Summer Fun 2015: A guide to what’s new at Disney World this summer

Dine at The Boathouse
The newest dining spot in Downtown Disney is an upscale, waterfront dining experience that immerses guests both on land and on water. Dine in nautical-themed rooms, soak in the massive collection of outboard motors and vintage boats of all sizes that fill every corner of the expansive restaurant, enjoy the outdoor lounge and bar areas. Oh yeah, the seafood, raw bar and steaks (served until 2 a.m.) are good, too!

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Aside from returning to its original, 1971 opening day name, the iconic resort has undergone a major renovation, highlighted by 20 two-bedroom, over-the-water Bora Bora Bungalows that sleep up to eight guests, and feature a full kitchen, washer and dryer, two hidden pulldown beds and a private plunge pool on the back deck where guests can enjoy views of fireworks over Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon.

Meet Doc McStuffins
New this summer, Dottie “Doc” McStuffins will meet guests visiting Disney’s Hollywood
Studios in a setting inspired by her playhouse clinic on the Emmy-nominated TV show, “Doc McStuffins”.

“Frozen” Takes Over
Starting June 17 and continuing daily through Sept. 7 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Frozen Royal Welcome through the park features Anna leading the procession in an elaborate horse-drawn sleigh, with Elsa gliding by on a stunning, ice palace float. Kristoff, Olaf and the Royal Arendelle Flag Corps along with a flurry of skaters, skiers and ice cutters join in on the fun. Other highlights include Olaf’s daily burst of snow, a nightly dance party and a fireworks display set to the music of the popular movie.

Ride the Amphicar
At Downtown Disney’s new Boathouse restaurant, you can drive into the water, literally, with a captain at the helm. Guided tours are offered aboard a 40-foot Italian Water Taxi or an Amphicar that launches from land and takes guests on a 20-minute tour of the landmarks of Disney Springs.

More Shopping Options
As the largest expansion in Downtown Disney history continues and the area transforms into Disney Springs by 2016, several new shopping locations have opened including Havianas (customizable flip-flops, casual footwear), Chapel Hats (stylish hats for all ages), Apex by Sunglass Hut (shades for the athlete), The Art of Shaving (men’s grooming) and Sound Lion (headphones, wireless music players).

Where to Stay: Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.
The only non-Disney resort on Disney property was recently named to Travel + Leisure magazine’s Hot List of the world’s best resorts and hotels, and for good reason.

The lakeside 26-acre, 9-month old resort is a family paradise, offering amenities and activities for all ages (think s’mores making by the fire pit, scavenger hunts, and lazy river relays). Parents can unplug at the Oasis, an adult only pool with cabana and cocktail service, or The Spa, an impressive 18-room spa, while their children (ages 4-12) spend a few hours, or the whole day, at Kids For All Seasons, a complimentary kids camp open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. featuring table tennis, bocce ball, beach volleyball, billiards, rock climbing walls, and plenty of arts and crafts or play time on the latest video game systems.

If pool time is your thing, the the five-acre Explorer Island water park features a winding lazy river complete with a rapids section, two water slides, and an interactive splash zone with water cannons and timed fountains perfect for toddlers. Guests also enjoy complimentary transportation to all four Disney parks, a lobby level Disney Planning Center and a Disney character breakfast, featuring Goofy, Mickey and Minnie Mouse. (Offered on Thursday and Saturday mornings at Ravello restaurant, this may be the best kept secret on Disney property, matching Four Seasons quality food and service with an unrushed, memory-making time with Disney’s iconic characters.)

Dining options include the aforementioned Ravello (rustic Italian fare), PB&G (a Southern table servicing the pool areas) and Capas (modern Spanish-inspired cuisine on the rooftop with views of Disney’s nightly fireworks shows). All three venues are versatile enough to be family friendly or romantic for couples.

Rates start at $399 per night with a daily $50 resort credit with a three-night minimum stay for the summer period. For reservations, call 800-267-3046

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