The decision to visit Disney can be a rather large one for many families. Committing to the expense and starting to save up for that one of a kind vacation experience that fits your style of travel can be rather intimidating at first. However, 2018 is actually a really great time to visit Disney for a variety of reasons. I know many guests think they should wait for the unveiling of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge next year or even went last summer to see the debut of Pandora and plan on skipping this year’s vacation in anticipation of the big debut. In all honesty I wouldn’t recommend waiting for a variety of reasons.
Here’s a closer look at why I think you should visit Disney this calendar year and why there’s way more to do that you would expect that is entirely new and arriving this year (2018).
Take Advantage of the Time Before Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
Without a doubt, Star Wars will be a gigantic expansion drawing massive crowds from all realms of life. Many of us have been waiting for this expansion for so many years, and while it will be an incredible addition to Hollywood Studios, it will also draw in crowds that will likely be unbelievable to witness in person (in both a good and bad way). For example, last year’s “Star Wars Celebration” was brought to Orlando. It is not a Walt Disney World event but still managed to draw an absurd amount of guests into the city. Many lined up hours before the event and waited many hours just to get into the building. Personally, I see that as one of the greatest comparisons to what Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be like for the first few months after it debuts.
If you look at what happened about 20 minutes up the road at Universal when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter burst onto the scene, we can easily expect a similar cult following of fans to arrive for the grand debut of the Star Wars expansion. It will be a truly incredible experience, but I wouldn’t wait until 2019 to book a trip just to see it, and here’s why.
As the crowds flow in for the expansion/debut, Disney will be marketing the land heavily and as a result not only guests who are attending the land will be drawn in in mass numbers, but the other parks will see in increase in attendance as well (assuming the expansion is received well). By contrast, crowds are already quite high this year, but the big rush to Pandora has almost faded away (with the exception of the Flight of Passage madness) and there’s no huge push to visit Magic Kingdom or Epcot any more that there is on a normal day. As a result, the crowd levels may be a bit more manageable this year that next. So, in theory, if you use our tips on How To Manage The Crowds During Walt Disney World Peak Attendance Dates you’ll likely be able to see and do more on your vacation this year that you will in future years. Of course, if you want help figuring all this out or keeping it straight, contact us directly with questions (email@example.com) or reach out to our friends at Destinations To Travel for booking requests. As always, when you support them it helps support us as well, which we truly appreciate.
Toy Story Land Is Coming
On June 30th of this year, a place we’ve all wanted to be apart of is arriving in a big way at Walt Disney World as Toy Story Land debuts. I’ve said this before but I’ll happily repeat myself. This could be the single most under-anticipated expansion Disney has had in many years. For most guests, this expansion is getting downplayed because of the impending Star Wars expansion coming to the same park, but the project does span 11 acres and will debut 2 new attractions and a dining location. Of course, it wont be quite as grand in scale as Pandora, but at the same time on a basic level it’s going to unveil two new attractions and two new attractions that appeal heavily to young children. Beyond the children, there’s an audience for this new land that so many entirely overlook and that’s the 20-30 year old age range (which I fall into myself). Many of us are beyond thrilled for this expansion because it truly takes us back to a piece of our childhood. When you think about it, the original Toy Story film debuted in 1995. Essentially, that means that anyone 22 or younger doesnt even know a world without the Toy Story franchise.
Nevertheless, and setting my personal excitement aside, this summer and early fall are going to be an incredible time to travel. Sure, the parks will be crowded as they are each and every summer, but at the same time you’re not likely to face the massive crowds that should accompany the Star Wars debut. Also, it gives you something entirely new to explore and even if you’re not a Toy Story fan, you’ll get two new attractions to enjoy at Hollywood Studios in a park that does need a few more attractions as construction continues on. The construction will certainly pay off in the end but right now that park needs a little bit more to experience before I’d call it a truly full day park (and it hurts me to say that…).
Throughout this year, Disney Springs will be adding even more dining opportunities for guests to enjoy. With a new wine bar being built, the Edison recently opening to guests, and Maria and Enzos offering up a new Italian flair next door, there’s so much to see and do down there that it’s hard to really explore it all. Additionally, new shopping and dining is debuting and a redesign of the main World of Disney shopping location will bring new life to that wonderful merchandise destination.
With all of that arriving this year, the Springs development is reaching a turning point and a finishing point of what I see as the potential first and largest phase of the project. We could be looking at a near ideal representation of that area, but I truly believe we’ll see the West side change a bit more with the NBA Experience moving into the old Disney Quest location, and Cirque Du Soleil being reimagined. Perhaps on the scale of speculation rather that fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an overhaul of the Marketplace section as well in the coming years. It may or may not happen, but with the age of many those buildings I wouldn’t be surprised if we see additional construction pop up on that side of Disney Springs. It may not happen (if anything happens) this year, but it may once again point to the future and expansions or adaptations of current experiences as the Springs truly starts to show it’s character.
When Should You Go?
Honestly, everyone is going be a little different. If it were me I’d do one of three things. My first thought would be to plan a trip (and do it soon to avoid accommodations filling up) from June 26th – July 3rd. These dates certainly sound random but there’s a method to the madness. First, you get there before some of the Toy Story craziness begins. Second, you get to experience the debut on the 30th. Third, you get out of there before the 4th of July crowds build to a peak. With the being said, don’t pick these dates if you want to avoid crowds, but rather if you want to try everything new that you possibly can. One thing to note with these dates is that something could happen pushing the Toy Story debut back. I highly doubt it will, but I wouldn’t fully focus your vacation around that in the rare case that it does not happen.
Another set of dates I would consider would be in late August/early September as Food And Wine Festival begins. Food and Wine festival is huge event, but it’s also far enough away that you’ll likely miss the bulk of opening crowds for Toy Story. Lastly, I would consider waiting until Christmas decorations roll out in the parks. Of course, Christmas at Walt Disney World is in full swing right after Halloween ends so there’s a huge variety of dates you could consider for that time frame. Don’t forget to try and attend a Very Merry Christmas Party and check out our 5 Tips To Get The Most Out of Your Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Experience for that experience along the way.
If you really want to get into the details of it all and really dive into some crowd calendars and peak times to visit I recommend Dad’s Guide to WDW. It doesn’t do me any good to link over to him in a financial since, but he’s one of the very best in that planning category and shares a lot of useful month by month crowd expectations.
The years of Disney working one project at a time or having one special event in one park at a time are basically gone. This summer, special events will be happening in all four parks, with something new to experience in each and every park. At Magic Kingdom we’ll see a new Incredibles dance party-esque experience. At Epcot a Guardians of the Galaxy Music based series will debut at the American Gardens Theatre. Hollywood Studios will get Toy Story Land. Lastly, Animal Kingdom will be unveiling some type of themed party or experience in Dinoland featuring Daisy and Donald Duck (the details aren’t really known quite yet about that one). Long story made short, there’s going to be plenty to do in the parks this year that is entirely new and would warrant a vacation in my opinion. Obviously, I’m a bit bias because I truly enjoy traveling to the parks, but I see this year as an excellent time to visit Walt Disney World.
As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you’re there, and we’ll keep the conversation going in the future. We’re not the largest Disney community, but we’re one that’s there and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are!
Ready to Plan?
Need help planning your vacation? Let our friends over at Destinations to Travel (FREE – no obligation quote request form below) help you out at no additional cost to you! Their services are free and a great way for you to help out the site at no extra cost to you! Here’s a closer look at why I recommend an Authorized Disney Travel Planner!