The Awaken Summer media events continues at Walt Disney World, presenting all the fun that’s coming up for the vacation season ahead. I’m working on plenty of articles on videos to highlight things like the latest part of the Disney Springs expansion, new attractions, and the night-time transformation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. In the meantime, here are five quick highlights from the event so far.
Behind the walls at Disney Springs and Epcot
Two eagerly awaited projects at Walt Disney World are the completion of the Disney Springs entertainment district and the new Frozen-themed ride and meet and greet with Anna and Elsa area in Norway at Epcot. While both of those areas are still under construction, I got a chance to go into the hard hat zone. The newest park of Disney Springs will open in May, but you’ll have to wait until later this year for your Frozen fun.
Star Wars fireworks and characters
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is your headquarters for Star Wars experiences, from shows to fireworks to character greetings. I watched Symphony in the Sky: A Galactic Spectacular, enjoyed the Star Wars memorabilia in the Launch Bay, coveted the light saber umbrella in the gift shop. I also met some characters, including Chewbacca and Kylo Ren. The latter was quite intimidating, as you can tell from the photo.
Good food and drink
Walt Disney World is a great place for dining and imbibing. While I was at Disney Springs, I enjoyed a drink at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, a wonderful waterfront hangout, and indulged in dinner at Morimoto Asia, which is one of my Disney Springs go-to eateries.
Adventures by Disney, Disney Cruise Line, and Disney Vacation Club
ABD, DCL, and DVC always have new offerings, and I learned about the latest and greatest, including the new Adventures by Disney river cruises. Disney’s transforming river cruising into a family activity. Meanwhile, DCL has its new itineraries and new ships on tap, and DVC’s adding to its presence at Wilderness Lodge.
I’ve met some Disney legends in the past, but during the Awaken Summer event, I had the chance to meet a conservation legend: Dr. Jane Goodall. She’s been a long-time partner with Disney, and the Disney Conservation Fund finances some of her work, including programs to inspire youth to protect animals.