Happy New Year!
For our first post of 2018, we thought we’d drop in for the most riveting type of content: a housekeeping update. Since we like to do a few of these per year to keep regular readers apprised of what’s going on behind the scenes, we thought we’d get one knocked out early this year. It doesn’t hurt that there’s a decent amount going on behind the scenes right now.
Our first tidbit is not all that exciting. I’m in the process of updating the blog to make sure everything is accurate for 2018. While many of our most popular posts receive regular updates, others are more static, and are updated annually. On the site’s backend, I can see which ones haven’t been updated recently, and refresh them–a process I’ve been going through pretty much nonstop since the day after Christmas.
The “problem” is that I wrote more than ever before last year, and as the blog grows, this task of updating old content becomes even gargantuan. I miss posts that need to be updated, or particular details while skimming. This is where your help would be greatly appreciated–if you stumble info that is stall or no longer accurate, please leave a comment on that post indicating as much (I see new comments no matter how old the post.) In more exciting news, we’re also heading back to Walt Disney World later this month…
Last year, we took my parents in February, and we had such an awesome time at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts that we decided to do a return trip this year. We heaped a ton of praise on the inaugural version of this event, but perhaps the better endorsement is that we’re putting our money where our mouths are and returning specifically for this event.
One thing we are not looking forward to is the potential for unseasonably cold weather. If you read our updated Winter Disney Packing Guide today, you saw that snow is in the forecast for Central Florida. The long-term forecast doesn’t look much better, either.
While photographing a snow-covered World Showcase is the stuff of my dreams, the reality is that it’ll just be colder than normal and maybe there will be sleet. (And maybe it’s just me, but I swear cold weather in Florida feels about 20 degrees colder than it actually is. It was -11Âº here when I got up this morning, but I’m still dreading 40Âº weather in Florida.)
The silver lining with this weather is that it’ll hopefully keep people away, and the parks will be even less crowded than they typically are this time of year. If off-season turns to “ghost town” because of the cold, that’s a fair trade-off in my book.
Beyond Festival of the Arts, we’re excited about spending a lot more time at Disney Springs. The Edison, Maria & Enzo’s, Enzo’s Hideaway, and Pizza Ponte are all new, and perhaps another location will be open by the time of our trip. We’re particularly interested in The Edison, but we’ve blathered on about that in a number of Disney Springs updates, so we won’t fixate on that now.
We should be spending a lot of time at Disney Springs, and doing many meals there, as we’ll be staying at several of the Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels. We booked these back when it was rumored that these hotels would receive Extra Magic Hours and the ability to book FastPass+ 60-days prior to arrival, a rumor that has since been confirmed.
While we’ve already reviewed a few of these hotels, some of those reviews need to be updated. After this trip, we’ll have current reviews for all of these Disney Springs hotels.
As Walt Disney World resorts continue to see high occupancy rates and fewer discounts, we think more value-conscious Disney fans are going to start taking a harder look at the Disney Springs hotels, so hopefully our hotel-hopping will be useful.
Of course, we’ll be getting our “fix” with stays at Disney-owned resorts. We’re also staying at a new-to-us Disney resort, albeit not one at Walt Disney World. (We’ll see if any of you can guess which one.) Hopefully, we’ll be seeing some manatees, too.
As we noted in our updated Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews post, we stayed at almost every resort in 2017, so we really don’t have much to update right now beyond the third party/off-site hotels. Old Key West and Caribbean Beach will be the big ones for 2018, but those won’t be ready for reviewing for a while.
Then there are the parks. This might be our last time seeing Disney’s Hollywood Studios in full “transition” mode, as Toy Story Land should be open–and things starting to congeal–by our next visit. I’m a dork, so I’m excited for this, as watching the redone park take shape is oddly fascinating for me.
We’re excited to revisit Pandora with lighter crowds than our last trip, and Magic Kingdom is good whenever. Hopefully crowds will make it easier to watch and photograph Happily Ever After, because we haven’t seen that show nearly as much as we’d like. I’m also curious to see firsthand how the finished product in one recently completed refurbishment turned out.
After this Walt Disney World trip, we have a bit more travel to “get out of our systems” this spring, but this is pretty much all that’s relevant right now on the travel front.
Another focus in the immediate future is going to be adding new photos to posts. In going through old ones, I noticed that I didn’t upload as many ‘good’ photos to the blog last year. I uploaded far more ‘documentarian’ shots of food, hotel rooms, and the like.
I can assure you, I did not stop racing around like an idiot during sunset and staying out late with my tripod at night last year. I just shared fewer of the photos. So, part of the updating process is going to include uploading and injecting new photos to refresh the content, too. (The photos here are the first fruits of this initiative.)
I think that’s it for now. Basically, this post is all a long-winded way of saying our focus is mainly going to be updating old blog entries and adding new photos for the next week or so, followed by a slew of new content as we visit Walt Disney World.
Finally, while I suppose it’s “nice” of us to wish you a Happy New Year, everyone knows the right way to ring in the new year is with Big Al:
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviewspage. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Are you similarly hyped for the Epcot International Festival of the Arts? Would you consider staying at one of the Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels on your Walt Disney World vacation given the increase of perks? Anything specific coverage you’d like to see come out of this trip we take? Any other random thoughts to go with my stream-of-consciousness rambling? 😉 Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments below!
Happy new year! We just returned from WDW on 1/5 and I TOTALLY agree about the temperatures! The final few days we were there (1/1-1/4) were SO COLD. Talking temps in the mid-40s with a wind chill of 31. I’m from Texas so I was freezing, haha. That wind made it brutal though! You guys are totally right when you have to be prepared for all sorts of weather! I’m glad I brought two jackets and gloves so I could layer!
Happy New Year, Tom & Sara! Hope the two of you are enjoying your trip in WDW. My husband and I were just there right before Christmas & stayed 1 night at the Holiday Inn on Hotel Plaza Blvd. We know that they are going thru renovations right now, we just didn’t like the fact that we had to pay a $12 fee for their amenities (bus transportation, water bottles in the room, pool, etc…) which was not announced when making the reservation AND then pay another $12 to park our car (this we knew about and budgeted into the cost of the price of the room). Even though we got a nice rate on our room, after adding both $12 fees to the rate and the atmosphere of the hotel…it would have been better staying at a WDW resort.
We are guessing that the two of you are going to visit the Disney resort in Vero Beach! Enjoy it! If you really want to see a lot of manatees, go to Downtown Fort Pierce (next town south) as they have a manatee observation center there. Truly amazing to see A LOT of these mammals grouped together! (For a cheap and wonderful lunch…go to Dale’s BBQ. The 2 of you can dine for less than $10! And it is worth it!)
Tom, your blog continues to be my daily source to plan my future Disney trips. I think I’ve almost got my S/O convinced to go to Tokyo just to visit Tokyo Disney and nothing else, but it’s still a work in progress.
Thanks for the great pics!
I work in Town Center at Disney Springs in my Guest Show role stop by for a visit if you can when you come would love to meet you and Sarah.
I’m so nervous about running the Princess Half at the end of February- in runDisney instagrams runners are wearing mittens and scarves. I check the blog any time Disney is on my mind, so I would love a post about how bad (or good, fingers crossed) the weather actually is and what exactly you wore. I’ve only ever gone to Disney once and it was in January, so I don’t yet have a sense of Florida “usuals” for winter.
Currently staying at Disney during this unseasonably cold weather; it’s so cold we’ve been debating whether dead of summer weather would be better! One good thing is the crowds seem to die down the darker it gets, at MK this Wednesday my party members that stayed late (I couldn’t face the cold any longer around 10:30) went on pretty much every ride in the park with little to no wait, even Seven Dwarves. Come prepared for cold, one thing that would have been really useful would have been mittens or gloves where you can remove the finger parts or gloves that can operate smart phones. Taking off the cheap gloves I bought at the parks every time I need to check my map has been frustrating, especially when I have smart touch gloves at home!
I have the mittens that convert to fingerless gloves and that was a lifesaver during all of those cold days and nights! We just left on 1/5 and were there for those freezing days right around the start of the year! BRR!
If I could make one small suggestion, when you update old posts is there any way you could somehow highlight what the most recent updates are to the post? I see that you add at the top when the post was last updated, but most of the post generally stays the same as far as I can tell. It’s hard to tell what the “new” information is. For example, on your most recent update of Disney Hotel reviews, I see that you updated it, but without clicking on each link for each hotel in the article I have no idea which one you recently stayed at.
Hear, hear! More generally, I would love to have dates on the posts, so I can easily see when the content was last updated. This would be helpful when searching the categories and getting posts that are older.
We’re going later this month- 18th through the 22nd for one last trip before our APs go poof. Maybe I’ll see you! I’m praying for at least 60s for the weather, but I’m hoping if it is much colder then that the parks will be quiet!
Happy new Year, Sara and Tom! I always look forward to your honest posts and your beautiful photos. I have been thinking about the Swan and Dolphin too since it was announced that they would be getting early fp’s too. So, am looking forward to your report.
My husband and I were at WDW this past February too, from the 6th to the 16th. We loved the Art festival too. But this year, we are going February 27 to March 7th at a new resort to us, POFQ. Can’t wait.
Happy New Year!! Staying at Vero Beach?
I’m looking forward to your Disney Springs hotel reviews! I stayed at Hilton Buena Vista Palace and thought it was decidedly meh, so I’m interested to see what you have to say about other properties!
Happy New Year! Thank you for your amazing blog!
We are staying at the Hilton Lake Buena Vista, for the first time, in early February. I had totally forgotten about the Festival of the Arts, I’m so excited we will get to be there for it!!
Happy New Year Tom and Sarah! Thanks for all you do! This blog (and TC) have really inspired us to expand our travel horizons! We’re looking forward to our 1st SoCal trip in April and hopefully somewhere international in 2019, either DCL in Europe or maybe Japan. I’m not sure if this counts as “housekeeping” but any updates on getting the comments section fixed?
Just wanted to say thank you for your blog, especially how up-to-date it is. I’m all the way down the rabbit hole amidst planning for our trip, with 15+ tabs open to your posts at the moment but it has been very helpful as we have never been to Disney before and had no idea what we were getting ourselves into! We will be in WDW for the Epcot International Festival of the Arts so hopefully we will see you around!
Happy new year everyone! We’re visitung for 2 weeks from April 29-May 12. If you were a gambling man, would you bet on us being able to visit Toy Story Land? Not the end of the world if we can’t, but it’d be great if it were ready by then.
Happy New Year Tom and Sarah! I’m already looking forward to your trip report from the Arts fest. We are planning to hit it up next February (yes, 2019). Also, we will be spending a few days at the Hilton Head Resort this summer, so I’m interested to hear how it compares to Vero Beach. Have fun!
Happy 2018! Your posts have such great details for all our planning of Disney trips. Thank you. I grew up in Crystal River, Florida – about 1 hour 45 min northwest of Orlando. That’s where you’ll really see a manatee gathering! Especially now with the cold weather – they are all huddled together in 3 Sisters Springs. Have fun! We’ll be there next November!