Fall has always been a great time to visit Walt Disney World, and in 2016 it’s even better. While other parts of the country are starting to cool down, the weather in Orlando is still warm, so you can enjoy a water park day or a swim in the hotel pool. The fall decorations will remind you that the seasons have changed, even if the weather doesn’t. If you’ve ever dreamed of taking a spur of the moment trip to Walt Disney World, now is a great time to do it. Here are ten reasons why you should drop everything and head to Florida today.
Schools are back in session, which means that the summer crowds are a thing of the past. While the park hours may be slightly shorter, you’ll wait in shorter lines, so you can get more done in those hours. Shorter hours also mean that you’ll be able to get more sleep, so getting to a park at rope drop will be easy.
9. Disney Springs
It’s been almost a year since Downtown Disney’s name was officially changed to Disney Springs, and what a year it has been! Town Center is finally open, and it is beautiful. There is still some construction taking place, but the district now has a turn of the century feel. There are new places to eat, such as Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming and D-Luxe Burger, while old favorites like Earl of Sandwich and Raglan Road are still around. If you haven’t seen Disney Springs lately, you need to change that.
8. Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire
There’s a new show on the stage in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom. Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire features both classic Disney characters and some of your favorite princesses. There’s a new song as well. Speaking of princesses, if you head to Walt Disney World immediately you’ll have a chance to see Elena of Avalor for the first time. Princess Elena Royal Welcome currently runs several times a day, but it’s for a limited engagement so you’d better hurry.
7. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
This nighttime show is not just for Star Wars fans. Not only does it feature an incredible fireworks display, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the surrounding buildings turn into screens. The show is set to the music of the legendary John Williams. Park hours are often shorter in the late fall and the show might not continue, so you’d better head to Walt Disney World now to see this fantastic display, just to be on the safe side.
For years guests have loved the feel of being in a hang glider and traveling over California, but they would often complain that the film felt dated. That has now changed, with Soarin’ Around the World. The new film takes you over The Great Wall of China, Iguazu Falls, and many other natural and man made wonders. The music has been slightly updated, but still features the themes of the late Jerry Goldsmith. If you’re wondering about the pre-ride instructions, everyone’s favorite Chief Flight Attendant Patrick is still on hand, reminding you to stow those Mickey Ears. The updated Soarin’ keeps the same thrill as the original ride, but it’s now better than ever.
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5. Disney Night of Joy
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
On September 9 and 10 you can enjoy the hottest acts in Christian music at Walt Disney World. In 2016, the annual event will be held at a new venue, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Concerts will take place on three different stages. There are different ticket options available, with or without theme park admission. The acts include Casting Crowns, Matthew West, Stars Go Dim, Newsboys, Switchfoot, and Tim Timmons. Disney Night of Joy usually sells out, so if you want to go you’d better make your plans immediately.
4. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
If you’ve never attended one of Mickey’s Parties, make this the year. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party takes place on select nights through October 31 at the Magic Kingdom. There’s a special parade, characters you won’t normally find, and plenty of candy. If you haven’t seen HalloWishes, you need to pack your bags. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a separate ticketed event, and some nights will sell out.
Frozen Ever After is finally open. Fans of the movie will love everything about the ride. Since the crowds are a bit lighter than they were when it opened in June, the standby line might be a bit more reasonable. Still, if you can grab a FastPass+, do it. Another thing that Frozen fans will love is the chance to meet Anna and Elsa at Royal Sommerhus. FastPass+ is not available, but quite honestly it’s not really needed. Disney got this one right by making more than one greeting area. The insane waits from when Anna and Elsa were at the Magic Kingdom are a thing of the past. If you didn’t want to wait in an hours-long line back then, now is a much better time to meet the popular sisters.
2. 45th Anniversary
Walt Disney World officially opened on October 1, 1971. That means that guests have been thrilled by the magic in Central Florida for 45 years. While it looks like the anniversary might pass quietly, it will still be an exciting day for anyone who is there because they will know that they made it for a milestone. There will be unique merchandise sold, don’t you want to pick up a 45th anniversary T-shirt at the Magic Kingdom on the actual 45th anniversary? If so, don’t put off planning any longer.
1. Main Street Electrical Parade
Main Street Electrical Parade is a Disney Parks classic. It dates back to 1972 at Disneyland in California. It has been announced that the last date at the Magic Kingdom will be October 9, 2016. It will make a brief return to Disneyland Park, and then will be retired forever. If you want one last chance to see this special piece of Disney magic, drop everything and head to Walt Disney World immediately. You don’t have much time.