It is that time of year where every website/newspaper/etc takes a look back at what happened in the previous year and what is to come in the next. 2015 was a very “Disney” year for me, even more than normal. I have been putting off visiting the Disney Parks outside the United States for one reason or another for years and this year I managed to visit them all, I call it my “world tour”. Since we are all geeks and love numbers let us start off with some stats for the year.
My 2015 World Tour Numbers:
- 11 Disney Theme parks on 3 continents at 5 different resorts
- Combined for over 60 days in Disney theme parks
- Racked up approximately 30,000 miles in the air (Hong Kong, Paris & Orlando flights) and 5,400 miles on LA Freeways (Disneyland trips)
- Put over 500 miles on my tennis shoes walking the parks & resorts
- Over 75,000 SLR pictures at the parks & resorts
- Over 10,000 Cell Phone Pictures (and not 1 selfie) at Disney Parks, Resorts & D23 Events
- Which translated to over 7,500 pages of pictures in my full picture sets
- Over 2,800 posts to the Geek’s Blog, most of which were “live” posts from the parks
If you have not visited any of the sections on these trips I have summary pages for the three main trips with links to all the posts, pictures, videos, thoughts & observations from each. Here are links:
Hong Kong Disneyland & Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Summary, Disneyland Paris Trip Summary, Walt Disney World Trip Summary
Since it was my first trip to Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Paris I really cannot comment on what is new or changed since everything was new to me. I was able to experience Easter/Spring festivities in both Hong Kong and Tokyo and Halloween in Paris. In the coming weeks/months I plan to post a series of articles with more of my thoughts and comparisons from all the Disney Parks. If there is anything you are interested in hearing about please share your question/ideas.. either in the comments below or email me.
Disneyland is my “home” resort since I live in Southern California I visit the parks here most frequently and through the site track the big and small changes. I closed out the year with an interesting stay between 2000 & 2015 I logged exactly 500 Disneyland visits.
The big three stories were the 60th Anniversary, price and security increases and Star Wars is coming. There were too many small changes to note but the overall trend continues of Disneyland slowly loosing more of its quiet and unique spaces.
2016 will kick off with more of these fading away as we will loose the Big Thunder Ranch Area forever and much of the North/West portion of the park will change to accommodate Star Wars which is moving in (or taking over depending on your perspective). Anyone planning to visit in 2016 should come prepared for large portions of Disneyland to be closed. Starting in January you will find the Rivers of America including Fantasmic!, the Mark Twain, Columbia, Canoes, Tom Sawyer Island all closed as well as the Disneyland Railroad due to Star Wars. Also in January several renovations projects are slated to begin including Autopia and Jungle Cruise. Add in the regular closures of Small World and Haunted Mansion to remove the Holiday overlays. Over at Disney California Adventure some off season closures include Soarin, Grizzly River Run and World of Color. At the Disneyland Hotel several of the pools and Goofy’s Kitchen will be closed for renovation.
Not a lot is known in terms of timelines and openings but we do know that the replacement for the Flying Tires, Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters should be opening early in the year. The Star Wars project will be several years in the no official date given yet.
Below is a list of some noteworthy additions/changes in 2015 at the Disneyland Resort.
Disneyland Resort Notes from 2015:
- Frozen Fun officially kicked off in 2015 featuring Frozen Meet & Greets, a sing along, Freeze the Night and Snowfest
- Boudin Bakery Tour Renovation & Updates
- Grizzly Peak Airfield replacing Condor Flats
- Inside Out Pre-parade before the Pixar Fun Parade
- New Nighttime Entertainment – Disneyland Forever, Paint the Night & World of Color Celebrate
- New Enchanted windows at the Emporium – Peter Pan, Cinderella, Princess & the Frog, Toy Story, Frozen and Aladdin
- Attraction Updates – Matterhorn, Peter Pan’s Flight & Hatbox Ghost returns to the Haunted Mansion
- Parks 60th Anniversary on July 17
- A new version of the Disneyland Band starts playing around the park
- Star Wars: Season of the Force Takes over Tomorrowland – Star Wars Launch Bay, Hyperspace Mountain, Star Tours destination, Jedi Training
- Several Film Sneak Peaks – Cinderella, Tomorrowland, Ant Man, and Good Dinosaur
Note: to see pictures from all these milestones as well as several other changes throughout the resort this year you can click back through my picture sets from 2015.
Walt Disney World Resort
I only made it to Walt Disney World once this year due to the overseas trips eating my vacation time and budget. Looking at the changes from my December 2014 to December 2015 trips there were a several small projects but nothing too grand unveiled. Some of the noteworthy changes include:
- Magic Kingdom – The expanded hub & Skipper Canteen restaurant
- Epcot – Nothing really.. some new entertainment and ongoing work on a new Soarin Theatre & Frozen in Norway
- Animal Kingdom – Harambe Market, African painted dogs, Discovery Island changes (more space, new Tree of Life roots, Riverside Depot, new color palette) & ongoing work for Rivers of Light opening in 2016 and Pandora opening in 2017
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Closures were the theme of the year with the removal of the giant hat, and closure of several attractions – Legend of Jack Sparrow, the Backstage Tour, the Magic of Disney Animation, and the last season for the Osborne Lights. One new addition is the Star Wars Launch Bay took over the old Animation Building. Also TCM began sponsorship of the Great Movie Ride and made a few modifications to it.
- Disney Springs – Is still a very active construction zone with the Town Center and much of the Landing still to open in 2016. Several restaurants and shopping locations opened in 2015 highlighted by the Boathouse, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar and Morimoto Asia. World of Disney was also expanded and the new Orange Parking Garage became fully operational.
- Resorts – Polynesian Village Resort renovations continued the opening of the new lobby and Trader Sam’s Grotto. Construction is underway at the Wilderness Lodge for a DVC expansion.