There are a lot of major events on the horizon at Walt Disney World. Disney is staying true to Walt’s statement that, ““Disney(land) will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” So, let’s talk about some of the biggest changes coming to Walt Disney World in the next couple of years.
Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
One of the most anticipated new projects to ever come to a Disney park are the new Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge lands coming to both Disneyland and Disney World. The lands were announced on August 15, 2015 and construction began at both parks on April 14, 2016. Each coast will host a near replica of the other and both are set to open in 2019.
Opening days were announced during the earnings call on March 7. Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland will open on May 31 and Galaxy’s Edge in Walt Disney World will open on August 29.
Crowds and excitement has been built up so much around Galaxy’s Edge that Disney has commented they, “won’t need much marketing” around them, they are going to sell themselves.
Guests will be transported to the planet of Batuu. This land is unique and interesting because instead of modeling it after a land from the Star Wars Franchise, they have created a new planet. The land in Walt Disney World will feature an immersive Star Wars themed resort where guests will be completely immersed in the Star Wars experience and will transition seamlessly to Galaxy’s Edge.
The two rides featured in each land will be the Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
The Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run will allow guests the opportunity to board the famed vessel and where each guest will have a different task to complete on their journey. Each ride will be different from the last creating a unique experience each time for guests.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance guests will be transported to a first order star destroyer, where a secret mission will ensue complete with the evasion of various enemy attacks from AT-AT’s and possible others.
The lands will also feature Oga’s Cantina. This is said to be a very small space which will no doubt create long lines for several years as guests clamor to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
The Disney Skyliner, Walt Disney World’s latest transportation option has been making big headlines as of late as construction is wrapping up and testing of the gondola’s is well underway.
Set to open in the fall of 2019, the Skyliner will transport guests from Disney’s Caribbean Beach, Pop Century, Art of Animation and the Riviera to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. This is the first Disney World transportation project to feature transportation options exclusively from value and moderate resorts, to parks.
The Skyliner will allow guests a new birds eye view of Walt Disney Property providing a new and unique experience.
Guardians of the Galaxy Coaster
This ride is going to be BIG! No, literally, it is going to be giant. The Guardians of the Galaxy coaster coming to Epcot in 2021, just in time for the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, will be the largest indoor roller coaster in the world.
The ride is partially housed in the former iconic Universe of Energy, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, ride that featured Ellen DeGeneres, that closed in 2017. Construction is clearly visible throughout the area for this new attraction. One of the biggest challenges, not allowing the massive building to take away from the aesthetic of Epcot and Spaceship Earth.
According to recently released documents and visuals, the coaster vessels for the ride feature five cars that hold four guests each with two guests seated in a row. So, twenty guests per ride vehicle.
Although Disney has remained tight lipped about details for this coaster, it does appear that because the permits do not include inversions that the ride will be pretty family friendly and is likely to be somewhat akin to Space Mountain with projections and more of a storyline than the dark coaster in Magic Kingdom.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
This attraction has been a bit overshadowed by a little project we mentioned above called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the fall of 2019, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will feature a new cartoon short featuring out favorite couple of mice, and Disney is introducing us to a 2 and a half D experience for ride goers that will not require any glasses!
We are excited to take this journey with Mickey and Minnie and adventure into this attraction as a part of the cartoon short!
New Nighttime Fireworks Spectacular at Epcot
After nearly twenty years, the longest running nighttime spectacular in Walt Disney World will be coming to an end in the fall of 2019. Although the permanent replacement for IllumiNations, Reflections of Earth is not scheduled to debut until 2020, a temporary show will be inserted immediately following the final night of IllumiNations called “Epcot Forever” that will run through mid-2020.
The show that will immediately follow IllumiNations will be called Epcot Forever and will run until the debut of the permanent Epcot nighttime spectacular. From everything we have heard, the temporary show will not be incredibly in depth or a full Disney-scale show and will mostly consist of fireworks.
This is genius marketing on Disney’s part and of course, we would expect nothing less. Die hard Disney enthusiasts will be making it a point to hit this temporary show and also to of course return for the new permanent show. The permanent show will be called, “A Celebration of Disney Music” and will, according to Bob Chapek stay true to the original vision of Epcot.
A new DVC Resort is set to open fall of 2019. The Riviera Resort at Walt Disney World, is inspired by the travels of Walt Disney and his wife throughout Europe and the Mediterranean and you will see European touches throughout.
Accommodations include around 300 rooms including studios, one bedroom villas, two bedroom villas and three bedroom grand villas. Rooms and packages can now be booked for December 16, 2019 and after.
A new signature dining restaurant will be featured at the Riviera as a roof-top dining experience. The Italian inspired restaurant will be called Topolino’s which means Mickey Mouse in Italian, how cool is that! The restaurant will feature a unique character breakfast as well.
Several other dining locations will be available as well. Le Petit Café will serve as a coffee shop during the day and a hip wine bar at night. The Voyageurs’ Lounge will highlight decor inspired by the incredible book collection of Walt Disney himself.
Another great aspect of this resort is that the Gondola will be a transportation option to Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge
Another DVC resort is also in the works at the location of the abandoned River Country Water Park on Bay Lake. This nature inspired lodge will host more than 900 rooms; compare that to the 300 coming to the Riviera and this new resort is going to be massive. The resort is set to open in 2022 and will be the 16th DVC resort for the Walt Disney Company.
Overshadowed by so many other projects and a little thing called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the Ratatouille ride coming to Epcot’s France Pavilion in the World Showcase is going to be adorable and exciting.
Originally rumored to open in 2021, it appears that the ride will actually debut to guests in late summer or fall of 2020. Construction is clearly visible from the International Gateway entrance to Epcot and from the Friendship boats.
According to Disney, “guests will be able to shrink to Remy’s size and scurry to safety in a dazzling chase across a kitchen with the sights, sounds and smells of Gusteau’s legendary Parisian restaurant.”
Tron Lightcycle Power Run
Tron Lightcycle is the most anticipated change coming to Magic Kingdom. Closure to Tomorrowland Speedway and changes to the exit from Space Mountain mark work being done on this massive addition to the iconic park. Construction progress can be seen from the People Mover.
The ride is set to open in 2021 in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary and is not the first of its kind as it is based off the same ride already in existence at Shanghai Disneyland.
Part rollercoaster, part simulator, guests will straddle neon-blue motorcycles and will speed along a darkened track topping out at 62 miles per hour. This ride will debut as one of Disney’s fastest ever attractions, far outstripping neighboring Space Mountain which only gets up to 28 miles per hour.
Spaceship Earth Update:
Spaceship Earth is closing for over two and half years and we are devastated. The ride will most likely be receiving a massive overhaul of at least the last half of the attraction. Although details surrounding the closure have been sparse out of Disney up to this point, the iconic ride will close in early 2020 and is scheduled to reopen in mid 2022 for Epcot’s 40th Anniversary.
So, that’s it. Just a few changes coming to Walt Disney World in the next few years. We are excited for these changes and look forward to watching the progress come to the Happiest Place on Earth just like Walt envisioned. The one thing we aren’t excited about are the crowds that are going to come with these changes but we will take that as it comes.
What changes are you most excited for? What are you looking forward to most? Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.