8 Ride Refurbishments Coming to Walt Disney World

Expedition Everest
Credit: Disney

One of our least favorite sights around Walt Disney World are the construction walls that pop up in front of our favorite attractions. It certainly takes the wind out of our sails, especially if we weren’t aware the attraction was going to be shutdown for refurbishment. While refurbishments are fairly common and take place almost all year, here are eight ride refurbishments that you should know about for 2016!

8 – Soarin’ – this refurbishment is already underway and should only be lasting until the beginning of June. Soarin’ is receiving a complete facelift with new screens, as well as new cameras, a new movie, AND a completely new theatre. The addition of all of these should enhance the guest experience by transforming the adventure you are going on, as well as ease lines as Soarin’ is one of the most popular rides in all of Walt Disney World. Our only hope is that they don’t take out the famous scents that are released during the ride!

7 – Flights of Wonder – this attraction at Animal Kingdom allows guests to see exotic birds and hear a conservation message. It is being refurbished to make the guest seating area more accommodating. Flights of Wonder will be shut down through the middle of March. We love this attraction and hope the seating that comes in will be just a little more comfortable!

6 – Maelstrom/Frozen Ever After – this doesn’t qualify as a refurbishment, but a complete re-theming. Maelstrom was shuttered in October 2014 and we are nearing the opening of Frozen Ever After very soon in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot. We are curious to see how the Imagineers handled their task of introducing a fictional kingdom into a real one and not ruining the magic of Epcot. We are also wondering how the backwards “back, back over the falls” moment is incorporated!

5 – Toy Story Midway Mania – similar to the renovations at Soarin’, Toy Story Midway Mania is receiving additional capacity to help with the crowds that congregate along Pixar Place. However, unlike Soarin’, Toy Story was not taken down to allow the additional track to be added. We are looking forward to the expansion opening so we may be able to ride Toy Story Midway Mania without having to snag a FastPass!

4 – Boneyard – this playground area at Animal Kingdom’s Dinoland will be shut down for about a month from February 22 to March 18. Kids love this area, so hopefully it doesn’t impact your next trip to Walt Disney World. We’ve searched to see why it is being closed for refurbishment, but haven’t been able to find a reason. We are guessing that since it is a popular playground, Disney is making sure everything is safe and replacing things that have become worn.

3 – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – one of our favorite Frontierland attractions will be shut down for 3 months this year from April through July. There is no word on what refurbishments are in store, but with such a lengthy refurbishment scheduled, it has to be something big. Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad receiving a renovation in 2014, so we are hoping that some of or all of those changes are headed to Florida, too!

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2 – Expedition Everest – this refurbishment has not been confirmed, but it has been rumored that Expedition Everest will go down once Pandora opens in Animal Kingdom in 2017. This refurbishment would address the problem plaguing it since it opened in 2006 – the Yeti. Because of the way the ride was designed, Imagineers cannot address the issues with the Yeti while the rollercoaster ride system remains active. We can’t wait for the day that riders have to dodge the grasp of the Yeti again!

1 – Swiss Family Treehouse – Disney is being tight-lipped about this refurbishment, too. What is curious to us is that the attraction rarely has a line and other than sprucing things up with some new paint and double-checking the safety protocols, we are at a loss for what else could be happening which makes the fact that the attraction will be closed for 10 weeks later this summer from the beginning of July through the end of September. We hope nothing to drastic happens because it is one of our favorite spots to watch Wishes from!

Ride refurbishments are part of the theme park business and one that Walt Disney readily admitted to. Some have been for the better, like Test Track, while others didn’t win any supporters, like the Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management. What ride refurbishment are you most excited for? Which one has you the most upset?

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About Tyler

Tyler is a lawyer living in South Florida who visits Disney World at least once a month. He enjoys re-living classic Disney experiences and discovering new things about the parks when he visits. Friends and family always ask him to plan their trip for maximum Disney magic!

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