And so, after my big 2016 roundup, let’s move swiftly on to 2017, shall we? What does this year have in store? Lots of happy times and adventures I hope. As you know, I’m a huge Disney fan: I adore everything from the theme parks to the beautiful cruise ships. It’s such an exciting year for Disney magic, with so many new Disney travel adventures to choose from. I thought you might like a sneaky peek at a few of the things I’m really looking forward to in 2017. So if you’re planning adventures for next year now, I hope this helps give you a few ideas too:
The Season of the Force at Disneyland Paris
You need to be quick with this one, because it’s only available until 26th March. The Walt Disney Studios Park will be showcasing a huge night-time spectacular celebrating the Star Wars saga, including live entertainment, Star Wars characters wandering the park and the fabulous finale of a wonderful sound and light show projected onto Sleeping Beauty Castle. One not to be missed for Star Wars fans.
A 2 night/3 day stay at Disneyland Paris costs from £643.00 – 2 Adults 2 Children under 7 – at Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe including free half board and return travel on Eurostar from London St Pancras (Indirect via Lille), based on 15th January departure date. Check out disneyholidays.co.uk
Disney Cruise Line’s enhancements to the Disney Wonder
If you’re planning a cruise in 2017, I still think Disney Cruise Line offers the best combination of service, food, entertainment and adult offerings. The Disney Wonder Disney entered dry dock in in September and has had a pretty thorough makeover, with the upper decks receiving a redesign featuring, amongst other things, Dory’s Reef, a fabulous splash zone for toddlers and AquaLab, an interactive water play area with pool for families. The biggest and best new experience as far as I’m concerned, though, is the fabulous new show Frozen, A Musical Spectacular – I’m desperate to see this show, which combines the best of Disney’s incredible talent for mixing new technology and special effects with traditional theatre, all sprinkled with a little Disney magic of course!
The Marvel Super Hero Academy is also coming to Disney’s Oceaneer Club (for children from three to 12) on the Disney Wonder, with young trainees learning about teamwork and bravery (love this). Frozen Adventures is also coming to the club (there’s even a special royal visit from Anna and Elsa). And in Andy’s Room, where the kids are ‘shrunk’ to the size of a toy, Woody and Jessie will be stopping by to play! Also on board, and exclusive to the Disney Wonder, there’s Tiana’s Place Restaurant, with southern-style jazz and street party celebrations served along some pretty spectacular soul food. The adult district now has a brand new English pub, the Crown & Fin, and there are other enhancements include an updated Senses Spa & Salon (now including a new Chill Teen Spa), and Sam and Charlie’s favourite restaurant, Animator’s Palate has been updated too, with new shows (I can’t give this away, you’ll just have to go and experience it!). Talking of restaurants, beautiful Venetian-inspired fine dining venue Palo has had an elegant makeover too.
The Disney Wonder will home port in Port Canaveral, Florida, from late January next year. A four night cruise on Disney Wonder, calling at Nassau and Disney’s Castaway Cay, departing from Port Canaveral, Florida costs from £1032 per person, based on two adults and two children sharing an inside cabin on a full board basis. Based on a cruise departure of 29th January 2017 (includes flights and a one night stay at the Hyatt prior to departure, transfers, etc). For more info and the full Ts and Cs, visit www.disneyholidays.co.uk/disney-cruise-line
Disney Cruise Line info for 2018
If you’re planning ahead even further, Disney Cruise Line have now unveiled new ports and itineraries for 108, including a new Caribbean destination, Bonaire, as well as limited time engagements in Puerto Rico and – wow – California! Bookings are open from 27th October 2016. More info from www.disneyholidays.co.uk/disney-cruise-line.
And now, to Walt Disney World Resort, Florida…
Pandora – the World of Avatar
I told you a while back about the exciting new World of Avatar and how Erica and I had seen a few bits and pieces behind the scenes (lips zipped!). Now, Bob Chapek, the Chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts, as given us a few more details about the fabulous new ‘park within a park’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
The back story goes that the bridge into the World of Avatar was originally built during the disastrous time of the RDA (Resources Development Administration). Now they’re gone and nature is slowly returning to claim back Pandora. The bridge will now serve as the entry into the base camp of eco-tour group Alpha Centauri Expeditions, hosting explorers on their adventures. Two of the most talked about attractions are Avatar Flight of Passage, which will enable guests to ride their very own Banshee, soaring over the jungles of Pandora, and family boat ride, the Na’vi River Journey, taking adventurers through the bioluminescent forests.
Dining, shopping and even a bar called Pongu Pongu (no more info than that I’m afraid) are all planned for the area, currently scheduled to open in Summer 2017. I’m SO excited!
Elsewhere at Walt Disney World, Florida, Disney Springs continues to expand with yet more fabulous dining venues on the way: the huge Paddlefish (the former Fulton’s Crab House), will serve fresh seafood as well as steaks, and the much-anticipated Planet Hollywood Observatory will finally (re)open, serving a menu created by Guy Fieri, all with a planetary theme. The Polite Pig, sister restaurant to Orlando’s well-established Ravenous Pig will serve Florida favourites, and Wine Bar George brings the first Disney wine bar – YAY!! I’m really excited about this cosy new offering from local Master Sommelier George Miliotes.
Elsewhere at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida, there’ll be a new family raft ride at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, opening in the spring, and Rivers of Light is still on its way! Epcot will launch a new weekend Arts Festival in early January through to mid February, spanning six weekends, and featuring visual, culinary and performing arts, and there are rumours of some fabulous new Disney dining adventures for Star Wars fans too. Highway in the Sky Dine-Around is the ultimate movable feast, with guests hopping on and off the monorail with stops at different locations for different courses. Then there’s the ultimate guided tour for Star Wars fans, lasting seven hours and encompassing everything from rides, insider tours, dining, character experiences and a VIP viewing of the fabulous evening light and sound show, Star Wars: a Galactic Spectacular. It sounds like the experience of a lifetime.
Phew! Something for everyone there I think. As always, if you’re planning a Walt Disney World trip, head to my ultimate Walt Disney World top tips post for insider tips for everything from booking, planning, and accommodation to dining and visiting the parks. I’ll continue to update it with all this good stuff too. Happy holiday planning!