If you’re planning a trip to Disney World in Orlando you’ll probably want to check out all the amazing new attractions. A raft of new rides have been unveiled at the park, and there are even more set to open next year. Here’s a round-up of the recent additions plus a look at what’s new at Disney World in 2018.
What’s new at Disney World?
Magic Kingdom has unveiled a host of new attractions this year including a daily welcome show which takes place each morning in front of Cinderella Castle. Guests can enter the Main Street USA area even earlier than the park’s scheduled opening time to enjoy breakfast or a hot drink before the show begins – it takes place at the Castle Forecourt Stage as soon as the park opens.
Also new to Magic Kingdom is Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire which has multiple showings daily in front of the castle. This all-new live stage show features plenty of music and merriment with characters from Disney’s recent films including Tangled, Frozen and Princess and the Frog.
The other big newbie to the Cinderella Castle area is the Happily Ever After fireworks show which features more lasers, lights and projections than any other fireworks event in Magic Kingdom history. The 18-minute spectacle features moments from more than 20 Disney films. It also boasts state-of-the-art projections, thousands of choreographed spotlights and plenty of awe-inspiring fireworks bursting in time to an original 75-piece orchestral score.
Animal Kingdom welcomed one of Disney’s most highly anticipated attractions this year: Pandora – The World of Avatar.
Designed in collaboration with filmaker James Cameron, the attraction has brought to life the mythical world of Pandora inspired by the world’s highest-grossing film, Avatar. The centerpiece is the blockbusting attraction, Avatar Flight of Passage, which sends guests on a simulated 3D flight on the back of a mountain banshee over a vast alien world.
Other highlights are the Na’vi River raft ride which takes guests on a journey through a bioluminescent rainforest in search of the Na’vi Shaman of Songs. Visitors can also hike amid floating mountains and glowing fauna and flora at the awe-inspiring Valley of Mo’ara.
Look out for the Satu’li Canteen, the Pongu Pongu beverage station and the Windtraders souvenir shop. The Swotu Waya Na’vi Drum Ceremony is another must-see attraction. Little ones will love getting their faces painted at the Colors of Mo’ara station.
Also new to Magic Kingdom are Tiffins restaurant and New Nighttime Experiences, which feature enhanced day-into-night versions of top attractions like the Kilimanjaro Safaris and the Tree of Life.
A number of exciting new attractions have been unveiled at Epcot this year, including the Frozen Ever After log-boat ride in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion. There’s also a new character meet-and-greet venue featuring Frozen’s royal princesses in the Royal Sommerhus, also in the Norway Pavilion.
The beloved Soarin’ attraction has now been enhanced to Soarin’ Around the World complete with high-resolution film imagery, a new laser projection system and sensory enhancements such as smells. Riders can go on an interactive journey and ‘hang glide’ around some of the greatest wonders of the world including the Great Wall of China, the Iguaza Falls and Sydney Harbor.
Other new additions at Epcot include Turtle Talk with Crush, an interactive theater show starring the 153-year-old surfer turtle from Finding Nemo. There’s also a chance to meet the characters from the popular Disney-Pixar film Inside Out.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The most popular addition to Hollywood Studios in recent years is the new 14-acre Star Wars-themed land. This sprawling attraction features the exciting Star Wars Launch Bay where guests can check out movie props, play games, snap photos and greet all their favorite characters from the films.
It also boasts a state-of-the-art flight simulator that blasts guests off on a thrilling simulated tour of the Star Wars galaxy aboard a Starspeeder 1000 vehicle.
Kids can train with lightsabers and fight Darth Vader at the new Jedi Training area. The park has also launched A Galactic Spectacular, a nightly fireworks show complete with lasers, special effects and music.
To top it all off guests can now go on a 7-hour guided tour led by a Star Wars expert. The tour offers VIP access around the Star Wars area, reserved film viewings, private character greetings and dinner at the Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party.
Check out the new Baseline Tap House too, for beers, cocktails, wines and snacks.
Dozens of shopping and dining locations have made their debut at the new Disney Springs complex including Havianas, Ugg, Uniqlo and Zara.
Restaurant openings include The Polite Pig, sister restaurant to Orlando’s popular Ravenous Pig eatery, Paddlefish seafood restaurant (formerly Fulton’s Crab House), and Planet Hollywood, an observatory-themed emporium which dishes up casual American food alongside famous movie memorabilia, music and film screenings.
Disney’s water parks
The newest addition to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park is the Miss Adventure Falls raft ride based on the fictional treasure hunter Mary Oceaneer.
Legend has it that Mary once roamed the 7 seas in search of unusual artefacts to bring home and share with her friends at the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. One night a rogue storm marooned her ship at Typhoon Lagoon and her bounty was left strewn along the shore.
Guests ride special ‘treasure tubes’ on this fast-paced attraction filled with drops, twists and turns. It also features story-telling scenes with animatronic animals (typically only found at the theme parks) and riders can see a whole load of Mary’s deep-sea finds along the way.
What’s New at Disney World in 2018?
Toy Story Land
Set to open at Hollywood Studios in the summer, this 11-acre attraction will ‘shrink’ guests down to toy size in a larger-than-life reconstruction of Andy’s backyard.
The land will feature two major rides including a family friendly roller coaster themed on Slinky Dog and an alien saucer ride featuring The Claw. Along with the new rides Toy Story Land will be decked out with giant building blocks, game board pieces and Toy Story characters.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
After 89 years as Walt Disney’s most famous mascots, Mickey and Minnie will finally get a theme park ride based entirely around them. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will replace the Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios and will be the park’s first ever Mickey-themed ride-through attraction.
With Goofy as the tour guide, guests can embark on a journey through a Mickey Mouse cartoon where dazzling special effects will immerse them into the story. With the new technology, guests will get the experience of 3D without having to wear 3D glasses. It isn’t yet known exactly when the ride will open but it’s rumored to be some time in late 2018.
Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
There’ll be even more Star Wars-themed fun at Hollywood Studios with the amazing new land set to open in late 2018/early 2019.
Replacing the majority of the park’s Streets of America section, Galaxy’s Edge will be part of a major expansion planned for Hollywood Studios. The Star Wars-themed land will have two new attractions: one will allow riders to control a Millenium Falcon, and the other will immerse guests into a battle between the First Order and the Resistance.
The land will be accompanied (at a later date) by the Star Wars Hotel, a proposed one-of-a-kind facility where a luxury starship-shaped resort meets a multi-day adventure.
ESPN Wide World of Sports
A brand-new multi-use sports and entertainment venue will open at ESPN Wide World of Sports next year, with seating for more than 8,000 spectators.
The new state-of-the-art venue will be located adjacent to the Jostens Center and will feature a flexible design that can morph from one large competition or concert space into as many as 4 separate competition areas.
The venue will be the only one of its size in America that has been designed with cheerleading and dance competitions in mind. It will feature special warm-up and practice areas, as well as spaces for judges and officials. There will also be concessions throughout the building, and an additional box office entry to the complex.
New drinking and dining locations
A number of new drinking and dining locations will open their doors at Disney Springs in 2018 including The Edison, a glamorous gothic-style restaurant and cocktail bar, and Wine Bar George, a restaurant and wine bar featuring more than 100 wine selections available both by the glass and the bottle.
Disney Springs will also see the opening of new Spanish bistro, Jaleo, as well as the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill in the Town Center.
What’s coming in the future?
In time for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary in 2021, grand plans are in place for even more thrilling new attractions.
One of Disneyland Shanghai’s highest-rated attractions, Tron, is coming to a new area near Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom park.
In addition, a new live entertainment center inspired by the iconic Willis Wood Theater in 1920’s Kansas City will make its debut near the main park entrance in Main Street USA.
Epcot will welcome the new 4D Ratatouille attraction based on the 2007 Disney-Pixar film. The ride will be added to a new area just past the Eiffel Tower in the France Pavilion at World Showcase.
Rumors have also be confirmed that a new Guardians of the Galaxy rollercoaster ride is being built behind the Universe of Energy pavilion.
Green Mission at Mission Space will treat guests to an enhanced tour around Planet Earth, and a revamped Orange Mission will make the current trip to Mars even more spectacular. Adjacent to the Mission Space attraction, a new restaurant will open its doors at Epcot, inviting guests to dine high above the Earth for an out-of-this-world dining experience.
In addition to the raft of exciting new attractions at Disney World, a number of new technological advances are in place throughout the park.
All guests can now reserve access to their favorite FastPass+ attractions – either before leaving home or in the parks – giving them more time to explore and enjoy their Disney World experience.
Also a new form of electronic payment is now being accepted at many merchandise, quick-service food and beverage, outdoor vending and ticket sales locations throughout Disney World. Known as contactless payment, purchases are made by holding a mobile device or contactless-enabled credit card near the touch point (Mickey head) on stationary touch-to-pay devices.
Where to stay
If you’re visiting Disney World in Orlando and you’re not sure where to stay, it makes sense to cut down on costs and traveling time by opting for accommodation in one of the nearby resorts.
Located just minutes from Disney, the brand-new Encore Resort at Reunion is home to an impressive collection of luxury vacation homes available for short stays of just 3 nights or more. Guests benefit from a range of exclusive extras, including free water park access and free transfers to local theme parks.
Want golf courses on-site? Check out the exclusive Reunion Resort, home to 3 signature-designed championship courses and a raft of top-notch facilities including a water park, a spa, restaurants, bars, sports facilities and kids’ activities.
If you’re thinking of booking an Orlando vacation and you need advice on where to stay then contact us today. Additionally, our dedicated concierge team can arrange any added extras you need such as great value car hire and attraction tickets. You can see all of our Orlando villas here.