Since the premiere of Snow White in 1937, Disney’s princess franchise has exploded into a global phenomenon. But no one leading lady reigns supreme. As the above map from the website decluttr shows, America’s most popular Disney princesses vary state to state.
Using data from Google, decluttr identified the most-searched-for princesses in all 50 states. Elsa from Frozen (2013) was the most popular, taking the top spot in eight states. She’s followed by Pocahontas who’s the favorite princess in seven states, including her home of Virginia.
Newcomer Moana (2016) also makes a few appearances. Though the Polynesian princess lost Hawaii to Mulan, she did claim Alaska a few thousand miles to the north. Belle, who returned to the big screen this month for the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, is the most beloved princess in six states. Considering her latest movie has already broken records, Belle's popularity won't likely fade anytime soon.
Whether you're a Star Wars fan, a Marvel aficionado, or a Mickey and Minnie purist, Disney Parks and Resorts has just announced new rides, hotels, and attractions that are sure to make your mouse ears perk up. Here are 10 of the most exciting changes announced over the weekend at D23 Expo.
1. A STAR WARS-THEMED HOTEL
That sound you just heard was Star Wars fans across the galaxy warming up their lightsabers. Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek announced plans for a completely immersive Star Wars-themed hotel, where guests are declared citizens of the galaxy the moment they check in. "The story will touch every single minute of your day, and it will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits," Chapek said. More details, including the opening date, are yet to come.
A bit of Disneyland Paris is coming to the U.S. In 2014, the Paris park introduced a 4-D attraction where guests "shrink" to the size of Remy, the rat from Ratatouille, and scurry across the floor of Gusteau's restaurant. The ride will make its stateside debut in the France Pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase by 2021.
Sorry, Ellen DeGeneres fans—"Ellen's Energy Adventure" at Epcot will take a bow on August 13. Following the success of Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! ride at Disney California Adventure, Disney has announced a similarly themed adventure for Florida. The new thrill ride will replace the Universe of Energy pavilion, which currently houses Ellen's Energy Adventure. Like the Ratatouille ride, Star Lord and his pals should be ready to escape sometime in 2021.
4. A NEW LIVE ENTERTAINMENT THEATER
To bring more live entertainment to the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Disney is building a theater inspired heavily by the Willis Wood Theater from 1920s-era Kansas City, where Walt Disney spent part of his childhood. The building will be located just off of Main Street, USA.
There's another new ride headed to Hollywood Studios—and, unbelievably, it's the first ride at Disney Parks to feature Mickey himself as the theme. The attraction puts guests inside a Mickey cartoon, promising "surprising twists and turns, dazzling visual effects and mind-boggling transformations," all in a new format Disney is referring to as "2 1/2 D."
The new attraction isn't without controversy, though—it's slated to replace The Great Movie Ride, which, with its Grauman's Chinese Theater facade, has been one of Hollywood Studios' visual anchors since it opened as Disney-MGM Studios in 1989.
6. A TRON LIGHTCYCLE POWER RUN
The highest-rated attraction at Shanghai Disneyland is coming to Florida. In "TRON: Lightcycle Power Run," riders will board a train of two-wheeled Lightcycles before heading out to explore the TRON universe. Scheduled to be ready for riders in 2021, the new TRON coaster will be situated next to Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom.
7. PIXAR PIER
The area at Disney California Adventure currently known as Paradise Pier will go through a Pixar-themed overhaul, with "whimsical neighborhoods" featuring characters from The Incredibles, Inside Out, Toy Story, and more.
Magic Kingdom-goers who miss the old skyway ride that took weary guests between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland have something to rejoice about. The new Disney Skyliner gondola system will connect several of their hotels with Disney's Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot. Though an official opening date wasn't announced, construction is already underway, with insiders speculating at a date as early as summer 2018. Also announced: an Uber-like point-to-point transportation system with a familiar red-and-white polka dot motif.
You’ll have to get yourself to Disneyland Paris to experience this re-themed hotel, which is currently called Disney's Hotel New York. After the overhaul, hotel guests will find themselves transported to worlds including the Avengers and Spider-Man, among others.
10. "IMMERSIVE SUPER HERO EXPERIENCE"
Very little detail was provided on this upcoming project, but we do know that Spider-Man and the Avengers will be joiningGuardians of the Galaxy heroes at Disney California Adventure sometime in the future.
Disney also provided new news on two much-anticipated projects that are currently underway: the Star Wars and Toy Story Land additions. Two rides are on the way to Toy Story Land: Slinky Dog Dash, a family roller coaster, and Alien Swirling Saucers, in which the three-eyed green guys try to capture your rocket using The Claw. The toy-centric addition to the park is scheduled to open in summer 2018.
Construction on Star Wars-themed lands, officially called Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, has begun at both Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando and Disneyland in Anaheim. Both lands will feature a ride that gives guests the opportunity to pilot the Millennium Falcon through a critical mission. Another attraction will give guests the experience of being on a Star Destroyer. Both the Florida and California lands are scheduled to open in 2019. Until then, this fly-through will have to tide you over:
The modern theme park experience is due to undergo some drastic changes in the coming years. Universal Studios is reportedly testing line-free attractions utilizing a bracelet that will allow visitors to spend time in adjacent entertainment areas until their place in line is called up; Disney plans on a sprawling Star Wars landscape that will feel very Westworld, with the ability to stroll around and interact with familiar characters.
While engineers continue to figure those evolutionary plans out, there are some low-tech ways you can enjoy a theme park sabbatical while saving some money. Check out these 10 ways to make an excursion to the major Disney destinations lighter on your wallet and easier on your patience. (While we reference Disney World, most of these should be applicable to Disneyland, as well.)
1. BRING YOUR OWN FOOD.
Yes, those Mickey-shaped ice cream bars are delicious—but like virtually everything else available for purchase inside the park, they come with a little bit of sticker shock. Ice cream sundaes with character souvenir bowls are $23, while most full meals at Disney are $20 and up. To keep your energy up, consider bringing your own snacks into the parks. Anything that doesn’t require heating is fair game, so long as you tell a Security Cast Member about your edible contraband when you enter. If you have a lot of food for a large family, you can even rent a locker so you don’t have to tote it around. (Bonus: Those lockers will also have charging stations for your phone.)
2. BRING A CHUNKY MARKER FOR CHARACTER AUTOGRAPHS.
One of the great pleasures of Disney World is encountering men and women in hot, stuffy costumes who will refuse to speak but wildly gesticulate. If you or your child wants a John Hancock from Donald Duck or Buzz Lightyear, you stand a better chance of something legible if you’re able to hand said character a chunky, oversized marker. Those are far easier to grip with their enormous gloves and make signatures a breeze.
3. GET THE PARK (PRACTICALLY) TO YOURSELF DURING “MAGIC HOURS.”
If you stay at one of Disney’s in-house resorts, you’re eligible to get access to one of the parks either an hour before or up to two hours after their normal operating hours. (Disney refers to them as "Extra Magic Hours.") You can follow their schedule by using a Disney-affiliated travel agent or by checking the official Disney World site.
4. GO IT ALONE.
Some rides—like Test Track, Ride Everest, and Rockin’ Roller Coaster—have single-rider lines that are separate from the regular group lines. Typically, single riders are a rare breed, so single-rider lines shouldn’t be deep at all. If you don’t mind breaking from your pack, you can squeeze in one of these attractions without any idle time.
5. DON’T RENT A DISNEY-BRANDED STROLLER.
At $15 a day, they’re expensive. Instead, look for nearby companies that offer rental strollers you can take into the park with you. This gets more economical if you plan on visiting the park for more than three days.
6. LET THE DISNEY PHOTOGRAPHERS TAKE YOUR PICTURE FOR FREE.
Disney’s PhotoPass service involves many professional photographers patrolling the grounds, ready and willing to take your family’s photo and then download the images to a kiosk where you can browse through them later. Purchasing those photos involves a fee, naturally—but those same pros will more than likely use your own camera or cell phone to snap a photo for free if you ask (politely, of course).
7. USE YOUR BABY TO GET YOU ON A RIDE WITH NO WAITING.
It’s called the Rider Switch, and it works like this: Adult A hangs out with the baby (who doesn’t meet the height requirement) while Adult B whoops it up. When Adult B returns, the baby can change hands and Adult A can hop on the ride with no wait time at all. Ask a Cast Member if the ride you’re considering offers it.
8. SAVE ON A MORE EXPENSIVE RESORT BY HOPPING OVER TO IT.
Some of Disney’s more expensive resorts might not be affordable if you’re going to be there for several nights. Fortunately, the park has a little bit of a workaround: If you stay at a less expensive resort the majority of the time, Disney will transfer your bags over to the fancier room should you elect to reserve it for just a night or two.
9. ARRANGE FOR A CHARACER WAKE-UP CALL.
Lines to meet characters in the park can be long, but you or your child can still hear their favorite characters right in your hotel room. Just ask the front desk for a character wake-up call, which will be a pre-recorded voice. Try putting it on speakerphone if you want the whole room to listen in.
10. PASS TIME BY SPOTTING THE HIDDEN MICKEYS.
Navigating the park and waiting in line—or waiting for family members who are waiting in line—can sometimes turn into a chore, especially with summer’s rays beating down. To help pass the time, you can try to spot one of the “Hidden Mickeys” sprinkled throughout the park. A Hidden Mickey is a Mickey graphic that blends into a building, display, or other structure. Trying to find one is fun, and one of the added pleasures of the park that’s absolutely free.