Special Events and Walt Disney World – The Future

Last year, Walt Disney World rolled out a lot of special events to its special event lineup.  Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas are the tent-poles of the Walt Disney World Special Events.  Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park open for 24 straight hours during Memorial Day weekend is quickly becoming a third tent-pole for these special events.  The 24-hour park day is a great promotion for the guests because it does not require an extra ticket to attend like the Halloween and Christmas Party.  The other events, on this list, are also “hard/extra ticket” events.

Disclaimer: Everything in this article in regard to what events will be coming to Walt Disney World is pure speculation.  None of these events, for this year, has been confirmed or denied by Walt Disney World.

Villains Unleashed #1

In 2014, Villains Unleashed was a hard ticket event after it debuted, as a free event, in 2013 as part of Limited Time Magic.  I attended this event in 2014 and it had a lot of problems.  Many of which can be read here.  That said, it is an event that is still worth being on the Disney calendar but it needs a LOT of improvement.  Do I see this event returning to Walt Disney World as a special event?  Yes, I do.  Do I see it returning this summer?  Probably not.

photo courtesy disneyeveryday.com
photo courtesy disneyeveryday.com

The EPCOT Wind Down, on the other hand, was a fantastic event.    My wife and I attended this event as well at the Italy Pavilion.  This event for two people was about half the cost of the Villains Party and you got a lot more value.  Guests had to wait for Illuminations to end for the Wind Down to start.  The event is not geared toward children.  The best part of the event is after the event when EPCOT is virtually empty and you can get some get pictures of the park.  Lots of people liked this event and there is a good chance, in my opinion, this event returns for 2015.

photo courtesy allears.net
photo courtesy allears.net

The last hard ticket event was Harambe Nights at Animal Kingdom.  I have not had the chance to attend this event.  I have heard glowing reviews of the show.  It had a great pre-show and then the stage show was wonderful as well.  The only negative about the show was the high ticket prices.  But almost all the shows sold out even with the high ticket prices.  Disney is looking for ways to driving traffic to Animal Kingdom at night.  Harambe Nights is the perfect vehicle to drive that traffic.  For that reason, I can see this event returning for summer 2015.

Should the EPCOT Wind Down and Harambe Nights return for 2015, every park except Hollywood Studios would have a special event: 24 Hours of Disney (Magic Kingdom), EPCOT Wind Down (EPCOT), and Harambe Nights (Animal Kingdom).  I believe there is room for two more events on the calendar.  Obviously, Hollywood Studios needs a special event and, I think, there is room for an “end of summer party” at Magic Kingdom.  But what could those events be?

Disney has a deep character line-up because it’s movie inventory.  Bringing some of the “rarely seen characters” to a Hollywood Studios would be a great special event.  However, some of the criticisms of the Villains Party need to be taken into account for this “Rarely Seen Characters” Party.  There needs to be better crowd management, character queue management, and special event merchandise management for this type of event to be a success at Hollywood Studios which doesn’t have the natural park flow to it like the Magic Kingdom has.

A second special event, especially one to “close the summer,” is tricky.  Everyone agrees that Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer.  However, there isn’t that same agreement for the end of the summer.  School starts in August in some parts of the US while it does not start until after Labor Day is other parts.  Plus, Magic Kingdom starts having Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties on September 15 of this year.

To make the event work, the event would need to be held in mid-August while summer still has a month to go.  So, branding it as an “end of summer” event probably wouldn’t work.  I’ve suggested moving the Villains Party from Hollywood Studios to the Magic Kingdom where the park flows better and more natural secondary meet-and-greet areas.  But the bad taste still lingers from last year’s Villains Party.  What I could see happening is the Villains Party taking a year or two off before returning but to Magic Kingdom.

What new special events would you like to see at Walt Disney World in the future?

Thanks for reading!

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