Disney World is constantly expanding and evolving. Every year new attractions are added, while old ones fade away or are completely transformed. New characters arrive on the scene, too, bringing even more happiness into the magical world of Disney. And through it all, rapidly evolving technology is making the park experience more enriching and informative. Here’s what’s new at Disney World this spring!

MagicBands: More than a bracelet! 

We just returned from a visit to Disney World, and our family was delighted by the new MagicBand experience. Every member of our family wore a lightweight, colorful MagicBand throughout our stay. These secure, all-in-one devices kept us up-to-date with all the pre-trip planning we did on My Disney Experience. With a simple touch of the mouse on our MagicBand, we were easily able to check in at FastPass+ entrances, enter parks, unlock our hotel room door, connect Disney PhotoPass images to our account, charge food and merchandise purchases to our Disney Resort hotel room, and more. 

You’ll receive a MagicBand if you stay at a Disney Resort hotel or if you’re a Walt Disney World Passholder, but if you’re not staying at a Disney Resort hotel and don’t own a seasonal pass, you’ll receive a card when you purchase park admission and you have the option to purchase a MagicBand at Disney theme parks and Downtown Disney area. Before we even traveled, our family was able to plan out our days at Disney World on My Disney Experience, booking fastpasses and making dining reservations, so that once were at the parks, we could simply follow our plan and enjoy! Not having to carry around park passes, hotel keys, and cash/credit cards, made our entire vacation experience 100x easier – I didn’t even bother carrying a purse in-park.

My Disney Experience:

Download the My Disney Experience app onto your mobile phone for magic at your fingertips. From the comfort of your smart phone, you’ll have access to a GPS-enabled map, attraction showtimes and wait times and the ability to make dining and Fast-Pass reservations. Plus you can share your plans with others through the Family&Friends functions. 

New Fantasyland:

Doubling the size of original Fantasyland from 10 to 21 acres, Disney’s New Fantasyland, just recently opened in late 2012. Hop on the Walt Disney World Railroad at the Magic Kingdom Station located at the park entrance, and you’ll tour the entire park before rolling right in to the New Fantasyland station. The Beast’s Castle, which overlooks an Enchanted Forest and houses the Be Our Guest restaurant, is the showpiece of this magical new park, but the “Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster – set to open any day – will steal the show as visitors will be able descend deep into the depths of the dwarfs gem mine. Expect to hear your Snow White movie favorites Heigh-Ho and The Silly Song and see if you can spot some elements from the recently demolished Snow White’s Scary Adventures attraction   

Festival of Fantasy Parade:

The Festival of Fantasy Parade debuted in the Fantasyland this April. You’ll see all your favorite Disney characters and floats from both newer and classic films from Peter Pan to Tangled in an all-new, over-the top paradeAll the royal princesses – Cinderella, Belle, Tiana, Elsa and Anna –  join in on the fun. Watch out for the fire-breathing dragon from Maleficent! Be sure to check the Times Guide at Magic Kingdom park for the performance schedule. 

Frozen Characters:

Anna and Elsa, the royal sisters of Arendale and two of the most popular Disney characters today, are also highly sought after in Disney World. These two beloved sisters can currently be found at the Norway Pavillion in Epcot. But on April 20, they’ll be officially moving to the Princess Fairytale Hall in the Magic Kingdom. Be sure to add a visit with Anna via Disney FastPass+ to avoid a lengthy wait in line. 

It’s a Small World Turns the Big 5-0!  

Even if you won’t be at Disney World to celebrate, join the fun online at SmallWorld50.com on April 10th, where you can create virtual “It’s a Small World” dolls to share with your friends: Walt Disney Company will donate $1 for every virtual doll created on the website, up to $100,000.