What’s new? Star Wars. The Disney-distributed blockbuster movie is awakening the force in many of Mickey’s parks with special attractions and rides. There’s lots of other fun, too, in parks around the world.
Information links are next to each park, along with links to find cheap flights. See Disney survival tips at the very end.
Disney Parks: U.S.
Disneyland – Anaheim, California: Southern California’s park is the oldest in the Disney empire but ever-changing. Current plans call for a new 14-acre Star Wars land (though it probably won’t open until 2017). Nevertheless, the park already boasts some Star Wars-related attractions and characters and much, much more. More information.
- Fly to: Orange Co./Santa Ana (SNA) is closest but flying into the nearby hub of Los Angeles (LAX) often means cheaper fares. Another possibility is JetBlue’s focus city of Long Beach (LGB) which frequently has good deals for folks in western states.
Disney World – Orlando, Florida: Experience Star Wars thrills by zooming into space via a 3D, motion-simulated galaxy flight. More information.
- Fly to: Orlando but if you’re feeling frugal, check prices to Tampa; it’s about 80 miles away but could be significantly cheaper.
Disney Parks: Europe and Asia
Paris: Disney Paris has Frozen fun plus Dumbo, Big Thunder Mountain and other popular attractions. More information.
- Fly to: Paris.
Hong Kong: Hong Kong Disneyland features the Jungle River Cruise and parents of little ones will be delighted to see It’s a Small World. [or maybe not!] More information.
- Fly to: Hong Kong.
Shanghai: The Shanghai Disney Resort is the newest park. Grand opening is June 16 but tickets go on sale March 28. More information.
- Fly to: Shanghai.
Tokyo: Tokyo Disneyland has favorites like the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Jungle Cruise, and don’t forget Tokyo’s DisneySea. More information.
- Fly to Tokyo.
LISTEN: Rick Seaney is theme park veteran.
Disney Survival Tips
These tips could make the Disney experience a little easier and maybe even a little cheaper.
1. Hit the kiddie rides early
I know this is true in U.S. parks and may be true at others: Go to the rides for the youngest children first thing in the morning. For some reason, parents with little ones don’t seem to get to the parks until mid-morning.
2. Try FastPass (where available)
This usually free service is available in many Disney parks. Simply find a FastPass kiosk near the rides of your choice and it will hold a place in line for you at a later time. One less line for you to wait in.
3. Take a break
You’ve been waiting in long lines with a bunch of little kids. You deserve a break (Disneyland’s sister-park California Adventure has a restaurant called Wine Country Trattoria with window service). Or just grab a bottle of water (many parks let you bring your own) and sit down for a while, out of the sun.
4. Bring these essentials
Sunscreen, water and rain gear: Summer temperatures in some of these parks can be brutal so use sunscreen and drink lots of water. Don’t let the rain stop you, either; buy a cheap plastic poncho before you get to the park (we’ve seen fold-up, pocket-sized ones for around $5 in big box drugstores).
5. Don’t bring this
Selfie -sticks. These are banned on all Disney properties.
6. Make some memories
Do take plenty of pictures, and don’t forget something for autographs. You don’t want to make the Disney princess wait while you rummage around in your purse, right? Have a paper and pen handy for the characters, and Chewbacca will thank you.