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In case you haven’t been flipping over the pages on the calendar—ours is still on March—we’re here to remind you that May is right around the corner. To us that means the unofficial kickoff to the summer season, and the first three-day weekend in what seems like a long time. Disney is apparently ready for the warmer weather, and they’re doing something unique to celebrate.
Certain Disney theme parks are getting ready to burn the midnight oil, as it sounds like some parks are going to open for 24-hours straight towards the end of May. The fun will take place on Friday, May 24, as the parks look to celebrate the month of Memorial Day Weekend and the start of the summer season.
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Once again it’s time to break out the bulldozers and construction gear down at Walt Disney World; however, they’re not exactly building a new theme park. What they are doing is revamping and redoing the Downtown Disney area into something a little bit more than just shops and stores. They’re giving it a makeover, so that tourists everywhere will be even more interested in exchanging those hard earned dollars for Disney souvenirs.
They’re calling it Disney Springs, as it looks like they’re going for a kind of retro style with the renovation. The official Disney Parks Blog goes into some detail about how Downtown Disney has been kicking around for 30 years or so, but now it’s time to do something a little better. They even mention that they’ve scrapped existing ideas a couple times; as things the ideas just didn't come together in the right sort of way.
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We’ve seen hints of the warmer weather here and there, but it must already be heating up at a couple of the country’s theme parks. Spring has arrived, as tulips and daffodils begin to dot the landscape that’s usually filled with rollercoasters and corn dogs. Not everyone gets in on the spring fun, but here’s a few amusement parks doing the spring thing:
Knott's Berry Bloom
They don’t exactly close for the winter, after all the southern California weather can’t be beat. However, Knott’s Berry Farm does welcome the change of seasons as only a theme park can. Beginning on March 23 they’re upping the ante on the existing offerings, as they’re promising a boost in live entertainment, plenty of games, and even a bunch of food and wine events.
They’ll be taking down the seasonal decorations from the attic as well, as the place gets “spring-i-fied”—their words not ours. Knott’s Towering Topiary Tasting Garden mixes oversized garden sculptures with some adult sips and samples, and the kids get in on the fun as they look for Snoopy and his friends during the park’s Search for the Easter Beagle. Most of the seasonal stuff is included in your admission—around $60 per person.
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If there’s a family vacation to Disney World in the cards this winter, you’re in luck as Mickey and friends have been hard at work all year long to get things spiffed up for the season. We’re not just talking about the lights, decorations, and ubiquitous Christmas trees, but there’s a revamped and renovated Fantasyland now available to the masses. They didn’t figure out how to eliminate the line for Dumbo, but at least now you can score a drink afterwards.
A lot of the old stuff is still there so don’t worry if you just can’t live without the musical boat ride that’s known as "It's a Small World." They still have that—and the song—but there are two new areas within Fantasyland that will keep the big and little kids happy.
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Visitors to Disney World and Disneyland next year may just need to stay a little more connected than they’re used to, as it looks like the theme parks will be all about social media in the coming months. Instead of announcing a new roller coaster, attraction, or other ride—in their defense they’re working on a couple things—next year is all about what they’re calling “Limited Time Magic.”
Each and every week will feature new events and fun stuff, as little surprises and celebrations are scheduled on and off all year long. Disney plans to use Twitter, Facebook, and other internet fun to share the scoop on stuff like character meet-and-greets, limited-time parades, concerts, and other Mickey Mouse activities. Of course there will be chances to grab special edition merchandise and assorted goodies. They've got to move those Mickey ears and shirts, after all.
It’s already well known that it costs an arm and a leg to get into the best of the country’s theme parks, and that’s especially the case if you’re headed to a spot with "Disney" in the name. Don’t worry—at least as far as we know—tickets aren’t going up in price in the immediate future. However, it does look like your ticket might be transforming itself into something a little bit more than a piece of paper or plastic.
Nothing has been announced as of yet, but something tentatively known as the "Magic Band" was kind of called out right on the website of the Federal Communications Commission. Without an official announcement it’s all speculation, but it looks like this "Magic Band" is some kind of wireless bracelet that would digitally hold your admission and ticket information. Basically you’d exchange your credit card digits for a Magic Band that would let you access the park, and maybe even charge a mickey ice cream bar right to your linked card. Again, we’re just guessing here.
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Your carrier’s data plan just breathed a sigh of relief—as did your wallet—as one of the country’s favorite tourist attractions just announced the launch of free-for-all WiFi. Mickey and Goofy have been doing their best to hook up the right wires and transmitters, and now it’s all systems go for free WiFi at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
You’ll need to agree to the park’s terms of service, but after you click the necessary boxes you should be free to surf the internet from the line of Space Mountain or Pirates of the Caribbean. Initial reports indicated that speeds weren’t super fast, but when it’s offered gratis we can’t really complain. It sounds like you’ll want to fire up your favorite mobile device and look for the "Disney-Guest" network.
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The countdown clock is approaching zero as Disneyland workers and engineers finalize the reboot of Disney’s California Adventure theme park. We’ve mentioned the new rides, attractions, and other excitement a couple times before; however, there’s one more addition that we’ve failed to discuss in the past. It might be time for us to update our picks for favorite and unusual Starbucks, as it now looks like overpriced lattes and coffee milkshakes are heading toward Main Street USA.
It’s not just the parks in California either, as the plan it to bring the caffeine to both the greater Disneyland Resort as well as Walt Disney World Resort down in Florida. Apparently there’s already discussion about sending some Frappuccinos and their passports overseas, but nothing has been worked out as of yet.
We heard that Mickey Mouse was pretty interested in purchasing the rights to some comic book characters, and now it sounds as if superheroes could be joining him at Disney theme parks around the globe.
Disney gobbled up the rights to much of the Marvel universe, and now plans to add the characters to the parks is on the drawing board. Head mouse in charge—Bob Iger—recently told shareholders that superheroes like Spider-Man might just be making an appearance at the company’s theme parks sooner rather than later.
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For those looking for something a little more intense and riveting than Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, there’s a new option at Walt Disney World to fulfill the need for speed.
The "Exotic Driving Experience" is set to debut at the Walt Disney World Speedway in January 2012, and it looks to connect tourists with the machines of their dreams. Leave the minivan back at home, because it’s all about exotic super cars here. In total there are six different automobiles from which to choose, including options from Audi, Porsche, and a few different beasts from Ferrari and Lamborghini.
Harry Potter better watch out, as there’s another movie coming to the middle of Florida before too long. Walt Disney World and James Cameron are teaming up to bring the world of Avatar to the theme park resort.
Details are kind of limited right now, as the initial announcement was more of just the Disney-folks and the Avatar-people getting together to shake hands and exchange signatures. We do know that the new attractions and rides are coming to a new section of the Animal Kingdom theme park, and that the blue people will be invading the park towards the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016.
If your dream has always been to grow old with Mickey Mouse and his pals down in Florida, you may just be in luck. Regardless, you better start saving towards that retirement dream ASAP, as it doesn’t come cheap to move in next door to the Magic Kingdom.
Disney’s latest money maker isn’t a theme park and it’s way more than just shilling some new timeshares, as now they’re offering actual housing options just minutes away from the magic. We realize this could be heaven on earth for some, but at the same time understand that it could be hell for others. We’re just giving you the facts, and you can decide for yourself. However, those in the market for a new home might want to take a look at Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort.