Disney is constantly adding new things at the Walt Disney World Resort every year. It can be hard to keep up with 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 2017 as well as 2018 items on our list of what is new at Disney World in 2018.
If you are reading this because you are trying to decide whether or not you should visit Walt Disney World in 2018 then I recommend reading Why You Should Visit Disney World in 2018. If you already know you want to visit in 2018 then order the FREE official Disney World planning videos!
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! Or join our private Facebook group and get your Disney vacation planning questions answered today!
Events & Tours New at Disney World
International Art Festival
Epcot International Festival of the Arts will be back in January 2018.
Epcot will be hosting their second annual Festival of the Arts on weekends from January 14th through February 19th, 2018. The festival was a success last year and provided programming that locals and off-season guests really enjoyed, including unique food offerings and vendor workshops. New to the 2018 event, Disney Master Artist Kevin-John will be attending with three of his popular Disney-inspired art.
Should be an exciting event, and definitely something to mark on the calendar!
Toy Story Land (Summer 2018)
This is the most highly anticipated addition to Disney World in 2018. In Toy Story Land, explore the world of Andy’s backyard with your favorite Toy Story characters, including Woody and Buzz. There are two new themed attractions being developed for Toy Story Land. Slinky Dog Dash is a family coaster attraction. Alien Swirling Saucers twirls and spins you around as you try to become the chosen one for the claw.
Pandora the World of Avatar (May 27, 2017)
The new World of Avatar is home to two new attractions. First, is the family friendly Na’vi River Journey
, a river ride through a bioluminescent rainforest. And second, the Avatar Flight of Passage
excursion will offer the jaw-dropping experience of riding on a Banshee over the world of Pandora.
See our reviews:
Happily Ever After (May 12, 2017)
A new fireworks show will replace the long-running Wishes show at the Magic Kingdom. It will feature 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.” You can catch Happily Ever After fireworks nightly at the Magic Kingdom.
Watch a full video of the show here!
Rivers of Light – Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Opened February 2017)
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 you can watch a full video of the show here
New Food Locations at Disney World
Planet Hollywood – Disney Springs (January 2017)
This long-standing Disney Springs tenant 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 Winter 2017)
The Edison. Copyright Disney.
The Edison will feature exceptional classic American food, artisanal craft cocktails, and unparalleled live entertainment. This location will be similar to its’s sister in Los Angles.
Maria & Enzo’s, PizzaPonte, Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar (Opening Winter 2017)
Three modern Italian restaurants will be arriving at Disney Springs. These restaurants, all new concepts created by the Patina Restaurant Group, each feature unique menus, and authentic Italian food in a beautiful and expansive dining complex. The complex will be located adjacent to The Edison.
The first concept, called Maria & Enzo’s, is a trattoria set in the town’s abandoned 1930’s airline terminal which has now been transformed into an open and airy restaurant. Featuring gorgeous views of Lake Buena Vista and incredible 50-foot ceilings, the interior dining room is adorned with artifacts that reflect air travel of the time such as maps and historic flight paths. Inspired by Sicily, the menu has a delightful range of family-friendly dishes.
The second concept is Enzo’s Hideaway a speakeasy-inspired by Roman aperitivo bars. Located in the storied rum-runner tunnels that adjoin Maria & Enzo’s and steeped in Florida’s true history of rum-running. Enzo’s Hideaway will pour Prohibition-era cocktails at its Tunnel Bar and serve a casual menu of hearty Roman Dishes.
Finally, Pizza Ponte rounds out the group with a fast-casual restaurant serving pizza, pastries, Italian sandwiches and espresso. With the perfect blend of savory and sweet, Pizza Ponte is the ideal place quick bite. On the savory side, the menu features Sicilian-style pizza served by the slice, signature stuffed pizza bread sandwiches, and roast pork. To satisfy your sweet tooth, pastry specialties include Italian donuts and Tiramisu.
Paddlefish (February 2017)
This restaurant used to be known as Fulton’s Crab House but underwent a full gut and transformation into Paddlefish. The new space offers multiple dining areas and event space. The bar on the top deck has breathtaking views we highly recommend it! The menu here is centered around seafood. See our full review of Paddlefish.
The Polite Pig (April 2017)
A sister restaurant to the Ravenous Pig, a favorite with Orlando locals this spot is a new favorite. The restaurant brings 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.
Wine Bar George (Late 2017)
Wine Bar George, Disney Springs. Copyright Disney.
This new addition to Disney Springs is from Orlando master sommelier George Miliotes. Inside the restaurant is reminiscent of a winemaker’s estate warmed by oak wood and cozy lighting. Small plates dominate the food menu but it will be the wines with a starring role: more than 100 selections both by the bottle and the glass in a range of varietals and vintages.
Terralina Crafted Italian (Late 2017)
Terralina Crafted Italian Disney Springs. Copyright Disney.
The restaurant, Terralina Crafted Italian is taking over the former location of Portabello in Disney Springs. The restaurant is inspired by the Lake District of Italy and is modeled after an Italian home with an open kitchen.
Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill (2018)
Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill at Disney Springs.
Disney Springs has another Wolfgang Puck location opening in Town Center. Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill will modernize the traditional “bar and grill” concept in a setting inspired by traditional farmhouses with a touch of elegance.
In 2018 we will see, Jaleo, a concept by world-renowned Chef José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup, will open on the West Side, bringing the spirit and flavors of Spain, with an extensive menu of tapas that reflect the rich regional diversity of traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine. The Disney Springs location will be the first Florida location for Jaleo, which has five locations in the United States and Mexico City.
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.
New Hotels at Disney
More Guest Experiences and Dining Options Coming to Disney’s Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach Resorts (More Info Coming Soon)
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. Furthermore, the resort will also refurbish its current resort rooms and transform its landscape. Floating gardens and an island oasis connect the resort through a series of bridges.
New Cabins and Deluxe Villas coming to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (Summer 2017)
A new Disney Vacation Club Resort, 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. The former Hidden Springs Pool reopened completely reimagined. Named Boulder Ridge Cove, this area features an expanded sun deck and zero-depth-entry pool.
Beyond 2018 New Attractions at Disney World
We don’t have the exact opening dates for these items but we do know that they will open in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021!
The transportation system will connect Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century and Caribbean Beach resorts and other locations with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot. And many of the gondolas with Disney Skyliner will feature favorite Disney characters.
Star Wars Inspired Resort
“It’s unlike anything that exists today.” Bob said. “From the second you arrive, you will become a part of a Star Wars story! You’ll immediately become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with characters, stories, and adventures that unfold all around you. It is 100% immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day, and it will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits.”
Coming over from Shanghai Disneyland Tron Coaster will be added to the Magic Kingdom! This coaster will sit next Space Mountain in a brand new area.
New Space Restaurant at Epcot
Adjacent to Mission: SPACE will be a new table-service restaurant. Guests travel high above the Earth into space, for great meals with a great view.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Epcot’s brand new E-ticket attraction will be based on the rockin’ and action-packed world of “Guardians of the Galaxy.” I expect a unique experience her since Disney claims this is the next step in how guests can encounter characters at Disney World.
A Disney Pixar’s Ratatouille inspired attraction will also be added to the France Pavilion in World Showcase. The attraction will expand the pavilion. The attraction will be similar to the 4-D attraction Ratatouille: The Adventure that opened in Paris in 2014. Guests will be able to shrink to Remy’s size and scurry to safety in a dazzling chase. You come across a kitchen with the sights, sounds, and smells of Gusteau’s legendary restaurant.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
First of all, now that you have read what is coming to Disney make sure you put together a list of all your new must-dos for your next trip. Next, make sure that you come back for news, trip planning, and great insights into building your perfect trip!
If you want some more information on planning your 2018 trip to Disney World, we have a couple of book recommendations. Be sure to give a look at both The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World and The Easy Guide to your WDW Trip. If you are trying to figure out when to vacation to Disney in 2018 read The Best Dates to Visit Walt Disney World in 2018. Or you can look at my Disney Crowd Calendar.
If you are looking for a FREE packing list for your trip? Check out the FREE: The Ultimate Disney Packing List! Or head over to our list of Items to Buy Online Before Your Next Disney Trip to save some money on your next Disney vacation.
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Disney Planning Video