As the year draws to a close, I thought it would be a most excellent time to take a look back at the biggest stories of the year over here at Undercover Tourist. It should come as no surprise that the biggest headlines of the year centered around Disney. So I present to you the biggest Disney news of 2013! Plus, I'll update you on the status of some of these stories.
1. Disney Changes Admissions Policy for Unaccompanied Minors
While on the face of it, instituting an age limit for unaccompanied minors (14) at Disney World and Disneyland seems like a no-brainer. But it had a lot of readers weighing in about the appropriate age to let children visit a theme park alone. (It's not too late for you to share your thoughts.)
2. Downtown Disney Set to Become Disney Springs
This past spring, Disney announced plans to transform Downtown Disney into Disney Springs, and essentially doubling the dining, shopping and entertainment options that are currently available. The big question around Disney Springs was what was Disney going to address parking concerns -- the answer was to build a parking garage. The project got under way in April, and construction continues, although you can still access your favorite Downtown Disney destinations without obstruction. (Be sure to read our tips for navigating Downtown Disney.)
3. Disney unveils MyMagic+ and FastPass+
In our view, this was the biggest Disney news of 2013. After months, and indeed years, of testing and prototyping, Disney announced its largest initiative to date for overhauling the Disney World vacation experience. MyMagic+, along with MagicBands and FastPass+, would allow guests to book their in-park attraction and entertainment experience from the comfort of their homes or on the go via mobile app. Currently, MyMagic+ is in testing for all resort guests as well as park guests visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom. Expect to hear more about the full rollout in 2014!
4. "Tangled" Bathrooms Open at Magic Kingdom
For months, there was speculation about just what this new "area" inside Magic Kingdom would encompass. Many were in disbelief when they learned it would be bathrooms inspired by the Disney film "Tangled." Indeed, the most elaborately themed restrooms of any theme park opened in March to little official fanfare, but the fans noticed. We love the Tangled area of the park. It's a nice break from the hustle and bustle. Mom and dad can sit and recharge their electronic devices at one of the tables while the tadpoles (Lily especially) run around looking for hidden Pascals.
5. The Secret to Avoiding Disney World crowds
Everyone wants to know the secret to avoiding Disney World's crowds. Well, I am here to tell you that it is ... EASY ... at least for those early risers among you. If you're not one to set your alarm clock on vacation, there are some alternative tips for avoiding the Disney World crowds, starting with picking the least busy time of year to visit the parks via our Crowd Calendar.
What did you think was the biggest Disney news of 2013? Share in comments below!
Here's to a hoppy 2014!