September 4, 2019

Visiting Walt Disney World during Fall 2019: What’s New at the Disney Parks, Hotels, Food & More

This fall 2019 has so many fun and unique experiences opening at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. From the Grand Opening of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, the Grand Opening of Disney’s Riviera Resort, the NBA Experience and the debut of the Disney Skyliner this autumn.

It’s the perfect time to take your family or girlfriends for an incredible Disney trip! I just left Walt Disney World for the incredible Permission to Hustle Disney mastermind retreat, and I have exclusive, insider information on all of these fun experiences and more!

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

New at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, a 14-acre expansion that instantly transports you to a galaxy far far away called Batuu.

Walking into Galaxy’s Edge, you notice that the park employees are totally in character, right down to the way they greet you “Bright Suns!”. I felt teleported back to my youth in the 80’s when every child wanted to live in Star Wars, and I was often dressing up as Princess Leia.

There is so much to see and do in Galaxy’s Edge from rides, interactive experiences like building droids or light sabers, eating galactic food, interacting with characters, seeing the first full-size Millennium Falcon ever built (along with the one at Disneyland in California) and shopping. For more detailed reviews of Galaxy’s Edge check out these blogs by my friends Some Day I’ll Learn and April Go Lightly.

Galaxy’s Edge Rides

At the moment, there is only one ride open, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, which is an absolute BLAST! What makes this ride so unique is that every person on the ship has a job critical to the ride, which makes each experience on the ride unique.

You can be a pilot, engineer or gunner. I was the right pilot who is responsible for pulling the Millennium Falcon into lightspeed ahead, no pressure at all! But seriously, I felt like such a kid piloting the ship. Who has not dreamed of piloting the Millennium Falcon!

As a little cheat, look for green lights which illuminate the task you are supposed to perform to make your ride as smooth and high-scoring as possible.

The second ride, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens on December 5. So naturally I already want to go back and visit again!

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. The first full Millennium Falcon ever built!

Savi’s Workshop & Oga’s Cantina

Make reservations as soon as possible for Savi’s Workshop to build your own lightsaber and to dine and drink at Oga’s Cantina. I did not get to build a lightsaber on this trip, but I’ve heard the experience is amazing!

We did have breakfast at Oga’s Cantina and it was a galactic treat! I drank a Black Spire Coffee, which tasted like a cross between a Chai Tea Latte and an Iced Coffee. Yum! I also had the Rising Moons Overnight Oats (which are gluten-free) and feature oats, passion fruit (so good!), yogurt and seasonal fruit. I highly recommend both!

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Starting on August 29 and running through November 23, 2019 is the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. This festival includes delectable foods and drinks from around the world, served tapas style so you can sample a variety of different items.

Pick up a passport as you enter the park or around the park to view all of the food and drinks and ensure you get to sample your favorites.

There are options for vegetarians and gluten-free diets, which was really helpful for me.

My favorite things I tried are the Saki Slush (I got pineapple and coconut) and the sushi. It was DELISH! They also have shave ice in various flavors including a gorgeous rainbow one if you want a non-alcoholic drink or for kids.

I also loved the Madras Red Curry with Roasted Cauliflower, Baby Carrots, Chickpeas and Uncle Ben’s® Basmati Rice at India’s Pavillion.

Each day features unique experiences, from celebrity chefs, Eat to the Beat concerts (we saw The Plain White T’s), candy sushi, food and beverage tastings and celebrity meals. Some of these experiences likes the tastings and celebrity meals require a separate reservation and ticket, so make sure to check the schedule in advance for the day or days you plan to visit.

Eat to the Beat often features artists for 1, 2 or 3 days, and they perform about 3 concerts a day. So don’t worry about making only one show time!

There are also newer play areas at Epcot for young children and babies that both of my kids really enjoyed playing at during our trip in March. They are located near the front entrance and are well-shaded with seating for parents. This is my favorite place in Epcot to edit photos!

Extra Magic Hours

New this fall are Extra Magic Hours, a special experince for Walt Disney World Park guests who are staying at a Disney Hotel from September 1 – November 2.

During the Exra Magic Hours you can visit Galaxy’s Edge between 6 am – 9 am for a better experience with less guests. And as an added bonus, you get to see the entire park all light up in gorgeous purples, blues and oranges before the sun rises.

As we were leaving, we saw the sun rising over Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge and it made the experience even more special. It’s almost like you are seeing a run rise over Batuu!

Sun rising over the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

Disney’s Skyliner

Imagine a state of the art Gondola ferrying you around Walt Disney World. That my friends is Disney’s Skyliner, opening on September 29th.

It links the Art of Animation, Carribban Beach and Riviera Resorts to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

Disney loves to make the process of getting people from one place to another fun, and currently has a monorail, ferries, buses and of course, Magical Express for transportation to and from the Orlando Airport and Disney Hotels.

Skyliner is one of the things I am most looking forward to, growing up in Southern California and remembering the Skyway that closed when I was 14 years old in 1994 (not to age myself or anything!).

Each Skyliner gondola has seating designed to hold up to 10 people with bench seating. They are all uniquely designed with colorful decor and various character with a comfortable interior.

A few features of Skyliner that I am really impressed by are how the engineers designed each gondola with cross-ventilation and special windows to reflect the at times harsch Florida sunlight.

Disney’s Riviera Resort

Projected to open on December 16, 2019, Disney’s Riviera Resort will transport you to Europe for a stay filled with grandeur inspired by the castles and fairy-tale villages.

Unique to this resort are a huge range of accommodations including the first ever small 2-person Tower Studios (perfect for a couple or friends who don’t plan to spend much time in the room with a microwave, small refrigerator, drawers and a cleverly hidden pull-down queen-size bed that just as easily tucks away to reveal a comfortable lounge-worthy space).

The resort also features spacious 1-Bedroom Villas, 2-Bedroom Villas and 3-Bedroom Grand Villas and of course is a part of Disney’s Vacation Club.

The ambiance of Disney’s Riviera Resort will extend outdoors—where beautiful gardens, bubbling fountains, lush landscaping and a serene waterfront for picturesque strolls outdoors.

Riviera Resort is also located on the Skyliner, which you can take to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

Holidays at the Walt Disney World Resort

Holidays officially start in the park on November 8th at all four Walt Disney World parks. New this year, the Animal Kingdom will feature festive holiday decor including Pandora (which sounds incredible!)

The Magic Kingdom will feature a brand-new holiday-themed fireworks show called Minnie’s Wonderful Holiday Show that runs from November 23 – December 29.

Epcot features different holiday processionals that sound really fun and festive.

NBA Experience

New this Fall 2019 at Disney Spring’s is the NBA Experience, a limited ticketed event for NBA fans. Tickets are $34 and up for guests aged 10 and over.

Live out of your slamdunk dreams at the Slam Dunk Challenge with an adjustable goal post, so everyone can dunk. That’s right, everyone can dunk!

You can measure your vertical leap, go behind the scenes of draft day, geek out on NBA trivia. There is also an NBA store to pick up NBA-themed fan gear celebrating your favorite basketball players and teams at this specialty shop in the NBA Experience.

And there you have all of the amazing, fun-filled experiences so you know what to do this fall 2019 at Walt Disney World Resort!

What are you most excited about this fall? Share with me below!

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