Disney Park Changes
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9 Biggest Changes at Disney in 2018 — and 6 Coming in 2019

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Disney Park Changes
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KEEPING UP WITH THE MOUSE

Disney fanatics know their favorite parks are always undergoing changes big and small — so many that they can be hard to track for all but the most dedicated mouse watchers. So what was new at Disney World and Disneyland this year, and what can parkgoers expect in 2019? (Spoiler alert: A Disney vacation is still a potential money pit.) Here are some of the most notable changes.

Toy Story Land Opens At Disney World (2018)
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TOY STORY LAND OPENS AT DISNEY WORLD (2018)

In what might be the biggest and best of the year's changes, Disney's Hollywood Studios unveiled the all-new Toy Story Land, complete with the family-friendly Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster, the 4-D Toy Story Mania! ride, and plenty of chances to meet favorite characters like Woody and Buzz Lightyear.

Disneyland Adds Pixar Pier (2018)
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DISNEYLAND ADDS PIXAR PIER (2018)

Disneyland's California Adventure unveiled this reimagined boardwalk area over the summer, paying homage to some of the company's biggest Pixar hits. The new area, formerly known as Paradise Pier, includes a rebranded "Incredibles"-inspired roller coaster, the Incredicoaster, and will eventually have full neighborhoods dedicated to "Toy Story," "The Incredibles," and "Inside Out."

Magic Kingdom Puts Booze on the Menu (2018)
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MAGIC KINGDOM PUTS BOOZE ON THE MENU (2018)

Magic Kingdom has become the last of Disney World's theme parks to serve alcohol in all of its sit-down restaurants, giving parents a chance to take the edge off after waiting in an hour-long line for a princess photo op or a spin on a tea cup. Mimosas, wine, and craft beer are among libations on menus across the park. Quick-service restaurants are still alcohol-free.

Resorts Start Charging for Overnight Parking (2018)
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RESORTS START CHARGING FOR OVERNIGHT PARKING (2018)

Be their guest, but don't bring your car if you want to save some cash. Earlier this year, all of Disney World's resort hotels began charging guests for overnight parking — and the fee isn't exactly chump change. You'll pay $13 a night at the cheapest resorts, $19 a night at mid-tier properties, and $24 at Disney's deluxe hotels. Parking at the theme parks themselves remains free — at least for now.

Club 33 Arrives At Disney World (2018)
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CLUB 33 ARRIVES AT DISNEY WORLD (2018)

Disneyland's posh members-only Club 33 costs thousands to join, has a years-long waiting list, and keeps a low profile. But a touch of that exclusivity has vanished this year as new versions of Club 33 lounges also opened at Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios; yet another location is set to welcome members next year at Animal Kingdom. Membership perks reportedly include premier park passports, VIP tours, concierge services, and more.

Disney World Unveils 'Minnie Vans' (2018)
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DISNEY WORLD UNVEILS 'MINNIE VANS' (2018)

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have become commonplace, but Disney World has put its own spin on the experience with the addition of "Minnie Vans." The private vans, booked using the Lyft app, seat up to six passengers and will whisk guests anywhere they need to go on resort property. Drivers are Disney employees, and each van comes equipped with car seats for little ones.

'Do Not Disturb' Signs Disappear (2018)
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'DO NOT DISTURB' SIGNS DISAPPEAR (2018)

Disney World resorts began trading in their "Do Not Disturb" signs for "Room Occupied" signs earlier this year. It was the most visible sign of a security change that now allows employees to enter rooms at any time, but no less than once every day. Though Disney has not cited a specific reason for the change, most observers believe it was connected to a deadly October 2017 Las Vegas shooting, during which a gunman opened fire on concertgoers from his room in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

Multi-Day Disney World Tickets Get Seasonal Pricing (2018)
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MULTI-DAY DISNEY WORLD TICKETS GET SEASONAL PRICING (2018)

Rarely does a calendar year pass without some change to Disney's ticket pricing, and 2018 was no exception. This year, Disney World expanded its controversial 2016 decision to charge more for tickets during peak attendance periods. The original 2016 policy applied only to single-day tickets, but now guests who buy multi-day passes will pay more — or less — depending on the time of year. Predictably, the change spurred complaints about how complicated and expensive buying Disney tickets has become.

Pirates of the Caribbean Ditches the Wife Auction (2018)
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PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN DITCHES THE WIFE AUCTION (2018)

Both Disneyland and Disney World refurbished their iconic Pirates of the Caribbean rides this year, most notably to get rid of a scene many observers felt was long due for a change — especially in light of the #MeToo era. Now, instead of seeing a line of women being auctioned off to pirates hungry for a new bride, guests see townspeople lined up with prized belongings they've been forced to fork over to the pirates.

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge
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STAR WARS: GALAXY'S EDGE SET TO OPEN (2019)

The biggest change Disney fans are breathlessly awaiting in 2019? Undoubtedly the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, slated for summer at Disneyland and fall at Disney World's Hollywood Studios. At both parks, guests will be able to become part of the flight crew of the Millennium Falcon and get caught in a battle between the Resistance and First Order. A Star Wars-themed resort is also on the agenda at Disney World, though no opening date has been set.

Skyliner Gondolas Ready to Soar (2019)
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SKYLINER GONDOLAS READY TO SOAR (2019)

Guests heading between a handful of Disney World's resorts, Epcot and Hollywood Studios will have a new transportation option come fall: Skyliner gondolas. The fair-like ride will include some cars with Disney characters incorporated into the design as passengers. Gondolas will ferry riders to and from the two parks and Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and Riviera resorts.

Riviera Resort to Open Its Doors (2019)
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RIVIERA RESORT TO OPEN ITS DOORS (2019)

Speaking of the Riviera resort, this new Disney Vacation Club property is slated to open at Disney World in the fall. Though details are scant, the resort is expected to have about 300 apartment-like guest rooms, and a signature feature will be a rooftop restaurant offering views of Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

Mickey and Minnie to Get Their Own Ride (2019)
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MICKEY AND MINNIE TO GET THEIR OWN RIDE (2019)

Though you can wear Mickey ears, meet Mickey and Minnie characters, and spot "hidden Mickeys" throughout Disney World, the mouse has never been featured in a ride – until now. Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway is replacing the The Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios in 2019. It will feature "2½-D" details – that's 3-D, sans glasses, according to Disney – and include a new cartoon film before riders embark on a crazy, Goofy-led train ride.

Iconic Epcot 'Illuminations' Show Coming to an End (2019)
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ICONIC EPCOT 'ILLUMINATIONS' SHOW COMING TO AN END (2019)

If you've visited Epcot at night since 1999, chances are you got to experience "Illuminations: Reflections of Earth." Packed with lasers, fireworks, torches and other dazzling effects, the show will be replaced with a limited-run fireworks show called "Epcot Forever" this summer, then a permanent replacement in 2020. That's just the beginning of major changes at Epcot slated for 2020 and beyond that will include a "Guardians of the Galaxy" roller coaster and a 4-D "Ratatouille" ride.

New Coronado Springs Tower to Welcome Guests (2019)
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NEW CORONADO SPRINGS TOWER TO WELCOME GUESTS (2019)

In another effort to meet seemingly insatiable guest demand, Disney World's Coronado Springs Resort, one of the park's mid-tier hotel properties, has been busily expanding with a new 545-room tower. Scheduled for a July opening, the expansion will include a full-service restaurant and plenty of Spanish theming. Reservations are already open.