Plus…News on the Christmas Day Parade taping at Magic Kingdom, Name change to Bistro de Paris, and more!
by Don Myers
The calendar has shifted to December, and that unmistakable feeling known as the “spirit of the season” is in full effect everywhere you look. But Christmas is coming a little early to the Vacation Kingdom of the World, as the parks have a pair of big debuts on tap this week. So let’s get to it, time for the latest edition of the WDW Radio Newswire……
We begin this edition of the Newswire inside Magic Kingdom, as there’s a buzz in the air over the official opening of the latest phase of the Fantasyland Expansion. The big event takes place on Thursday December 6th, as Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid and all the components of Belle’s Village (including Storytime with Belle), will be officially opening up to the public. These elements have been in a preview stage for several weeks now, but December 6th will serve as the “official” opening date for the area. The park will be open at 9am (extra magic hours begin at 8am) and the festivities will kickoff at 10am with a special ceremony on the Castle Forecourt Stage. The park will be closing to the public that night at 7pm, as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will take over the reigns until midnight.
For more news out of Magic Kingdom, let’s take a look ahead to the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade. Portions for the event were recorded at Magic Kingdom on Friday November 30th and Saturday December 1st. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so you’ll just have to tune in to your local ABC station on Christmas Day to see how the magic unfolds! You can catch all the action beginning at 10am in the east, and 9am in the central, mountain, and pacific time zones.
Time to board the monorail and park hop over to Epcot now, where another big debut is on the horizon for Thursday December 6th. I’m referring to Test Track, which is set to re-emerge this week after a nearly eight month closure. The attraction was shut down back in mid-April for a major overhaul, one that will see a complete “re-imagining” of the popular thrill ride when it reopens December 6th. Cast Member previews have been taking place at Test Track since Thanksgiving, and preliminary reports show that the modifications are pretty much in line with original expectations. I detailed these expected changes in the January 9th and October 16th editions of the Newswire, so you can reference back to either edition for a detailed look at all the specifics.
For more news out of Epcot, we venture into World Showcase now for an update on Bistro de Paris. Extensive changes to both the menu and decor have been underway at the restaurant since July, and the location has reopened as scheduled this week after a closure of just about five months. But there’s much more to this story, as there was another distinct change at the location when construction scrims came down earlier this week, and it was an unexpected one…the name! This name change basically sends Bistro de Paris into that dark realm of extinction, as the restaurant now has a completely new look, a new menu, and a new name: Monsieur Paul.
Okay, there’s one more stop to make on today’s adventure, and this one can be found at WDW’s flagship resort: The Grand Floridian. The resort’s gift shop Sandy Cove reopened at the end of November after a major refurb to the location. The closure began back in August, so the total downtime for the gift shop was just about three months.
Well, that’s gonna do it for today’s update. But before we call it a wrap, let’s take a look at the results of our last poll. The question was:
What is your favorite Holiday tradition at WDW?
. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
. The Candlelight Processional
. Nightly lighting of the Castle Dreamlights/Cinderella’s Holiday Wish
. The Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
. Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade
. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
. Grand Floridian Resort Gingerbread House
. Beach Club Resort Gingerbread Carousel
And the winner is…..
The Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights with 44% of the total vote! Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party finished in second with 22% of the votes, and the nightly lighting of the Castle Dreamlights rounded out the Top 3 with 19% of the total vote. The Candlelight Processional finished in fourth with 11% of the votes, and fifth place was a tie between Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade and the Grand Floridian Resort Gingerbread House. Thanks once again to everyone that took the time to vote! And now on to this week’s question:
Don Myers covers news and recent events in Walt Disney World. He has been enamored with the World of Disney since his first trip to WDW in 1986. As they say, the rest is history! Don also has been a contributing writer for Celebrations magazine since 2009.