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Limited Time Magic

What's New at Disney World and Disneyland for 2013

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Limited Time Magic Pirate Week at the Disney Parks in 2013.
Disney. Used with permission.
For the past few years, the U.S. Disney theme parks have been presenting yearlong events to drum up excitement and business. During 2011 (and extended into 2012) for example, the resorts offered Let the Memories Begin, which featured elaborate nighttime shows that cleverly incorporated photos and videos of guests enjoying the parks. Other recent events have included the prize-a-rama Year of a Million Dreams, and The Happiest Celebration on Earth, which turned Disneyland's 50th anniversary into a bicoastal blowout. For 2013, the hoopla will be a bit subdued as the parks offer Limited Time Magic.

The gist of the event is that every week throughout the year, the parks will present something special -- an extra dash of yo-ho for Pirate Week or putting the spotlight on Disney meanies during Unleash the Villains, for instance -- to supplement the everyday magic that the parks have to offer. The upside is that no matter when visitors arrive at either Disney World or Disneyland, there will be something happening somewhere at the resorts. The downside is that each mini-event will have a limited run (hence the name), and won't last more than one week in most cases. If one of the bashes, such as sashaying through the parks with Captain Jack Sparrow, strikes your fancy, you'll have a limited window of time to plan your visit. I'd imagine that some less-informed guests may end up disappointed when they discover that Pirate Week or some other appealing happening wrapped a few days before they arrived.

The concept of presenting a bunch of blink-and-they-are-gone events sounds fun enough. But the name Disney has developed for its 2013 theme, Limited Time Magic, is a curious choice. It accurately describes the yearlong series of presentations, I suppose. But it also conveys a sense of anxiety. "Hurry up! We're gonna miss all the excitement." It also rings of hucksterism. "Act now, before it's too late!" And for places that enjoy reputations based on enduring magic, tacking on the descriptor, "limited time," seems oddly restrictive.

In addition to Pirate Week and Unleash the Villains, the Disney resorts will also roll out:

  • Long Lost Friends Week- Second-banana characters such as Remy and Clarabelle Cow will take center stage.
  • Independence Week- Chants of "USA! USA!" will ring as patriotic 4th of July hoopla is extended for seven days.
  • True Love- Mushy Valentine's Day morphs into Valentine's week.
  • Dapper Dans Sing Boy Bands- Among the stranger offerings. The Main Street U.S.A. barbershop quartet will incongruously croon hits from teen dreams such as *NSYNC and One Direction.
  • Golden Horseshoe Revue- One event that's sure to bring a smile to nostalgic Disneyland fans will be the monthlong return of the beloved show to Frontierland.

While the fleeting events will come and go, visitors will get to enjoy newish attractions at both resorts regardless of when they visit. In California, the expanded Disney California Adventure awaits with the recently opened Cars Land and the front-entrance makeover of Buena Vista Street and Carthay Circle. At Walt Disney World, the Fantasyland Expansion at the Magic Kingdom will offer the new Journey of the Little Mermaid, Enchanted Tales with Belle, and other features in Storybook Circus and Fantasyland Forest.

Also, Disneyland will be introducing a new show at its Fantasyland Theatre in the summer, and guests will be able to meet the Disney princesses at the new Fantasy Faire opening in the spring.

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