Okay, Disney World is pretty much always magical, so what's so great about the "Coolest Summer Ever" events? It bumps the Disney magic up a notch. I recently visited with my two high-energy, Disney-loving boys to see what the fuss is all about. We weren't disappointed (especially with the Star Wars extravaganza at Hollywood Studios). Here are the highlights for 2015 summer magic.
Frozen Fun The characters of Arendelle will be partying it up this summer at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Princess Anna, Queen Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf have quite the busy schedule with a string of appearances and activities scheduled from June 17-Sept. 7. There's the Frozen dance party, cool character meet-and-greets, the royal cavalcade, the super popular sing-along celebration, plus nightly fireworks capping off the magic.
Star Wars Weekends. If your boys are like mine, they like anything to do with The Force. During Star Wars weekends this summer, there's special Jedi training sessions, interactions and meet-and-greets with the cast including Chewbacca, Yoda, Darth Vader and the rest of the crew, plus there's the don't miss Star Wars motorcade.
Downtown Disney. It's nice to take a break from the rides to explore Downtown Disney, where you'll find new restaurants, shops, waterfront dining areas and entertainment. Did you know that Disney has over 75 venues to choose from? And it keeps growing as Downtown Disney expands into Disney Springs a new waterfront extravaganza of flavors and taste. Be sure to hit the new Boathouse restaurant which sits right on the water and offers an upscale eatery for mom and dad (think lobster, crab cakes and steak) and yummy favorites for kids (tacos, burgers and mac and cheese).
Travel Around the World at Epcot. Discover the magic around the world in this summer's Epcot World Showcase. One of the best places to view the IllumiNations fireworks at night is the new restaurant Spice Road Table, which will transport you to Morocco where you can enjoy yummy small plates and drinks while the sky is alive with color. Also worth checking out this summer at Epcot is the Soarin' ride which feels like you're actually flying over the topography of California: over the Redwoods, beyond the snow-capped mountains, along the surf and sand and through the desert. It was my six-year-old's favorite ride.
Typhoon Lagoon. It can get pretty hot in Orlando in the summer and a good place to cool off is Disney's water park Typhoon Lagoon. Fans of the Disney channel's "Teen Beach 2" will love the "Teen Beach 2: Beach Party" that goes through July 5th and includes beach games (including hula hoop contests), theme parties, and a DJ cranking out tunes. Add to this lots of heart-stomping rides and a giant wave pool and it's a teens dream come true.
Magic Kingdom Celebration. Disney has launched a host of new rides and attractions in the Magic Kingdom, including unveiling the new Fantasyland (which is the largest renovation in the Disney history). This summer, the magic of Disney comes alive in the Festival of Fantasy Parade, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the new Dumbo ride, plus the super popular splash area for the little ones.
So don't worry, you'll have plenty to see and do this summer at Disney's magical theme parks.
Judy Koutsky is the former editorial director of KIWI magazine, a green parenting publication. She was also executive editor of "Parenting," "AOL Parent" and "BabyTalk." Follow her on Twitter: @judykoutsky.
Insider Tips: Make the Most of Your Disney Vacation
First image courtesy of Disney; second image courtesy of Judy Koutsky.