As we ring in the New Year, we have some highlights of some upcoming changes at Orlando’s Walt Disney World resort. The popular Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend returns Jan. 6-9, 2011, with opportunities for runners of all ages and abilities. This event drew a record-breaking crowd in 2010, with 55,000 registered runners from all 50 states and 50 countries. This year, everyone who completes the Marathon will receive a new Mickey Mouse race medal, as well as complimentary admission to a Walt Disney World theme park the Monday after the race. The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is a part of the new runDisney series. To learn more about endurance events at Disney, or to sign up for any of the runDisney events, go to www.runDisney.com.
In February, the Magic Kingdom will be closing Mickey’s Toontown Fair to allow for the expansion of Fantasyland. The Toontown characters will move to new locations and will continue to have meet-and-greet with guests. The Fantasyland facelift will be the biggest overhaul in the theme park’s 38-year history. The plans indicate they will be expanding the Dumbo attraction, as well as adding a lavish Little Mermaid ride. They will also feature new interactive areas featuring some of the most popular princesses. The new attractions will open in phases.
Launching January 16th at Animal Kingdom will be a new Wild Adventure. This three hour adventure will immerse guests in the wildlife thrills of far-off Africa. This unique experience lets you navigate a rickety bridge over menacing crocodiles, and get to step to the very edge of a cliff to get close to the hippos and crocs below, while attached to a lifeline. (Additional purchase/reservations required 407-939-8687)
Also launching January 16th, will be the all-new, high-energy parade at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, “Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun”. This fun-filled procession down Hollywood Boulevard will feature stars from “The Incredibles,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Ratatouille,” “Monsters, Inc,” “Up” and “Toy Story.” The final date for the current “Block Party Bash” parade at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is scheduled for Jan. 1, 2011.
Some new dining options/renovations are in the works as well such as Fulton’s Crab House at Downtown Disney. They have done a complete makeover of the lobby area and the menu, and even a one-of-a-kind crab map so guests can identify where their dish originated. Kouzzina by Cat Cora at Disney’s BoardWalk also will be getting a facelift, with a new Cat Cora presence in the lobby, and three video monitors showcasing the celebrity chef’s view on family, food, and her culinary journey. Downtown Disney’s Pollo Campero will be the first out of 300 Pollo Campero restaurants to introduce a new Fresh A-Peel concept with great-tasting, healthy options. The Disney bars and lounges will be introducing a new cocktail menu with more healthy ingredients, such as organic spirits and fresh fruits, and lower calorie fruit purees.
The Disney Cruise Line will set sail with the new Disney Dream ship on Jan. 26, 2011. Some of the new innovations on this ship will be the debut of the first-ever shipboard water coaster, AquaDuck, which will feature a 765-foot flume and a swing-out loop that goes beyond the side of the ship. Each inside stateroom will contain a Magical Porthole that displays real-time video from ship-board cameras, as well as some Disney characters. Throughout the ship, you’ll find Enchanted Art, which looks like traditional art, but is really a LCD screen that senses when a guest is present. Young guests will enjoy the latest in gaming technology and storytelling activities in the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab. There is so much to do, fun for all ages!
Ring in the New Year, Disney style!