Walt Disney World 2018 – 50 Days To 50 Years Walt Disney World Countdown
Walt Disney World 2018 was a year to Play Big and interactive was the word of the year. It’s hard to believe that we’ve almost arrived at the moment we’ve all been anticipating, the Most Magical Celebration on Earth as Walt Disney World
turns 50 THIS Friday, October 1. Today in our 50 Days to 50 Years Walt Disney World Countdown we’re taking a trip back to Walt Disney World 2018 which brought us another new land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Star Wars Land finally had an official name, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom turned 20! Here’s a look back at what happened at Walt Disney World 2018.
Party For The Planet-Animal Kingdom 20th Anniversary
It seemed like it was just yesterday that Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened its doors to guests introducing to the world a place where the magic of nature with rare animals and world-class entertainment came together and Walt Disney World 2018 saw Disney’s Animal Kingdom celebrated its 20th anniversary on Earth Day, April 22, with more wild adventures than ever before – and set the stage for an incredible summer filled with all-new events and experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort. Commemorating the milestone year, the 500-acre adventure park offered up a magical variety of animal encounters, family-friendly activities, specialty desserts and more during an expanded Party for the Planet celebration April 22-May 5.
Over the two-week “Party for the Planet” celebration, guests were treated to conservation talks by animal-care experts and participated in enhanced interactions with some of the more than 2,000 animals that make their home at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited park.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch took center stage for the year-long 20th anniversary featuring fun educational exhibits and activities
that helped to create awareness of animal issues. During the 20thanniversary, Rafiki’s Planet Watch gave the chance to go backstage and talk with experts and learn about animal nutrition, visit the veterinary hospital and hear how Disney promotes global wildlife conservation.
The 20th-anniversary fun also included a commemorative adventure guide, limited-edition merchandise, and a special-edition print created by renowned Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde.
Othe experiences and adventures that rolled out in 2018 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
- April 22 marked the debut of a brand-new show, UP! A Great Bird Adventure featuring Russell and Dug from the Disney•Pixar animated comedy-adventure film “UP.” The show gave guests the chance to see Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his fuzzy friend Dug in a new adventure that included encounters with exotic birds from around the world. This free-flying show was performed multiple times daily.
- A “dino-tastic” celebration with Donald and his friends premiered Memorial Day weekend in DinoLand, U.S.A. This dinosaur-themed party celebrates Donald Duck’s discovery that his bird ancestors were actually dinosaurs.
DinoLand U.S.A. featured a colorful new décor and playful character greetings with rarely seen pals like Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack and more. A DJ-powered dance party will mix tunes from the truck-o-saurus stage, capping the nighttime festivities.
- Memorial Day 2018 celebrated the one-year anniversary of Pandora – The World of Avatar.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s 20th anniversary gave Walt Disney World 2018 more wild adventures than ever before setting the stage for an incredible summer filled with all-new events and experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Get Ready To Play Big!
Walt Disney World 2018 meant it was time to Play Big over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as Toy Story Land opened in June inviting the young and the young at heart to shrink down to the size of a toy and head to Andy’s Backyard for a funtastic good time. For Disney, it has always has been and always will be all about storytelling and Toy Story Land was storytelling at its very best.
From the sensation of shrinking to the size of a toy while exploring Andy’s backyard and seeing your favorite Toy Story characters larger than life to the feeling of nostalgia that swept over you stepped back in time to visit your childhood, Toy Story Land gave us a magical place built for the entire family.
From an exciting ride on Slinky Dog Dash, the family-friendly coaster, or taking a spin on a toy rocket on Alien Swirling Saucers or a 3D adventure through carnival midway games on Toy Story Mania, it was a land like no other that immersed you in the playful world of toys.
Did you know that:
- More than 400 toy blocks fill Andy’s backyard.
- In Toy Story Land, Andy’s footprint is about 25 feet long or the equivalent of a size 240 shoe.
- It would take a Green Army Man roughly 12 steps just to travel the length of one of Andy’s shoeprints.
- You would need a backpack the size of a school bus to carry the Buzz and Woody figures that tower over Toy Story Land.
- The weight of the Slinky Dog Dash track and support columns weighs almost as much as 125,000 gallons of milk.
- Together Rex and the Jenga Tower are as tall as 7½ Green Army Men standing on top of one another.
Here’s what not to miss on your visit to Toy Story Land:
Slinky Dog Dash:
Hang on because Andy’s assembled his Mega Coaster Play Kit and Slinky Dog are ready to stretch out and take you on a wild, toy-filled adventure ride. On this fun-filled family-friendly coaster with enough thrills and chills for every member of the family, Slinky Dog Dash is more fun than a barrel of monkeys and one you’ll want to ride over and over again.
Plus the best part is while riding Slinky, you and your family can get a glimpse of everything Toy Story Land has to offer as you stretch Slinky Dog’s coils to the limit across Andy’s backyard!
This roller-coaster-style takes guests on a magical ride as Slinky Dog bends and twists and stretches his way all throughout this new land. It’s a wacky attraction the entire family can enjoy together.
Alien Saucer Swirl:
Will you be chosen by the Claw? Blast off on an interstellar romp, set to an out-of-this-world beat! Inside a play set that Andy won at Pizza Planet, the Aliens have powered up their flying saucers—and they’re ready to spin you on a wild ride into space! Hold on for some wild fun as your toy rocket takes off, all while electronic space music provided an intergalactic soundtrack.
And if you’re really lucky, you might just get “chosen” by the claw. Oooooo!
Toy Story Mania:
The entrance may have moved to its new location within Toy Story Land but all of the fun remained the same. Toy Story Mania invited you to climb aboard for a rootin’ tootin’ good time as you ride ‘n’ blast moving targets at this midway-style, 4D shootin’ game starring popular characters. Climb aboard an early 20th-century-inspired Carnival Ride Tram and grab your spring-action shooter.
With 3D glasses on, here you were able to glide into the Toy Story Midway Games Play Set and take aim at stationary and moving 3D objects in a variety of fast-paced games. Toy Story Mania allowed you to zip through a virtual gallery of exciting carnival games based on the hit animated film series as you stepped inside Andy’s room and wound your way through a toy treasure chest of classic playthings.
You’ll never go hungry while visiting Toy Story Land because Woody brought along his favorite lunch box and it’s open and waiting to treat you to all of your childhood favorites. Here, mealtime comes with a heavy helping of nostalgia, as Woody’s Lunch Box serves up classic on-the-go menu items with a creative twist.
Theming Is Everything:
From the moment you step into Toy Story Land, you are surrounded by theming and colors that let you know know that it is indeed time to play. Here the nostalgia feel of the toys you know and love surround you and bring a smile to your face as you revisit all of your childhood favorites.
From Instagram worthy walls including the brightly painted primary-colored block wall to the pastel popsicle stick benches to yes even the bathroom that might replace the Tangled Bathroom at the Magic Kingdom as the best bathroom ever, once again Disney proves that it is the details in the storytelling that make it like no other.
When you first round the bend there’s the welcoming “Howdy” from Sheriff Woody himself. Standing nearly 20 feet tall, Woody is tipping his hat (which measures 7’ feet, brim to brim) and standing next to the marquee which is made out of blocks and a 4-foot-tall yo-yo – just a few of the many toys that make up Toy Story Land.
When you are in the land it is hard to overlook the amazing amount of detail that was put into this expansion from the fences made of toys to the Tinker-Toy light posts, to the scale of the plantings and Andy’s large footprints in the pathways.
And as with Pandora-The World of Avatar, the transformation from daytime to nighttime is something to behold. As the sun goes down, and the lights come on, it’s a whole new experience among the brightly strung overhead Christmas lights that bring with it a magic of another kind.
Eat Drink and Be Merry At Disney Springs
Walt Disney World 2018 saw Disney Springs growing and transforming even more introducing such a wide variety of new eateries and unique shopping experiences that there was truly something for everyone, right on down to our furry friends. New establishments and additions included:
Chicken Guy — Coming from Chef Guy Fieri, (who I might add is from my hometown) and partnering with Planet Hollywood’s Robert Earl, this new quick-service spot focused on all-natural chicken and delectable sauce. Welcome to Flavortown!
The Edison — Resembling a 1920’s electric company power plant, The Edison features food, cocktails, live entertainment, cabaret and music. With its distinct areas, with the Lab Performance room featuring entertainment such as palm readers, DJs and contortionists, The Edison is a sister restaurant to its Los Angeles location.
Terralina Crafted Italian — Themed as an Italian home, this new restaurant serves authentic Italian meals and cocktails. Overseen by James Beard Award-winner and Top Chef Master Tony Mantuano, this restaurant replaced Portobello Country Italian Trattoria.
Wine Bar George — Master Sommelier George Miliotes returned to Disney with an intimate wine bar that resembles a winemaker’s home estate. I’m a teenager and don’t know what any of that means, but mom says it’s fancy, so, cool. Yay, wine people.
Maria And Enzo’s —Located next to The Edison, this Italian restaurant was designed as speakeasy feel, matching the feel of its neighbor. This table service and fast casual restaurant is run by the Patina Group, operators of Morimoto at Disney Springs and Via Napoli at Epcot.
Enzo’s Hideaway — This small tavern is inspired by Roman aperitivo bars, located in the storied rum-runner tunnels that adjoin Maria & Enzo’s. Inspired by Florida’s true history of rum running, Enzo’s Hideaway will pour Prohibition-era cocktails at its Tunnel Bar and serve a casual menu of hearty Roman dishes, such as the city’s legendary Bucatini alla Carbonara and Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe.
Pizza Ponte — Located next to Maria And Enzo’s, this fast-casual restaurant featured pastry specialties such as Bomboloni (Italian doughnuts), Sfoglia di Riso (pastry with rice cream) and Tiramisu. Savory items included signature Triangolo (stuffed pizza bread) sandwiches, Porchetta (roast pork) and Pizza al Taglio, Sicilian-style pizza by the slice.
Disney Tails — Disney’s adorable line of pet toys and accessories has expanded into its own retail location allowing you to spoil your fur babies with park-themed souvenirs.
Lovepop — If you’re a fan of unique art, you’ll Love(pop) this new location featuring intricate 3D paper art of all styles and designs.
Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill —gave visitors to Disney Springs a modern concept inspired by laid-back California dining.
It’s All About The Interactive Experiences
It was all about having an Incredible time during the summer of 2018 as The Incredibles “SUPER” Dance Party with Edna Mode joined Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone from Disney•Pixar’s The Incredibles at a brand new DJ-hosted dance party on the Rocket Tower Stage in Tomorrowland and the dance party was also going strong over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party added all new ways to have a spooktacular times wehn Disney World announced four new experiences for the Walt Disney World 2018 Magic Kingdom party. This was the first time when
Interactive pirates joined you for a spooky sail on Pirates of the Caribbean, Mad Tea Party promised a mystical color and lighting effects and Space Mountain offered a transformative soundtrack and special effects. And if you were looking for
fun for the entire family, all of your favorite Disney Junior pals were ready to dance the night away at Storybook Circus!
Wide World Of Sports Expands
ESPN Wide World of Sports opened a new multi-use sports and entertainment venue in 2018. With this expansion came the ability to now seat more than 8,000 guests and now the venue had the ability to host six regulation basketball courts, six regulation volleyball courts or concert configurations. For cheer and dance events, it could now accommodate performance and warm-up space and included a flexible design for one large competition space that could be set up for as many as four competition areas. Additional areas could not be tailored for warm-up and practice, along with areas for
judges and officials. There were new concessions throughout the building, and an additional box office and entry was added to the complex. Back in 2018, no one could foresee just how this expansion would come into play when the world changed in 2020.
It’s hard to believe that we are just 3 sleeps away from the kickoff of The World’s Most Magical Celebration of the 50th Anniversary at Walt Disney World. To catch up on all of the 50 Days to 50 Years Walt Disney World Countdown head to WhiteGloveWorld.com and we will be back with the year it change it all, Walt Disney World 2020 all leading up to the big day on Friday!.