If you’re toying with the idea of visiting Disneyland in Anaheim or Disney World in Orlando (or maybe you like to live large and are considering both), then you’ve got to know about some important, big-deal things happening at these most magical places on Earth. From wining and dining to the opening of a brand new land, we’ve got a breakdown of the most epic things happening in Disney Parks for 2017.
1. Main Street Electrical Parade: After years away from its birthplace, the nostalgic and heartwarming nighttime extravaganza is back at Disneyland. Returning from a stint at Walt Disney World, the 45-year-old Main Street Electrical Parade still shines just as bright as ever. There have been a few enhancements, changes and additions throughout the years, but the charm is still way intact in the “spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination.” Bonus: The “electro-synthe-magnetic musical sounds” are oh-so-catchy and wonderfully retro. (Photo via Sunny Chanel)
2. Disneyland Railroad Reopening: If you’re a fan of catching a ride on Disneyland’s iconic railway, you’ll be thrilled to hear that the train will be rolling again soon. As for how soon, we don’t know for sure, but when talking to one of the railway staff, they let it slip that they’re aiming before summer starts. While there have been changes to the railroad to make way for Star Wars land (coming in 2019), the ride will gain some feet rather than lose any. There’s also the addition of a bridge, which the train will cross, as well as a new grade that the conductors and engineers are excited about tackling. (Photo via Sunny Chanel)
3. California Food and Wine Festival: While Disneyland is dry, the California Adventure experience can be sprinkled with drinky-drinks. In celebration of vino and the yummy foods that go with it, chefs and foodies will gather from March 10 through April 16 at California Adventure for the delicious event. They’ll be plussing up the fest with extra events such as Sweet Sundays (dessert-making with celeb chefs like Duff Goldman), Winemaker Dinners (a four-course meal paired with wines; there’s even one that highlights Disney family wineries) and Brewmaster Beer Dinners (a prix fixe dinner paired with California beers).
4. Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout: The Hollywood Hotel (AKA the Tower of Terror) ceased taking guests at the start of the year to prepare for the transition from the world of the Twilight Zone to the first Marvel-centric ride to hit the Disneyland Resort. And this transition from spooky to superhero will be a quick one. Although there’s no specific date, the ride is set to open in the summer, which is great timing since the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opens in May. (Photo via Disney Parks)
5. Rivers of America Reopens: There hasn’t been much happening in the Rivers of America during the past year except for construction and the occasional duck basking in its murky waters. But soon (rumored to be this summer), the Rivers of America will be back in business with access to the now smaller Tom Sawyer Island, Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes and rides on the Sailing Ship Columbia and the Mark Twain Riverboat. The nighttime extravaganza Fantasmic! will also be returning (as will the crowds, so be prepared).
6. Grand Californian Hotel & Spa Facelift: The upscale lodge style hotel is undergoing a huge update. The popular hotel is having their rooms redone with new carpets, fixtures and furniture, and the pool is getting a makeover too. (Photo via Sunny Chanel)
7. Splitsville Opens: In late 2017, there will be a new option in Downtown Disney for fun and food. Splitsville Luxury Lanes, a mid-century themed bowling alley and eatery, is taking the place of what was the House of Blues with 625 restaurant seats, two bars and 20 lanes.
8. Full Day Star Wars Tour: If the Force is totally your jam, then you’ll probably be tempted by the exclusive seven hour Star Wars tour at Walt Disney World. Yes, SEVEN HOURS. You’ll get the chance to experience all the Star Wars magic that Disney World has to offer, including perks like a dessert party. (Photo via Disney Parks)
9. Disney After Hours: For those of you who are night owls and/or want to do the Magic Kingdom when there are fewer people, then you’ll wanna look into the Disney After Hours (scheduled for February 9 and 16, and March 2 and 9). After the park closes, you’ll get the chance to play for three hours; that’s three whole hours of shorter lines and fewer crowds. SWEET.
10. More Openings at Disney Springs: Disney Springs is becoming quite the destination, independent of the theme parks. This year will see several big additions: The Planet Hollywood Observatory (with star gazing), Paddlefish (which is on a steamboat), The Polite Pig (the sister restaurant to The Ravenous Pig), The Edison (think = “Industrial Gothic”) and Wine Bar George (wine, food and more wine). (Photo via Disney Parks)
11. Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: Floral beauty takes over Epcot during their absolutely gorgeous Flower & Garden Festival. The array of whimsical and wonderful works of horticulture will run from March 1 until May 29. Highlights this year include brand-new topiaries of Belle and Figment and two additional outdoor kitchens (bringing the total to 15) with yummy snacks.
12. Pandora Opens: It doesn’t matter that Avatar has nothing to do with the Walt Disney Company; the Imagineers have taken to the tale with their usual gusto and attention to detail. On May 27, Pandora: The World of Avatar, the world created in James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster, opens at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There will be the AVATAR Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey, Satu’li Canteen restaurant, Pongu Pongu drink location and Windtraders merchandise shop. (Photo via Disney Parks)
13. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: Disney World’s Food and Wine Festival is serious business, and this year, it’s returning for a record 75 days. From August 31 to November 13, visitors will be able to wine and dine all around the world by visiting 30 unique food stalls — imagine going to cheese seminars, getting schooled on wine, beer and booze and watching chefs demo culinary delights.
Both Disneyland and Disney World
14. Halloweentime: If you haven’t done the Halloween season at Disneyland or Disney World, you’ve gotta change that. Not only do they introduce all sorts of special, yummy foods and tempting merch, but they hold an epic Halloween party on various dates leading up to the big day. Be warned: The parties sell out quickly, so buy your tickets early.
15. Holiday Season: The holidays are filled with SO MUCH magic at Disneyland and Disney World. If you need help getting into the spirit of the season, visiting one of the parks during the extra magical time will do the trick. There’s so much to see and do, and we’ve got 10 things that aren’t to be missed right here.
Which Disney Parks event would you most want to go to? Tweet us @BritandCo!