What’s New at Walt Disney World this Summer

orlandodisneyWho’s heading to Disney when school lets out? The mega theme park is not on my family’s list this summer, but I know thousands of Americans will be loading up the cars or hopping on planes to visit Orlando and the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Here are a few more attractions that families can look forward to enjoying when they visit this spring and summer.

Characters in Flight in Downtown Disney: If you’re not afraid of heights, take to the skies in this massive gas balloon that rises 400 feet into the air to offer riders a true birds-eye-view of Walt Disney World Resort and beyond. This ride debuted earlier this month, and allows 30 guests at a time to board the gondola underneath the yellow balloon that is decorated in hand-painted silhouettes of some of Disney’s famous “flying characters,” such as Mary Poppins, Peter Pan and Dumbo.

Trend-D in Downtown Disney: This is a new store, where Summer Sands used to be, that will absolutely appeal to Disney’s biggest female fans. It’s a boutique selling fashionable clothing and eclectic accessories — many with the trademark mouse ears logo or stylized Disney characters. Forget boring T-shirt souvenirs:  think trendy headbands, jeweled sunglasses, embroidered handbags and much, much more. The boutique opened in mid April.

Sanaa Restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge: This brand-new restaurant, pronounced “Sah-NAH” debuts May 1 with “the art of African cooking with Indian flavors.” Menu items include tandoori-roasted meats, curries, and sides, such as dahl (stewed lentils), curried crushed potatoes, stir-fried green beans and Indian style flatbreads. (Yum!)

The Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom: We’ve got a new president, so naturally, there’s a new addition to the Hall of Presidents. An audio-animatronics version of President Barack Obama will join representations of the previous 43 presidents of the United States as part of an attraction that has been celebrating American history since Walt Disney World Resort opened. Seasoned Disney visitors will recognize some other brand-new show elements when the attraction reopens in mid July.

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