There are always new and exciting things happening at Disney World. Here are some things we are looking forward to this July 2018.
Toy Story Land (now open)
The biggest thing happening this month has technically already happened. Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios is open!
And it brings with it 2 new rides – Slinky Dog Dash Rollercoaster and Alien Swirling Saucers.
Don’t worry, Toy Story Mania hasn’t gone anywhere. The entrance was just moved so it’s now a part of the new land.
The idea behind Toy Story Land is that you shrink to the size of a toy and play in Andy’s backyard on the attractions he built using his toys.
Slinky Dog Dash Rollercoaster is a family coaster, a la Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in the Magic Kingdom. If you are wondering what will have the longest lines at Disney World for a while, this is it.
People, even skeptics, are loving this ride. It has more thrills than expected, so although it is billed as a family coaster, use caution before bringing the really little ones. It is also a longer ride that anticipated, which is great news.
Slinky Dog Dash has an on-ride photo that will automatically upload to your account if you have on a MagicBand. This is similar to the way photos work on Pirates of the Caribbean.
Alien Swirling Saucers is a whirling, swirling ride, a la Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree over in Disneyland. It is designed to look like a toy from Pizza Planet in the Toy Story Movies.
FastPass+ is available for all 3 rides. Just like the Pandora rides in Animal Kingdom, they are on their own tier. What this means is that you will get to pick 1 of the 3 Toy Story rides, and then any 2 other Hollywood Studios rides.
So, you can now get FastPasses for both Tower of Terror and Rock N Roller Coaster, rather than having to choose 1 or the other, but you can’t get FastPasses for both Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers until you’ve used all 3 of your FastPasses.
As with Pandora, Fastpasses for Toy Story Land (especially the new rides) are going fast. But check periodically during the day on the My Disney Experience app. Day of FastPasses, while rare, are possible. Have more questions about FastPass+, leave a comment below or email me.
To give guests plenty of time to explore the new land, Hollywood Studios will be open all month from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. For those of you lucky enough to be staying on property, Extra Magic Hours are from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. daily, and from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Fridays. But fair warning, Extra Magic Hours for a new land can be even busier than regular times.
Woody, Buzz, and now Jessie are available for meet and greets in Toy Story Land. Unlike the previous meet and greet in Pixar Place, it appears that for now all each will meet separately.
The Green Army Men are also getting in on the fun. Sarge and the Green Army patrol are marching through Toy Story Land several times a day, and will even be playing games, such as Sarge Says, with guests. For a musical interlude, check out the Green Army Drum Corps. You may get to play with them too.
Woody’s Lunch Box is the new quick-service restaurant in Toy Story Land with outdoor seating. And the reviews have been very positive.
Woody’s serves breakfast. The s’mores French toast sandwich looks delicious, if very chocolatey.
For the rest of the day options include BBQ brisket melt, monte cristo sandwich, grilled cheese with tomato soup, totchos, soda floats, pop tarts, cocktails, and even a souvenir glass featuring the aliens and claw. The monte cristo and grilled cheese with tomato soup come highly recommended.
Cautionary note – while this is the current menu, it is always subject to change. Speaking of checking the menu, mobile ordering for Woody’s is available through the My Disney Experience app.
And of course, it wouldn’t be Disney without merchandise options. Within the land, merchandise and, of course toys, are sold at 2 kiosks made to look like a toy camper and toy dump truck. Outside of Toy Story Land, merch can be picked up at Beverly Sunset on Sunset Boulevard.
Independence Day Celebration (July 3rd-4th)
Disney World knows how to celebrate holidays, especially those that involve massive firework displays.
The Magic Kingdom will have a special fireworks show, Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky, on July 3rd and July 4th at 9:15 p.m. There will also be dance parties in Frontierland and Tomorrowland.
Epcot will add a special fireworks finale, the Heartbeat of Freedom, after Illuminations on July 4th.
Unsurprisingly, the American Pavilion at Epcot will be in full celebration mode all day. Voices of Liberty, an acapella group singing traditional Americana songs that normally sings in the rotunda, will be holding concerts on July 4th at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8 p.m. in the America Gardens Theatre. Mickey, Minnie, and other characters will don there best patriotic outfits for meet and greets throughout day on July 4th.
If your stomach wants to get in on the celebration, a special red, white and blue cupcake will be available at Fountain View (Starbucks) and Sunshine Seasons in Futureworld. A special decorated croissant donut will be at Refreshment Port and traditional watermelon will be available at Liberty Inn, which is in the American Pavilion.
Animal Kingdom gets in on the food fun with a special Fourth of July apple pie filed cupcake at Creature Comforts (Starbucks) and Isle of Java.
And at Amorette’s in Disney Springs you can get special dipped strawberries, and Mickey and Minnie Mouse mini-domes, just for the Fourth of July.
Never to be left out of a holiday celebration, Fort Wilderness goes all in. First, there is a Fourth of July 5k on July 3rd at 7:30 a.m. On July 4th itself, participate or just watch the golf cart parade at 4 p.m. That evening there is a beach bash from 6-11 p.m. with a DJ, dancing, games, contests, and more.
2019 WDW Marathon Weekend Registration (July 19th)
If you’ve read our runDisney Basics post and now can’t wait to sign up for a race, July 19th is your chance. At 12 (noon) Eastern (9:00 a.m. Pacific), registration opens for the 2019 WDW Marathon weekend races.
The 2019 WDW Marathon weekend will be held January 9th-13th, 2019. This weekend is your only opportunity to run a full Disney Marathon each year. But for those of you, like me, for whom that’s a bit much, there will also be a 5k, 10k, and half marathon.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re up for more of a challenge you can run more than one of the races. And be Goofy or Dopey.
Registration often sells out quickly, so I recommend setting an alarm to sign up right when registration opens. You can sign up here.
If you are a DVC member or Annual Passholder, you can sign up early starting on July 17th at 12 (noon) Eastern (9:00 a.m. Pacific).
Play Disney Parks App (all month)
Disney has come out with a new phone app to keep you, and more importantly your kids, entertained while in line at the parks.
Play Disney Parks is available for both Disneyland and Disney World. You navigate through the parks playing trivia, unlocking achievements through your MagicBand or Bluetooth when you do attractions, and games when you are in line for certain attractions.
One of the coolest features is connecting with things in the queue using the app. Disney actually added elements to the lines. iPhone users also have access to Disney Parks songs.
Right now the app appears to be more built up in Disneyland (and California Adventure) than Disney World. So far, in Florida you can only play in Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.
We are looking forward to trying it during our next trip. But we hope it doesn’t keep everyone’s noses in their phones rather than in the world around them. Let us know with a comment below if you’ve had a chance to try the new app.
Bus Times in My Disney Experience (all month)
For those of you staying on Disney property, the My Disney Experience now features bus arrival times for your home resort. You’ll have to update the app if you haven’t already, but it will now work like a virtual arrival board.
This feature is only available now to those staying at a Disney resort through your reservation information in the app, but hopefully this will expand to all guests going Park to Park or park to resort.
But even in this limited release, we think this is a great step forward. Helps prevent that dreaded rush to the stop only to discover you just missed the bus.
Baby Zebras (all month)
Disney has new babies; baby zebras that is. The new zebra fouls were born recently and can be seen at Animal Kingdom’s Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail.
Future Happenings (to Book Now) (all month)
For all you dog lovers out there, Disney’s pet friendly policy (allowing pets at certain resorts) is scheduled to end on October 15th. We here are Disney Nerd Tips are firmly pro-pets and hope it gets extended, but no word as of yet. If you want to guarantee you can bring Pluto on vacation, be sure to visit Disney World by October 15th.
Disney has recently announced their Magic Holidays Room Offer, offering 20% off select rooms between October 8th and December 24th. Because at Disney the holidays start in early October. For more info click here.
PhotoPass Magic Shots and other PhotoPass News (all month)
If you are visiting Disney’s Water Parks this summer, PhotoPass photographers are back through September 3rd. And there are even some character photo ops.
Not only can Disney photographers take great photos of your family, but some can also take Magic Shots adding a little something extra to the photos.
There will be some special Fourth of July Magic Shots available. On July 3rd and July 4th in the Magic Kingdom, special Magic Shots will be available in Liberty Square and Fantasyland. Disney Springs will also have special Magic Shots through July 7th.
And don’t miss the Fourth of July props available in all the parks.
Magic Shots aren’t always available so be sure to check ask your photographer if they have any. As with all things Disney, the shots can always change. Check out current Magic Shots available here.
New Food to Try and other Food News (various)
(Since food menus at Disney change all the time with no notice, we’ve included some new/notable releases that should be tried soon before they disappear. Follow along on Instagram and Twitter for more updates.)
There’s another new Italian restaurant in Disney Springs. Terralina Crafted Italian has just opened next to Paddlefish, where Portobello Country Italian Trattoria used to be.
Also in Disney Springs, there is a new a summer foodie experience – Brews & BBQ. Through September 3rd, 23 locations throughout Disney Springs will feature beer paired with, you guessed it, BBQ. More info available here.
Tambu Lounge at the Polynesian Village Resort is famous, or infamous, for serving ‘Ohana’s famous bread pudding and Lapu Lapu, a rum drink served in a pineapple. Rumor has it that the lounge will be undergoing a renovation after July 4th for approximately 2 months. During that time a temporary bar will still be serving nearby, but there will be no seating. This is just a rumor for now, nothing is confirmed.
Paddlefish in Disney Springs is hosting a Rooftop Wine Experience on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month featuring small notes and wine pairings. July 10th will be Wines Down Under (Australia and New Zealand). July 24th will feature Wines of Spain. The event is from 5-6 p.m. Tickets are available here for $40 (21+).
Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom is introducing a new prix fix dinner menu starting July 27th. This new menu will include a French inspired appetizer, entrée, and dessert. We are a bit disappointed with this change. It will no doubt raise the prices (we know it will now be 2 credits on the dining plan). And, we don’t really see many wanting a fancy French meal after exploring the Magic Kingdom all day.
Animal Kingdom has some new food options to check out. Warung Outpost, a kiosk next to Up! A Great Bird Adventure, has a cute Up! themed cake push pop. For something more substantive, Dino Diner now has an Italian sausage hoagie, and nearby Dino-Bite Snacks has buffalo chicken chips (nachos with buffalo chicken).
Fife & Drum, the outdoor kiosk across from the American Theater in Epcot, has some new items tying into Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Live (playing across the way), including a cupcake, root beer float, and slushies (virgin and spiked).
Fairfax Fare in Hollywood Studios is now serving breakfast again. We aren’t ones to speculate (oh who are we kidding, of course we are), but this is probably to alleviate breakfast rush on Woody’s in Toy Story Land.
And Crème Brule fans are in luck this month. Crème Brule is the ice cream of the month for July at Sprinkles in Disney Springs.
Refurbishments and other Attraction News (various)
No one wants to get excited for an attraction or restaurant only to find it closed when you are there. The closures this month:
- Liberty Square Riverboat at Magic Kingdom – reopens July 20th
- Kringla Bakeri og Kafe (Norway) at Epcot – all month
Epcot’s Fastpass+ tiers have had a little shake up. At Epcot, attractions are divided into tiers. You can pick 1 Fastpass+ from among the headliners, in tier 1, and 2 Fastpasses from the other attractions, in tier 2. Epcot Character Spot is now tier 1 with the other headliners, Soarin’, Test Track, Frozen Ever After, and reserved viewing for Illuminations.
The Electrical Magic Pageant has new times through August 18th:
- Polynesian – 8:40 p.m.
- Grand Floridian – 8:55 p.m.
- Wilderness Lodge – 9:35 p.m.
- Fort Wilderness – 9:45 p.m.
- Contemporary – 10:05 p.m.
Will you be heading to Disney World this month? What are you most looking forward to? Leave a comment and let us know.