Walt Disney once said “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” It’s hard to believe that in a few short years (2021), Walt Disney World Resort will be 50 years old. I wonder if Walt could of ever imagined just how many new doors and new things were on the horizon.
I sometimes think that the motto that is followed today goes more like “If we build it, they will come!” In just under 50 years, Walt Disney World has gone from the Magic Kingdom and a couple of hotels to a massively, sometimes overwhelming, stunningly beautiful, vacation destination for millions.
As someone that has visited since it was only the Magic Kingdom and a couple of hotels, I do try to embrace the growth, the changes and all that it has become. Sometimes I welcome those changes with open arms. Sometimes I wonder if they will ever stop making the changes. Sometimes I miss attractions, shows or parades that are just a memory in a family photo album. I do always appreciate that those changes have created for me and my family a destination that we can continue to enjoy. A destination that no matter how many times we visit, still has us seeing new things.
The new Toy Story Land will be open in just a little over a month and will be the start of Disney’s Hollywood Studios moving into once again being a full day park.
Here are some of the new and exciting things that we will be seeing in the next few years:
No. 1 ~ Main Street USA Live Theater ~ Yes or No?
At the 2017 D23 Expo, an announcement was made that a new theater would be coming to Main Street, USA inside the Magic Kingdom. The theater was said to be based on the iconic Willis Wood theater in 1920s Kansas City, where Walt lived after he left Marceline. Additional details were supposed to follow, but no one heard anything further until a few months ago when a rumor began circulating that the project has been canceled. This cancellation information has not been confirmed by Disney and should be considered a rumor until it is confirmed. I have searched for cancellation confirmation and haven’t been able to locate any.
No. 2 ~ “Guardians of the Galaxy” Attractions ~ Epcot
The ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Attraction at Epcot will be one of world’s longest enclosed coasters when it is added to Future World in Epcot. The attraction will open in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort in 2021.
No. 3 ~ Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge ~ Hollywood Studios
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be going into that giant spot of Disney’s Hollywood Studios that originally belonged to the Studio Backlot Tour, which was the heart and soul of the movie studio-themed park when it opened. The Star Wars themed land is set to occupy the former Streets of America section (which closed in April 2016). The leftover portion of Streets of America that Galaxy’s Edge won’t engulf has been rechristened Grand Avenue and has been made the new home of Muppet*Vision 3D. The galaxy is not really that far, far away with anticipated openings in 2019.
No. 4 ~ Space Restaurant ~ Epcot
This still un-named restaurant will be located in a newly created area between the Mission: SPACE and Test Track attractions. The restaurant will invite guests to travel to space for an amazing dining experience in the stars. There is still no information about what the restaurant will serve or when it will open.
No. 5 ~ Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway ~ Hollywood Studios
This Mickey-themed ride-through attraction will be opening in 2019. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will put you inside the wacky and unpredictable world of a Mickey Mouse Cartoon Short where you’re the star and anything can happen. The attraction will be located where the Great Movie Ride was.
No. 6 ~ Ratatouille Attraction ~ Epcot/France Pavilion
Estimated completion for this new attraction is said to be Spring of 2020. Very little information has surfaced, but construction is in full swing behind the France Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase. It is assumed the attraction will be similar, if not the same, as the trackless ride Ratatouille: The Adventure at Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris.
No. 7 ~ Star Wars Themed Resort
This first-of-its-kind resort will combine luxury with complete immersion into an authentic Star Wars story. Guest’s journey through space will start when everyone departs together for a multi-day Stars Wars adventure by boarding a starship alive with characters and stories that unfold all around them during a voyage through the galaxy. At the resort, guests immediately become active citizens of the galaxy and can dress up in the proper attire. Every resort window will also have a view into space. The opportunity for immersion at this resort will also stand out among all Disney resorts around the globe, as it will be seamlessly connected to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, allowing guests a total Star Wars experience.
The hotel is expected to have 400 rooms and give guests direct access to Star Wars Land at Hollywood Studios. No planned opening date has been revealed.
No. 8 ~ Disney’s Riviera Resort
Using land that was acquired from the demolition of a portion of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, this new Disney Vacation Club resort will open in the fall of 2019 and will feature approximately 300 units. The resort will feature a rooftop restaurant with views of both Epcot’s and Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ nighttime spectaculars. Disney’s Riviera Resort will have access to Walt Disney World’s upcoming Skyliner gondola transportation system, which will take guests to and from Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Walt Disney World bus transportation to all four theme parks, two water parks, and Disney Springs will be available.
No. 9 ~ Disney Skyliner Transportation System
The Disney Skyliner is a gondola lift system that will connect Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and the new Disney Riviera Resort to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Disney Skyliner cabins will have iconic Disney characters incorporated into their exterior design to give the appearance that a Disney pal is riding along with guests, such as characters from the ‘Fab Five,’ figures from Disney attractions, fan favorites from movies, and more. The design of the Disney Skyliner station at International Gateway at Epcot will be inspired by the park’s nearby European Pavilions. Information points to completion in mid-2019, however, it’s hard to tell when visiting if the construction is far enough along. Of course, Disney is famous for it’s magic so chances are the gondolas will be up and running in no time.
No. 10 ~ Tron Roller Coaster ~ Magic Kingdom
Walt Disney World’s Tron coaster will be modeled after Tron Lightcycle Power Run at Shanghai Disneyland. The coaster-style attraction invites guests to board a train of two-wheeled Lightcycles for a ride through Tron’s high-tech universe. The Tron coaster is being built on land adjacent to Space Mountain. Information has this attraction being ready for the 50th Anniversary in 2021.
Which of these ten new things coming to Walt Disney World are you most looking forward to?