My first trip to a Disney park was Walt Disney World in 1998. I had been a Disney fan up to that point, but my first experience with all the magic was when I became a self-proclaimed Disnerd, something I'm very proud of and which continues to progress year after year after year. My first experience with Disney change was when they removed Snow White's Scary Adventures and put in Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. For those not familiar, Snow Whites Scary Adventures was a typical dark ride that took guests through the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs complete with a very "scary" encounter with the Wicked Queen dressed as the Old Hag herself. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train with it's interactive queue and fluid, smooth ride is much more enjoyable and one of my favorite rides at Walt Disney World, but the change was still tough.
When the mega-hit "Frozen" hit the theaters after months and months of hype and loads of build up, and Disney announced that the Maelstrom was being closed in the Norway Pavilion of Epcot to make room for a "Frozen" themed ride, I was not pleased, to say the least. In fact, It's going to take a lot to get me onto that ride the next time I visit Walt Disney World. Frozen is a fine movie with great music, but all the hype was unfounded in my opinion, and the destruction of the Maelstrom was a big mistake.
Now for the latest announced changes:
Toy Story Land opens at Disney Hollywood Studios - Summer 2018
I think this is actually a good change and much needed for Hollywood Studios, which has been a "half-day park" since they've removed things like the Backlot Tour and other things that truly paid homage to the glory days of Hollywood and the magic of movies.
Another ship announced for the Disney Cruise Line Fleet
By 2023, the Disney Cruise Line fleet will nearly double in size with the announcement of a third new ship. The three new ships will be even larger than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, the newest and largest of the fleet to this point. In my opinion, this is a smart move on Disney's part if they wish to compete with lines like Royal Caribbean who keep rolling out bigger ships with more innovations. The first of the new ships are scheduled to launch in 2021.
"Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" is announced as the name for Star Wars themed lands in Disneyland and Walt Disney World
With movie content enough to release until at least 2030, Disney would have have missed the land-speeder if they chose not to capitalize on Star Wars. Star Tours, no matter what version they've had to this point, has been an awful ride and something very easy to walk right past. This coming from someone who dressed as Princess Leia for Halloween and owns the original 6 movies of the saga. Star Wars Weekends, which take place each May, and Star Wars-themed cruises, which Disney Cruise Line features each February, have been an immense success and have made it obvious that Disney guests want more Star Wars. Their wishes will come true in 2019.
Guardians of the Galaxy attraction coming to Epcot
Taking the place of the Universe of Energy attraction, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye the Science Guy will be the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction, adhering to the original vision of Epcot’s Future World as the place to experience the excitement and adventure offered by space travel. Admittedly, the Universe of Energy was a great place to take a break in air-conditioning without a lot of people, and the attraction itself was dated and has been around for a long time. While Disneyland has re-imagined their Twilight Zone Tower of Terror into a Guardian's Ride, the Tower at Disney's Hollywood Studios is far too popular for that. If it's the difference between being enjoyed by guests and having an empty or nearly empty attraction, I understand, I just think it's a little short-sighted.
Ratatouille - inspired ride coming to France Pavilion at Epcot
Originating at Disneyland Paris, this attraction shrinks guests down to the size of Remy, the star of one of my favorite movies, "Ratatouille". I'm conflicted about this one as well, I will admit. Something about introducing additional cartoons into World Showcase just irks me. With that said, I'm excited to see it, because I've heard good things about it.
Immersive Super Hero Experience coming to Disney's California Adventure Park
Soon, the Guardians of the Galaxy ride will be joined by Spider-Man and the Avengers in what will be a completely immersive Super Hero land at the park. Admittedly, I enjoyed the first Guardian's of the Galaxy movie, but haven't taken the time to see the second, because I was fine with the way the first one ended. I feel the same about the Avengers and am completely over Spider-Man and all it's "respinnings". I'm sure the fans who enjoy these movies will enjoy the new offerings at the park.
New "Tron" attraction coming to Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World
Sitting in a completely new area to the right of Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom, this attraction will allow guests to board a train of two-wheeled Light Cycles and is touted to be one of the most thrilling rides at any Disney Park. My biggest concern with this attraction is the location. I can see if they remove the Tomorrowland Speedway. Other than children not young enough to drive yet, the thought of climbing into a car and driving around in a circle doesn't hold a lot of fascination any more, but my hope of hopes is that they leave the Carousel of Progress in it's spot. While this attraction doesn't seem to have a lot of traffic, it's an attraction that Walt had a direct hand in and debuted it during the 1964 World's Fair. It's a Walt Disney World staple and needs to stay.
First Mickey-themed ride coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios
While I'm very excited about this, especially having seen some conceptual elements of the project, I would be dishonest if I said that my heart wasn't breaking just a bit over the loss of the Great Movie Ride.
New Star Wars- themed resort planned for Walt Disney World
As mentioned above, Star Wars is hotter than ever, and this resort will enhance the guest's experience with a completely immersive experience during your vacation. I'm interested to see how this will work.
New Restaurant to offer "Out of this World" dining experience at Epcot
Adjacent to the Mission Space attraction, this table service restaurant offers guests spectacular dining services with with views of Earth from space. Hopefully, people will make their Fast Pass Plus reservations for Mission Space BEFORE they eat, and not after, if they're subject to motion-sickness.
There are some other changes coming as well, but I don't have enough information on them at this point, and will share when I do. Change is good, to a point. Innovation is very important. Part of the appeal for Disney, however, is the nostalgia of childhood and the way things "used to be".
Discussion time! What are some changes you've seen at Disney Parks? How do you feel about the changes? What would you like to see?