The start of a new year is a time for reflection, and 2018 certainly had a lot to look back on. 2018 was a great year for me personally and a great Disney year for me, too. I was able to spend the whole year visiting Hong Kong Disneyland. Not only that, I was fortunate enough to be able to go back to Tokyo Disney Resort for my birthday. Lastly, I took my fiancé to Walt Disney World for her first visit there. I have been going to WDW for the majority of my life, but to see the park through her eyes for the first time was a memory I will never forget.
As well as reflection, the turn of a new year is a time to look towards the future. Every year seems to be an exciting one when you’re a Disney fan. This year might be the most exciting one yet. Not only is there a cornucopia of blockbuster Disney movies being released, but there is also a little thing called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening this year. If you’re not already in line to get into the land, you might have to wait until next year.
The American parks aren’t the only parks with exciting things ahead. So, I thought it would be fun to count down my Top 5 things I’m looking forward to experience the most in 2019.
5. Comparing Toy Story Lands
Toy Story Land opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios was one of the biggest news stories of 2018. Although expectations were a little tempered, the land opened to rave reviews and big crowds, with the majority of people being surprised by the whimsy of the land.
I will be heading to WDW in just over a month. FastPass+ reservations are all booked, and I will be experiencing everything that Toy Story Land has to offer. I am excited to see everything that I have heard only good things about. But, also I am excited to compare it to the Toy Story Land here in Hong Kong to see what’s the same, what’s different and if I prefer one over the other.
I mean both suffer from a lack of shade, so that’s one thing they have in common.
4. Showing people Disneyland
It took me far too long to visit Walt’s park. As soon as I first stepped foot in Disneyland in 2016, I fell in love. This year, I get to visit there again. What’s more, I get to take my fiancé with me. Not only do I get to show her Disneyland, I also get to take her on some of my favorite attractions in any Disney Park. This is the last Disney Park that we have to do together which makes it even more special.
On top of this, we also have two friends coming with us who have never been to a Disney Park before. I love showing people Disney, hoping that my love for the parks catch on. Doing this at Disneyland is going to be a real treat.
Plus, I get to experience Mission Breakout for the first time. Something to check off of my own personal bucket list.
3. Special Events at Hong Kong Disneyland
Moving on and looking at my local park, there is plenty I am looking forward to enjoying. It is going to sound odd, but one of the things I am most excited to experience is something that hasn’t been announced yet. At the start of 2018, I wouldn’t have known that one of my highlights would be Journey to Halloween Town or the Pixar Pals Summer Party event that was for Magic Access Members. So again, I am excited to experience the events, attractions and shows that have yet to be announced.
If I was to guess what was to come this year, I have a feeling that Marvel will have a big presence around Easter once again. On top of this, I think there will be a big Lion King event this summer. Maybe that’s just some wishful thinking, but with us already having The Festival of the Lion King show and the release of the live action movie, I have a feeling that it’s going to be a very feline summer.
2. Pin Trading Carnival 2019
I am an avid pin trader. Pin trading is big in Hong Kong…very big, with new limited edition pins being released every month. Some of these pin releases are so popular that hordes of people (myself included) sleep in tents outside the park the night before the pin release.
One of the highlights of the HKDL calendar is the HKDL Pin Carnival. This is a multi-day pin trading event that literally takes over a portion of the park. Limited Edition pins are released, games can be played, and there are lots of activities throughout the weekend. This weekend is a lot of fun and has a big sense of community spirit. People from all over the world come to experience the Pin Carnival. As of writing they haven’t released the exact details of the 2019 Pin Carnival yet, but I have no doubt it will be a lot of fun.
1. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Nano Battle
Hands down, this is the thing I am most looking forward to in 2019. Thankfully, I only have a few more months to wait. For those of you who are unaware, Buzz Lightyear Astroblasters was an attraction in Tomorrowland in Hong Kong Disneyland. The attraction closed in 2017 and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Nano Battle has been scheduled to replace it. Originally scheduled for 2018, it has been a long 18 month wait for Ant-Man and the Wasp.
The exterior of the building was completed, and by late 2018, the merchandise store attached to the exit of Nano Battle, Pavilion Gifts opened and made my anticipation levels soar. There hasn’t been many details announced about Nano Battle, but what has been announced is incredibly exciting.
Guests will be visiting S.H.I.E.L.D.S Science and Technology Pavilion, when disaster hits and they are forced to battle HYDRA and Zola with the aid of Ant-Man and The Wasp.
Through concept art, it looks like this be a “shooter-style” dark ride in a similar vain to Astroblasters, but with updated technology and a mixture of animatronics, props and video screens.
I love Buzz Lightyear: Planet Rescue at Shanghai Disney Resort, and from what information has been released, I have high hopes that Nano Battle is similar if not superior to that attraction. I can only hope.
These are the five things I am most looking forward to experiencing in 2019. What are you looking forward to seeing? Do you have a special Disney trip planned? Will you be visiting an international resort you have never been to before? Feel free to continue the conversation at the WDW Radio Box People Facebook group.
(All photos are from the personal collection of Daniel Morris).
To learn more about Daniel and read his recent posts for the WDW Radio Blog, visit his author page by clicking the link on his name at the top of this post.