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Taking the Kids: And saving the galaxy at Walt Disney World this summer

Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

Just as important, said Diaz, the attraction will encourage kids—and especially girls – “to do something as cool as science, ” whether as space explorers, engineers, or perhaps Disney Imagineers.

So after being introduced to Xandar—and the nudge toward STEM – we are teleported to a Starcharter cruiser circling Earth. The idea is to showcase the Xandarian Cosmic Generator that can whisk us through space via artificial tunnels far quicker. Got that so far?

But the generator fails. We evacuate via Star Jumper shuttles escape pods that then enable us to chase the evil Celestial (he wants to use the Cosmic Generator to jump back in time and change the course of humanity.)

Now it’s up to us to save the galaxy! Along with the Guardians of the Galaxy, we are in for a hair-raising chase through time and space.

This is the first coaster at EPCOT, the first reverse launch of a Disney coaster, the first Disney coaster where the vehicles make controlled side-by-side rotations and one of the longest fully enclosed coasters in the world. You won’t know which song (six different ’70s and ’80s hits) you’ll hear until you blast into space!

Expect very long lines, though to save time you will be able to pay extra for individual Lightning Lane access, available at select attractions.

The recently introduced Disney Genie + , an up-charge of $15 a day per person, gets you the next available Lightning Lane entrance for certain attractions, but not the most desired, like Cosmic Rewind, Space Mountain, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, among them. For these, you must buy individual Lightning Lane entrances, which vary in price depending on date and demand.

Complicated? You bet. Sometimes it feels like you need an advanced degree in Disney Park-going for it all to make sense. The complimentary Disney Genie service, built into your My Disney Experience app, helps you better plan your day with updates on waits and attractions and dining recommendations based on what you told Disney Genie you want to do.

With big crowds expected this summer (Visit Orlando is forecasting summer crowds will be just about back to pre-pandemic levels) and temperatures well into the 90s you will want to pace yourselves. Take a pool and nap break in the middle of the day and return for the fireworks. Mobile order food so you arrive when your order is ready. Otherwise, you face long lines. Pre-book far in advance for character breakfasts and restaurants, especially for those at Disney Springs.


AAA is also saying that Orlando will be the top U.S. destination for Memorial Day travel, with 39.2 million people traveling at least 50 miles from home on the unofficial start to summer vacation season.

You will want to pre-book entertainment when you can, including at Disney Springs with the new Cirque du Soleil – Drawn to Life production, a Cirque-Disney collaboration with 10 unique acrobatic acts with Disney animation.

Besides the #DisneyWorld50 celebration, Orlando has plenty else to offer from Universal Orlando Resort (Harry Potter!) SeaWorld Orlando (Ice Breaker is SeaWorld’s first launch coaster with the steepest vertical drop in Florida) and LEGOLAND Florida (with the new Peppa Pig Theme Park).

PopStroke, created in partnership with Tiger Woods, has two 18-hole mini golf courses with casual dining overlooking the courses.) And with the ever-growing food scene, golf, shopping, as well as new boutique hotels (the wellness-focused ette Hotel Orlando opens in June) you can avoid the parks entirely.

Whatever you do, give up racing around trying to see everything. It’s impossible, says Diane Sheppard, a frequent Orlando and Disney guest from near Albany, N.Y. “Relax,” she said, and remember, “You’re on vacation!”


(For more Taking the Kids, visit and also follow TakingTheKids on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments. The Kid’s Guide to Philadelphia and The Kid’s Guide to Camping are the latest in a series of 14 books for kid travelers published by Eileen.)

©2022 Eileen Ogintz. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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