Heigh, Ho, Heigh, Ho – into another magical year we go for Walt Disney World Resort guests in 2014.
New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom adds its crowning centerpiece in spring 2014 with the opening of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, completing the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history. Also this spring, New Fantasyland inspires an all-new parade set to roll down Main Street, U.S.A.
Meantime, 2014 sees the official rollout of MyMagic+ taking the Disney guest experience to an exciting new level. Downtown Disney continues its magical re-imagining into Disney Springs. New for 2014 will be an exotic — and aromatic — addition to the Morocco Pavilion at Epcot. And to make smiles even wider, the call will go out to all Disney guests to “Show Your Disney Side.”
These highlights and more add up to a merry menu of magic for guests in 2014:
1. Nothing sleepy about it! The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will crown New Fantasyland with family coaster fun.
2. Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade will bring the magical stories of New Fantasyland to Main Street U.S.A.
3. Fit2Run, the Marketplace Co-Op, new Starbucks and more kick off the multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs.
4. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts opens a luxury resort hotel within the Golden Oak community.
5. The Orlando City Soccer Club makes ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex its home for 2014 regular season games.
6. New races welcome runDisney enthusiasts and first-time runners alike.
7. New 2014 itineraries for Disney Cruise Line will include an expanded collection of European sailings.
Here’s a closer look around:
The lovable world of Sleepy, Doc, Grumpy, Bashful, Sneezy, Happy and Dopey comes to life in spring 2014 when the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train takes New Fantasyland guests on a rollicking, musical ride into the mine “where a million diamonds shine.” Inspired by the 1937 Disney animated film classic “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the fun starts as guests cross a stone bridge and walk through a beautiful forest with the Dwarfs’ cottage in the distance, leading to the entrance to the attraction — and immersion into the endearing story of the radiant and kindhearted Snow White and her forest friends led by the lovable Dwarfs.
After passing through an interactive pre-show area with fun activities themed to mining, guests will proceed to the mine train. Just like the iconic movie, surprises are in store! The family-style coaster will feature first-of-its-kind ride vehicles mounted in cradle-like pivots that allow the vehicles to swing back and forth during the ride. Adding to the fun, the journey will be accompanied by beloved music from the film classic and there’s a cast of animated figures of Snow White, the Seven Dwarfs and playful forest critters.
New Fantasyland also inspires a new daytime parade, the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade, scheduled to march into Magic Kingdom in spring 2014. The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade will bring the magical stories of New Fantasyland to Main Street, U.S.A. through fantastic and innovative parade floats, vibrant costumes and an original soundtrack that will feature beloved songs from favorite Disney films, plus a new parade theme song. There will be no shortage of fantasy, either, according to the float-makers. Ariel and friends will grace a larger-than-life music box showcasing a colorful musical party “Under the Sea” while Scottish dancers and a float shaped like an enormous bagpipe announce the arrival of Merida. Other floats celebrate Disney Princesses; Peter Pan and Wendy soar above a pirate galleon; Rapunzel and Flynn Rider appear on a longship in search of another “Best Day. Ever.”
Downtown Disney in 2014 continues its multi-year transformation into Disney Springs, a unique and vibrant shopping/dining/entertainment destination to be set amid beautiful open-air promenades, meandering springs and waterfront charm. Anchored by a signature water tower and grand entry, Disney Springs will boast four interconnected outdoor neighborhoods and be home to everything from shopping boutiques to flagship stores to great new restaurants and entertainment venues. The excitement has already begun! Newly opened in Downtown Disney West Side: Fit2Run serving both recreational runners and athletes. In 2014, Starbucks will add two locations: a storefront at Downtown Disney West Side and a kiosk near World of Disney at Downtown Disney Marketplace. Also in 2014: new retail — from women’s accessories to electronics, sportswear to girl’s fashions, home design accents to salon products — will open as the Marketplace Co Op (replacing Team Disney). With a planned completion in 2016, Disney Springs expects to double the number of venues, to more than 150.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts plans a 2014 opening for a luxury resort hotel at Walt Disney World Resort. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort will feature several dining venues including a rooftop restaurant with views to the Magic Kingdom, a 14,000 square foot spa, fitness center, three pools and a “lazy river” sports and recreational area, as well as meeting and event space, and a business center. This first Four Seasons in Central Florida is located within the Golden Oak residential community, created and master-planned by Disney.
As anticipation for the 2014 World Cup builds around the world, soccer fans vacationing at Walt Disney World Resort will be treated to more professional soccer options at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in 2014. In addition to the Disney Pro Soccer Classic and the Disney Soccer Academy, which both feature pro soccer players, the Orlando City Soccer Club will play its 2014 regular-season home games at Disney in the spring. The team will play its 14-game home schedule inside a soon-to-be expanded soccer venue at the sports complex, providing fans with a more intimate viewing experience than ever before. The Orlando City Soccer Club recently became an official MLS soccer franchise.
runDisney is expanding two of its most popular race weekends in 2014. There will be a 10K race added to the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna and the Princess Half Marathon Weekend. The new 10K races mean there will also be new “challenges” – the Dopey Challenge during Marathon Weekend (running the 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon) and the Glass Slipper Challenge during Princess Weekend (5K, 10K and half marathon). Both of these new “challenges” come with a special new medal awarded to anyone who completes the challenge.
In 2014, Disney Cruise Line will offer new itineraries, including an expanded collection of European cruises highlighting the Greek Isles. Plus, DCL will depart for the first time from homeports in Venice, Italy and San Juan, Puerto Rico. From May to August, the re-imagined Disney Magic returns to the Mediterranean, offering a rich array of itineraries, cruise lengths and ports of call. New for the season, the Magic will homeport in Venice and will call on the Greek Isles and Sicily for the very first time. In fall 2014, Disney Magic will sail out of San Juan for four Southern Caribbean cruises. Disney’s first cruise ship now boasts all-new experiences and re-imagined spaces including AquaDunk, a body slide dropping three decks, and Marvel’s Avengers Academy transporting kids 3-12 into magical worlds of brave superheroes. In summer 2014, the Disney Wonder will sail seven-night cruises from Vancouver to Alaska; a special nine-nighter calls at Sitka, Alaska – a first for DCL. Joined by Disney Magic in January, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy sail from Port Canaveral, Fla. to the Bahamas including a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.
Disney Parks is encouraging guests to let their inner selves come out to play during “Show Your Disney Side” in 2014. Disney Side is the exact flip of the everyday, work-centric lives we lead – the more fun-loving, adventurous side that washes over anyone who sets foot inside a Disney Park. In Disney advertising and marketing, Disney Parks will make the call for all guests to “let out the fun” and show their Disney side in 2014. The program got off to a magical start in the fall of 2013 when all-stars in the social media realm showed their Disney side to the delight of millions of followers.
Epcot guests are being treated to an exciting addition to the Morocco pavilion. Inspired by the whitewashed, outdoor cafes found along the Mediterranean, Spice Road Table offers a variety of Moroccan small plates and specialty drinks – along with scenic views of World Showcase Lagoon in front of the Morocco pavilion. A collection of shops arranged “souk” style stretches along the front of the building. There is even a henna tattoo artist on hand to create temporary body art from traditional and modern designs. The space is finished in cozy booths, Moroccan light fixtures, tapestries and art representing Morocco’s indigenous Beber tribes.
There is so much more to round out the fun in 2014 for Walt Disney World Resort guests including returning favorites runDisney events led by the Walt Disney World Marathon, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, Atlanta Braves Spring Training, Star Wars Weekends, Car Masters Weekend, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and much more. Another guest favorite, the hugely popular Festival of the Lion King show, relocates by mid-summer to an all-new theater in the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
All photos are © Walt Disney World Resort