The magic of Disney is rapidly growing, as evidenced through the vast array of shows, movies, and entertainments as well as the forever-emerging developments seen in Disney Parks around the world. What’s more, the already seemingly perfect attractions Disney Parks are known for are constantly being enhanced or altogether reimagined to create new opportunities and lasting legacies you wouldn’t have thought possible to even improve upon. Walt Disney World Resort has announced several upcoming updates and additions for the near future, with some slated for as early as this year and others planned to take a little longer. Here’s a look at just some of the hottest attractions you can expect to see soon at Disney World Resort.
1. Disney’s Skyliner Gondolas
One of the most talked about additions coming to Walt Disney World this fall is the new Disney Skyliner System. While not a Park “ride” in the traditional sense of the meaning, it’s an “attraction” all the same, as visiting guests are already eagerly looking ahead for opportunities to utilize this new form of transportation between parks and select Epcot Area Disney Resort properties. There are projected to be around 22 operating gondola cars, gliding between 15 and 60 feet off the ground and moving across more than six miles of far-reaching cables over land and even water. The gondolas are designed to carry up to 10 passengers at a time, moving at steady speeds of 11 miles per hour without stopping but allowing for guests to embark and disembark at designated points en route (with cast members along to assist).
2. New nighttime spectaculars at Epcot
It has been announced that Epcot’s long-running nighttime spectacular IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth will be lighting up the night skies for the last time in early autumn of 2019. But before you get too weepy, you should know that a brand new nighttime spectacular is in the works for 2020—one that will feature custom-built LED panels, massive floating set pieces along the World Showcase Lagoon, choreographed fountains, pyrotechnics, and lasers. The new show, rightfully named “A Celebration of Disney Music” will bring forth the theme of how Disney music has influenced and inspired people from all around the world. But before this new installment becomes a permanent mainstay attraction, Epcot is premiering a limited nighttime engagement experience called “Epcot Forever,” which is set to premier on October 1. As the name implies, this show is all about Epcot’s past, present, and future and how it all started with a single “spark of imagination,” which then grew and evolved into something new and wonderful. Watch as fireworks, lasers, choreographed kites, classic Epcot Park music, and myriad dazzling effects come together for this ultimate epic Epcot evening extravaganza.
3. Beauty and the Beast sing-along
Epcot has plenty of other announced updates in the works for the coming years as well. Over at the World Showcase Pavilion’s France Pavilion, for instance, fans of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast will soon have the chance to partake of an all-new sing-along experience. The new sing-along is being developed by mastermind Don Hahn, producer of both the animated and live-action Beauty and the Beast films. And while we still don’t know all the specifics, we do know that this brand new experience will be offered in addition to the current Impressions de France film.
4. A Ratatouille-themed adventure
While we are on the topic of developments within Epcot’s France Pavilion, it seems only fitting to discuss another project in the works—an all-new 4D experience themed after Disney’s Ratatouille. Called “Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure,” this trackless coaster-like dark ride is being modeled after the famed Disneyland Paris version, which currently ranks as that park’s number one attraction. For this experience, guests will shrink down to the size of Remy and join him on the ultimate adventure race through the kitchen and Gusteau’s restaurant, all while experiencing simulated virtual effects along the way. Construction for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is currently underway and will be located in a new area of the France Pavilion past the Eiffel Tower. While no official opening date has been declared (aside from the fact that this attraction is slated to be up and running prior to Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary) some sources mark it for October 2021 while others suggest an opening as early as May 2020.
5. Wonderful World of Animation
As part of the Hollywood Studios 30-year anniversary celebration as a Disney Park, guests are already experiencing a whole host of new attractions in the works. From the debut of an Incredibles-themed Municiberg city block party to last throughout the summer to meet and greets with Mike and Sulley from the Disney•Pixar Monsters, Inc.movies, and let’s not forget the recent opening of Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is definitely progressing in its offerings and attractions. One such experience that just recently premiered this month was an all-new nighttime show—Wonderful World of Animation. This new spectacular utilizes high-tech state-of-the-art projection effects in an elaborate collaboration designed to take viewers on a magical journey spanning more than 90 years of Disney and Pixar animation. The show is projected onto none other than the Chinese Theatre, transforming it into a timeless tribute to animation, featuring moments from memorable films old and new alike. And as it’s only fitting to acknowledge the fact that it all began with a mouse, Mickey Mouse himself is a very crucial part of the show’s finale.
6. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Rail
It’s a strange but true fact that up until this point there haven’t been any rides in Walt Disney World that are actually themed after Mickey Mouse himself. But that’s all about to change with the opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway over at Hollywood Studios. This new dark ride experience will feature an original storyline and all-new musical theme, taking riders into the wacky world of Mickey Mouse shorts, for which the attraction was inspired. Guests are in for a whole host of unpredictable antics, from twists and turns to stunning visual effects and screen transformations that incorporate game-changing innovations in the real world/animation divide. While the opening date for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Rail was originally slated for fall 2019, recent updates now indicate that it’s not set to open until early spring of 2020. But given all that this new attraction will entail, it will definitely be worth the wait.
7. Hot hotel news and updates
While hotels aren’t typically thought of as “attractions” per se, Disney hotels are indeed head and shoulders above the rest with their stellar amenities and impeccable quality standards. And given that one of their three newly planned hotels does in fact offer an “all-immersive” Star Wars-themed experience in itself, we consider news on all upcoming hotel updates worth mentioning here. Let’s begin with the aforementioned new Star Wars-themed resort, which we already know is being conceptualized as a vacationing experience for guests beyond the parks. While all Disney properties are known for spreading magic beyond its parks via uniquely themed resort stays, rumor has it that there is something truly revolutionary and one-of-a-kind about the all-inclusive experiences this hotel will offer. Another hotel with a planned opening for as early as this December is the Disney Riviera Resort. Inspired by Walt Disney’s family travels throughout Europe, particularly the Riviera regions of Italy and France, this new Vacation Club Resort property will transport guests to Europe while retaining the magic of Disney and its European inspirations at the forefront. Unique perks to be revealed in this resort include the premier of a brand new room accommodation designed for parties of two, a stellar signature rooftop restaurant and other delightful dining options, and direct access to the new Disney Skyliner System, amongst many other points to brag about. While the new Star Wars-themed hotel and Disney’s Riviera Resort will be located within the Epcot (Hollywood Studios) Resort Area, Disney has also quite recently unveiled plans to open a new, still unnamed luxury resort within the Magic Kingdom Resort Area. While details are still largely unknown about this latest concept, what we do know is that the resort is being developed on the abandoned grounds of what was once Disney’s River Country and will follow a nature-inspired theme. The targeted opening date as of now is set for 2022. Resort reports are always in active development at Walt Disney World Resort, so it’s important to stay on top for all the latest details. And on that final note, we now turn our attention to the recent refurbishments that several Disney Resorts have undergone recently and are still undergoing. One such work-in-progress worth mentioning is the Gran Destino Tower—the 15-story expansion currently underway at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Once completed, Gran Destino Tower will add 545 new guest rooms to the mix, including 50 suites, and will boast a new two-story lobby, tower-top restaurant, and plans for a second new restaurant, along with other novel perks.
8. New restaurants
Additionally, Disney has revealed plans for many exciting new restaurant concepts to hit the parks and resorts in coming years. Back in 2017 we first got word of a planned space-themed restaurant coming to Epcot. Located between Epcot’s Mission Space and Test Track attractions, this new out-of-this-world eating establishment will even sport a 250-foot digital screen laden with stars, meteors, and other effects (including outer space views of Planet Earth) in order to create the illusion that guests are looking through the window of a space station as they dine. While many details are still unknown at this time in regards to cuisine and other specifications, what we do know is that this new restaurant will be a table service venue and at this time is being referred to as “Space 220,” though we do not know if this will be the official permanent name. There is no official opening date slated, but construction is already well underway and the goal is set for sometime before Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021. Also opening in Epcot, in conjunction with the aforementioned updates to the France Pavilion, is word of a new authentic crêperie. Serving as both a table service restaurant as well as quick service spot, this delightful new dining venue is being constructed in close proximity to the Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure attraction and will feature authentic regional cuisine inspired by Brittany, France. It too is slated to open in time for the 50th anniversary. On one other epicurean Epcot note, the Japan Pavilion has also revealed plans for an all-new signature dining steakhouse. Other future Disney restaurant announcements include those that are part of the aforementioned resort expansions and several exciting grand openings expected in nearby Disney Springs. But Disney’s most recent culinary callout, a new table service restaurant coming to Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios, is perhaps the biggest scoop of all (at least for the present). The restaurant will be called “Roundup Rodeo BBQ,” and as the name implies, the menu’s mainstay features will largely consist of barbecued favorites. It will be located in Andy’s backyard, with a design concept to look like three cardboard boxes that have been taped together by Andy to form a colorful rodeo-themed arena for his toys to play and dine in. Currently there are no other details on the tentative opening date or menu-specific features.
9. A Guardians of the Galaxy rollercoaster
We’ve already touched on several highlight developments that are both currently and conceptually taking shape throughout Epcot. But for enthusiastic Marvel fans, the most highly anticipated park attraction of all is the all-new Guardians of the Galaxy-themedrollercoaster, slated to open in 2021 as part of the 50th anniversary. Construction is currently underway at the former Universe of Energy Pavilion, paving the way for this milestone coaster, which already sports two claims to fame. First off, this is expected to be the world’s longest enclosed rollercoaster attraction ever built, and secondly, it will be the largest ride in general to have ever opened in all of Walt Disney World. With this attraction, Disney Imagineers are unveiling an exciting new innovative ride system that will even enable each riding cab to move about independently from all others, directing each rider’s eyes to the story as it unfolds and offering a different riding experience each time. And as for the storyline itself, while we do not know all the specifics we do know that it’s going to be a uniquely original plot developed exclusively for this ride. What’s more, given the large expanse of the area the attraction encompasses, guests can expect a whole host of other additional Guardians of the Galaxy-themed experiences going on about them to enhance the overall thrill of it all.
10. TRON Lightcycles coming to Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom Park also has plenty to report in the way of updates, one of which includes the installment of an all-new Tron-themed attraction over in Tomorrowland. Already a well loved ride at Shanghai Disney, TRON Lightcycle Power Run follows a coaster-cycle layout that allows guests to experience firsthand a most thrilling motorcycling experience, as featured in the 2010 Tron: Legacy movie. For this, riders mount their own individual two-wheeled lightcycle vehicles, which then race along tracks (both indoor and outdoor) at speeds of nearly 60 miles per hour. The attraction at Shanghai debuted in 2016 along with the park’s opening, and quickly became the highest-rated ride. We have no doubt that the Magic Kingdom installment will become a new favorite as well. The opening date for this one is also slated for 2021, just in time for the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary.
11. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
While we’ve touched on a lot of exciting new attractions coming to Walt Disney World Resort, there’s still one that, for many guests, is the most highly anticipated happening of all. It’s none other than the opening ofStar Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Located in Hollywood Studios, this brand new land will span an impressive 14 acres, making it the largest Disney World-based land to date. And, as the name most obviously implies, this new land will serve as the ultimate utopia for any diehard Star Warsfan of any age. As guests enter this enticing new land, themed for a never-before-seen planet based in the Star Warsuniverse, they’ll experience a host of novel innovations, from premier technological advances that include stunning life-like animatronics to the unveiling of other various sights and sounds all around. Two new attractions will be introduced here as well—Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, which will premier in conjunction with the land’s opening, and then Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which will open later in the season. Additionally, Galaxy’s Edge will also introduce a whole host of other Star Wars-themed experiences for guests to delight in as well, including new shopping and dining venues. Stop in at Savi’s Workshop or Droid Depot, where you can even customize lightsabers and droids, or grab some intergalactic grub at Oga’s Cantina or Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo. Take a taste of some blue or green milk at the famously named “Milk Stand” or try some other quenching picks from Ronto Roasters. Kat Saka’s Kettle is also an excellent option for out-of-this-world snacking. The thrills and themes just go on and on! Best of all, eager fans don’t have to wait very long to experience this new land as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is set to open in August 2019.
There are numerous other updates going on all around Walt Disney World, from enhanced films coming to some of Epcot’s World Showcase Pavilions to additions in existing attractions, like Rivers of Light at Animal Kingdom, which is soon to become Rivers of Light: We Are One. There are also several delightful limited engagements taking place, some of which are already going on, as well as fabulous expansions throughout nearby Disney Springs, including the eagerly anticipated opening of the new NBA Experience. With Disney you know that anything and everything new is bound to be magical.
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