Friday, April 5, 2024

Progress on Disney World Expansion Projects


For months - years, in some cases - Disney has been talking a good game about new and upcoming major changes to the parks.  Bob Iger and Josh D'Amaro have reiterated their stance, at every opportunity, that major parks investments were coming in the next decade, to the tune of $60 billion.  This was exciting news for Disney fans!  Disney (the corporation) has been focusing most of its attention on streaming and other related media, including how to handle Hulu and ESPN.  But it always remained true that parks was its most profitable sector, and things seemed to be turning back in that direction.

The question was more about "when" than "if", though even that had some caveats.  Disney has officially announced things in the past that end up not happening.  So you'll forgive those of us who were in "wait and see" mode when some of these blue sky concepts were being thrown around at the last couple of D23 events.  Looking back at what we wrote then, so much of this seems very speculative, perhaps as a way to keep fans engaged and looking to the future while Universal charged ahead with Epic Universe.  

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Spring Break 2024 - A Tale of Two Crowds


I haven't done a crowd report in a while, so I thought this was as good a time as any.  I made a couple of different posts about this last year, so I wanted to see how things compared from year to year.  We'll take a look at that here, including what I THOUGHT would happen, versus would ACTUALLY happened, and see if we can make any predictions for the rest of this spring, as there are plenty of vacations still to come (including our own!).

I usually focus a lot on crowds at this time of year since this is often the time that we take trips to Disney World.  Spring Break is an interesting time, as it's not the same as other busy/holiday weeks, since it's more spread out over a month or more, depending on how school breaks and Easter fall.  That was actually one of the most interesting things leading up to the start of the season in earnest this year, as there was no consensus week for school breaks.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Walt Disney World News Round Up - March 2024


Picture courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

There have been a few pieces of Disney parks news that has dropped in the last week or so.  Every time I saw something pop up, I considered writing a blog post about it, but I didn't know if it was in itself worthy enough of a whole post.  But now that we have a few things that have been collected, I figured I'd write a quick post that encompasses all of them, along with some of my commentary that you've come to love.  So let's get started:

CommuniCore Hall Open Date & Encanto Live Show:

Epcot has been undergoing its most recent transformation for what feels like forever.  Most everything has been completed and has already opened.  The one exception to that was the completion of CommuniCore Hall, which is going to be used as the "home to the iconic Epcot festivals and other celebrations" (Disney's words).  This is simply a building (and similar to what was there before) but it will represent the final stage of the Epcot overhaul.

Construction on this building had been going on for a while, but in recent months, progress had slowed to a crawl.  If you compare timed photos from CommuniCore Hall and Tiana's Bayou Adventure in Magic Kingdom, you can tell where the company's priority has been (and probably with good reason, if we're being honest).  

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Do You Still Need Magic Bands At Walt Disney World?


As we're preparing for our (getting closer every day) next trip to Walt Disney World, we recently ordered and received new Magic Bands for our family.  They are technically Magic Band+ (because Disney needs a "+" for every occasion), and we'll get into some of the differences below.  Magic Bands have been a traditional part of our family trips for years now, but given the new technology being implemented by Disney (as well as the reality that these cute trip add-ons aren't free anymore), I began to think about this question - do we still need Magic Bands?

I wanted to discuss a little history of the Magic Band, then discuss how they have evolved, where they stand today and what other options are available.  The ultimate answer to the question in the post title here will be (say it with me) "it depends" (I figured I'd just spoil the end of this post now).  As I'm writing this post AFTER we got our recent MB+'s, I think you can probably tell what side we fall on.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Tiana's Bayou Adventure Debuts Summer 2024

Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

In a somewhat surprising move, Disney announced today that the Walt Disney World version of Tiana's Bayou Adventure is set to open in summer 2024.  This post will talk about what was said in that announcement, as well as commentary on why now and an attempt to narrow down that timeframe even further.  Plus we'll look at some of these new audio animatronics!

I said above that this is somewhat surprising, as Tiana's was originally announced with a "late 2024" tag.  Really, the ORIGINAL original announcement was way back in 2020, when the parks were closed and there just wasn't all that much to talk about.  I'm treating the December 2022 announcement as the "official" one, as that shared concept art and at least started the clock on the new attraction.  Splash Mountain officially closed in January 2023.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Requiem for Country Bear Jamboree


Disney recently announced an official closing date for the Country Bear Jamboree at Magic Kingdom.   There really isn't anything groundbreaking in this announcement, as we knew this was coming back at Destination D23 in September.  But we can talk about what other little substance there was to this announcement, though most of all, I wanted to expand a bit on what I said in that longer D23 post, now that the end is actually (almost) here.


Disney often likes to say things like "coming in 2024", and this was just one of the many things that were talked about with a vague time frame.  I had foolishly hoped that I would have one more opportunity to see this show in all of its kitschy, animatronic glory when we visited in April.  But alas, Disney is going to get to work on the new show starting on January 27, and it won't reopen in its new (improved?) form until "summer" (another vague timeline that surely comes after our April trip).

Saturday, January 6, 2024

End of 2023 Wait Times - Busiest Week of the Year


We haven't done a crowd report on the blog lately, and this one is sadly overdue.  But I thought it would be a good idea to look back at the crowds during typically what is the busiest week of the year on the Disney World calendar - the week between Christmas and New Year.  This post will take a look at exactly those wait times and see whether it follows the recent trends of busiest days of the week, as well as trying to put into context just how busy it actually was (spoiler: busy!)

As always, our wait time data comes from Thrill Data.  Wait times don't always tell the full story of how crowded the parks are, but they are at least hard numbers, which carry more weight than anecdotes from guests who were there.  No one can be in all places, all the time, so wait times represent the best way of measuring just how busy things are/were.