It's a small world, as the famous Disneyland ride proclaims, but there are plenty of big news stories in the theme park world, especially as summer is heating up. Here's what theme park fans and visitors need to know. It's time for Theme Park News.
WHEN SHOULD YOU VISIT GALAXY'S EDGE? HERE'S OUR TAKE:
Pull up those Google Calendars and get your vacation days in order, because Disney has announced when its new state-of-the-art attraction will open. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will debut at Walt Disney World on December 5 and at Disneyland, sadly, not until January 17 of next year.
It’s a timeline that isn’t going to do much to help Disneyland’s dip in attendance, where traffic has been (delightfully!!!) slow since last month. The California theme park has added a handful of promotions in the recent weeks to boost traffic; the latest is a swarm of rare characters making their way down Main Street, U.S.A in Mickey and Friend’s Band-Tastic Cavalcade for two weeks only.
Now that all dates have been announced, you can finally plan your visit to the entirety of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. If you’re just itching to see this Star Wars planet first-hand, ditch everything and plan for a Disneyland visit before mid-August, when more Annual Passholders will be allowed back into the park. If you haven’t planned a Disney World trip yet, it could be worth going in the fall to see Galaxy’s Edge as part of a bigger vacation, but with so much advanced planning required to visit Orlando, you may prefer waiting until 2020. Even with Rise of the Resistance opening sans-FastPass (meaning if you gotta wait, you gotta wait), January and February are often two of the slowest months at Walt Disney World, so it’ll be more manageable.
Wondering why you’d wait when you can pilot the Millennium Falcon at both parks by the end of summer? Rise of the Resistance has been touted as a full-blown game-changer, with Disney themselves deeming it the most ambitious ride they’ve ever created. With multiple ride systems and vehicles paired with unbelievable sets (full-scale Star Destroyer, anyone?!) it’s like its own tiny theme park land wrapped into one. A core gripe of mine has been that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lacks the droids and aliens a typical Star Wars planet would have — hell, where is C-3PO?! — but even I’m banking on this attraction to satiate a good chunk of that want.
HEAD TO PHILLY FOR SKY-HIGH THRILLS
Steel Curtain opened at Kennywood and it looks nothing short of bonkers. Lean back against the pigskin-shaped seatbacks and try to relax because with the world's highest inversion (197 feet!) and speeds up to 75 miles-per-hour, this thing packs more action than the past ten Super Bowls combined.
NEW WAYS TO GET TO THE PARKS ARE A'COMING
Not only is a walkway connecting Disney’s Grand Floridian to the Magic Kingdom supposedly being built, but new character buses driving guests from the Transportation & Ticket Center straight to Magic Kingdom's front gate will make it even easier to reach Cinderella’s Castle upon arrival. Disney’s Skyliner system, connecting Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Epcot and a handful of hotels to the parks by way of a gondola, will officially open on September 29th.
EVERYTHING ELSE THAT HAPPENED IN THE THEME PARK WORLD:
- Gran Destino Tower, the 545-room upscale addition to Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, opened last week. While it's ideal for business travelers, the benefits outstretch to anyone in search of a sleek room at a moderate price point. Keep an eye out for upscale dining like Toledo — Tapas, Steak & Seafood, which offers both a rooftop view of Walt Disney World and fantastic SEO results.
- What is this, It’s A Small World for ants?!?!
- Dying for a dose of The Lion King beyond it hitting theatres this Thursday? Disney’s Animal Kingdom has new merchandise and a scavenger hunt in addition to its pre-existing (very good) stage show and Hakuna Matata dance party, while Disney California Adventure has a new performance, “Tale of the Lion King,” running through Labor Day weekend.