Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, which means that it’s time to start thinking about hitting the road! Kids are out of school, and there are vacation days that need to be used before you lose them. Might as well head to Walt Disney World! The summer is a fantastic time to visit. The parks are open later, and there are deals to be found. Throw some sunscreen and a water bottle into a bag, or just wait and buy them here. If you’re looking for an excuse to take a spur of the moment trip to Walt Disney World, here are ten of them.
10. NBA Experience
Okay, you do have a little bit of time for this one. The NBA Experience is set to open August 12 at Disney Springs. It will feature 13 different experiences that will make you feel like you’re an NBA or WNBA star, and all for one cost! While you’re at Disney Springs, make sure that you check out some of the things that have changed since your last visit. The signature restaurant Jaleo by José Andrés immediately comes to mind.
9. Independence Day
Magic Kingdom and Epcot
The Fourth of July will be here before you know it. What better place to spend a holiday that is known for fireworks than at a place that is known for its fireworks? Traditionally the fireworks take place at the Magic Kingdom on both July 3 at 4, and they replace Happily Ever After. There is usually extra Independence Day fun at Epcot in the American Adventure, as well as enhanced fireworks to celebrate. If you plan to go to either park, arrive early, because they will be packed.
8. Bo Peep in Toy Story Land
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
To celebrate the release of Toy Story 4, a special guest will soon be meeting visitors at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Bo Peep is going to be joining the gang in Toy Story Land. The exact date when she is arriving has not been announced, but the release date for Toy Story 4 is June 21, so there’s a good chance that she will be appearing around the same time. While you’re here, head over to Disney Springs to see the movie, before all of your friends spoil it on social media.
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7. Rivers of Light: We Are One
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Rivers of Light has received an upgrade. Rivers of Light: We Are One has added some of your favorite Disney characters into the mix, and the music has been updated as well. If you would like to see the 17 minute show but don’t want to wait in line, book a Rivers of Light Dining Package. You’ll enjoy a meal at either Tiffins or Tusker House, then you will sit in a reserved viewing area for the show. Make sure that it is the dining package that you book, just dining at one of the restaurants will not get you a seat.
6. Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live
Last summer a new show debuted at Epcot at the America Gardens Theater. It will return this year, but will only run June 14 through August 18. In Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live, Star-Lord wants to teach a group of Xandarians about some of his favorite songs. He wants Gamora to learn to lighten up as well. The show is a bit on the cheesy side, but it’s a lot of fun. Baby Groot is part of it, there is no need to say more.
5. Disney H2O Glow Nights
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
Nothing feels better than spending some time in a water park during the summer in Florida. The problem is, you are not going to be the only person with that idea. The two Disney Water Parks are known to reach capacity fairly early in the day, leaving those who don’t make it on time high and literally dry. Disney H2O Glow Nights is the perfect solution. It’s a special ticketed event that takes place select nights from May 30 through August 24. There’s a dance party, characters from Toy Story, and special foods available for purchase. Tickets are $69 or $64 for kids ages three through nine, but you’ll save ten dollars if you purchase your ticket in advance. If you’re worried that it won’t be hot enough to enjoy a water park in the evening, don’t be. This is Florida in the summer.
4. 25th Anniversary of The Lion King
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
The Lion King has touched more than a generation of hearts. It is hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since the release! The best place to celebrate is Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There are themed picture opportunities throughout the park, as well as special Magic Shots. There are delicious treats on sale to celebrate. Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party continues daily in Discovery Island. The newest way to celebrate is to watch Tree of Life Awakenings. It has been updated with a Lion King theme, but it will only be that way until September 30.
3. Disney Villains After Hours
Disney After Hours is a fantastic special ticketed event where you can spend three hours in the park with an extremely limited number of other people. You can purchase tickets for the event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is also held at the Magic Kingdom, and this summer there is a special twist. Disney villains are taking over the event. Disney Villains After Hours will feature a special stage show with your favorite Disney baddies. You’ll also be able to enjoy more than 20 rides with almost no wait. The villains will not be greeting (or scaring) guests, but another special visitor just might get your heart pumping. Maleficent will be out and about, in all her fire breathing glory! Disney Villains After Hours will be held only ten times from June 6 through August 8. It will then go back to regular Disney After Hours.
2. Pre-Galaxy’s Edge Crowds
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
It is expected that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is going to bring unprecedented crowds to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Walt Disney World in general. If you want to avoid this, you need to book the next flight to Orlando. There are signs that lighter than normal summer crowds are expected, because Disney has been offering special ticket and room deals. Remember that Galaxy’s Edge isn’t the only new thing on the horizon. Disney has lots of new experiences planned for the next couple of years, leading up to the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary celebration in 2021. This summer is probably the least crowded that Walt Disney World will be for the foreseeable future.
1. IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is going to end its 20 year run on September 30 of this year. Fortunately, Disney has given us plenty of notice. If you want to experience this beautiful and touching nighttime presentation one more time, book your trip now. While you’re here, buy a t-shirt to show your love for the classic nighttime spectacular. A new temporary show, Epcot Forever, will debut on October 1.