Happy New Year!! by Kim Lawton

2014 has ended and 2015 is beginning. I agree with Walt Disney when he said, “The era we are living in today is a dream come true.” 2014 saw some remarkable changes at Walt Disney World and in my life. 2015 promises more innovation and excitement.

First for me. 2014 was a break out year. I learned I could live alone and manage a rough winter. Thankfully my son and his wife were just minutes away as were my sister and her family! My husband was a phone call away for moral support too. But I handled the cold and snow in ways I had never had too before. During the spring, I dealt with the emotions of parting with treasured items as we sold our home of 30 years and I moved in with my son. I watched as movers loaded the most treasured items into a trailer and hauled it to our new home. By summer, my husband and I had made our dream of living in Florida a reality! Although it would be late 2014 before I actually retired and moved. What an adventure! Thanks to everyone who supported us on this journey so far.

Walt Disney World also had an eventful year. Disney continued to capitalize on all things Frozen for the entire year as lines to meet Elsa and Anna were persistently long! Frozen themed areas were added at Hollywood Studios and the girls got their own meet and greet area as well as a holiday spectacular at the Magic Kingdom. Fantasyland was completed and The Seven Dwarf’s Mine Ride opened to mixed reviews but extremely long lines. I for one liked it! Animal Kingdom welcomed new additions in the form of baby animals as well as a new venue for the Lion King show. Downtown Disney continued the renovation that will create a totally new experience but for now is creating traffic jams. The first parking garage opened late in the year and hopefully the traffic issues will lessen. Food choices were updated as were some shows at EPCOT. While I liked the new Spice Road Table restaurant in Morocco, I still miss Off Kilter. My Disney Experience, FastPass+ and Magic Bands were enhanced throughout the year offering additional perks to Guests as well as Passholders. Other renovations, updates and new experiences continue to create a dream like atmosphere for Guests.

Many of these renovations will carry into 2015. The Maelstrom at EPCOT closed and will be re-imagined. While Hollywood Studios will lose its sorcerers hat icon, the Great Movie Ride will get an update by Turner Movies. Other rumors abound as to what else will change at that Park generating much excitement for 2015. Will it be all Star Wars or will Cars be represented as well? Time will tell. Animal Kingdom will get a nighttime show and a new marketplace. Downtown Disney will continue to be a work in progress for most of the year but maybe we will get a taste of what is to come as some of the areas are completed. As technology improves, enhancements will be offered via the Magic Band system and My Disney Experience app. All in all 2015 looks like an exciting year for dreamers. I look forward to covering it.

As for me, 2015 will be exciting too. We will continue to settle into our new home and new lifestyle embracing each change as it comes along. We will become grandparents’ midyear and welcome another daughter-in-law to our family with a late year wedding.
I hope that 2014 was a good year for all and that 2015 is even better. Dream big and look for the blessings! Walt Disney World will continue to change with the dreams of the Imaginears. Remember that dreams are the wishes our hearts make. WDW Daily News will be covering it all for you.

Happy New Year!!!

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