Disney World News! Good and Sad.

In recent days, tons of announcements have been pouring out from official Disney sites.  Rumors abound from unofficial sources.  Many of you, like me, have been on an emotional roller coaster.  Let’s discuss…

Disney World News!  Good and Sad.

Rivers of Light – Finally, it’s happening!  The ups and downs of this on-again, off-again nighttime spectacular have been uncharacteristically dramatic.  The attraction was part of this week’s Disney Social Media Moms conference events with pictures and video allowed (unlike previous previews).  Having watched this video (spoiler!), I’m probably not going to rush out and schedule FastPasses or a Dining Package for our next trip.  The show looks beautiful, but I’m okay with waiting until later in the year to see it.Disney World News - World of Pandora

World of Pandora – Officially opening on May 27th!  It’s been years (and years) in the making…I sure hope this controversial new Animal Kingdom land lives up to the hype.  While not overjoyed, I’m okay with the theme and think Pandora is in keeping with the park’s emphasis on the importance of conservation, but when “Avatarland” was first announced, it was hotly debated.  Many fans were angry and disappointed that a much-anticipated Animal Kingdom expansion would not be based on mystical/mythical creatures as had been originally intended for the park.  I’m hoping there’s something here for everyone/every age to enjoy.

Wishes – It’s been around for 15 years and has become a much-loved family vacation tradition for many fans.  While I will be sad to see it go simply because of the nostalgia, I’ve opted to watch it from afar for the past several Disney World visits.  I’m ready for a new show!  “Happily Ever After” will debut May 12, 2017.Starring Rolls Cafe / Disney's Hollywood Studios

Starring Rolls – Okay, this one hurts.  Starring Rolls closed with virtually no notice on February 4th.  I’m sure the space is badly needed for a rumored expansion to the Brown Derby lounge, but this closure puts a big hole in the middle of our traditional Studios touring plan.  Yes, I’ll get over it, but I’m not happy about it.  I want breakfast at an umbrella table so I can people-watch and relax between rides on Tower of Terror and Star Tours.  I better still be able to find a Butterfinger cupcake when I want one.

Star Wars Land – Days ago Disney announced a projected 2019 opening for this large expansion in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

From the Disney Parks Blog:  “As we’ve shared, the Star Wars-themed lands are the largest-ever, single-themed land expansions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. At each location, guests will be transported to a never-before-seen planet – a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space – where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life.” 

I love Star Wars and have been a fan since the very beginning (I’m old, I know).  I’ve been impressed with the already existing Star Wars areas of the park and am 100% certain Disney Imagineering is up to the task of making the expansion every bit as great as fans of this franchise are expecting.

What bit of recent Disney news are you most exited about?  Are you unhappy with any of the upcoming changes?


Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Without Echo Lake

RM-Echo-LakeNow that the Sorcerer’s Hat is a thing of the past (almost) and we can stop watching its demise piece by piece on every form of social media available, it’s time to talk about more changes at the Studios.  If the poor hat could cause such a stir, the loss of Echo Lake will likely launch a tsunami of outrage.  According to the rumor mill, Echo Lake, Dino Gertie, and Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner will be next on the chopping block.

It has to do with sightlines and the Star Wars Land expansion, if I heard the alleged plans correctly, but those details aren’t really as important right now as preparing to cope with this future Disney’s Hollywood Studios (or will that be Disney’s Hollywood Adventures?) in a dramatically altered form.

As you’d probably expect, here are five thoughts on Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Without Echo LakeRM-Min&Bill's-Dockside-Diner

1.  It’ll be a huge adjustment!  The Studios opened in 1989 and in early 1990, I started building my Studios-visiting style and traditions.  At one time, I couldn’t imagine what the Studios would be like without Roger Rabbit, who in the early days had a major presence in the park.  So much as already changed over the years, mostly in the form of removals rather than additions.  I don’t know about you, but I still have a hard time not calling it MGM Studios.  I like Echo Lake right where it is, but I want the Studios to be back to an exciting full-day park the way it was originally.  If that’s the sacrifice that must be made, so be it.RM-Gertie

2. Gertie’s a cutie, but the #SaveGertie movement will not start with me.Enjoying a Rainy Day / Disneys Hollywood Studios IMG_3131

3. Min & Bill’s, I’m going to miss!  I’m sure we can and will find a substitute for the long-standing tradition of getting an afternoon beer from the Dockside Diner, but it’ll take some getting used to.  I’m confident a new and unique, possibly even better, counter service restaurant will come along.  I’ve never been impressed with the overall selection or quality of the quick service selections in the studios – it’s time for that to change!

4. Imagine the construction walls!  During the transformation, our plan will be – hit the Studios for Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Toy Story Midway Mania, Star Tours and a couple of the smaller, but beloved attractions like the Great Movie Ride, MuppetVision 3D or Indiana Jones (for as long as it lasts) and then get the heck out of there.DHS Imperial Speeder, Joseph

5. Getting from before to after is going to be painful!  I’m a little sad but hopeful and excited.  From what I’ve heard so far, the park will maintain enough original elements to keep traditionalists happy while adding a much needed infusion of new attractions and restaurants.  Star Wars Weekends are already amazing and the Star Wars area of the park, though small, is (to me) the most well-themed section of the Studios.Star Wars Shopping at Walt Disney World

We’re ready for a new and improved Disney’s Hollywood Studios but also understand that the changes will make the park worse before it gets better.  Will it all be worth it in the end?  Time will tell.  What are your thoughts on the Studios’ upcoming transformation?