Disney is constantly adding new things at the Walt Disney World resort every year. It can be hard to keep up on the latest openings and what to expect on your next trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. Trust me it has almost become a second full-time job with all the new Disney announcements lately. Since the average family visits every three years, we have included 2016 as well as 2017 items in our list of what is new at Disney World. If you are looking for 2018 read New at Disney World in 2018.
Keep checking back, as we are constantly updating this list as Disney World makes announcements on new opening dates and new additions to the resort! And also you will want to sign up to get your FREE Printable Disney Daily Vacation Planner!!
Pandora the World of Avatar (May 27, 2017)
The new Pandora: The World of Avatar is open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! This new land is home to two new attractions, the family friendly Na’vi River Journey, a river ride through a bioluminescent rainforest. And second, the Avatar Flight of Passage excursion that offers the jaw-dropping experience of riding on a Banshee over the world of Pandora.
We have a couple articles about this new land in Disney’s Animal Kingdom or you can watch the video of the Navi River Ride or Flight of Passage.
Happily Ever After (May 12, 2017)
A new fireworks show has replaced the long-running Wishes show at the Magic Kingdom. It features the latest in fireworks, pyrotechnics and projection technology, plus fresh animation, and a new musical score and theme song.
The new show takes you on a journey filled with heart and humor, as Cinderella Castle itself becomes part of the story. Dazzling projections bring heartfelt Disney stories to life on and around the iconic castle. The 18-minute spectacle will feature moments from all your favorite Disney films such as “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin,” as well as “Moana” and “Zootopia.”
The Music of Pixar LIVE! A Symphony of Characters (May 26, 2017)
A new show is appearing evenings at Hollywood Studios for a limited time. The Music of Pixar Live will feature all your favorite characters from Pixar. A live orchestra provides the soundtrack for this 40-minute concert that will be presented three times nightly at Theater of the Stars. This will be after the Beauty and Beast stage shows finish for the day, so don’t worry about missing out on that!
Frozen Ever After – EPCOT (Opened June 2016)
The former Malestrom attraction in the Norway Pavilion has been transformed into Frozen Ever After. This family-friendly attraction will take you to Arendelle where they are celebrating a Summer Snow Day! The lines can get crazy long on this one. If you are looking for some tips and tricks on how to avoid a long line check out our article Useful Tips on how to Ride Frozen Ever After
Soarin’ Around The World – EPCOT (Opened June 2016)
Soarin Around the World received a new expansion and makeover this year. Now the attraction takes you to famous landmarks around the world instead of just around California. In the renovation for the new movie, they added a new theater which has helped to greatly reduce wait times! As well they upgraded the projector to be 4K and converted to digital, no more dusty movie!
Kilimanjaro Safaris at Night – Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Opened May 2016)
Adventure out on the safari at night.
Get a chance to see animals you never would during the daytime at Kilimanjaro. Hyenas can be spotting as well as some very active large cats. If you want to see the differences in the new nighttime safari you can watch this video.
New Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire Stage Show – Magic Kingdom (Opened June 2016)
Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire. Copyright Disney.
Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire is the new castle stage show that debuted at the Magic Kingdom.
Star Wars Launch Bay – Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Opened 2016)
Star Wars Launch Bay at Hollywood Studios. Copyright Disney.
Get a preview of the upcoming additions of Star Wars to Disney as well as the upcoming movies. Want to meet some Star Wars characters? This is a must do stop, there are numerous characters like Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and Kylo Ren. Just recently added are some props from the latest Star Wars movie, Rogue One.
Rivers of Light – Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Opened February 2017)
Rivers of Light is a beautiful water show at the Animal Kingdom.
Nighttime water show, includes water, special effects, and lights at the Animal Kingdom. Join in on a magnificent emotional journey. The show includes a visual mix of water, fire, nature, and light choreographed to an original musical score. Continuing the park’s transformation from a day-into-nighttime experience, the amazing after-dark show on the banks of Discovery River celebrates the majesty of nature and the connection between animals and humans in the world. With innovative and never-before-seen technology, Rivers of Light will be unlike any other production ever staged at Walt Disney World Resort. Check out our review here or watch a video of the full show here.
Royal Sommerhus – EPCOT (Opened June 2016)
Royal Sommerhus where you can meet Anna and Elsa from Frozen.
Dory Joins Turtle Talk with Crush – Epcot (Opened May 2016)
Meet Joy and Sadness from “Inside Out” – Epcot (Opened April 2016)
Meet Joy and Sadness from Pixar’s movie Inside Out. Find them at the newly expanded Epcot Character Spot. Copyright Disney.
Olaf Meet and Greet – Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Opened 2017)
Grab a warm hug from everyone’s favorite, Olaf. Just stop in Celebrity Spotlight at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Copyright Disney.
Tiffins – Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Opened May 2016)
Bread sampling from Tiffins located inside the Animal Kingdom.
“Tastes Like Chicken” Dish from the Skipper Canteen at the Magic Kingdom. Copyright Disney.
STK – Disney Springs (June 2016)
STK a modern twist on a traditional steakhouse.
Frontera Cocina – Disney Springs (June 2016)
Some food samplings from Frontera Cocina.
Sprinkles – Disney Springs (June 2016)
You can watch how the magic is made at Sprinkles Cupcakes.
Blaze – Disney Springs (Opened August 2016)
Create your custom Pizza at Blaze.
Homecoming – Disney Springs (Opened July 2016)
Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming restaurant at Disney Springs serves delectable farm-to-fork cuisine showcasing Florida’s fresh flavors. Copyright Disney.
Planet Hollywood Observatory- Disney Springs (Opened January 2017)
Planet Hollywood reopened and joined forces with Guy Fieri to fire up an exclusive portion of the new menu, featuring Guy Fieri’s burgers and sandwiches.
Edison – Disney Springs (Opening Summer 2017)
The Edison. Copyright Disney.
And The Edison, a lavish “Industrial Gothic” restaurant, bar, and nighttime, is expected to open by year’s end. A collaboration of Patina Restaurant Group and Kinetescape’s Andrew Meieran, The Edison is noted for classic American food, craft cocktails and live entertainment including cabaret. (The Disney Springs location is inspired by its sister location in Los Angeles.) With Old World sophistication and romance, The Edison will be themed to a 1920s-era electric company, recalling an exuberant era of invention and imagination with entertainment that includes contortionists, aerialists, DJs and more.
Paddlefish (Opened February 4th, 2017)
This restaurant used to be known as Fulton’s Crab House but is currently undergoing a full gut and transformation into Paddlefish. The new space will offer multiple dining areas and event space. The new menu will mostly be focused around seafood.
The Polite Pig (Opened April 10, 2017)
The Polite Pig is a sister restaurant to the Ravenous Pig, a favorite with Orlando locals. The restaurant will bring the same focus on genuine Florida cuisine to a broader global audience at Disney Springs. Lunch and dinner menus will feature a variety of wood-fired smoked and grilled items as well as an innovative beverage program that serves all drinks on tap, including beer, wine, and cocktails.
New Italian Concept to replace Portobello Country Italian Trattoria (Late 2017)
This fall, Chicago-based Levy Restaurants is introducing a new Italian concept at Disney Springs, with James Beard award winner and “Top Chef Master” Chef Tony Mantuano leading development. The new restaurant replaces Levy’s Portobello Country Italian Trattoria and will feature dishes inspired by Mantuano’s adventures in Italy.
Wine Bar George (Late 2017)
Also opening in late 2017 is Wine Bar George, with Master Sommelier George Miliotes bringing his expertise to Disney Springs with an unparalleled wine list including more than 100 selections by the bottle and glass in a range of varietals, vintages and prices. Shareable plates, cheese, and charcuterie will complement the wine list, featuring local artisans and seasonally relevant dishes. Look for some fun wine education, including special events and visits from winemakers. Miliotes is widely regarded as one of the industry’s foremost wine experts and is one of only 236 professionals certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Events & Tours
International Art Festival (January 2017)
Epcot International Festival of the Arts will debut in January 2017.
Epcot hosted yet another festival in 2017. The International Festival of the Arts was held for six weekends in the beginning of 2017. Held Fridays through Mondays starting Jan. 13 – Feb. 20, 2017, the Festival was able to feature new art each week, making each weekend original.
Club Villian at Hollywood Studios (January 2016)
Club Villain at Hollywood Studios. Copyright Disney.
Club Villain at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is an add-on ticketed event. Only available on select nights. Club Villian includes a banquet-style meal followed by a dance party with so evil Disney Villians.
Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks – Disney’s Hollywood Studios (June 2016)
Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. A nightly firework show now playing at Hollywood Studios. Copyright Disney.
Star Wars Guided Tour (2017)
Advanced Weapons Research from Rogue One. Copyright Disney.
This seven-hour guided tour will be led by a Star Wars “all-in-the-know” tour guide that will include: a journey on Star Tours – The Adventures Continue; an opportunity to participate in Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple (for guests age 4-12); a guided exploration of Star Wars Launch Bay, dinner at a quick-service restaurant featuring Star Wars-themed items; the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party; fireworks viewing and more. More information to come.
Disney’s Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach Resorts
More Guest Experiences and Dining Options Coming to Disney’s Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach Resorts – Copyright Disney
The expansion at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort will include a new 15-story tower that will add 500 rooms, featuring suites and concierge level services. The resort will also refurbish its current resort rooms and transform its landscape with floating gardens and an island oasis that connects the resort through a series of bridges.
New Cabins and Deluxe Villas coming to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (Summer 2017)
There is soon to be a new Disney Vacation Club Resort in town, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort. This area features new Resort accommodations that include plans for Deluxe Villas and unique waterfront cabins. Other enhancements coming to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge include a brand-new bar & grill, in addition to a quick-service restaurant. A sweeping re-imagination of the former Hidden Springs Pool, part of Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, is also scheduled to open in summer 2017. Named Boulder Ridge Cove, this area will feature an expanded sun deck and zero-depth-entry pool.
And so much more is sure to pop up as 2017 continues on! So, make sure you put together a list of all your new must do at Disney for your next trip. Also, make sure that you keep visiting our website for news, trip planning, and great insights into building your perfect trip to the Orlando area!
If you want some more information on planning your 2017 trip to Disney World, outside of reading this blog for free of course, we have a couple of book recommendations. We love these two unofficial guides, due to their unbiased opinions! Be sure to give a look at both The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2017 and The Easy Guide to your WDW Trip 2017.
Looking for a FREE packing list for your trip check out the FREE: The Ultimate Disney Packing List!