The Disney Parks are always changing, and that means loads of Disney news! Every single day, we’re tracking Disney news (food and otherwise!) so we can bring you the latest. (If you join our DFB Newsletter, you’ll get all the newsy details FIRST!)
Here we’re gathering TEN of the biggest Disney news stories from 2018…ICYMI!
From price increases and ticket changes to transportation updates and new restaurants, the BIGGEST news stories from 2018 are going to seriously affect your upcoming trip in 2019! Read through to see what you NEED to know to make sure your visit next year goes smoothly!
Disney World Ticket Date-Based Pricing Introduced
When the announcement was made that Disney World’s tickets would go to a date-based pricing model, our readers had a lot of mixed reactions. On the positive side, readers said they were looking forward to seeing which dates would be lower and using that information to plan their trips. And if you’re a person who enjoys the growing complexity of planning a trip to WDW, we totally feel you on this!
But plenty of our readers let us know they were not fans of the Date-Based Ticket Pricing change. Many of you felt like it complicated already-difficult trip planning, making it harder for you to find a good time to go and potentially increasing the cost of tickets. Others didn’t like the idea that the new model meant less flexibility on which days they could use their tickets (going from a 14-day window to much smaller ones). And still others of you were frustrated that the traditionally slower weeks would become busier. Yeah, this was a hot topic, y’all!
We answered your Date-Based Ticket Pricing Questions here!
Toy Story Land Opened
No doubt: the opening of Toy Story Land was one of our favorite news stories of the year! We loved exploring the new land, riding the new rides, and — of course — eating the new food! We took you to Woody’s Lunch Box for breakfast, lunch, and dinner because YUM!
We even narrowed down the delicious options by sharing Five Things You Have to Eat in Toy Story Land!
And you know we couldn’t help ourselves when it came to the video. Here’s our FULL TOUR of Toy Story Land, direct from the DFB Guide YouTube channel!
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Progressed
Yeah, even as we were going gaga over Toy Story Land, we were trying to peek over the walls (literally and figuratively) to catch a glimpse of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge! Of course, this epic themed land will be opening on both coasts and details have come out at a snail’s pace — usually announced at fan events like D23 and Destination D. That’s where we heard more about the attractions coming to the land!
Annnnnnd lots of readers chimed in about the upcoming, fully immersive Star Wars-themed resort at Walt Disney World. We took a closer look at what we already know about it here!
New Hotels Announced
In addition to the new, immersive Star Wars-themed hotel that will be adjacent to Hollywood Studios’ Galaxy’s Edge, Walt Disney World announced three new resort hotels coming in the next few years. Gran Destino Tower is a 545-room tower that is adding considerable occupancy to Coronado Springs Resort.
In addition to the Tower’s 545 rooms (50 of which will be suites), Gran Destino will also boast a rooftop restaurant: Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood. (You know we can’t wait to get in there!) Reservations for the resort opened this fall, with the first guests staying at the resort on July 9, 2019!
Disney’s Riviera Resort is a brand new Disney Vacation Club resort that is currently under construction right next to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Riviera will be Walt Disney World’s fifteenth DVC resort, and one of its biggest draws will be on-site access to the new Skyliner with a direct connection to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot. With Galaxy’s Edge opening in fall 2019, Riviera — which is expected also to open next fall — will be a hot property.
Finally, Walt Disney World has announced plans to construct Reflections, a deluxe resort intended to blend into its surroundings. Those surroundings include Fort Wilderness Campground and Wilderness Lodge. Reflections is expected to include 900 rooms and DVC accommodations in the form of villas.
No opening season has been specified for Reflections, so we’ll keep watching for more news!
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Big Restaurant Announcements on Both Coasts
Some of the most exciting Disney food news came in the form of new restaurants and snack stands! In Disney World’s Disney Springs, Chicken Guy! opened in August, bringing celebrity-chef Guy Fieri’s fried and grilled chicken (and 22 sauces!!) to the World.
Terralina Crafted Italian opened as well, introducing yet another Italian option to guests in the Springs. We still think about these Spaghetti Fritters…
Other grand openings included Wine Bar George, The Edison, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, and Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar! You could say there was a lot of news out of Disney Springs!
The opening of Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure Park meant a handful of new (and reimagined) spots to grab a snack or two! The Adorable Snowman brought frozen goodies, Buzz rustled up some churros, Angry Dogs introduced a new spin on hot dogs, and Lamplight Lounge generated lots of interest! But the sweetest new spot? Jack Jack Cookie Num Nums!
And let’s not forget one of the more intriguing Disneyland Resort openings: Salt & Straw opened its doors in Downtown Disney Anaheim, bringing creative (and delicious!!) small-batch ice cream to the masses!
In addition to new restaurants, two Walt Disney World guest favorites saw major changes this year. Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland changed to a two-credit signature meal (for dinner only!). The change came with a brand new prix fixe menu (that included the beloved Grey Stuff!)
The second restaurant change was at Wilderness Lodge’s Artist Point. Previously a two-credit signature restaurant, the restaurant is transforming into Snow White’s Storybook Dining this weekend! The new character meal allows diners to interact with Snow White, the Dwarfs, and the Evil Queen while dining on an entirely new menu.
The meal will also change to a one-credit experience for those on the Disney Dining Plan, and is Wilderness Lodge’s only character meal.
Pixar Pier Opened — and Pixar Fest Ruled
Even with all those restaurant openings, one of the tastiest bits of west coast food news was Pixar Fest at Disneyland — all leading up to and celebrating the opening of Pixar Pier! We even created a Pixar Fest Snack Checklist and a guide to help visitors make the most of this resort-wide food fest! (You all loved this so much, our DFB Checklists are becoming a MUST for allllll the festivals and food events!)
Pixar Pier opened with a flourish — and we were live to bring you the fun!
Plastic Straws and Bags Removed, Single-Use Toiletries Replaced
When we first shared the news that Disney World was working to reduce plastic waste at its parks, the response from readers was fast and furious. Pretty much everyone agreed that reducing plastic was a good thing — but the majority of you didn’t love that banning plastic straws was the method.
We had lots of questions from folks who were concerned about their children or special needs visitors requiring plastic lids and straws, and several of our readers were concerned about the removal of plastic bags, too. (We’ve since seen inexpensive reusable bags on display at various merchandise locations.)
Still others of you expressed concerns about the addition of refillable toiletries in the Walt Disney World resort hotels, citing cleanliness and safety issues. (Plus, you know, how will we horde bars of soap to sniff when we miss the World?!)
This saga is still unfolding, with plastic straws available by request (and available for the taking in many locations), and the plastic bags and lids still generally used everywhere. And we’ve heard from a handful of readers who are happily carrying their own reusable straws and bags into the parks. It remains a contentious topic — and you can bet we’ll keep following it.
Mickey Mouse Turned 90
In November 2018, Mickey Mouse turned 90-years-old! Raise your hand if you don’t think he looks a day over 25! Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort celebrated the main mouse with a birthday bash full of specialty eats and treats, celebratory merchandise, and Mickey in colorful birthday attire!
We were live at Magic Kingdom bringing you all the fabulous birthday party treats, like cupcakes galore and a huge Krispie Treat!
Transportation Woes and Wows
This year was a roller coaster of emotions when news about Disney transportation broke. Things started off a little rough with the announcement that Disney resort hotel guests would be charged per-day fees to park at their resorts for reservations made on or after March 21. Many (many!!) of our readers expressed disdain for the change, while a small percentage of readers brushed it off as just the cost of doing business.
Updates on the progress of Disney’s Skyliner were welcome throughout the year, with the most recent information in November including a mock-up of the gondola itself.
Skyliner will connect stations at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot and several resorts (Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation/Pop Century, and upcoming Riviera Resort). The gondola system is not without controversy, and many questions still remain. But we’re loving the progress we’re seeing on the stations!
We’ll be watching for more information as the Skyliner comes to fruition in fall 2019!
Walt Disney World’s Minnie Van program expanded this year, with the private transportation now carrying guests to and from Orlando International Airport and (soon!) to and from the Disney Cruise Line Terminal in Port Canaveral!
Pricing for the Lyft-based service changed in 2018, from a flat fee of $25 to prices based on trip mileage. But many readers still promoted the service as a convenient way to travel across Walt Disney World’s vast property.
Prices Raised on Everything
You guys, we were just as blown away by this new piece as you were — believe me! When Disney Parks on both coasts began raising prices on just about everything, the news really stirred some emotions in our readers. And we heard you loud and clear! Especially when prices started going up on Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival while the festival was in progress!
Disneyland Resort did not escape the sudden price hikes! For example, we saw the price of fountain drinks leap forty cents overnight! Look, the whole thing was a mess, and we didn’t like it, either.
Woo! What a year in news — and these are just the really energized topics! Here’s to a 2019 with lots of amazing park openings and way less pricing drama! Thanks for following along!
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What was your favorite Disney news piece of the year? Let us know in the comments!