New Stuff at Disney and Universal

By the time I get to Orlando this year it will be 2 years since my last trip. There’s so much new stuff there since then, a lot can change in such a short time it would seem. That’s what I love about it, you can never be bored on a holiday there no matter how often you go, there’s always something new to see.

There’s so much I’m looking forward to!

It seems like ages ago now but Frozen Ever After hadn’t opened last time, I was a big fan of Maelstrom and was upset when they announced it was closing, it’s one of the few things I remembered from my very first trip to Orlando in 1998. It was such a fun little boat ride and knowing that the ride vehicles and track are still the same I’m intrigued to know how it all fits in. There’s obviously new Frozen themed character meets now too with the addition of everyone’s favorite Snowman.

Epcot also houses ‘Soarin’ which has also had an upgrade with more screens and a new journey taking in a worldwide trip rather than just a Californian one.  I was always amazed with Soarin and how they used scents to make the experience more realistic and make you feel like you’re really flying over and orangery. It’s going to  be interesting to see what that has in store now. Queues for that seem to be constantly long so that’s definitely one to book a fastpass for.

There’s loads of new character interactions with Baymax, Joy and Sadness and some of the Star Wars characters.

It looks like the Pandora will be open by September, I’ve heard whispering’s of a labor day opening and with black out dates for Animal Kingdom for certain ticket holders at the end of May it looks like it could be around that time. I could see nothing of the construction on my trip aside from the top of the cranes. Everything was fenced off but images appeared not long after showing the construction making pretty quick progress. I can’t say I was the biggest fan of Avatar, although it was visually stunning, I wasn’t hooked on the story and I have to say I was quite surprised when I heard that Disney were making a whole extra ‘land’ out of the idea of this one film. Having said that and reading about the 2 planned attractions it’s one of the things I’m most excited to see. Knowing that some of it, especially the planned boat ride is using some never before seen technology I just know that these attractions are going to be some of the most immersive and visual that Disney have ever created. Who knows after actually visiting Pandora I may have a new found appreciation for the film.

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Along with Pandora, Animal Kingdoms much blighted new evening show ‘Rivers of Light’  is now running. After a few shows in the middle of last year the show was pulled after Disney themselves were not happy with how it looked and was running. Most reviews I read about it said it was poor and lacking in that Disney magic. Although this show is unable to have any of the fireworks the shows in the other parks has and focuses on using water and light with music to create something, I think it has the potential to be something really unique and bring a different outlet to those evening shows that we’re all so used to. I’ve read a few reviews and seen a few pictures and it reminds me a little of Illuminations but obviously without the fireworks. There are lilypads that are lit up and open and also lots of animal floats.

There’s a new restaurant opened at Animal Kingdom as well. I love food and having booked the dining plan for this trip we plan on eating in as many different places as we can. Tiffins is the new place and is one of Disneys Signature Restaurants. The themeing is around the creation of the park with artwork and concept art all around. That is the best thing about eating in Disney is how much you forget where you are when you’re there, it can take you away and put you into a different world.

Being a bit of a Star Wars fan all the extra stuff around that excites me. New shows and behind the scenes things about all the films, I’m sure by the time I go there will be something else.

But the one thing I’m really excited about? There’s a Coca Cola cafe at Disney Springs with cocktails based around the flavours of the world you can try at Epcot (including the Beverley..) not only that but they’ve added the Coca Cola Polar Bear!! I’ve watched many a video of people meeting him in Las Vegas and I was so excited to see he’s in Orlando. We will be spending our first evening at Disney Springs so I’ll be making a bee-line for him!!

Universal has loads of new things to offer as well, with King Kong already open and the new Jimmy Fallon ride opening in April. The biggest news for Universal is the opening of the new Volcano Bay water park which I am looking forward to the most. I usually struggle with water parks, I find them hard to get around with crutches and standing on the stairs to queue for things and having to struggle with the inflatables just makes me not really want to bother. I think the extent of my enjoyment in them tends to be the lazy river and the wave pool. The idea of not having to queue or carry any inflatables is making it incredibly attractive to me. The family flume ride looks a lot safer than some of the other ones with quite a robust ride vehicle and the fact it’s the size of a theme park with different zones just like Universal I think will make it feel less busy than the others. I’m looking forward to being able to visit a water park late at night and seeing the volcano erupting. I have to say I have never been as excited about a water park as I am about this one!! I might actually be able to do more than just the lazy river on this one!

Food wise (cos we all know I like food) I am dying to try the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium!!  It’s a full service restaurant and although they serve savoury food like Steak and Fish dishes a lot of them have a sweet twist with things like Chocolate Stout Chicken Wings and Chocolate Gnocchi!!

I have 6 months before my trip so no doubt there will be a load more new things announced between now and then as well!! It’s going to be a packed trip!

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