Changes coming to Walt Disney World in 2013 and beyond

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The Disney parks are planning for a Monstrous Summer and this includes renovations and expansions to the parks and resorts. Here is an update on what will be coming to Walt Disney World!

New Fantasyland is the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history and although most of the area has opened, there is still one central part under construction- the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster. This attraction will include both an indoor and outdoor track and swaying ride vehicles.

“I think it’s definitely going to add a dynamic, a lot of kinetic energy, which will be fun,” says new Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis. “I think of it as theater in the round,” says Mark Kohl, director of project management for the Fantasyland expansion. “Our guests will be able to walk 360 degrees around the coaster when it’s complete and experience it from all angles.”

The attraction is planned to slow down indoors and morph into a dark ride and then back into a roller coaster. “We’re going to take you inside this magical cave where millions of diamonds and gems are going to shine, and seven of our closest friends are all going to be hard at work in there,” Kohl says. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is expected to open in the spring 2014.

Another part of New Fantasyland that is still under construction is Princess Fairytale Hall, which will serve as a central gathering place for Disney royalty. “This is where all the royal subjects of Fantasyland, our guests, can go and meet them in sort of a royal receiving room,” says Jason Grandt of Walt Disney Imagineering. You will be able to see Cinderella, Rapunzel and other princesses as they rotate through there. Princess Fairytale Hall should be ready by the end of 2013, “in plenty of time for the holidays,” Kalogridis says.

With the addition of New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom, there’s no better time to plan your next Disney World vacation! Destinations in Florida, the official travel agency of Chip and Co. can help you plan your vacation at no cost to you! Plus, you’ll receive lots of freebies when you book with them. You can read more about it here and request your free quote on the right side of the page! All Chip and Co. readers will currently get free Mickey ice cream bars when they book a Magic Your Way Package with Dining!

The California Grill restaurant at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is currently closed for refurbishment.  According to Michael Scheifler, the food and beverage manager, the restaurant is a hot spot for anniversaries, birthdays and marriage proposals.

“Seating capacity stayed the same, but we changed quite a few of our tables to many more two-tops to accommodate the demand for those special occasions,” Scheifler says.

Some of the new features you can look for are mid-century modern theming with tones found in a sunset, new energy-efficient windows, and a wall of wine. California Grill is expected to re-open in late August or early September 2013.

Another new experience you can expect is Wilderness Explorers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

It has 30 “locations where kids and families can pay a little closer attention to the things that they see, dig deeper into the educational side of it, earn badges that sort of elevate their stature as Wilderness Explorers over time,” Imagineer Alex Wright says. “There’s going to be a station where you can walk up and, through a little field viewer that we’ve got set up, you can experience how a predator like a tiger sees their prey in the wild,” Wright continued. Wilderness Explorers should be coming within a few weeks!

Finally let’s not forget Downtown Disney is undergoing a multi-year transformation, representing the largest expansion in its history. The renamed Disney Springs will double the number of shopping, dining and entertainment experiences, and feature an eclectic and contemporary mix from Disney and other noteworthy brands. For full details and pictures click here.

What are you most excited to see at Disney World?

With all of these additions and renovations happening at Disney World, it will only become even more magical! Your princess will love the new fairytale hall while you and your sweetheart need a romantic dinner at California Grill. There is something for everyone at Walt Disney World!

Would you like to plan your vacation to see these attractions first-hand? Are you thinking about a Disney vacation? Siera, an authorized Disney vacation planner, can help plan the perfect magical vacation for you! Plus, when you book a package, you will receive a free gift card! Contact her at siera@destinationsinflorida.com! When Siera isn’t helping plan Disney vacations, you can find her spreading magic on Facebook and Twitter.


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