Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park has always had an image issue. People think of it as a half-day park or an overpriced zoo but Disney has been working to change this perception. They added a nighttime safari. They are working on a nighttime show and most importantly they are adding a new land, Pandora: the World of Avatar.
But change has been slow in the coming. Disney announced Pandora in 2011. Construction did not begin until 2014. Guests were left to wonder if and when Pandora would ever open. In late 2016 Disney finally gave a hint at an opening date. They told us it would be summer 2017 but we may have a more specific time frame now.
A clue to when Pandora opens?
The Florida Resident Discover Disney ticket recently returned. This year it is cheaper and has fewer restrictions on when you can use it. But there is one restriction that has some people scratching their head. It is not valid at the Animal Kingdom from the end of May through the first few weeks of June. You can use it at any other park but not the Animal Kingdom?
Those who follow Disney know that the Animal Kingdom is not the most popular park so why is a black-out date necessary? Whenever something big is added to any park people flood in to see it. Is Disney trying to control the crowd for the opening of Pandora by blocking those dates for this deeply discounted ticket? It seems likely but only time will tell.
So what do we know about Pandora so far?
Pandora: The World of Avatar is based on the movie Avatar the James Cameron’s blockbuster from 2009. The film takes place on a planet called Pandora.
The new land replaces Camp Minnie Mickey. Most serious Disney people will know that Camp Minnie Mickey was not part of the original design for the Animal Kingdom. Camp Minnie Mickey was a cheap replacement for the Beastly Kingdom.
Disney cancelled the Beastly Kingdom after construction costs on the rest of the Animal Kingdom went over-budget. The Camp was definitely in need of an upgrade if not a complete replacement. Enter Pandora: The World of Avatar.
The new land features two attractions. The first is Avatar: Flight of Passage. Avatar Fight of Passage is an E-ticket simulator. Guests will learn to fly a mountain Banshee as seen in the movie. The second attraction is Na’vi River Journey. This boat ride features small drops and animatronic figures.
Of course no Disney expansion is complete without opportunities to spend some money. Pandora will feature a new restaurant called Satu’li Canteen and Pongu Pongu for those wanting a drink.
For years people have showed up early to be among the first to enter the Magic Kingdom. As a bonus they got to see the Magic kingdom welcome show. But now Disney is replacing the Magic Kingdom welcome show with something totally different.
The current welcome show actually takes place outside of the Magic Kingdom. Guests line up in front of the Mainstreet USA train station. Performers sing a welcome song. The mayor of Mainstreet USA makes a little speech and then the Walt Disney Railroad brings in Mickey and his friends. Disney has normally selected a family from the crowd to “help” Mickey. Eventually Mickey counts down from 10 and the gates are opened.
Can’t wait for Star Wars Land to open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Disneyland? You are not alone. There are thousands of us Force sensitive types waiting to travel to a galaxy far, far away. Disney knows this and is doing its best to keep that excitement alive. One of the ways Disney is doing that is by offering a New Star Wars Guided Tour.
In 2012 Disney purchased Lucas Films for about four billion dollars. That includes Star Wars. Since then Disney has been cashing in releasing two movies (The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and announcing plans to bring Star Wars to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Of course it is going to take years to build those lands (there is still no official opening date) and this new Star Wars Guided tour is one way Disney is keeping the excitement alive (and helping recoup some of that four billion dollars.) Continue reading New Star Wars Guided Tour→
The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort is the most visited theme park in the world but there is one thing some guests have been missing. They would like to have a drink. Until 2012 that was completely impossible. Since 2012 it was not easy to get alcohol in the Magic Kingdom but starting next week it will get a little easier according the the Orlando Sentinel.
The Magic Kingdom will still be drier than the other theme parks. There will still be some major restrictions for alcohol in the Magic Kingdom. In fact Disney is only adding alcohol to the menu at four locations which means there will be five places total in the Magic Kingdom where you can get something a little stronger than a Dole Whip Float. Continue reading Disney Adding Alcohol In The Magic Kingdom→
Who wants to wait in long lines and push through crowds at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom? If that is you go ahead and skip this article but if you prefer short lines and low crowds keep reading . Disney After Hours is once again being offered in 2017.
So what is Disney After Hours? It is a limited time event that requires a special ticket for admission. The ticket is not cheap and not many (comparatively speaking) are sold. To know what guests who have attend in the past think be sure to read to the end of the article. There is a video with some interviews. Continue reading Disney After Hours Returns→
Are you a fan of the Kermit, Mrs Piggie, and all their muppet friends? Well these is good news for you! Starting October 2nd Disney will debut a new Muppets show at the Magic Kingdom.
There are not many details on the new show yet but we do know a few things. The new Muppets show is called, “The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History.” The show will take place in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom. Continue reading New Muppets Show Invades Magic Kingdom→
Disney World height requirements are something that parents live in fear of. They hate the idea that their little pirate or princess just cannot do everything at Disney World. Unfortunately there are certain attractions that little ones might have to wait a few more years to experience. Continue reading Disney World Height Requirements→
Lights Motors Action Closing will be closing on April 2, 2016. This announcement follows a long list of closures at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in preparation for the Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land expansions. Continue reading Lights Motors Action Closing→
Disney at Christmas sounds like a great idea. And it can be. Walt Disney World goes all out to transform the theme parks and the resorts into a celebration of Christmas. There are Christmas trees, special shows and even a Christmas party. It might even snow on Main Street USA.
The fact that Disney has announced a nearly year long refurbishment has many people asking, ” Is Pizza Planet at Hollywood Studios Closing?” While at first the idea seems crazy (Pizza Planet is very popular!) there are some very good reasons to consider it.
First is the fact that it will be closed from January to November. That suggests more than just updating and giving everything a fresh coat of paint. It suggests a complete overhaul. It suggests that the building that houses Pizza Planet today is going to house something totally different come November.
Second is location. Like the real estate agents tell you it is all about location. Pizza Planet is located right next to the Star Tours -The Adventure Continues. That location seems prime to be the center point of the new Star Wars Land and a Toy Story themed Pizza Planet would create a disturbance in the Force.
Speaking of locations Star Wars is not the only new land coming to Hollywood Studios. Toy Story is getting its own land. But where will it go? Disney is in the process of adding a third track to Toy Story Midway Mania which is probably the most popular ride at Hollywood Studios. So the logical place to place Toy Story Land is near the already existing attraction. That attraction, as you can see from the map below, is half-way across the park.
So maybe Pizza Planet is not closing for good. Maybe it is just moving to a new home. We can hope!