The Disney magic just keeps on growing. Stephanie Panecasio discovers the latest spellbinding additions to much-loved Disney Parks and Resorts.
Disney will always have a special place in the hearts of families. You’d be hard-pressed to find a family bucket list that didn’t include the word ‘Disney’ somewhere on it. Whether visiting a theme park, relaxing on a cruise or staying in a resort, Disney’s attractions create a magical atmosphere that can put a smile on any child’s face – and we all know that an enchanted child means an enchanted parent. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Mickey Mouse’s arms had encircled about as much of the globe as they could, but there is no stopping the developing delights of Disney. Read on to find out all the new ways you can enjoy Disney in 2014.
The world of Remy
Kids, foodies and film-lovers alike will be salivating at the thought of Disneyland Paris’ latest gourmet-based adventure ‘Le Monde de Rémy’ unveiling this winter. Based on the Oscar-winning film ‘Ratatouille’, the attraction will feature Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, an immersive ride that introduces kids to Rémy’s world, scurrying through perilous kitchens and alighting over the rooftops of Paris. Setting tastebuds a-quiver, Le Monde de Rémy offers visitors a glance into the epicurean luxury of Bistrot Chez Rémy, a new eatery where world-renowned chef Paul Bocuse has come on board to produce true French cuisine, replicating the eponymous ratatouille in a larger-than-life setting.
Ka Maka Landing
Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa combines laid-back Hawaii with blissful family fun. Found nested between leafy mountains and sandy shores, with a heap of inclusive entertainment like a kids’ club, Disney characters, pool areas, captivating shows and cultural displays, it’s no wonder this is considered by many to be one of the world’s best family resorts. Aulani’s new Ka Maka Landing at the splash-tastic Waikolohe Valley pool zone is a fun hub for smaller children, complete with a unique luminescent starscape to enjoy at Ka Maka Grotto. The Landing’s new design is an immersive retelling of Hawaiian cultural legends... Educational and magical – what a perfect family choice!
Walt Disney World Florida’s much-loved ‘Celebrate a Dream Come True’ parade at Magic Kingdom has been replaced by the new joys of the ‘Festival of Fantasy’. Onlookers are treated to an impressive new array of floats and characters – including a gargantuan steampunk dragon to celebrate the release of Disney’s latest offering, ‘Maleficent’, released in May this year. The parade combines old favourites Dumbo, Pinocchio and Peter Pan with new stars from ‘Tangled’, ‘Frozen’ and ‘Brave’, creating the perfect blend of Disney magic, past and present. After enjoying the festivities, guests can enjoy a turn through the Snow White-inspired coaster, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Return visits are a must as impending Avatar attractions are set to light up the night with glowing plants and floating mountains come 2017 – surely worth the wait.
While you’re visiting Maleficent and her charming crew, you might want to consider setting up digs at the new Four Seasons Resort Orlando set to open in August this year. Located within the gates of Walt Disney World itself, the property promises to combine Disney’s signature magic with five-star luxury. Offering golfing and spas for grown ups, kids will be more than happy waking up amid non-stop themed fun.
Marvel’s blockbuster ‘The Avengers’ is building momentum at Disneyland California in 2014, with the addition of Captain America to the already star-studded list of Marvel characters walking the Disney streets. In honour of the new film, ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, visitors can now meet this patriotic superhero in person. He joins fellow Marvel characters, Thor who started doing his rounds last year after the opening of the exhibition, ‘Thor: Treasures of Asgard’, and Iron Man who has very nicely left his high-tech suit in the Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries attraction where, since the 2013 release of ‘Iron Man 3’, guests have been able to virtually suit-up themselves!
A mysterious setting, mischievous monkey and mystic manor can only mean one thing: Disney magic. Hong Kong Disneyland’s latest attraction, Mystic Point, is a worldwide exclusive, pairing magic with macabre in a spooky setting to awaken your senses. The attraction’s main ride is Mystic Magneto-Electric Carriage, where you’re taken on a tour of an eccentric explorer’s Victorian manor and surprised by enchanted dust that propels you into mystery and fun. With the Garden of Wonders tricking your mind and a chance to meet with the grand-nephews of the eccentric explorer himself, Mystic Point is a magical mystery waiting to be unravelled.
The high seas have never looked this entertaining with the introduction of two new holiday-themed programmes aboard Disney’s Cruises in 2014. From Halloween fright nights with Jack Skellington and friends to Christmas cheers with the ‘Deck the Deck’ holiday party, there’s no denying, Disney Cruises knows how to throw a party.
If all that sounds like your family’s kind of trip, you’ll love the new Double Disney Delights Bahamas cruise. Worldwide Cruise Centres is offering a 12-day fly-cruise-stay holiday, departing Australia in September 2014. The lucky guests will fly into Orlando – their base for the adventure – with the four-day Magic Your Way Base Ticket included, allowing entrance into Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Guests will also enjoy a four-night Bahamas cruise aboard the Disney Dream. Sounds like a dream come true to us!
Big in Japan
There’s lots of magic being spread around Tokyo Disney this year. Evening entertainments seem to be the focus with a new projection show, ‘Once Upon a Time’, lighting up Cinderella Castle from May 2014, projecting iconic scenes from Disney favourites directly onto the walls of the castle. The ever-popular Jungle Cruise is also being revamped for evening visitors, with a ‘night cruise’ scheduled to open on September 8. This will give guests a unique view of the jungle after-dark with special lighting, enhanced effects and a new soundtrack adding to the atmosphere.
‘Star Tours – The Adventure Continues’ is also getting a high-tech haul-over. This is a must-see for all Star Wars aficionados and the finished attraction will offer an immersive ride with a selection of 50 possible storyline combinations, complete with real droids and the illusion of space travel.
Into the future
The anticipation of Shanghai Disneyland’s expected 2015 opening is reaching new heights with the promise of traditional Disney and Chinese culture working in harmony to develop innovative new attractions. The forthcoming theme park will be home to two Disney Resorts and a collection of themed ‘lands’. The central attraction of the park will be the fabled Storybook Castle, and though specifics are still safe under wraps, it’s touted to be the most immersive Disney castle experience yet.