can really help your feet.

If you’re on Disney World property, take a midday break at your resort. This was really hard for me to grasp on our recent trip. We only have 3 park days and I wanted to get as much as possible out of every single moment. Looking back, though, I don’t think I could have survived if we didn’t take those midday breaks at our resort. For Disney World Resort guests, there are so many other theme park perks that taking a couple hours to go back and relax in your room, hang by the pool, and just get off your feet is so worth it. Think of it this way, if you have Extra Magic Hours that day, you potentially have upwards of 13 hours to spend at the parks. Even if you go back to your resort for a full 3 hours, you still have 10 hours of park time each day. You can get a lot done in 10 hours.

The most important thing, of all, is just to remind yourself that you don’t want to burn out. It’s really easy on the first couple days to be very all-go, no-stop. You’re so excited to be back in the most magical place on earth that you don’t want to stop. However, if you keep that up, you’re going to end up burning yourself out by the third or fourth day. Take time to find ways to relax. There’s definitely ways to do so without wasting your precious Disney World time.

Briar Rose Gold: New Today!

hFirst and foremost, thank you to AJ from DisneyFoodBlog for this tweet this morning. I have known about the Briar Rose Gold line coming to Disney Parks from a few different outlets, but I have been waiting anxiously for the collection to be seen. As some of you know, DFB is an incredible place to find the latest news for Disney Parks, so be sure to check them out!

Briar Rose Gold is the newest trend in the world of Disney merchandise. In a previous blog, I talked about finding the perfect Minnie Ears and all of the new ears that have been coming out lately. You can add Briar Rose Gold to that long list!

What I really want to see right now is a side-by-side comparison between the original Rose Gold merchandise and the new Briar Rose Gold merchandise. From AJ’s tweet, it’s pretty clear that the ears and the spirit jersey look different. The ears themselves look to be a little more matte and less sequined/sparkley, while the bow has all the sequins. This is pretty much opposite of the original Rose Gold ears, and I’m guessing that’s what they were going for. The spirit jersey, of course, is a gray color with the Briar Rose Gold accents, whereas the original Rose Gold spirit jersey was more of an overall rosey/peachy color. As for the rest of the merchandise, it really is hard to tell right now what the exact differences are. I’m sure that someone, somewhere along the line will have side-by-sides for us to really get in there and examine.

Do you have any feelings about the Briar Rose Gold? Obviously, this is a really new collection, so it may be hard to judge right now. For me, I’m so obsessed with my original Rose Gold ears. They are my very favorite pair of ears, and it’s hard to imagine finding something else that I like even more. However, I LOVE that spirit jersey. So much so that, if they put it online, I may have to snatch it. I love the way that the dark gray compliments the Rose Gold on the back accents. It’s definitely a look that I’m a fan of.

What Disney clothing trends have been your favorite and least favorite? Tell me in the comments!

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!