by Disney Magic Diva
Whenever we visit Walt Disney World Resort, I always try to remind myself to slow down and take it all in. It’s a mission I have had limited success in achieving – it’s just so exciting to return “home.” Like a child on Christmas morning, I tend to rush in and forget to appreciate the details.
On our last visit we purposefully made very few plans. We knew we may or may not make it to our FastPasses, and we only had one dining reservation. We were okay with that. We were determined to make it a more relaxed visit.
By slowing down, I had the chance to notice some small changes that I may have overlooked if I had been in our typical hyperspeed mode. Here’s what I found:
See the difference? It’s no long THE Magic Kingdom! I know the official name has always just been “Magic Kingdom,” so Disney is probably just being more careful about their branding. But somehow having the “THE” in the sign made it more definitive. I think I’ll kind of miss it.
Security/Bag Check I expected this change, because I had read about it before we arrived. Disney has moved security/bag check to the resorts for the monorail loop resorts, to the Ticket and Transportation Center for people driving to Magic Kingdom, and further out from the plaza for those arriving on resort buses. The theory is it will alleviate congestion around the entrance. And it seems to be working like a charm! The entrance area seemed much less crowded! We even were able to see some details that were not really visible before, like this artwork laid in the bricks. It was almost impossible to appreciate this when security checkpoints were stationed here.
Express Transportation This was another change I knew to expect. Military Diva told us all about this change, and I was excited to try it. All I can say is it was well worth the cost! We didn’t hop as much as we thought we might, but it was still so incredibly convenient to have a set time when the bus would be there, and to NOT go through security at each park. Feeling like a VIP with a cast member escort backstage was just a little added bonus!
Space Mountain Exit You’re probably familiar with the long escalator ride at the exit of Space Mountain. It takes you from where you admire your ride photograph back up to the gift shop. Along the way were several television screen monitors where you could wave at yourself, make faces, put bunny ears on the person ahead of you – whatever you could imagine. But now there are only a couple of monitors, and the remaining screens have space age ads! There’s even a small staged area for a cocktail lounge – Constellations. If only the escalator made a stop there!
Casey’s Hot Dog Vendors We were making our way out of the park, walking down Main Street U.S.A. one afternoon, when we spotted hot dog vendors from Casey’s! Two cast members were walking down Main Street selling Casey’s hot dogs to guests who were waiting for the parade to begin. How magical is that?! Food always tastes better when it’s delivered to you!
Construction, Construction, and More Construction! If you’ve been following news about Walt Disney World Resort at all in the last few years, you know there has been major construction at the parks. Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land are well underway, and Pandora has just recently been completed. You also might have heard about a gondola system servicing Pop Century/Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach Resort, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. Even knowing all of this, we were a little surprised at how much construction we saw along the roads as we rode the buses between the resort and the parks. It seemed like every corner had cranes, mounds of dirt, and lots and lots of construction equipment. Can’t wait to see what all this will look like when it’s finished!
Freestyle Coke Machines One of the items on our Disney Bucket List is to stay at each of the resorts. This trip we crossed another one off our list – Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter (Read JollyFrogger Diva’s review here) I was ecstatic to find a Freestyle Coke machine at the resort! I am hopelessly addicted to a daily soda mix of Diet Coke and Dr. Pepper. On past visits, I have gone to great lengths to feed my addiction. If we have a Garden Grocer order, I can have Dr. Pepper delivered to the room, and mix it with the Diet Coke from the fountain machine. If we don’t have a grocery order, I have resigned myself to just drinking straight Diet Coke. (That never ends very well.) This trip we weren’t having a grocery order, so I ignored my husband’s warnings and packed bottles of Dr. Pepper in my suitcase. Imagine how thrilled I was to see the Freestyle Coke Machine! I had to settle for Mr. Pibb, but it was close enough to keep me happy! I wish all the resorts had these machines!
Buildings on Main Street U.S.A. Actually, my husband noticed this one. The facades on the buildings on Main Street U.S.A. have had a little facelift since we last visited. We’re not sure if they are new bricks or stones or just a slight color change, but they look a bit spiffier.
Galactic hero button Everyone has their “must-do” list when they visit Walt Disney World Resort, and one of mine might surprise you. Whenever I visit with my son Matt we make it a point to ride Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin until he earns his Galactic Hero title. He’s taught me some of his tips, and I’ve shared them here before, but he is the true Galactic Hero master. When he scored that coveted 999,999 (on our second ride this time), and stopped to get his Galactic Hero button, we discovered another change since our last visit. Instead of the cast member writing “Galactic Hero” on an “I’m Celebrating” button, they had a special sticker they used to cover the button. It’s colorful, but lacks some of the personality the hand –written buttons had.
Bug spray I remember last summer during the height of the Zika scare reading that Walt Disney World Resort was handing our insect repellent. As I recall, there were even stations around the parks to reapply repellent. We were a little surprised, though, to find a complimentary can of repellent in our room. It’s nice to know Disney is continuing it’s concern for the welfare of its guests.
None of these changes are headline news. They are small, for the most part, and may or may not last. But it’s interesting to look for how things change. Walt once said Disneyland would never be complete; it would continue to grow as long as there was imagination left in the world. Obviously the same is true for Walt Disney World Resort.
What changes have you noticed? Let us know in the comments below! And if you need to book a trip, be sure to contact Leslie at Pixie Vacations! Her services are FREE and she can help you book the perfect trip, so you can just worry about discovering something there that wasn’t there before.
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