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Walt Disney World kicks off a ‘Monstrous Summer’ with an all-nighter Friday; has a bursting lineup of new thrills & happenings all season


Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort will kick off a Monstrous Summer by keeping three theme parks open for 24 hours nonstop on Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional start of the family travel season.

The Magic Kingdom Park in Florida and Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park in California will stay open from 6 a.m., May 24 to 6 a.m., May 25, 2013, local time* marking the beginning of a summer of fun inspired by the upcoming Disney•Pixar comedy adventure Monsters University.

The oversized fun of a 24-hour Disney park “All-Nighter” called for an equally epic announcement, and the huge sphere of Spaceship Earth was transformed from Disney Parks icon to Disney-Pixar “Eye-con,” becoming a 180-foot-tall, fully animated Mike Wazowski, the loveable green-bodied, one-eyed monster who joins best pal James P. Sullivan (“Sulley”) in the prequel to Monsters, Inc., this summer as college students with hopes of becoming Scarers.


Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis joined Mike to share the news of the first-ever, three-park All-Nighter.

“This summer, Disney Parks are bursting with a monstrous lineup of new thrills, shows and happenings,” said Kalogridis. “Guests can start Memorial Day Weekend with a 24-hour-marathon of memory-making as three Parks stay open all day and all night to celebrate the bi-coastal kick-off of a Monstrous Summer at Disney Parks.”



New Fantasyland – From the lofty spires of Beast’s Castle to the fathoms-deep world of Ariel, New Fantasyland pours on its first summer of fun for Magic Kingdom guests. The new space doubles the size of Fantasyland and is the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history. Be Our Guest Restaurant features a lavish dining experience in an elegant ballroom inspired by Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” animated film classic. By day it’s “great food fast” for lunch while at night it’s full-service table dining featuring French-inspired cuisine. Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid puts guests in clamshells traveling with Ariel and friends through their exciting adventures above and below the waves. Enchanted Tales with Belle takes guests to a far-off French village and right into the world of Belle, Lumiere and Madame Wardrobe — feeling transformed in the process.

Guests can refresh with a frothy LeFou’s Brew at Gaston’s Tavern. Meantime over at Storybook Circus, guests can take a spin on one of two Dumbos, dip and soar aboard The Barnstormer Featuring the Great Goofini or meet Disney characters at Pete’s Silly Sideshow. There’s more New Fantasyland to come as late 2013 sees the opening of Princess Fairytale Hall and all is on track for the spring 2014 opening of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a rollicking family coaster attraction.

Test Track Presented by Chevrolet -The re-imagined iconic attraction puts guests in the designer’s studio for an immersive experience as they create their own virtual concept vehicle before boarding a “SimCar” to race through a thrilling series of hills, hairpin turns and straightaways.

The new Test Track at Epcot.
The new Test Track at Epcot.

Splitsville Luxury Lanes – If bowling is right up your alley, come experience the hottest trend going by rolling over to Splitsville, at Downtown Disney West Side. The hip, retro-style emporium features 30 lanes across two levels, live entertainment, lively indoor and outdoor bars and upscale dining including sushi, filet mignon sliders and more.

Limited Time Magic – Magical experiences in all shapes and sizes that appear and disappear as the next special surprise debuts will continue with a weeklong Independence Day celebration highlighting the summer season – all part of Limited Time Magic at Disney Parks. Independence Week will be red, white and blue as Disney Parks celebrates America with a 4th of July Fireworks Party – for an entire week. Guests enjoy an extra dash of pixie dust each week in 2013. Limited Time Magic takes its inspiration from those special, but fleeting, moments when families spend time together with shared experiences.

Disney Junior – Live on Stage! – Disney’s Hollywood Studios guests get a real summer treat as Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First have been added to the onstage fun – joining the latest, most popular characters and stories from the Disney Junior line-up on television. Sofia the First as a series premiered earlier this year on Disney Channel and Disney Junior.

The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow experience – Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow gives Disney’s Hollywood Studios guests a chance to become immersed in the action and adventure of the four “Pirates of the Caribbean” films. Buccaneer wannabes journey deep into an eerie lost grotto, where they are put to the test to see if they have what it takes to sail with Captain Jack’s crew.



Senses, A Disney Spa At Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort – Joining later this summer its sister spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, the new Senses Spa at Saratoga Springs will be inspired by the healing properties of natural springs that have drawn people for centuries to Saratoga Springs in upstate New York. A completely redesigned space, Senses, A Disney Spa At Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, will feature 10 treatment rooms offering an array of services including water therapy, massage and facials. Senses will incorporate the springs, nature and the storyline of health in its design and theming. Call 407-WDW-SPAS.

Wilderness Explorers Comes to Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Coming soon, Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests will be invited to become Wilderness Explorers and experience the park in engaging and challenging ways aimed at deepening their understanding of animals and the natural world we live in. Taking the official pledge, armed with field guides and earning sticker badges along the way as they complete their challenges, guests explore the park at their leisure. Aimed at guests 7-10 but fun for the entire family, Wilderness Explorers will be self-guided and encourage more “up close and personal” time with the animal inhabitants of the park. Wilderness Explorers will be included in Disney’s Animal Kingdom admission.

New Meet-Up with Mickey, Minnie at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are scheduled to welcome Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests to their new exploration headquarters, Adventurers Outpost, on Discovery Island, beginning this spring. The all-new indoor retreat is the perfect spot for guests to meet the globetrotting duo as they get ready to set off on their next adventure.

Adventurers Outpost on Discovery Island.
Adventurers Outpost on Discovery Island.

A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas – Coming soon, “A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas” will be a new interactive adventure where Magic Kingdom guests participate in pirate raids throughout Adventureland. Pirate maps lead to fabulous treasures as guests join Captain Jack Sparrow and fight off the Royal Navy, Captain Barbossa, headhunters, curses — and the greatest threat of all, Calypso, the sea goddess. If they help Jack succeed in all the missions, they will be welcomed as part of his new crew. If not, they face the wrath of the cruel sea…alone. The adventure is divided into 5 different raids, each comprising a series of interactive tasks.

“Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection” – Epcot guests can journey through 400 years of African-American achievement and contribution at this just-opened exhibit at the American Adventure pavilion. Exhibits draw from an extensive collection of rare art, artifacts, documents and books amassed by philanthropists Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, who share a passion for African-American history. Included in Epcot admission.

Disney Dining – Coming by summer’s end: a re-imagined California Grill crowning Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Guests will experience a beautiful new dining room, onstage kitchen and new dining choices – chef Brian Piasecki will keep the focus on creative, fresh, seasonal dishes and top-of-the-line sushi.  At Epcot, what says summer better than ice cream? In France, L’Artisan des Glaces, an artisan ice cream and sorbet shop, debuts in mid-June with 16 yummy flavors, all made in-house with fresh ingredients (with the option of adding a shot of liquor on top, for grown-up tastes). Guests to France also will find Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, with delightful French sweets and savories, and Monsieur Paul for upscale dining that pays homage to celebrated chef Paul Bocuse.



‘Star Wars’ Weekends Returns to the Disney Galaxy in May and June – Star Wars Weekends, the Force-filled fun-fest that takes place annually at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, returns to the Walt Disney World Resort galaxy every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 17-June 9, 2013. Among the features: a special Star Wars-themed parade, appearances by Star Wars celebrities, special additions to Jedi Training Academy, a Star Wars-themed talk show, behind-the-scenes presentations, limited-edition merchandise, a nightly dance celebration and more.

Downtown Disney Revs Up for Car Masters Weekend June 15-16 -Car Masters Weekend, now in its third year, is the perfect way to celebrate Father’s Day as Downtown Disney West Side hosts a classic car show with a modern twist June 15-16, 2013. Featuring all things “Cars,” the event showcases more than 150 classic, muscle and exotic cars; a chance for guests to meet “Cars 2″ stars Lightning McQueen, Mater and Finn McMissile; and special appearances by automotive designer Chip Foose and Disney-Pixar “Cars” filmmaker Jay Ward.

Car Masters Weekend.
Car Masters Weekend.

Completing the car-nucopia of events, fans may purchase tickets for a ”Cars” & “Cars 2″ movie marathon at AMC Downtown Disney 24, “test drive” Ridemakerz “Cars” models, and enjoy caricatures, themed food and beverage, live entertainment and more. Entertainment subject to change.



Discover Disney – From now until early June, Florida residents can kick-start their summer – and score real savings with the Discover Disney ticket, offering three days of park-going fun for $119 (plus tax) for adults and children age three and up. The special Florida resident ticket can be purchased through June 3, 2013 for use any day (excluding block-out dates) from now through June 7, 2013.

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Islands of Adventure trip report – May 2013 (tour around the park and some incredible photos of Hogsmeade station)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – May 2013 (Star Wars Weekends opens, special characters & events)

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June 4, 2013 7:22 pm

I wish I was closer to wdw to take part in the all-nighter. What a great way to start off the summer

June 4, 2013 7:34 pm

Heading to the car show in a few weeks I can’t wait

June 4, 2013 8:04 pm

So many fun things! The Wilderness Explorers look so cute! I hope we get back there sometime this summer.

June 4, 2013 10:33 pm

We’ve been visiting the New Fantasyland periodically, as they open new parts. The Ariel ride is great, lots of animatronics and the classic songs you would expect. The new Be Our Guest is *divine*; we’ve tried the lunch and dinner. The food is great for both, but the ordering system for lunch is quite confusing. That seems to be the real slowdown. Star Wars Weekends was a blast, just as it has been in years past. We were not as impressed with the merchandise this year, but the “customize a stormtrooper” (or carbonite) to have your head on it looked… Read more »

June 4, 2013 11:13 pm

Yeah!!! My kids are going to be thrilled about Cars weekend! Thanks so much for sharing all of this great stuff!

About Taylor Strickland

Taylor Strickland is the owner of Orlando Informer, the internationally awarded independent resource for guests visiting Orlando. In this position, he leads the website's overall direction and day-to-day operations, working with a team of writers, editors, developers, and producers.

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