What’s New and What’s Next

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

Exciting attractions and experiences abound at Walt Disney World Resort

“What’s New”

Magic Kingdom Park

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

“Move it! Shake It! MousekeDance It!” Street Party Dance and sing along at a musical celebration for Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse featuring colorful floats and beloved Disney pals. It’s a street party in front of Cinderella Castle pulling out all the stops, including colorful floats, the original song “It’s a Good Time” and modern remixes of classic tunes featuring songs from the Mickey Mouse Club. Guests are invited into the streets to dance with their favorite characters.

New Way to Start the Day  A welcome show takes place each day on the Castle Forecourt Stage. Guests can stroll down Main Street, U.S.A. under the castle’s spires to join in the celebration as a Royal Herald delivers a proclamation and welcomes a few familiar characters to the stage. Let the magic begin!

Epcot

“Epcot Forever” – The new nighttime spectacular brightens the skies above World Showcase Lagoon with a scintillating collection of soaring fireworks, lasers and colorful glowing kites that dance above the water. The Epcot story plays out to a grand orchestral soundtrack, with noted conductor and composer Don Harper producing new arrangements of classic Epcot tunes threaded throughout the show. This limited-time show will run into 2020.

Walt Disney Imagineering presents the Epcot Experience – This engaging and immersive new space provides the first in-depth look at the historic transformation underway across the park. Located in the Odyssey Events Pavilion, Epcot Experience surrounds guests with a seamless, 360-degree, floor-to-ceiling screen showing a continuous 12-minute film with vignettes about new experiences coming to the park. All the while, a three-dimensional model in the center of the room appears to change in time with the film, as projection-mapping technology highlights different areas of the park in special ways.

Takumi-Tei – Serene and elegant, the new table service restaurant in the Japan pavilion is inspired by the natural beauty of the island nation. The softly lit setting draws from both nature and takumi (“artisan” in Japanese) and the relationship between Japanese craftsmanship and the natural world. Here, guests enjoy an upscale dining experience with menu highlights including wagyu beef, sushi, sashimi, unique desserts, premium sake and more.

New Missions for Mission: SPACE – The new Green Mission at Mission: SPACE treats guests to a stunning tour around the Earth while an updated Orange Mission makes the thrilling trip to Mars even more spectacular.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Guests are transported to a galaxy far, far away to live their own Star Wars adventures as they explore Batuu, a remote planet on the galaxy’s Outer Rim. In the largest and most technologically advanced single-themed land expansion ever in a Disney park, guests become part of the story as they sample galactic food and beverages, enter an intriguing collection of merchant shops and take the controls of the most famous ship in the galaxy aboard Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Guests become heroes of the Resistance in a climactic battle with the First Order. In one of the most immersive, ambitious and technologically advanced attractions ever created for a Disney park, guests launch into space aboard a transport shuttle, only to be captured by a Star Destroyer and pursued by Supreme Leader Kylo Ren as they frantically search for a way to escape the clutches of the First Order.

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 and live out their own adventures. Toy Story Land is toy-filled, joy-filled fun for all ages – an 11-acre land inviting guests into the adventurous outdoors of Andy’s backyard. They can experience two new attractions, including the family-friendly roller coaster Slinky Dog Dash and a spin through space on Alien Swirling Saucers. Toy Story Land is also the new gateway to Toy Story Mania! the popular ride-through, gameplay adventure.

Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy Throttle up for high-revving fun in this new experience located on Sunset Boulevard and driven by the famed racer. Using a high-tech wraparound screen and familiar friends from Radiator Springs, Lightning McQueen shares with guests what it takes to be a champion. When things go a bit off-track, Lightning gears up for the challenge as Tow Mater, Cruz Ramirez and friends root him on.

“Wonderful World of Animation” – This nighttime show chronicles Mickey Mouse throughout the decades in new, classic and rarely seen animated films. Journey through more than 90 years of Disney animation celebrating themes like magic, family, adventure, romance and friendship. The façade of the Chinese Theatre is magically transformed in this nostalgic tribute to the magic of animation.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Pandora – The World of Avatar  This land immerses guests in a mystical world of massive floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and breathtaking experiences. Fun and adventure await as guests explore an alien landscape, encounter a larger-than-life Na’vi shaman and soar over Pandora on the back of a fearsome banshee. The land includes two signature attractions:

  • Avatar Flight of Passage takes guests on simulated flights over a vast alien world. The spectacular flying experience offers a bird’s-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of Pandora on an aerial rite of passage on the back of a Banshee.
  • Na’vi River Journey is a family-friendly experience aboard rafts passing through a stunning bioluminescent rainforest culminating in an encounter with the Shaman of Songs.

New Nighttime Experiences  Disney’s Animal Kingdom now features nighttime experiences that celebrate the magic of nature. They include:

  • “Rivers of Light: We Are One” is the next chapter for this nighttime show, an innovative experience combining floating lanterns, water screens and dramatic new imagery from Disneynature films and animated classics. “Rivers of Light” magically comes to life on the natural stage of Discovery River.
  • 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. Special tribute is paid to Disney’s original animated masterpiece, “The Lion King.”

UP! A Great Bird Adventure – Marvel at some of the world’s most exotic birds in a breathtaking, free-flying experience also starring the fun-loving pals from Disney and Pixar’s “Up.”

Disney Springs

NBA Experience – Dreams of being a basketball superstar come true at this all-new destination experience. In collaboration with the NBA, Disney developed NBA Experience as a one-of-a-kind environment with 13 interactive elements and hands-on activities across 44,000 square feet and two action-packed floors. Whether it’s executing the perfect slam dunk, putting shooting skills to the test or making a last-second shot before the clock expires, NBA Experience scores like a half-court swish, with an entrance that simulates walking through the players’ tunnel into a basketball arena.

Jaleo – A concept by world-renowned Chef José Andrés, brings the spirit and flavors of Spain to a new stylish lakeside location at Disney Springs. From its show kitchens, Jaleo serves up an extensive menu of tapas that reflects the regional diversity of traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine.

Ron Jon Surf Shop celebrated the opening of its newest location. This 10,000-square-foot store, which marks Ron Jon Surf Shop’s 12th location in the U.S., is situated in the Town Center at Disney Springs.

A new Wolfgang Puck concept occupies a new location in Disney Springs. Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill captures the essence of laid-back California dining, highlighting the best of Puck’s signature dishes with Mediterranean influences.

Resort Hotels

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort Reimagined Fresh from a major, multi-year reimagining anchored by a new 15-story tower, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort shines with a new luster. Gran Destino Tower rises dramatically on the lakeshore of the resort, offering 545 modern guestrooms plus a rooftop restaurant and lounge offering breathtaking views. Footbridges across the lake connect the tower to the all-new island oasis of Villa del Lago and Three Bridges Bar & Grill. Gran Destino Tower brings the number of guestrooms and suites at the Spanish-themed resort to 2,385.

Disney Skyliner This “most magical flight on Earth” is a complimentary transportation system connecting Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios to four Disney resort hotels – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney’s Riviera Resort, a Disney Vacation Club resort that will open Dec. 16, 2019. Guests will discover bird’s-eye views as they float through the air in sleek gondolas wrapped in vibrant colors; select cabins feature whimsical Disney scenes with beloved characters, fan-favorite movies, attractions and more.

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.

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort – Awash in vibrant colors and lush landscapes, this relaxing escape to the islands was recently updated. Guests are welcomed to a new centralized location adding waterside dining and a marketplace.

“What’s Next”

Magic Kingdom Park

TRON Lightcycle / Run A thrilling TRON-themed attraction, based on the popular movie franchise, will be added to Tomorrowland in a new area near Space Mountain. The coaster-style attraction takes guests on a thrilling race through the Grid on their own lightcycle.

Epcot

The biggest transformation of any Disney park in history is underway at Epcot, bringing the next generation of immersive storytelling to life through a plethora of new attractions and experiences. The park will be unified with four neighborhoods that speak to important aspects of the world and its people: World Showcase, World Celebration, World Nature and World Discovery.

World Showcase

  • The United Kingdom pavilion will welcome the first attraction inspired by Mary Poppins. Guests will step in time down Cherry Tree Lane past Admiral Boom’s house, then enter Number 17, home of the Banks family, where their adventure will begin.
  • In 2020, following the limited-time run of “Epcot Forever,” the new “Harmonious” will debut as the largest nighttime spectacular ever created for a Disney park. It will celebrate how the music of Disney inspires people the world over, carrying them away harmoniously on a stream of familiar Disney tunes reinterpreted by a diverse group of artists from around the globe.
  • In summer 2020, the France pavilion will offer the much-anticipated attraction Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, where guests will shrink to the size of Chef Remy and race through Gusteau’s restaurant on a wild adventure. Summer 2020 will also see the debut of a delicious new restaurant in the France pavilion, La Crêperie de Paris, offering both table- and quick-service options featuring a menu from celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse.
  • Also in the France pavilion, the classic Impressions de France film will be joined by the new “Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along,” debuts January 17, 2020, and is directed by Don Hahn, producer of the animated and live-action “Beauty and the Beast” films. The new experience, featuring narration from Angela Lansbury, who played Mrs. Potts in the original film, invites guests to participate in a twist on a tale as old as time. The new sing-along will run in rotation with “Impressions de France,” which will receive an upgrade to 4K projection.
  • “Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360” will debut January 17, 2020 in the Canada pavilion with new scenes, a new musical score by Canadian composer Andrew Lockington and new narration by award-winning actors Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy.
  • In the China pavilion, “Wondrous China” will take guests on a spectacular journey across the country, filmed and presented in a completely seamless 360-degree digital format.
  • The American pavilion will welcome Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue, a new concept featuring classic Americana fare with barbecue paired with craft beers on tap.
  • Disney’s DuckTales World Showcase Adventure – Guests will be able to use the Play Disney Parks mobile app to search for priceless treasure alongside Scrooge McDuck, Donald, nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, Launchpad and Webby with Disney’s DuckTales World Showcase Adventure. This new iteration of the popular scavenger hunt experience coming to Epcot invites guests to discover exotic destinations, exciting mysteries, and maybe even a few thieves, villains and supernatural guardians of ancient artifacts.

World Celebration

  • The iconic Spaceship Earth will remain a voyage through time as the journey transforms to reflect the power of storytelling to unite the human experience. New narration and an entirely new musical score will focus on the moments and ideas that define the story of humanity. Guests will follow a magical “story light” that brings the entire experience to life in dynamic ways, giving each scene energy and beauty that ties the entire journey together.
  • A new pavilion will be the perfect place for live events, and the home base for Epcot’s signature festivals. It will provide a stunning elevated view of the entire park and an ideal spot to witness Epcot’s nighttime spectacular.
  • Epcot’s entrance plaza will be transformed with new experiences that connect guests with the world around them, welcoming them with a reimagined fountain, new pathways and sweeping green spaces that beautify the entryway. The design will pay homage to the origins of Epcot.
  • As guests exit Spaceship Earth, they will discover a breathtaking new view of World Showcase from Dreamers Point. World Celebration will also feature a new statue celebrating the legacy of the original dreamer, Walt Disney, plus beautiful natural environments and global design elements filled with Disney magic and surprises.

World Nature

  • Journey of Water, Inspired by “Moana” will be the first experience inspired by the hit Walt Disney Animation Studios film. This lush exploration trail will invite guests to meet and play with magical, living water.
  • The Land pavilion’s new film, “Awesome Planet,” showcases the Earth’s beauty and diversity in a 10-minute film featuring spectacular imagery, in-theater effects and an original musical score from Academy Award-winning® composer Steven Price.

World Discovery

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will be the first “other-world” showcase pavilion at Epcot. The attraction will feature a new innovation from Walt Disney Imagineering – a storytelling coaster that rotates 360 degrees to focus guests on the action, including the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster.
  • An expansion of the Mission: SPACE pavilion, the new restaurant Space 220 will be a culinary experience featuring the celestial panorama of a space station, including daytime and nighttime views of Earth from 220 miles up.
  • The PLAY! pavilion will open in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World. In this digital metropolis, guests will discover an interactive city bursting with games, activities and experiences that connect them with friends, family and beloved Disney characters – both real and virtual – like never before.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (March 4, 2020) It’s all aboard for all ages in the first ride-through attraction in any Disney park themed to Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Guests will burst through the Chinese Theatre movie screen and join Mickey, Minnie and pals on a wacky adventure that will feature dazzling visual effects, a lovable theme song and surprising twists and turns.

Mickey Shorts Theater (March 2020) – A reimagined theater space that evokes the same wacky fun of the Disney Channel animated series, “Mickey Mouse,” will show an original short film in the same style. Plus, guests will have the chance to take fun pictures at new photo-opportunity locations.

Rodeo-Themed Restaurant in Toy Story Land (2020) – A rodeo arena Andy created using some of his favorite toys, games and playsets will be home to a new table-service restaurant in Toy Story Land. The immersive locale will come alive with rootin’ tootin’ rodeo festivities for families. Cowpokes rasslin’ up some barbecue grub will spot some of their favorite Pixar characters throughout the restaurant in the form of toys and game pieces.

Disney Springs

Ron Jon Surf Shop (2019The popular spot with a surf’s-up vibe brings its seaside look to a 10,000-square-foot location in Disney Springs. The shop will feature favorite beach and vacation essentials.

City Works Eatery and Pour House (2019) This sports bar and restaurant will serve up savory bites, shareables, burgers and more – to pair with 80 beers on tap from around the world, including local breweries. For sports fans, games will air on high-definition TVs, including a 165-inch screen.

Cirque du Soleil (April 17, 2020) An original new show from a collaboration between Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, will pay homage to Disney’s rich history of animation, with a vivid story told in ways only Cirque du Soleil can deliver.Cirque’s distinctive white tent-like building at the west end of Disney Springs will be center stage for the new show.

Resort Hotels

Disney’s Riviera Resort (Dec. 16, 2019) – This deluxe Disney Vacation Club resort will immerse guests in the grandeur and enchantment of the European Riviera. It is slated to offer approximately 300 family-friendly vacation homes, including deluxe studios, one- and two-bedroom villas, grand villas and a new, unique accommodation, Tower Studios. The resort is designed in early 20th-century elegance reflected throughout Europe and the Mediterranean coastline, featuring a palm tree-lined boulevard with a striking façade.

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser (2021) – A Star Wars vacation experience unlike anything Disney has ever created before will fully immerse guests in a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will offer a two-night itinerary where all guests arrive and depart at the same time, similar to Disney Cruise Line. Unlike any typical cruise, though, guests can become the heroes of their own Star Wars stories in a new type of immersive experience that only Disney could create. Throughout the journey, guests will be invited to delve deeper into their personal adventures by participating in activities, interacting with characters, crew and other passengers they meet, and becoming part of the action and the broader Star Wars saga.

Reflections, A Disney Lakeside Lodge – A new deluxe, nature-inspired Disney resort hotel will welcome families to the picturesque shoreline of Bay Lake near Magic Kingdom Park. Themed to complement its natural surroundings, the resort will include more than 900 rooms and proposed Disney Vacation Club villas spread across a variety of unique accommodation types. It will become the 16th Disney Vacation Club property and build on the value and flexibility of a DVC membership.

Annual Events

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (January) A 26.2-mile adventure through all four Disney theme parks headlines this annual event, while a half marathon, 10K, 5K, kids races, and four-day health and fitness expo round out the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. The weekend also includes Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, combining Saturday’s half marathon and Sunday’s full marathon for 39.3 miles of fun, as well as the Dopey Challenge for runners who take on all four races and 48.6 miles in four days.

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

Epcot International Festival of the Arts (January – February) A global cultural celebration of the visual, culinary and performing arts, the event includes food studios, a concert series, and wide range of artists showcasing their wares in different mediums.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (March – June) Epcot blooms 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 take in concerts and taste sweets and savories from food marketplaces surrounding World Showcase Lagoon.

Star Wars Rival Run Weekend (April) This epic Star Wars weekend features rivalries from the galactic saga, including a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Star Wars Rival Run Challenge, kids races and health and fitness expo. Participants will meet favorite Star Wars characters, earn collectible themed medals and experience Star Wars in a whole new way.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (August – October) A family-friendly, special admission Halloween celebration in Magic Kingdom Park features a parade, stage shows, trick-or-treating throughout the park, face painting, fireworks and more.

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

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend (November) The weekend serves up a delicious race menu for participants of all ages and skill levels. After finishing the 13.1-mile half marathon, runners and their guests can celebrate their accomplishments at an exclusive after-hours party inside the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The weekend also includes kids races, the Disney Fall Feast 5K, the Disney Wine and Dine 10K, the Two Course Challenge for those who run the 10K and half marathon, and a health and fitness expo.

Holidays at Walt Disney World Resort (November – January) Walt Disney World Resort is aglitter during the holiday season with dazzling lights, spirited music and even snow flurries. Highlights include Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom; Epcot International Festival of the Holidays at Epcot, including the beloved Candlelight Processional; plus holiday décor throughout Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs and Disney resort hotels.

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