Hot Takes: Galaxy’s Edge is Open at Disneyland… And Other Disney Park Current Events!

We are back to offer our thoughts / commentary on various current events around the world of Disney parks! We aren’t going to waste any time and immediately dig into THE big news of the day:

Galaxy’s Edge is Officially Open at Disneyland Resort!

Image result for galaxy's edge dedication

Disney’s Take:

Starting May 31, 2019, explore an all-new Star Wars land inside Disneyland Park! This is the chance to live your Star Wars story—and discover who you truly are in a galaxy far, far away…

Reservations required to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge between May 31 and June 23, 2019. Beginning June 24, 2019, Disneyland Park, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and its experiences are subject to capacity. Access to the park, land and experiences may be restricted or unavailable depending on Guest demand and other factors.

Our Take:

May 31, 2019: Disneyland will never be the same again! While it can be debated as to whether or not Galaxy’s Edge fits in Disneyland on a thematic level, that isn’t what we are talking about here. What we are talking about, is the park’s ability (or lack thereof) to support the crowds the new land will bring.

Image result for galaxy's edge dedication

Disneyland has already had crowd control issues for many years. It has several bottleneck type areas of walkways and some funky layouts that tend to lead to logjams during high traffic times of the day. The park, built 64 years ago, did not have the infrastructure to handle crowd levels, even before Galaxy’s Edge.

While Disney has improvements to this over the past couple years, we still fully expect the park to be mayhem for the foreseeable future as the Star Wars crowd descends upon the park day after day. Parking will be unavailable, walkways congested,  and wait times up considerably throughout the park! This will increase even more so once the reservation period ends in late June.

disneyland vigl

That being said, this is still a monumental day for the Disney parks! The media day for the land was this past Wednesday and everything we have heard has been universal acclaim! We seriously haven’t heard one negative thing about the land and everyone seems to agree that this sets the new bar for theme park experiences! A crowning achievement!

Guest on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Disneyland Resort

It is worth noting that the land is not 100% finished yet as the much anticipated Rise of the Resistance attraction will not open until sometime later this year.

If you don’t mind some minor spoilers (mostly via photos from inside the land), I recommend checking out Disney Tourist Blog’s first impressions here!

Photo by Tom Bricker

Tom will always give you and honest opinion and is one of our most trusted reviewers. He doesn’t just blow smoke in order to get on a media list like a lot of the sites out there! Tom is also reporting live from opening day today as well!

There is no doubt Galaxy’s Edge will be a massive success for the Disney parks. Reservations for the entire 3-1/2 week period sold out in just a few hours and merchandise (quite expensive merchandise at that) already began selling out during cast member / media previews.

Image result for galaxy's edge concept art

We will not be visiting the Disneyland opening of the land, however we are greatly looking forward to visiting the Walt Disney World version when it opens later this year (August 29 officially). The land appears to somehow live up to the insane amount of hype, and perhaps even exceed it! It will only get better once Rise of the Resistance opens later this year, which has the potential to be an all time game changer in theme park attractions!

 

“Rivers of Light: We Are One” Debut’s at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

we are one

Disney’s Take:

Rivers of Light: We Are One” debuted this weekend at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as the next chapter of this beautiful nighttime pageant unfolds, telling the story of our connection with animals and the emotions and milestones we all share in our journey through the great circle of life. This reimagined version of the show introduces additional, stunning imagery and familiar animal characters from Disneynature films, along with a colorful tapestry of classic moments from Disney animation.

Our Take:

When the original Rivers of Light was announced, we were very excited for it. The show description, as well as the concept art, all seemed pretty incredible. What we were perhaps most excited by, was the fact that the show was staying true to the central message of the park, and that it was NOT using IPs to do so.

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Unfortunately, technical difficulties led to the show being delayed for almost a year, and eventually being chopped to death. Several of the effects were removed and the show was shortened by over 7 minutes. This resulted in a beautiful, yet flawed final product. We still enjoyed the show quite a bit since it was nice to look at and featured a catchy soundtrack. That said, we often found ourselves skipping it to spend our after dark hours in Pandora instead.

The shows popularity began to waver pretty quickly after its debut, with walk up availability for most performances. Further cuts removing the live performers only made the show even less popular. This led Disney to eventually announce this re-imagining of the show with IPs now thrown in to try and draw more guests into Asia, and out of Pandora at night.

"Rivers of Light: We Are One" at Disney's Animal Kingdom park

While we have not seen the new show live yet, we did watch a full video online. Typically we do not like to spoil things we haven’t done yet by viewing them online, however this show update was not something we are particularly optimistic about. We wanted to check to this out to see if it was something we even wanted to take the time to see in person. After our online viewing we have some thoughts:

  • The show is still beautiful to look at.
  • Unfortunately, a good deal of the great soundtrack was cut in order to add in popular Disney songs.
  • The IPs are somewhat wedged in to the show. They don’t seem to follow any real sort of logical pattern.
  • That being said, the segments featuring the likes of The Lion King, Jungle Book, Tarzan, etc.. will definitely appeal more to families with children than the old show did. It has kind of a World of Color Lite feel to it.
  • The show still lacks a real ending.

Image result for rivers of light we are one

Overall, we are not thrilled about having the IP’s thrown into this show, more because it shows the overall line of thinking within the Walt Disney Company and it’s parks right now. That being said, the original show was already flawed so this isn’t a huge deal for us. We were intrigued enough by our online viewing that we will check out the show in person during our next trip.

 

H20 Glow Nights Return to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon for Summer 2019

A water tower sign reads Disney H2O Glow Nights and glowing water splashes Toy Story characters

Disney’s Take:

H2O Glow Nights are back at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon for a second summer and I could not be more excited! Inspired by the popular Toy Story Toon, “Partysaurus Rex,” this exclusive after-hours party will take place on select nights from May 30 to August 24, 2019.

During Disney H2O Glow Nights, the atmosphere transforms into an electric celebration overflowing with splash-tastic surprises. Along with shorter wait times for popular waterslides, you can look forward to a: 

  • DJ-hosted dance party on the sandy beaches of the Surf Pool
  • Playful mix of Toy Story-themed experiences including Character Greeting with Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Jessie
  • Tempting array of limited-time food and beverage offerings
  • Special area—The Wharf—just for adult partygoers, featuring entertainment and a bar with refreshing libations available for purchase 

Our Take:

We did not have the chance to attend this event during its inaugural run last summer. We are however, very excited to attend this year! We used to visit Typhoon Lagoon after dark back in the day when it had evening extra magic hours and it was great.

Image result for h2o glow nights

The water park is one of Disney’s most well themed environments and it only gets better after the sun sets. Add to that little to no waits for most of the water slides, along with low crowds at the lazy river and wave pool and we are completely sold on this event!

 

Epcot Updates Coming to the D23 Expo in August

Epcot rendering

Disney’s Take:

We’re just under three months away from the D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, where we will be unveiling more of our transformative plans for Epcot. To whet your appetite, here are three things to look forward to.

  • The park’s core reimagined: You’ve already heard about the transformation taking place just inside the park’s entrance, where we will be enhancing the area with lush green spaces and classic touches. At the Expo, we’ll share more about what’s coming to the core of the park on the opposite side of Spaceship Earth. New areas will be flanking the iconic attraction, and we can’t wait to share the details with you.
Epcot icons
  • A new – but classic – look to match our offerings: Longtime fans of Epcot are familiar with the pavilion icons, like the ones you see here for Imagination!, The Land and The Seas with Nemo & Friends. With new experiences like the previously announced play-themed pavilion joining these Epcot staples, don’t you think we need some new icons to match? More will be revealed at the Expo!
  • More about what makes Epcot, Epcot – Epcot is special for a lot of reasons – as one of Walt’s final projects, as an exclusive part of the Walt Disney World Resort, and as home to millions of memories from generations of guests. As we charge ahead with the park’s evolution, the architects of Epcot’s future are working to preserve all the elements that make this park so special while also evolving it to be more Disney, more family, more relevant and more timeless. At the Expo, you’ll hear more about experiences that are uniquely Epcot – for example, the updated films coming to Future World and World Showcase, as well as new dining experiences being added to the menu of ‘the foodie park.’

Our Take:

With the D23 Expo approaching, the rumor mills have been firing on all cylinders over the past few days. WDWNT.com has put out a few Epcot specific rumors that straight up set Disney Twitter on fire. We will dive into our thoughts on these in a separate post dedicated solely to that. For now, lets look at what Disney is stating above.

The Expo announcements seem to be mostly updates on previously announced items. The core re-imagining is the Epcot spine redesign announced at the 2017 Expo, with perhaps a few more details thrown in about the parks new entrance on which work has already begun. Disney is also promising updates on the new films coming to The Land Pavilion in Future World, as well as the China and Canada pavilions of World Showcase.

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The big rumor we are most curious to potentially get a confirmation on is the multi-year refurbishment of Spaceship Earth. We LOVE this attraction and would miss it greatly if it were down for so long, however we are very excited about what the outcome of that refurbishment could be. Everything we have heard about what may be in store sounds incredible!

It’s interesting that Disney keeps continuing to stress staying true to the park’s original mission, when most folks will agree that ship already sailed years ago. The Guardians of the Galaxy coaster announcement was the final straw for us in that regard. We finally accept that Epcot Center is dead in that regard.

 

Live Action Aladdin Remake is #1 at the Box Office!

Here is our short and sweet twitter review of the film:

aladdin review

 

That will wrap things up for now. There is tons going on in the Disney Parks world right now and its a great time to be a theme park fan on both coasts! As always, thanks for reading and bye for now!

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