A couple we know love Disney World. A lot. So much so that they decided to buy a second home in Kissimmee to be close to the park. Over the years, they figured, savings on accommodation and related costs (food, drinks, park admission, etc.) would justify the move since the family were accustomed to visiting once or twice a year. Besides, with the annual Florida resident passes they could now buy, they could drop by the park on a whim. Which they often do, sometimes for dinner and fireworks, special events, or just to ride a ride.

So, our friends will be thrilled to learn about the latest doings at Disney World, which ensures that they will continue to have plenty of new things to see and experience in the years to come.

Foremost on the extensive roster of new attractions and additions on the horizon is Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which will open at Walt Disney World Resort (and Disneyland Resort in Southern California) in 2019. To be built on massive 14-acre footprints, the attractions will feature both signature rides and immersive experiences typical of Disney in both parks.

But there’s much more. At Disney World, at which the Pandora attraction is still in its infancy, the future blueprint includes:
 
• Epcot: A brand new E-ticket attraction based on Guardians of the Galaxy… Mission: SPACE will soon experience a new Green Mission, which will take guests on a stunning tour around the world, and an updated Orange Mission that will make the trip to Mars even more spectacular. A new themed restaurant opening next to Mission: SPACE promises to be out of this world.
 
• Disney’s Hollywood Studios: An all-new Toy Story Land will open next summer… And new technologies will transform the flat cartoon world of Mickey Mouse cartoon into a wacky, unpredictable dimensional experience in Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
 
• Magic Kingdom: An all-new Tron-themed attraction will blast off near Space Mountain and a new, live entertainment theatre will find a home on Main Street, U.S.A.
• New Resort Hotel: “The most experiential concept (hotel) ever” will be dedicated entirely to the galaxy of Star Wars.
 
• New Disney Vacation Club property: Disney Vacation Club will add its 15th property, the Disney Riviera Resort near Epcot.
 
• New Transportation Options: The new Minnie Van service will provide point-to-point transportation throughout Disney… Disney Skyliner will connect Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century and Caribbean Beach resorts, and the proposed new Disney’s Riviera Resort, with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot.
Meanwhile, there are also developments afoot at:
 
Disneyland (Anaheim, Ca.)
 
Beyond Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! which opened in May, future guests of the original Disney resort will be able to discover:
 
• Pixar Fest: A limited-time-only, all-things-Pixar celebration that will launch at the Disneyland Resort in 2018. The celebration will include a new fireworks spectacular as well as special characters and entertainment experiences. Also, as part of the celebration, Pixar Play Parade will return to the resort, this time in Disneyland Park, and fan favourite Paint the Night will move to Disney California Adventure, which has one of Disney’s longest parade routes.
 
• Pixar Pier: The area currently known as Paradise Pier will take on a brand new look and name as Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure, featuring favourite Pixar characters from The Incredibles, Inside Out and Toy Story come to life. And:
 
Disney Cruise Line
 
A third new Disney Cruise Line ship will be added to the fleet, bringing the total to seven – nearly double its original size. All three new ships will be powered by one of the cleanest-burning fuels available. 
 
Somewhere in Kissimmee, our friends are smiling.
 
 

This and That

 
• The European Travel Commission has a new chair in Canada: Dana Welch of Tourism Ireland, who replaces Laura Pena (Spain), who headed the organization for the past three years. Welch has been vice-chair for the ETC; that role is being filled by Antje Splettstoesser, director of the German National Tourist Office in Canada. The ETC is an association of national tourism organizations (NTOs) created in 1948 to promote Europe as a tourist destination to the long-haul markets.

• The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) has a new web site with enhanced features for both travel sellers and consumers. For the latter, it is an enhanced search feature that is responsive to mobile devices, which allows consumers to find a travel agent on the go. For agents, there is a new Learning page with more information tutorials, as well as a one-stop resource for those who wish to start a new travel business and useful information for those who are winding down their business.  
 
• Transat A.T. Inc. is selling its stake in Ocean Hotels in order to accelerate the development of its own hotel chain in the South. The proceeds, along with the sale of its tour operating activities in France and Greece last October, will support the hotel development project, says the company.
 
• Travel industry software provider Softvoyage has launched a new module called “Attractions,” which enables agents to shop and book thousands of attractions worldwide, such as: helicopter rides over the Grand Canyon; guided tours of the Cayman Island Crystal Caves; a segway tour in Bordeaux; fishing charter in Panama; cooking classes in Rome, and more.
 

Trade Ticker

 
• Air Canada reports that it will begin daily service between Vancouver and Yellowknife on Dec. 15, operating seasonally until April 1, 2018. Special introductory fares start as low as $219 one-way.
 
• WestJet’s winter schedule has been released featuring the addition of 125 flights into and out of Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. Highlights of the winter season include new service to Huatulco, Mexico, from Vancouver and Edmonton, and Belize from Calgary.
 
• Sunwing will start a new flight service, including hotel packages, from London, Ont., to Cayo Coco, Cuba on Dec. 30, continuing through March 28, 2018. Flights to Cayo Coco from North Bay, Ont., start for the sixth consecutive year on Dec. 21, running until March 21.
 
• A brochure dedicated to faith-based tours in 2018 has been issued by Globus and Cosmos. Designed to allow Christians to explore the roots and stories of their faith with fellow believers, there are 14 tours in traditional destinations such as Italy, Israel and Jordan as well as more surprising countries such as Mexico and Poland.
 

Words of the Week!

 
“We take enormous effort to create a balance between faith and fun…”
 
- Stéphanie Bishop, managing director for the Globus family of brands, on the tour operator’s newly released 2018 Religious Travel brochure
 

 
walt disneyworld, epcot

Disney has delivered several new experiences at Disney World in the past few years, but there is much more to come.

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