We are big Disney fans: DVC members, annual pass holders, etc. Just like all of us, Disney Parks has hits and misses. Today, I would like to share, in my opinion, what Disney Parks Got Right in 2015. This will be followed by other articles: “Where Disney Parks Went Wrong in 2015”, and “Unsolicited Advice for the Future of Disney Parks”.
What Disney Parks Got Right in 2015
- Disneyland Diamond Celebration: Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary Celebration was a smashing success! We were fortunate enough to visit and enjoy the activities. The Park was in top shape. Sleeping Beauty Castle lit and sparkling like a diamond was beautiful. The celebrations ( 3 new shows which follow) were all top notch.
- Disneyland Forever Fireworks with projections on Sleeping Beauty Castle and Main St. U.S.A. is one of, if not the best Disney fireworks show, and Disney knows how to do fireworks!
- Disney Paint the Night Parade ranks up with the Festival of Fantasy Parade at Magic Kingdom. It is worth the effort to get a good viewing spot and take in the festivities.
- World of Color: Celebrate the Wonderful World of Walt Disney! at Disney California Adventure Park mixes the best of Disney Parks other great night time shows: Fantasmic with fire and projections on water spray, Illuminations with fireworks and flames, and Wishes with projections. You will not be disappointed.
- Grizzly Peaks in Disney California Adventure underwent renovation with improved theming and the addition of the Grizzly Peaks Airfield. It was a success. An area that had previously been panned is now second only to Cars Land at DCA in theming. With Soarin’ Over California and Grizzly River Rapids, it is one of our favorite “lands.”
- Disney purchases land adjacent to Disneyland making way for expansion of the California parks!
- Easier access to Dole Whips in Magic Kingdom: Swapping menus and names of Aloha Isle and Sunshine Terrace in Adventure Land at Magic Kingdom has opened up more lanes and hence shorter lines to delicious Dole Whips.
- No more Captain EO: Captain EO, starring Michael Jackson, was resurrected at Epcot following his death many years ago. Unless you are a huge fan of the King of Pop, Captain EO was dated, dopey, and a poor fit in Epcot. May it rest in peace.
- Removing the Sorcerer’s Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: I had never visited the park when the Sorcerer’s Hat had not dominated the center of the park. I was torn about this when it was announced. After visiting twice since the removal, I really like it better without the Hat. The Chinese Theater, home of The Great Movie Ride, was obscured . You can now appreciate the detail and architecture. The site lines between Hollywood Blvd., the Brown Derby, and the Chinese Theater are much better and feels cohesive.
- Star Tours updates: With The Force Awakens opening in 2015, Star Tours, Hollywood Studios‘ Star Wars attraction, was updated with new adventures. The old ones were fun, but I was pleasantly surprised with the new experiences.
- Harambi Village expansion at Animal Kingdom: Africa was already my favorite Animal Kingdom land. The theming is one of the best in all of Walt Disney World. The new expansion brings The Festival of the Lion King to Africa. This makes more sense and is a much better fit than being stuck in Camp Minnie & Mickey. Almost any expansion is good in my opinion.
- New animals and baby animals at Animal Kingdom: As I said earlier, give me more. Kilimanjaro Safari has added African Painted Dogs and Hyenas. New babies include rhino, zebra, and gorilla.
There were many things that Disney Parks Got Right in 2015. With the construction of Avatarland in Animal Kingdom, Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land in Hollywood Studios, and the land purchased for expansion of Disneyland, those of us who want more and more have a lot to look forward to.
Disney makes errors, too. Check back for the follow up article: Where Disney Parks Went Wrong in 2015. If you agree or disagree, or if you feel that I have left something out, please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you. Happy New Year!