Wishes Get Bigger as Disney World Expands!

Almost half of the kids who have their wishes granted through Kids Wish Network wish to visit the awesome theme parks here in sunny Florida. Whether they prefer the Walt Disney World Resort or the Universal Studios Resort, it doesn’t matter; they just have too much fun! Either way, at both awesome parks, the kids who wish to visit there will now have some new experiences and memories to take home with them! I’m talking ALL NEW RIDES and ATTRACTIONS!

Now, as a Florida resident, I’ve been spoiled with only a one hour drive to Disney and Universal and I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited all of the parks at their respective resorts. I can honestly say that, though I’ve been excited about visiting these parks whenever I go, I’m more excited to visit them now than I ever have been before. Why? Because they’re expanding!

At Universal Studios, you can now visit the magical Wizarding World of Harry Potter section of the park that faithfully recreates the world of Harry Potter from the Hogwarts Castle down to even the tiniest Snitch. There are new shops, experiences and rides, including a state-of-the-art ride called “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” that completely enchanted our wish kid Cameron, who visited the park right as it opened.

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Wish Kid Cameron and his family in front of Hogwarts Castle at Universal Studios.

However, though I am a Potter fan and one of my favorite places of all time to visit is the Jurassic Park section at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure, I am most excited about what’s going on over at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Ask anyone here at work and they can tell you quickly that I am a Disney fan through and through. My cubicle is surrounded with pictures of the Disney princesses and I even worked for 3 years at my local Disney Store!

Back in March, Disney announced that they officially broke ground on their Fantasyland expansion – the biggest expansion in the history of the Magic Kingdom. Construction will continue on into 2013, when they plan to finish the final touches on the last section to be worked on.

Although the wish kids who are visiting the Magic Kingdom from now until the expansion’s completion will have to walk by the privacy walls, they will still be able to enjoy their favorite rides and wonder what sort of magic will be unleashed when the project is finished.

As for me, I’ve been reading all I can about updates and news items – anything I can get my hands on that talks about the expansion! So far, I’ve learned that there is going to be a huge new ride, a themed restaurant, new sections in Fantasyland and several new interactive experiences to immerse families in the stories of several famous Disney Princesses.

Let’s see…I’ve found out that Beauty and the Beast will get a beautiful themed restaurant as well as an interactive experience where guests will meet Belle in the library of an enchanted castle to perform shows with her. I also read that we may even get a chance to explore Belle’s house, where she lived with her inventor father, Maurice, in the movie!

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Wish Kid Lily and Belle at the Magic Kingdom.

I also read that the 3 good fairies who looked after Sleeping Beauty are going to invite you to her 16th birthday party at their hidden cottage in the woods in this Fantasyland expansion! Supposedly, you’ll be able to interact with the party and surprise Briar Rose (aka Sleeping Beauty) when she arrives. You’ll also be able to make birthday greetings for her! Woo! A Princess’s party!

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Wish Kid Mackenzie curtsies with Sleeping Beauty at the Magic Kingdom.

Cinderella might also get a chateau of her own where guests will have a special interactive experience with the “rags to riches” princess and even witness the magic that transformed her own rags into a beautiful gown. Oh! I can’t wait to see that! I saw it once during a show where the Disney Villains took over the show and Cinderella’s dress transformed from her beautiful ball gown into her rags, and it was something! To see it happen the way it did in the movie will be an experience of a lifetime!

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Wish Kid Marissa and Cinderella at the Magic Kingdom.

Ooh…Tinker Bell is also going to let guests shrink down to fairy size to visit Pixie Hollow and meet the famous fairy along with her friends Rosetta, Silvermist, Iridessa and Fawn! Right now, our wish kids who want to meet the fairies can visit Disneyland in California, but Pixie Hollow is now a part of the Disney World expansion here in Florida! I think this part of the expansion will be the last to open in 2013.

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Wish Kid Gabby, her older sister and Fawn the fairy at Pixie Hollow over in Disneyland, California.

Dumbo’s famous flying ride will also be relocated, this time to a circus! In addition to gaining a second tower with flying Dumbo cars just like the original (in order to accommodate more guests), there will also be a new Dumbo-themed rollercoaster (which will be Goofy’s Barnstormer from the ToonTown Fair, but just made over) and an interactive circus tent to visit while you’re in line for the Dumbo flyers!

Hee hee…I’ve saved my favorite for last. If you’ve never been to the Magic Kingdom, I can tell you that there used to be a Grotto where Ariel, the Little Mermaid, came out to greet guests. Although they are taking this Grotto down, Ariel is now going to have a ride of her very own!!!

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Wish Kid Maxim meeting Ariel in her Grotto at the Magic Kingdom.

From the looks of the pictures of the model that Disney made that details the expansion, Prince Eric’s castle by the sea will be built, surrounded by water. Oh! All my dreams are coming true! One section will be the newly redesigned Ariel’s Grotto, where everyone’s favorite redheaded mermaid will “swim” out to meet guests and sign autographs. The other section will be a ride that will take guests on an “under the sea” journey with the Little Mermaid!!! So, in 2012, the Disney Princess updates are scheduled to finish, including Ariel’s new ride, and in 2013, Pixie Hollow will be open for guests to meet Tinker Bell. I can’t believe it!

You won’t believe how many wish kids just love the Disney Princesses and Fairies; they’re all going to be so excited! I can’t wait until 2013 to see the pictures that the wish families will send to us – just so I can see the smiles on the faces of these kids as they interact with their favorite princesses and fairies on a level that they’ve never been able to enjoy before.

Oh yeah!!! AND at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the awesome Star Wars ride, Star Tours, is now undergoing an amazing update as well! The ride will reopen next year and it’s going to be fantastic!

Oh wow. So many dreams are going to be realities very soon. I can’t wait!

Alicia
Editorial Department

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48,632 kids helped this last fiscal year through our many programs and services.

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Kids Wish Network is a charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Kids Wish Network assists children and their families through several key programs.