The Changing Face of Disney

by

DisneyChanges1Many of our family vacations take us south to Walt Disney World. Sometimes friends ask us why we go there so often – a couple of times a year, usually. But like anything magical, Disney never stays stagnant. Things in the WDW resort are always changing, so there’s always something new to see or do. And of course we never want to forget our old favorites.

We’re heading back down to Disney in June, and I’m already excited about all the new things we’ll find since our last visit. At the recent Family Travel Conference – sponsored in part by Disney – I was able to talk with many mommy bloggers who share our family’s passion for the World. Through them, I picked up on a few of the changes my family will encounter in June. Here are a few of my favorites:

Change #1. The Opening of Storybook Circus in the Magic Kingdom
DisneyChanges2The Fantasyland expansion has been the biggest news coming out of Disney in the past few years. Plans have been online and are really impressive. Since we’re planning a trip in the recent future, we were curious as to what sections of the “new, improved” Fantasyland will be open for business during our stay.

The good news is that Storybook Circus will open at the end of March. Storybook Circus is based on the beloved movie DUMBO, and the revamp includes the opening of a second Flying Dumbo ride. This is great news to all of us who have waited in the old queue with whimpering toddlers or hungry tweens.  Double the pachyderms  means twice the loading speed.  The old WDW rope drop mantra – “Run to Dumbo!” – may no longer apply.

The old Goofy’s Barnstormer roller coaster will be repackaged. My kids are anxious to try out the The Great Goofini, who is being touted as a daredevil pilot that will have them flying across the tracks. The Goofini, just like its predecessor, is really a junior coaster that kids will love. A few of my kids had their first coaster encounter on the Barnstormer before they were ready to move to the bigger challenges. They’re really looking forward to a “compare-and-contrast” with the new one.

Change #2. New Meal Choices for Kids
While my husband and I really enjoy the food choices we have at the WDW resorts, my kids often complain that they’re stuck with a burger, mac and cheese or some chicken nuggets. And while they’re bellyaching about their choices – or lack thereof – I’m concerned with the nutritional value offered. Sure, we’re on vacation, but how many burgers can a tween take?

The answer may be none, thanks to the redo of many kids menus. At Tony’s Town Square, for example, the kids’ menu includes a healthy take on grilled cheese, this time served on multi-grain bread, sliced into dipping sticks and served with tomato sauce. There’s also a steak skewer served with sweet potato fries and fresh fruit.

The Liberty Tree Tavern is one of our favorite Disney eateries, and its new menu doesn’t let us down. My kids have already penciled in a BBQ chicken and pineapple flatbread pizza for one of our Magic Kingdom days in June.

Changes have also been made at Cinderella’s Royal Table and The Plaza Restaurant. So ADR a seat at your favorite, and watch your child enjoy his anti-burger meal.

Change #3. Pedal to the Metal at the Exotic Car Experience
I’m sure my husband and teenage sons will want to head over to the new Fantasyland for Adults. In other words, they’ll be checking out the Exotic Driving Experience at the Walt Disney World Speedway. This speedway upgrade allows drivers to choose from some of the most desirable cars in the world, then put those noted motors to the test. It will be hard choosing between such vehicles as a Lamborghini Gallardo, an Audi R8 and a Ferrari Italia. But if you don’t pick, you won’t get your chance to fly around the speedway laps. Though this is a costly adventure, it’s also a once-in-a-lifetime dream come true for driving aficionados. (Sort of like meeting Cinderella is, but this time with an engine and smelling like gasoline.)

Of course, we don’t leave for WDW until June. I’m sure by the time we arrive in Orlando, there will be other magical changes awaiting us. No wonder we keep going back!

DISCLAIMER: Though DISNEY was a sponsor of the first ever Family Travel Conference, all discussion of the Disney changes were completely unbiased – just mom-to-mom talk.