Last month I joined media from across North America for the Summer to Remember Press Event at Walt Disney World in Florida. I'm sure you'll not be surprised to hear that Disney continues to give their guests a million and one reasons to come visit them. As was pointed out to us by Meg Crofton, they are not in the theme park business, or the vacation business, or the cruise business, they are in the experience business and that's what they're determined to give you in the coming months! Check out what's new, what's next at Disney.
"The Magic, The Memories and You!" Summer Show
"There's 104 days of summer vacation
And school comes along just to end it
So the annual problem for our generation
Is finding a good way to spend it"
Are you singing along yet, Mom? This, of course, is the anthem of Phineas and Ferb, those crazy boys of summer. This summer they're rocking it out as the official mascots of Disney's Summer to Remember. Even Cinderella's iconic castle is getting a summertime makeover. If you haven't seen the "Let the Memories Begin" show, trust me when I say it is a spectacular light show that will tug on every heart string you have. I always get misty when pictures from throughout the day pop up on the castle walls. Magic.
Disney's Art of Animation
Disney has outdone themselves with their latest resort at Walt Disney World, pulling out all the stops for large families. Most of the hotel rooms are built with families of 5 and 6 in mind. The first phase, Finding Nemo, opens May 31st, with the other three phases—Cars, The Little Mermaid and The Lion King—opening throughout the summer. This is going to be a hot resort this summer, so book now. For more details check out what I had to say about my visit to the Finding Nemo wing here.
The biggest expansion to hit Walt Disney World since it opened in 1971, the New Fantasyland began opening in phases in March of 2012. If you're heading this summer, you'll be able to see the new Fantasyland Train Station, the new Dumbo ride, and the Casey Jr. Splash and Soak. By holidays 2012, you'll be able to enjoy Ariel's Grotto, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Enchanted Tales with Belle and the Be Our Guest Restaurant. I was one of a lucky few to get a behind the scenes look at how Fantasyland is progressing last month. You can get all the details here.
Disney Cruise Line
Call it a crazy hunch, but I'm pretty sure the Disney Cruise Line is just going to keep growing and growing. They've added some fun new sailings for the summer months. In May, the Disney Magic began sailing out of New York City with itineraries that include a 8-Night to the Bahamas, a 5-Night to New England and Canada, and a weekend cruise. The Disney Wonder, on the west coast, will offer 7-Night cruises from the Port of Seattle to Alaska, with a stop in Canada of course.
Adventures By Disney—Far East
If you haven't heard of Adventures By Disney, prepare to have your heart flutter a little here. Basically, Disney has taken world travel and turned it into a stress-free, worry-free, totally immersive experience the whole family will enjoy. I regularly dream of doing the Italy trip through them. *sigh* Now though, they've gone and added the Far East adventure and I'm so torn. Coming in 2013, guests explore Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia with their own private guide. When I wish upon a star, this trip will be right up there now!
Wild Africa Trek
Just over a year old, Disney's Wild Africa Trek is gaining in popularity. Is it any wonder? Only a maximum of 12 people get to go behind the scenes with two guides and explore the "African Savanna" for three hours. It's a close up tour with Nile crocodiles, hippos, elephants, giraffes and lions. There's also an incredible lunch served at a private safari camp. I was lucky enough to go on the Trek last year when it first opened. You can read what I wrote about this incredible family adventure here.