‘What’s New’ and ‘What’s Next’

Filed in: Walt Disney World Resort, What's New, What's Next

Exciting Attractions & Experiences Crisscross Walt Disney World Resort

“What’s New”

Magic Kingdom

“Happily Ever After” at Magic Kingdom Park  — Disney storytelling, fireworks and more combine in “Happily Ever After,” a new nighttime spectacular at Magic Kingdom Park. Guests are invited to find their own “happily ever after” in this musical journey through the stories of Disney Characters who persevered and overcame obstacles chasing their dreams. Spectacular fireworks, original animation and an original score recorded in London are paired with projection mapping technology dressing Cinderella Castle in amazing visuals.

New Way to Start the Day  – A new welcome show takes place each day on the Castle Forecourt Stage. Guests can meander up Main Street, U.S.A. to the edge of the Castle and join in the celebration as a Royal Herald delivers a proclamation and welcomes a few familiar characters. Let the magic begin!


Frozen Ever After  — This family-friendly adventure in the Norway Pavilion picks up after the events in the blockbuster hit “Frozen” and celebrates a “Summer Snow Day.” A stone archway entrance greets guests to the kingdom of Arendelle. Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, trolls and Marshmallow join them on their boat journey through the frozen willow forest, past Troll Valley and up to the North Mountain to Elsa’s ice palace.

Royal Sommerhus  – Guests can meet the regal sisters in the cozy Royal Sommerhus in the Norway Pavilion. Inspired by a cabin in the countryside of Norway, Princess Anna and Queen Elsa have opened their summer home for visitors.

Soarin’ Around the World  – Guests can experience the wonders of the world on the groundbreaking Soarin’ Around the World, which takes guests to iconic places such as The Great Wall of China and the Sydney Harbor. As the next generation of the popular Soarin’ attractions, Soarin’ Around the World is an exhilarating aerial adventure that immerses guests in a multi-sensory experience, complete with stunning sights, spectacular sounds and even subtle scents.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Land  — The reimagining of Disney’s Hollywood Studios takes guests to infinity and beyond, allowing them to step into the worlds of their favorite films, starting with Toy Story Land. This new 11-acre land transports guests into the adventurous outdoors of Andy’s backyard. Guests can experience two new attractions, including a family-friendly roller coaster called Slinky Dog Dash and a spin through space on Alien Swirling Saucers. Toy Story Mania! will add a third track to the existing popular attraction.

Star Wars experiences  – The Star Wars themed entertainment at Disney’s Hollywood Studios includes Star Wars Launch Bay, a central locale for fans to celebrate all things Star Wars, new scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, a reimagined Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, where younglings can train with lightsabers and fight Darth Vader, and other characters from the Dark Side, and “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular,”  a dazzling Star Wars-themed fireworks, laser and special effects show set to memorable Star Wars music from throughout the saga.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Pandora — The World of Avatar —Disney in collaboration with filmmaker James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment has brought to life the mythical world of Pandora, inspired by Cameron’s AVATAR, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The awe-inspiring land of floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and soaring Banshees gives guests a transformational experience they will never forget.

  • Avatar Flight of Passage  – The centerpiece of Pandora – The World of Avatar, Avatar Flight of Passage sends guests in simulated flight soaring on a Banshee over a vast alien world. The spectacular flying experience give guests a birds-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of the world of Pandora on an aerial rite of passage.
  • Na’vi River Journey  –  Is a family-friendly experience aboard woven rafts passing through a stunning bioluminescent rainforest culminating in an encounter with the Shaman of Songs.

New Nighttime Experiences  — For the first time, Disney’s Animal Kingdom features day-into-nighttime experiences that celebrate the magic of nature. They include:

  • “Rivers of Light” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom — “Rivers of Light” is an innovative experience unlike anything ever seen in a Disney park, combining live performances, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. “Rivers of Light” magically comes to life on the natural stage of Discovery River, delighting guests and truly capping off a full day of adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
  • The park’s iconic Tree of Life awakens each night amid a lively celebration of Discovery Island music and dance. Through stunning visuals, animal spirits appear and enchanted fireflies reveal stories of wonder as the tree morphs to showcase the magic of nature.
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris — The popular Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park is extended for a new nighttime adventure. Guests travel through the African savanna amid the magically extended orange glow of the setting sun and discover two species new to the attraction: African wild dogs and hyenas.
  • Across the park, guests can experience wondrous new nighttime experiences and entertainment celebrating marvels in nature and enjoy long-time favorites such as Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, Kali River Rapids and more – in a whole new light.

Disney Springs

New dining locations coming to Disney Springs in 2018:

  • The Edison – A lavish “Industrial Gothic”-style restaurant, bar and nighttime destination that features exceptional classic American food, artisanal craft cocktails and unparalleled live entertainment, including cabaret. The Edison is themed to a 1920s-era electric company, recalling an exuberant age of invention and imagination.
  • Wine Bar George — Orlando master sommelier George Miliotes uncorks his first Disney wine bar in a space reminiscent of a winemaker’s estate warmed by oak wood and cozy lighting. Small plates dominate the food menu but the wines take the starring role: more than 100 selections both by the bottle and the glass in a range of varietals and vintages.
  • Chicago-based Levy Restaurants is introducing a new Italian concept at Disney Springs with James Beard award winner and “Top Chef Master” Chef Tony Mantuano leading development. The new restaurant will replace Levy’s Portobello Country Italian Trattoria and will feature dishes inspired by Mantuano’s adventures in Italy.

New retail and dining locations now open include Apex by Sunglass Hut, The Art of Shaving, Chapel Hats, Dockside Margaritas, Edward Beiner, The Ganachery, Erin McKenna Bakery NYC, Erwin Pearl, Havaianas, Lilly Pulitzer, L’Occitane en Provence, PANDORA, Sanuk, Sound Lion, Tea Traders Café, Sprinkles and Vivoli Gelateria, UGG, UNIQLO and Zara.

Disney’s Water Parks

Miss Adventure Falls at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park  Aboard this family-style raft adventure, guests are immersed in the story of Captain Mary Oceaneer. Legend holds that this treasure hunter roamed the seven seas in search of undersea artifacts – until a rogue storm marooned her ship at Typhoon Lagoon. Guests gently ascend in treasure rafts, only to plunge into a whitewater adventure where they will encounter some of Mary’s deep sea finds.


Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – A new Disney Vacation Club Resort, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort features 184 rustically elegant accommodations including studios, villas, grand villas and unique waterfront cabins transporting guests to the Pacific Northwest. Other enhancements at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge include a brand-new bar & grill, in addition to a quick-service restaurant. A sweeping re-imagination of the former Hidden Springs Pool, part of Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, features an expanded sun deck and zero-depth-entry pool.

Flying Fish at Disney’s BoardWalk  At this all-new vision of the classic location guests already know and love, the mouthwatering seafood and stylish ambiance evoke the spirit of a classic Atlantic boardwalk—with ever-so-subtle touches of carnival art, vintage games and décor reminiscent of the legendary “Flying Turns” roller coaster.

AbracadaBar at Disney’s BoardWalk – A new, magician-themed lounge serving signature cocktails and other assorted alcoholic beverages. The decor harkens back to the golden age of magic and immerses guests in a sophisticated social club-atmosphere.

“What’s Next”

New dining locations coming to Disney Springs in 2018:

  • Jaleo, a concept by world-renowned Chef Jose Andres, will bring the spirit and flavors of Spain to Disney’s West Side, with an extensive menu of tapas that reflect the regional diversity of traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine.
  • A new Wolfgang Puck concept will open in a new location in Town Center. Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill will capture the essence of laid-back California dining, highlighting the best of Puck’s signature dishes with Mediterranean influences.

Exciting Expansion for Disney’s Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach Resorts – Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort plans a 15-story lakeside tower, adding an additional 500 rooms, with suites and concierge-level services. Plans also call for guestroom refurbishments and landscape additions, with floating gardens and an island oasis connected by a series of bridges. A new centralized location adding waterside dining and a marketplace is planned for Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Caribbean Beach, Disney’s Pop Century, Disney’s Art of Animation and the proposed 15th Disney Vacation Club property – Disney Riviera Resort – will all be connected by a new gondola transportation system called Disney Skyliner delivering guests seamlessly to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot.

New Indoor Sports Facility  (2018) — ESPN Wide World of Sports will open a new multi-use sports and entertainment venue that can seat more than 8,000 guests and will have the ability to host six regulation basketball courts, six regulation volleyball courts or concert configurations. For cheer and dance events, it can accommodate performance and warm-up space, and includes a flexible design for one large competition space that can be set up for as many as four competition areas. Additional areas can be tailored for warm-up and practice, along with areas for judges and officials. There will be concessions throughout the building, and an additional box office and entry to the complex.

‘Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’ New Themed Land arriving at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (2019) — Star Wars-themed land is coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where Star Wars characters and their stories will come to life. Highlights feature two signature attractions, including the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle. Characters including BB-8, Chewbacca, Rex and Kylo Ren will be on hand to meet guests.

Lights, camera, MORE at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Guests will experience the first-ever Mickey-themed ride-through attraction, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The new state-of-the-art attraction with 3D effects will take guests on a journey inside the wacky and unpredictable world of Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-winning “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts.

Exciting additions coming to Epcot – In time for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, grand plans are in place for Disney’s discovery park. Patterned after the number one family attraction at Disneyland Paris, Ratatouille will bow in an all-new space at the France pavilion. Epcot will also welcome a new E-ticket attraction based on the rockin’ world of Guardians of the Galaxy – versioned to an Epcot story. Green Mission at Mission: SPACE will treat guests to a stunning tour around the Earth and an updated Orange Mission will make the trip to Mars even more spectacular. Adjacent to Mission: SPACE a new restaurant will open its doors, inviting guests to travel high above Earth for an unforgettable dining experience.

More magic in store at Magic Kingdom Park – Shanghai Disneyland’s highest-rated attraction is coming to Florida. A thrilling Tron-themed attraction, based on the popular movie franchise, will be added in a new area near Space Mountain.

New Star Wars-themed resort hotelStar Wars inspires a new hotel that will immerse guests in a galaxy far, far away. The most immersive concept ever in a Disney resort, it will be a one-of-a-kind experience where a luxury resort meets a multi-day adventure.

Annual Events

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (January) — This annual event features a 26.2-mile adventure race through all four Disney theme parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom and a half marathon. Also included in the weekend is Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, which combines Saturday’s half marathon and Sunday’s full marathon for 39.3 miles of fun, a two-day health expo and a 5K.

Atlanta Braves Spring Training (February-March) — The Atlanta Braves return to Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex for spring training.

Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend (February) — The predominantly women’s half marathon brings women of all ages together to celebrate all the qualities a princess possesses. The weekend features a two-day health and fitness expo geared towards women, a family fun run 5k and kids’ races. There’s also the Disney Enchanted 10K and Glass Slipper Challenge, where participants run the 10K and half marathon over the course of 2 days.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (March-May) — Future World and World Showcase are blooming with more than 30 million colorful blossoms, interactive garden activities for kids and workshops with national gardening experts during this annual spring festival at Epcot. While exploring the themed gardens, guests can taste sweets and savories from about a dozen food-and-beverage marketplaces surrounding the World Showcase Lagoon.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (August-October) — A family-friendly fright-fest in Magic Kingdom featuring a children’s parade, trick-or-treating throughout the park, face painting, and more.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (August-November) — Savor fine wines and delectable cuisine during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival featuring live entertainment, guest chefs, culinary demonstrations, seminars and winemaker dinners.

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend (November) — The ultimate “Runners’ Night Out” features a half marathon at night.  After finishing, runners and their guests can celebrate their accomplishment at an exclusive after hours party inside the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.  The weekend also includes kids’ races, a family fun run 5K and a health and fitness expo.

Holidays at Walt Disney World Resort (November-January) — Walt Disney World Resort is all aglitter during the holiday season with dazzling lights, spirited song and even snow flurries. Here’s what’s in store: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom; Candlelight Processional at Epcot; plus caroling, tree lighting ceremonies and visits by Santa.

“Vacation Innovations”

MyMagic+With one tap of a MagicBand, Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests can enter their Disney Resort guestroom, access FastPass+ experiences and attractions, use as a payment method for food and merchandise,  enter Disney theme parks and water parks, and connect to Disney’s PhotoPass. With the free My Disney Experience mobile application, park maps and information about attractions, show times, dining, FastPass+ and more are easier than ever to explore and access. MagicBands and My Disney Experience are part of MyMagic+, which has the ability connect nearly all aspects of the guest vacation experience at Walt Disney World Resort.

FastPass+ Thanks to the the technological advances of MyMagic+, all guests can reserve access to favorite FastPass+ attractions and entertainment experiences before leaving home — or in the parks — giving them more time to explore and enjoy Walt Disney World. This can be accomplished via My Disney Experience.com or at FastPass+ kiosks located in Walt Disney World Resort theme parks. Using the My Disney Experience online site, Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests may make FastPass+ selections up to 60 days in advance of their visit, for each day they have a park ticket. Disney Passholders and Day guests (those not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel) are able to make FastPass+ selections 30 days in advance of their trip once tickets are purchased.

Contactless Payment As part of the ongoing efforts to improve the guest experience, a new form of electronic payment is now being accepted at many Disney-operated merchandise, quick-service food and beverage, outdoor vending, spa and recreation, as well as ticket sales locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort using stationary touch-to-pay devices (stations also used for payments made with MagicBands). Known as contactless payment, this new form of electronic payment is most commonly associated with mobile apps including Apple Pay, Google Wallet or Softcard, as well as Near Field Communication-enabled (NFC) credit cards. Purchases using contactless payment are made by holding a mobile device or NFC-enabled credit card near the touch point (Mickey head) on stationary touch-to-pay devices.

Disney Vacation Account — Disney Vacation Account provides easy to use online tools to help participants estimate the cost of their Disney vacation based on current prices (prices are subject to change) and manage a savings plan that is right for them and their budget. As excitement builds toward the Big Day, participants save at their own pace toward the goal of their dream Disney trip, making contributions using their debit, credit or Disney gift card. There are no fees to create or maintain an account. Disney Vacation Account contributions may be used to pay for pre-arrival vacation packages, cruise fare and hotel reservations at Disney-owned and operated resorts, including Disneyland Resort in California, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai’i.

Disney’s Magical Express The innovative service offers airport shuttle, luggage delivery and airline check-in for Disney hotel guests. Guests of 24 Disney owned-and-operated hotels at Walt Disney World Resort using Disney’s Magical Express service can check their bags at their hometown airport, bypass baggage claim at Orlando International Airport (MCO) and board state-of-the-art motor coaches to the Vacation Kingdom, where their bags “magically” appear in their room upon check-in. The complimentary service is designed to give Disney hotel guests the stress-free vacation they want. With the service, a family of four can save more than $80 (based on round-trip taxi transportation, plus tip, between MCO and Walt Disney World Resort).