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2018 Will Be Even More Magical for Visitors to Walt Disney World!

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Disney has been slowly releasing more and more information about what we can all expect in 2018 when we visit Walt Disney World! After you plan your 2018 WDW vacation – be sure to sign up for some Mickey Mail for the kids to let them know Mickey is excited about their plans! Imagine their excitement when they receive some mail right from Walt Disney World.

2018 walt disney world

With an amazing new land set to debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this summer, plus the return of guest-favorite festivals and a multitude of new dining locations, 2018 is shaping up to be thrilling for anyone planning a visit to Walt Disney World. 

Here is some of what we will be looking forward to this year:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi-Inspired Additions Are On Display At Star Wars Launch Bay – New props and models from Star Wars: The Last Jedi were recently put on display to Star Wars Launch Bay at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire Hyper-Reality Experience by ILMxLAB and The VOID – This newly opened experience is guaranteed to be a hit for Star Wars fans in 2018. Located in Disney Springs, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire transports guests deep into the Star Wars universe, allowing them to walk freely and un-tethered throughout a multi-sensory experience with friends and family. In groups of four, teams will go undercover as storm troopers to capture Imperial intelligence vital to the budding rebellion’s survival.

Star Tours – The Adventures Continue Now Offers Two New Destinations – This attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios now takes passengers to two exciting new destinations: Crait, the site of an epic battle in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Batuu, the remote outpost guests will discover when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at the park in 2019.

25th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Celebration Begins Tomorrow, Jan. 3 – The Walt Disney World Marathon will mark its 25th anniversary this year. The race weekend will “run” from Jan. 3-7, and include a 5K, 10K, half-and-full marathon.

Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts Expands To Run January 12-February 19 – Epcot’s art festival returns for a second year, with this year’s event offering seminars, workshops classes on drawing animation, photography and the art of making topiaries. Guests can also enjoy world-class cuisine at the food studios, or enjoy a Disney on Broadway series performance. 

Returning to Epcot for a second year, the expanded Epcot International Festival of the Arts will celebrate all things art – performing, visual and culinary – from January 12 to February 19 – with festivities running seven days a week and Disney on Broadway performing each weekend (Fridays through Mondays) throughout the festival.

Guests can kick off 2018 with world-class cuisine, remarkable visual art and an extraordinary lineup of live entertainment. Festival highlights:

  • Seminars and workshops from top Disney, local and nationally-renowned artists including classes on drawing animation, photography and the art of making topiaries
  • More than a half a dozen specially-created food studios offering a wealth of “artistic” culinary delights
  • A host of performing artists that build on the already stellar lineup of authentic Epcot performers
  • An encore performance of the Disney on Broadway series featuring Disney on Broadway stars singing favorite songs from award-winning Broadway shows.

Another returning favorite is Disney on Broadway dining packages, where guests can pair a meal at one of the participating Epcot restaurants with priority seating for the Disney on Broadway concert series.

Disney After Hours Event Nights Return to Magic Kingdom Park January-March – Disney After Hours event nights will return to Magic Kingdom Park on January 19, 26, and 30, February 8 and 15, March 1 and 8. Experience an event that takes place after the park closes and is only open to a limited number of guests (which means much shorter lines) at 25 attractions and experiences.

Disney Springs Will Welcome Eight New Dining Locations – A total of eight exciting new F&B locations are set to make their grand debuts at Disney Springs in 2018. The Edison, along with Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, Enzo’s Hideaway and Pizza Ponte are scheduled to open early in 2018, while Terralina Crafted ItalianWine Bar George, Jaleo and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill are set to debut later on in the year. Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for future updates, sneak peeks at the menus and opening information.

Eight new dining concepts debut at Disney Springs in 2018, joining the stellar line-up of award-winning restaurants at this one-of-a-kind retail, dining and entertainment complex:

Opening this winter, The Edison is a lavish “Industrial Gothic” restaurant, bar and nighttime destination that will feature live entertainment, including cabaret. Adjacent to The Edison guests will enjoy a trio of modern Italian restaurant and bar concepts. Maria & Enzo’s will be an open and airy Italian trattoria featuring family-friendly dishes inspired by Sicily. Enzo’s Hideaway will pour Prohibition-era cocktails at its Tunnel Bar and offer hearty Roman dishes. Pizza Ponte will be the perfect place for a quick bite, with pastries, pizza, Italian sandwiches and espresso on the menu.

Chicago-based Levy Restaurants introduces Terralina Crafted Italian with James Beard award winner and “Top Chef Master” Chef Tony Mantuano. The new restaurant will feature dishes inspired by Mantuano’s adventures in Italy.

In spring 2018, Master Sommelier George Miliotes will bring his expertise to Disney Springs with Wine Bar George. With more than 100 wine selections by the bottle and glass, Miliotes will serve up wine education along with shareable plates, cheese and charcuterie.

Other openings slated for 2018 at Disney Springs include Jaleo, a Spanish concept by world-renowned Chef José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup, and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, a modern concept inspired by laid-back California dining.

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary – This year’s festival will run from February 28-May 28. The 90-day event brings with it a multitude of Disney character topiaries, tasty offerings at 15 Outdoor Kitchens, garden tours, the Garden Rocks music series, new kids’ activities, the Egg-Stravaganza scavenger hunt and much more.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Celebrates It’s 20th Anniversary – Walt Disney World’s theme park dedicated to celebrating life in the animal kingdom will mark a milestone 20th anniversary on Earth Day, April 22, this year. Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more details on how you can celebrate this milestone year with us.

Majestic in its grandeur and showcasing the magic of nature with inhabitants that roam, run, crawl, fly, slither and swim; Disney’s Animal Kingdom will mark its 20th anniversary in 2018.

The vast, 500-acre park is Disney’s largest, providing a grand stage for the celebration of the world of animals and their natural habitats. Live creatures from mite-sized to mammoth call Disney’s Animal Kingdom home. Lush landscaping, Broadway-quality live shows, conservation themes and rides, attractions and adventures for all ages complete the scene.

As the park continued to evolve, it added a distant moon in 2017. Pandora–The World of Avatar transports guests to a mystical world of floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and breathtaking new experiences. Inspired by the blockbuster motion picture, AVATAR, the new land invites guests to explore a glowing landscape, encounter a larger-than-life Na’vi shaman and soar on the back of a fearsome banshee.

And debuting just in time for the park’s 20th anniversary is a new show featuring Russell and Dug from Disney•Pixar’s film “UP” This new experience will offer guests the chance to see Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his furry friend Dug as they discover species of birds from around the world in their newest adventure at the Caravan Theater in Anandapur Village. There will be “UP” close encounters each day with amazing winged creatures.

An “UP”-Inspired Show Will Debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom This Spring – A new show featuring Russell and Dug from Disney•Pixar’s film “UP” will offer guests the chance to see Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his furry friend Dug as they discover species of birds from around the world in their newest adventure at the Caravan Theater in Anandapur Village. Stay tuned for more on this new experience.

Celebrate The Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant at Disney Springs – Raglan Road is the place to be for St. Patty’s Day, this March 17. The annual event features live music and Irish dance performances, plus plenty of great food.

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Toy Story Land Opens in Summer 2018 – The highly anticipated expansion at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will debut to guests this summer, and with it, two new attractions: Alien Swirling Saucers and the Slinky Dog Dash family coaster. Guests can already catch a glimpse of what’s in store inside the park’s Walt Disney Presents attraction, where they can view the model and some attraction vehicle maquettes.

In summer 2018 Disney unwraps a joyful, toy-full surprise for its guests with the opening of the all-new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Stepping into their favorite Pixar blockbuster films, guests will feel like they’ve shrunk to the size of a toy as they play in Andy’s backyard with their favorite Toy Story pals, including Woody and Buzz. Using toys like building blocks, plastic buckets and shovels and game board pieces, Andy has designed the perfect setting for this land. This new 11-acre play space will include two new attractions and one expanded favorite:

  • Inspired by the playful dachshund spinoff of Slinky, the American toy classic, Slinky Dog Dash will be a family-style coaster that will send riders dipping, dodging and dashing around turns and drops that Andy has created to stretch Slinky and his coils to the max.
  • Bathed in music, lighting and sound effects, Alien Swirling Saucers is designed as a play set that Andy got from Pizza Planet, inspired by the first “Toy Story” film. Famous little green aliens from the movie are flying around in their toy flying saucers and trying to capture your rocket toy vehicle with “The Claw.”
  • A third track has recently been added to the hugely popular Toy Story Mania!, which invites guests to take aim at 3D objects in a variety of whimsical, fast-paced games.

When it’s time for refreshment, Woody’s Lunch Box will be a new quick-service window serving tasty meals and old-fashioned soda floats. Walt Disney World Resort will collaborate with Mini Babybel to bring Woody’s Lunch Box to life.

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort Enhancements Will Debut This Summer – Several areas of this resort are currently undergoing enhancements, including a transformation for the resort’s existing lobby, an expansion of Centertown Market, and the addition of a new Caribbean-inspired restaurant and pool bar.

Get Into The Halloween Spirit At Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party – This event is a must-do for guests visiting in the fall. Get ready to collect candy, dress in costumes, and enjoy Halloween entertainment like only Disney can create. Highlights of this special-ticket party include “Happy HalloWishes” fireworks, the “Boo-To-You Halloween Parade” and more. Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for 2018 party dates.

Fall Will Be Unforgettable With The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – Plan for a fantastic fall with the return of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The 2018 event will feature many guest favorites – including global marketplaces, the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, guest chef appearances, culinary demonstrations, beverage seminars and so much more.

Holiday Favorite Events Will Return – Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog throughout 2018 for vacation planning information useful for planning holiday visits, with updates on 2018 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties at Magic Kingdom Park, the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, the Flurry of Fun celebration Disney’s Hollywood Studios, holiday shopping and entertainment at Disney Springs, and more.

ESPN Wide World of Sports Will Expand – ESPN Wide World of Sports will open a new multi-use sports and entertainment venue in 2018. It will seat more than 8,000 guests and have the ability to host six regulation basketball courts, six regulation volleyball courts or concert configurations. For cheer and dance events, it will accommodate performance and warm-up space and include a flexible design for one large competition space that can be set up for as many as four competition areas. Additional areas can be tailored for warm-up and practice, along with areas for judges and officials. There will be concessions throughout the building, and additional box office and entry to the complex.

ESPN Wide World of Sports will open a new multi-use sports and entertainment venue in 2018. It will seat more than 8,000 guests and have the ability to host six regulation basketball courts, six regulation volleyball courts or concert configurations. For cheer and dance events, it will accommodate performance and warm-up space and include a flexible design for one large competition space that can be set up for as many as four competition areas. Additional areas can be tailored for warm-up and practice, along with areas for judges and officials. There will be concessions throughout the building, and additional box office and entry to the complex.

Look For More Updates on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2019 – Slated to open in 2019, this entire land will allow guests to visit a remote trading port on the edge of wild space, where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life – and where guests will find themselves in the middle of the action. The lands will feature two major attractions that put guests in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Each attraction – and even the land itself – will offer guests the chance to immerse themselves in the Star Wars universe like never before. Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog throughout 2018 for updates on this thrilling new land.

Although no completion date has been announced, I’m sure 2018 will bring us lots of news about the new Disney Skyliner system currently being constructed. 

What are you looking forward to most – or planning a WDW vacation around?