For Guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort this past year, we’ve seen a lot of walls, both in standard wood and fake hedge form, as well as signs like the one seen below.
Yes, 2015 has been a year of much construction around the entire Resort. Walt Disney once said, “Around here we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Imagineers at Walt Disney World have kept Walt’s motto alive and well.
While many walls will remain and new ones will rise throughout the coming year, let’s remember that what those walls will one day reveal are new highly-themed areas such as Pandora—The World of AVATAR, Star Wars themed-land, and Toy Story Land. I’d say those lands are well worth the wait!
The good news is that many construction walls have recently come down, revealing new attractions such as the Jungle Navigation Co. LTD., Skipper Canteen restaurant at Magic Kingdom Park and a newly transformed Disney Springs. The even better news is that much more awaits us in a matter of only months.
Unforgettable Happens Here, and it will happen in 2016. Let’s look at just some of the new offerings coming to Walt Disney World.
1. Club Villain
It’s no secret that Disney’s Hollywood Studios is undergoing a major reimagining of the likes last seen at Disney’s California Adventure Park. New major lands are on the horizon, and there are even rumors of a name change. To make up for many of the closures and to whet Guests’ appetite for the upcoming Star Wars themed-land, new experiences have recently debuted such as Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular firework show and Star Wars Launch Bay.
Beginning January 16th, Club Villain will open its doors to Guests 21 years and older. Hosted by Dr. Facilier, this dance-and-dine event will feature a variety of New Orleans delicacies and deliciously evil sounding libations. There will be a stage show and greet opportunities with some of Disney’s most popular villains including Queen of Hearts, Maleficent, Evil Queen, and Cruella De Vil. Tickets ($99 per person including tax and gratuity) can be purchased via the Walt Disney World website up to 90 days in advance.
2. Rivers of Light
Taking place on Discovery River, between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest, Rivers of Light will help transform Disney’s Animal Kingdom into a major nighttime destination. The show will feature live performances on a stage with floating lanterns and magnificent water projections. Per Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, “This is going to be a ceremonial event that will happen on our lake. It takes the idea of the special nature of the animals that are in this park and turns it into a celebration of the beauty of these animals.”
Projected to open in the Spring of 2016, Rivers of Light is just one of many attractions to come to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We’ll discuss the Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris next, but we’ll have to wait until 2017 to see Pandora—The World of AVATAR. At least, 2017 doesn’t seem so far away now!
3. Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris
Coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom this Spring, Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris, a new nighttime adventure, will grant Guests the opportunity to travel through the African savanna at dusk and beyond. New lighting and roadwork are being added to the attraction to allow for increased visibility and to bypass animals who are only viewable during daylight hours. Disney has announced that two species are being added to the savanna: African wild dogs and hyenas.
4. Frozen Ever After
The Norway Pavilion at Epcot just hasn’t been the same ever since Maelstrom was shuttered forever. But behind those construction walls, Elsa’s doing “the magic” along with Disney Imagineers to bring us Frozen Ever After. Utilizing the original flume layout and boats, Guests will visit Arendelle for the “Winter in Summer” celebration. Rumored to use similar technology as seen with the new animatronics in the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Guests will see all the famous characters from the film and will surely hear Elsa sing, “Let It Go.” In addition to this attraction, the Royal Sommerhus will be built, which is a cabin where Guests will have the opportunity to meet Anna and Elsa. An official opening date in 2016 has yet to be announced.
5. Soarin’ Around the World
Ever since Soarin’ over California opened at Epcot in 2005, throngs of Guests have boarded simulated hang gliders to explore the majestic state. In fact, there have been so many visitors that the queues for this attraction have remained consistently long and securing a FastPass+ has always been a high priority.
Although this attraction will be closed for at least the first half of the year, the wait for this refurbishment will be well worth it. Later in 2016, not only will a third theater be added to help alleviate the long queues, but this attraction will gain a new digital projection system featuring a crisper image and higher sound quality. In addition, the renamed attraction—Soarin’ Around the World—will provide Guests with the opportunity to fly over a number of manmade and natural landscapes including the Great Wall of China and the plains of Africa. An official opening date has not been announced, but expect it to open in the latter part of 2016.
This list is just a small sample of some of the attractions and shows that will debut in 2016, and there’s much more slotted for the following couple of years. It’s truly an exciting time to visit Walt Disney World.