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Top 12 Changes Happening at Walt Disney World Resort

The world is always changing and with it, we all must adapt. The Disney Parks are no exception. As the Walt Disney Company expands so must the parks, leading to several big changed happening all over the Orlando area in particular. Here’s a look at some of the changes that have recently happened or will be done in the very near future at the Walt Disney World Resort.

DISNEY WORLD:

1. Increase in ticket prices overall, there has been an increase in ticket prices for all parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom). Magic Kingdom typically comes in at the highest price level. The park prices vary from $102-$129 (peak)

MAGIC KINGDOM:

2. Lunch reservations for Be Our Guest restaurant The most popular restaurant in the Magic Kingdom is now offering lunch time reservations from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Guests are now able to make advanced dining reservations for the restaurant’s “fast-casual” lunch experience, which will hopefully help give more guests the opportunity to dine in this fabulous restaurant.

Be Our Guest

3. Updated Interactive Peter Pan Queue Peter Pan’s Flight has always been a crowd favorite and boasts long lines year round. Luckily the queue has been upgraded to be interactive and air conditioned which is sure to please the guests waiting in the height of the Orlando summer. Here’s a peak at the themed hallways and waiting area – They did a great job setting the mood for the ride!


credit: Youtube/WDW News Today

EPCOT:

4. Norway Anna and Elsa expansion The biggest change in Epcot has been the renovation of the Norway Pavilion in the World Showcase. Because of the immense popularity of Frozen, the Disney execs decided to expand the Norwegian portion of the Showcase and include a new Meet-and-Greet area where guests will get to meet Anna and Elsa. In 2016, the “Frozen Ever After” ride opened where the Maelstrom boat ride used to be inside the pavilion.


credit: Youtube/WDW News Today 

5. Soarin’ Around the World was updated in June 2016.  The film ride is located in The Land Pavilion in Future World and takes you on a flight over world famous landmarks. The artificial scents that are pumped in for the various attractions have been updated – for those orange grove lovers, sorry, the scent was retired. Now the rider experiences a grass smell (Elephant scene), rose (Taj Mahal), and sea breeze (Fiji).

DOWNTOWN DISNEY:

6. Renovations  – Disney Springs One of the biggest changes doesn’t even involve the main theme parks in Orlando but rather Downtown Disney, the expansive shopping and nightlife area. The area is called Disney Springs.  The entire area received a major cosmetic overhaul. Imagineers wanted to make this strip much more fluid by creating a theme that would flow through each part of the area, and the idea of recreating traditional Floridian style architecture was born. Disney Springs expands from 75 to nearly 150 shopping, entertainment and dining opportunities. Disney Imagineers Reveal Disney Springs – Watch The Video.

This isn’t the only change – many of the resorts are undergoing or have recently completed major overhauls and updates to their rooms and landscaping.

ANIMAL KINGDOM:

7. Hour extension Disney World’s youngest park, Animal Kingdom, received a park hour extension. This means the park will be opened much later and will be offering new night time experiences including a show entitled “Rivers of Light”.  It is unlike any show Disney has to offer. The show includes floating lanterns, live music, water screens, and a few other surprises. It’s already become a fan favorite!

8. Kilimanjaro Night Time Safari  Since the hours will be longer, the Kilimanjaro Safari began offering night time safaris. These are proving to be extremely popular as the animals will be more active at night.

9. Pandora –The World of Avatar This new Pandora extension of the Animal Kingdom was opened in May 2017. It includes two new rides (Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey) and a new restaurant (Satu’li Canteen). This is one of the largest changes happening in the Orlando branch of Disney’s empire.  Check out this Disney video peak of how the imagineers thought through the ride!



HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS:

10. Toy Story Land With an update to the popular Pixar-themed ride, Toy Story Mania, came a whole new park experience!  The Studio Backlot Tour closed in late 2014 and opened the way for Toy Story Land.  Opened in June 2018, this new park area welcomes guests to Andy’s backyard. Within moments of entering, guests are aware that they are now “toy sized” and experiencing life miniaturized! Themed with Tinker Toys, Legos, Alphabet blocks – anything Andy might have used to build a new world for his favorite pint-sized friends. The biggest draw are two new rides – Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster and Alien Swirling Saucers a tea-cup styled ride.

Toy Story Land _ Entrance

credit: Matt Stroshane, photographer

11. Expansion of Star Wars area With Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars, Hollywood Studios will be adding notable additions to the Star Wars portion of the park. Scheduled to open in Fall 2019, the area can already be viewed from Slinky Dog Dash in the new Toy Story Land! Will it possible threat to the future of the Indiana Jones Stunt Show that is located next to it? We hope the Disney execs don’t choose to nix the Indiana Jones show in order to elaborate on Star Wars, but it is a rumored possibility.

12. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is scheduled to open in Early Spring 2019. Billed as a new 2 1/2 D ride (you won’t need 3D glasses!) this new experience will allow guests to jump into a cartoon short.

Mickey and Minnie Runaway Railway _ Disney World _ Disney Fanatic

credit: Disney Parks

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About Jessica

Jessica is currently a photographer and writer as well as a full time college student pursuing her bachelor’s in History. She is a self-professed Disney Addict and feels no need to cut down on her “addiction.” Being from the South, Jessica is just a stone’s throw away from the Happiest Place on Earth and is planning her next visit so she can finally meet Anna and Elsa. Disney is one of her biggest passions and she looks forward to sharing her Disney tips and tricks with you!