2019- A new year, and a whole new year of exciting things to look forward to in the Disney world. What's on the top of my list? How about these items (in no particular order):
Phantom Manor redo. Photographer unknown.
The Complete re-Imagining of the Phantom Manor.
For some of you, this will be an unexpected choice. The Parisian park is still the reigning champion of the title Most Beautiful Magic Kingdom. After a lengthy season of being ignored, the Walt Disney Company purchased remaining shares, completing ownership of the place. (A very shrewd move, I say.) One at a time, each major attraction has undergone a complete refurbishment. Phantom Manor seems to be at the bottom of the list but with the most enhancements coming. I absolutely love this unique new take on the Haunted Mansion! The score is a stunning centerpiece of it all with a storyline that will send real shivers down your spine.
Even for someone not a huge Star Wars fan, this is a must see.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
No one in my family would call me a Star Wars fan. I've seen exactly three of the films. They vary in quality and execution, so you can probably take some educated guesses and determine which ones they are. But even a casual fan has to admit, these new lands are intriguing and probably the most well-themed Imagineering has ever created. It belongs in the Studios but is questionable at best inside Disneyland. Thanks again to Universal Orlando for upping the ante by adding Harry Potter themed lands to their parks.
It had better be good as Toy Story 3 provided a perfect end to the series.
Toy Story 4.
As much as the Disney theme parks are the reason I am a fan, I am also a fan of their animated movies, Pixar or otherwise. But not every Disney movie is of interest to me or a must-see. Toy Story 4 is an exception. Buzz Lightyear is my favorite character, but the entire cast and storyline of the original film has a soft spot in may heart. You'd think that would make me a big fan of the Toy Story Lands scattered throughout the Disney universe. Think again. I'm not.
Sisters not lovers.
Look- the main story here is about two sisters that love each other. It's a very good film, one with a surprising twist that became a new norm for those that came after it. The animation is old school Disney excellence, and the music is memorable. If the storyline goes lesbian, I'm out. (Pun intended.) Disney has to decide its audience, and little kids - the core audience- do not have the capacity to understand the nuances of sexuality and the complexity of relationships that come out from choices people make. That's the parents' job in their own time, not the filmmakers. I want to take my sweet little granddaughters to this film for a date. All I ask is you think it through for yourself. Openly gay attorney Joseph R. Murray II has the right idea. Here's his piece on the "gay element" in the live action version of Beauty and the Beast. (And yes, I have gay friends and family members.)
Great idea in a very wrong location.
Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway.
I'm anticipating this attraction to be the runaway hit of our family when we are visiting Walt Disney World this Fall. My oldest daughter hasn't been to the World since 1999, and her husband has been to Disneyland once. This will be the first Disney park experience for him and their kids, ages 4, 6, and 8. Other than giving the boot to The Great Movie Ride, what isn't there to like about an E Ticket attraction focused on Mickey and Minnie? Absolutely nothing!
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy.
Yes, a show. I'm not a big fan of theme park shows- although the two main ones at Animal Kingdom are amazing. But my little first time visitors to the world love the Cars characters, so I can't wait to see this with them. Is this a blockbuster? Not at all. In some ways, it's a filler to Disney's Hollywood Studios, a park with not much to do. Before and after Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens. If this is anything close to the charming Turtle Talk with Crush at Epcot, I'll be a repeat guest.
Always something worth waiting for!
Last but not least, I am looking forward to D23. Good or bad, Epcot's Re-Imagining should be the focal point of the Park's Presentation. Even though Disney's Animal Kingdom is gaining ground, Florida's second Disney park is still my favorite. What will they announce? Hopefully, only good things in theme with the park's mission. But I know it will be different than that. At this point, I just want to know what's coming.
What's on your list?
(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)