“Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” This iconic line from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs isn’t one that guests will be quoting when visiting Disney World. The Florida theme park is full of quirks, from the purple traffic signs all over the place to the fact that you’ll never see Disney employees point with two fingers. But over the years guests have noticed another strange feature: none of the bathrooms have mirrors over the sink. This isn’t so guests don’t try talking to the mirrors like the Evil Queen. But it is to have them avoid channeling another one of her qualities: vanity.
11 new things to do at Disney in 2019
11 new things to do at Disney in 2019
Mickey and Minnie's Surprise Celebration
Open: January 18, 2019 through September 30, 2019
Join Disney's Mickey and Minnie for new surprises in the Magic Kingdom. Sign the Celebration Guest Book and meet the duo (in their new party outfits!) for a picture inside the Town Square Theater. Then join them outside in front of the castle for their new Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party.
The new outdoor dance parade features a new song called "It's a Good Time," and classic cast members like Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, Chip 'n Dale and more.
Choreographer Cindy Wilson told the Disney Parks Blog, “The ‘Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It!’ Street Party is a throwback to the Mickey Mouse Club, with wonderful music that everybody’s going to want to get up and dance to, and it’s contemporary at the same time. I think when [the characters] all come off the floats, guests are going to want to just jump in.”
At the start of 2019, Pixar Place at Disney's Hollywood Studios transformed into a Municiberg city block. The park features a party for Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible and Frozone to honor their victories and a meet-and-greet with Edna Mode and her best creations. In addition, guests can look throughout Pixar Place for clues on where to find the youngest member of the Incredible family, Jack-Jack.
Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy
Opening: March 31, 2019
Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy is a new show using high tech screens. Guests (rookie racers) will learn the rules of the road from "Cars" star Lightning McQueen. There will also be a new character meet-and-greet with Cruz Ramirez.
Wonderful World of Animation
Opening: May 1, 2019
The Wonderful World of Animation is a new projection light show that will take place at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The show will take guests on a journey through more than 90 years of Disney and Pixar animations with favorites including "The Incredibles," "Coco," "Sleeping Beauty" and more.
Epcot is opening a new space-themed restaurant called Space 220. According to Disney Food Blog, the restaurant will showcase simulate space views while guests sit in a restaurant modeled after a space station. It will seat more than 350 guests, those of which will be "transported" to the restaurant by elevators covered in digital screens that will mock a trip to space.
A job posting seeking staff for the restaurant lists April 2019 as when applicants can join the cast, so we can assume this restaurant will be open by summer.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
Opening: Fall 2019
Both Disney World and Disneyland will be opening a Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. The park is being made to look like the planet of Batuu, which is a remote outpost that was once a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes and is now a safe haven for those avoiding the First Order.
There will be two main attractions where guests can fly the Millennium Falcon and another that puts guests in a Star Destroyer in a battle between the First Order and the Resistance.
Other fun additions will include Luke Skywalker's blue milk, a marketplace and toys, apparel and characters like BB-8 and Chewbacca.
If you like taking the monorail into the parks, you'll want to check out the new Skyliner Gondolas. Similar to a lift you'd find at a ski resort, the gondolas will take guests through two parks, offering spectacular views.
For more on the Skyliner Gondola system, see here.
Disney's Riviera Resort
Opening: Fall 2019
The new Disney Riviera Resort hotel is inspired by the "grandeur of Europe." It will have transportation to the parks, a fitness center, a rooftop restaurant and wide range of room sizes.
The Riviera Pool, a family-friendly pool, will be decorated with stucco façades, a slide that winds around a column tower (pictured) and a kids interactive water play area that slightly mimics the public fountains of Europe.
For adults seeking peace and quiet, there's a separate area called the Beau Soleil Pool.
While there's no set opening date yet for Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, their first ride attraction, it's set to open sometime this year. The ride will begin with guests viewing a new cartoon short with the mice getting ready for a picnic As Mickey and Minnie are leaving, they drive alongside a train where they see that Goofy is the engineer and the ride takes off from there.
There isn't a whole lot of additional information, but according to the Disney Parks Blog, "Imagineers have been hard at work creating Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, using breakthrough technology to transform a two-dimensional cartoon into an amazing real-world experience."
Opening: Fall 2019
Epcot's famous IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth nighttime lights and fireworks show is sadly ending at the end of Summer 2019, but will be temporarily replaced with a show called Epcot Forever. The new show will feature classic Epcot tunes, combining music with fireworks, lighting, lasers and special effects kites.
Then, keep an eye out, because in 2020 Disney is gearing up to replace Epcot Forever with a new nighttime show called A Celebration of Disney Music with floating set pieces, custom-LED panels, fountains, lights, fire and lasers.
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“Operators have found over the years, that if mirrors are placed above the restroom sinks, guests will tend to linger at the sinks which in turn will deter the flow of guests within the restroom,” says J. Daniel Jenkins, a theme park design consultant and a former Disney Imagineer. “At Disney and Universal theme parks, we now design guest restrooms to have a single, larger mirror near the entrance/exit to both the Men’s and Women’s restroom. Many of the existing, older guest restrooms have been retrofitted to accommodate this design standard.”
The lack of mirrors is also for people who may channel the more troublemaking qualities of Disney villains. According to Charlie Wissig, creative director of ITEC Entertainment, which plans and designs theme parks like Disney, mirrors can be easily vandalized since theme parks can’t put surveillance cameras in bathrooms. Mirrors also get dirty quickly and can be hard to keep clean and replace. Since theme parks aim to optimize guest experiences by keeping things neat and clean, it makes sense to eliminate these mirrors which can be easily smudged and broken.
Instead of having mirrors over the sink, many Disney guests have noticed instead there’s a full-length mirror by the door so people can check their appearance on their way out. So fear not—despite their scarcity, mirrors are not one of the everyday items banned from Disney parks.
With 1,250 staterooms, the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream can each accommodate 4,000 guests—and each ship has 1,450 cast members (Disney's name for its parks' employees). That means that when the ship is at full capacity, the ratio of cast members to guests is 1 for every 2.76 guests.
Cast members come from all over the world
Just like in the Walt Disney World parks, cast members on the cruise represent almost every nation around the globe. On a recent sailing, there were cast members from 66 different countries, ranging from Poland and Serbia to Indonesia and Jamaica.
Your server will speak your language
Those international cast members come in handy when it's time to order dinner. When you register for the cruise, you'll be asked which language you speak. You'll then be paired with a server who speaks the same language. And if you're American? No worries. All cast members, no matter from which continent they hail, are required to speak English. These are the three words Disney cast members can't say (in any language).
Your servers will rotate through the restaurants with you
Don't be surprised to see a familiar face or two each night at dinner. Your head server, server, and assistant server rotate through the three main restaurants—Enchanted Garden, Royal Court, and Animator's Palate on the Fantasy—with you each night. "That helps us get to know your likes and dislikes," says a head server. "For example, if you like lemon with your water or your child wants apple slices, we can have it waiting at the table when you arrive." Heading to the park? These are the 10 new foods at Disney World you must try.
Tipping is optional
On the Disney Cruise Line, tips are automatically added for dinners, beverage purchases that aren't included with your fare (alcohol, specialty coffee, fresh juices at the spa, and smoothies), room service, and spa treatments. In addition, your stateroom host will be tipped at the end of the cruise. Even though the tips are automatically included, guests can opt to have that amount lowered or raised at guest services at any point during the sailing. Don't miss these 14 ways to save on your next Disney trip.
Your server is a wealth of info
Because tipping is optional, a good server will go out of his or her way to find helpful tips to share with you. "We know where the best spots on the ship are to view the fireworks on Pirate Night (always on the starboard side) and which of the shows are worth catching (Don't miss Aladdin on the Fantasy or Frozen on the Wonder)—or skipping," says a cast member. Here are 12 etiquette rules Disney employees need to follow.
The ship's decor is a secret code
Not sure if you're on the starboard or port side, or facing forward or aft? (That's boat speak for "left," "right," "forward," and "back.") Look to the doors and the carpet. The staterooms on the starboard (left) side have fish sculptures as door markers, and those fish are swimming aft (toward the back), while the staterooms on the port side has seahorse sculptures that are also facing the rear of the ship. As for the carpet, the point of the star and the North point on the compass are pointing to the ship's front. Speaking of secrets, discover the hidden spots you never knew existed at Disney.
The kids' clubs are a hot spot for unique character spotting
If your children are big fans of a Disney movie or show, including Toy Story, Star Wars, or Doc McStuffins, make sure they're in Disney's Oceaneer's Club or Edge during the activity corresponding to the movie, like Space Ranger training or Jedi recruitment. Beloved characters will often make a surprise appearance, so your little one just might get to be face to face with Toy Story's Jessie or Star Wars's BB-8. Unfortunately there are no autograph books or cameras allowed, so this is one experience at Disney that will live on only as a happy memory.
You can skip the photo package
At $149 for ten photos, the professional photos the ship's photographers take are one of the items on the ship with the biggest markup. Instead of shelling out for the official photo of your child meeting Anna and Elsa, stand behind the photographer and take the exact same shot with your camera or smartphone. Learn what else you should skip (or splurge on) during Disney cruises.
We get eight weeks vacation
The majority of crew members are on a four-to-five-month contract, after which they must take a mandatory eight-week vacation. "Let's face it, it's hard work being 'on' six days out of seven. It's good to go home and see our families and recharge our batteries," says one crew member. They do also work on different ships and might be asked to change ships at a moment's notice.
They eat a lot of chicken
Each week before setting sail, the ship is loaded with about 12,000 pounds of chicken, 5,000 to 6,000 pounds of beef, and 10,000 to 12,000 bottles of wine, according to Disney Cruise Line hotel director Alberto Boscoe.
You can order off any of the restaurants' menus
If you loved the chateaubriand from Royal Court so much that you want it again the next night in Animator's Palate, even though it's not on the menu, chances are, your server will give it to you. Check the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app to get a preview of the nightly menu.
Working in a specialty restaurant is a coveted job
With only 12 servers each, Palo or Remy (on all four of the Disney Cruise Line ships) are the most desired restaurants for servers, but the job does come with an added challenge. "Because there are only 12 of us, it can be hard to get along," says one Palo server. "The benefit of being in the larger dining room is that if you don't like someone, you don't have to work with them."
Your opinions count
On the last day of the cruise, guests are asked to rate all their servers and stateroom attendants on a comment card. "Our managers really do read all of those, and if we've made a guest unhappy, we'll definitely be reprimanded," shares one cast member. On the other hand, share if they did something that made you happy, because praise counts too.
White uniforms don't signify we're steering the boat
Unlike on many other ships, wearing a classic white uniform doesn't mean staffers are the captain or even first mate; it means that they're managers, explains one cast member. The epaulets hold a clue as to which department they're in: theatrical masks are for entertainment, a propeller is for traditional ship crew, and an oval means they're part of the deck team. Learn about 10 dress code rules all Disney employees have to follow.
Skyline Bar holds some surprises
The backdrop of the bar Skyline changes every 12 minutes, rotating through the European cities where the Disney ships have port calls, including London, Paris, and St. Petersburg. If you look closely, you'll see that the people on the city streets are actually characters from Star Wars. "My favorite is London, where Darth Vader has the flat above Mickey Mouse," shares a cast member. Check out these other awesome perks adults will love about Disney cruises.
Even we don't know about the next top-secret ship launch
Only very senior cast members know the name and itinerary of the ship that will be launched in 2019—and they're very tight-lipped! "I'm hoping for Japan," shares one server. Only time will tell. Don't miss these other 23 secrets Disney employees won't tell you.