It is no secret that there are some major changes taking place right now at Walt Disney World, and that more will happen in the immediate future. While we will see the closures of some favorite rides and attractions, we need to remember that the changes will make Walt Disney World more exciting than ever. Here are four of the biggest changes that you need to know about.
4. Downtown Disney to Disney Springs
On March 14, 2013, it was officially announced that Downtown Disney was going to go through a major renovation. Three lands would become four, and the number of shopping and eating choices would double. With the renovation plans a new name was also announced; Disney Springs. Walls went up and construction started, providing a parking nightmare. The parking situation improved somewhat when the first parking garage opened, and when the work is complete there will be two garages. Some of the high end restaurants like The BOATHOUSE and Morimoto Asia are already open, and more are on the way. There have also been a few casualties, the most notable being DisneyQuest. The indoor theme park is set to close in early 2016 to make way for the NBA Experience. Downtown Disney’s name was officially changed to Disney Springs on September 29, 2015, but the work continues. The transformation is expected to be complete sometime in 2016.
3. Frozen Ever After
There is no doubt that the presence of the movie Frozen can be felt at Walt Disney World. There is plenty of Frozen merchandise and there are also Frozen-themed treats. The Anna and Elsa meet and greet at the Magic Kingdom could be the hardest to obtain FastPass+ ever. Soon there will be even more Frozen at Walt Disney World, this time at Epcot. A new ride called Frozen Ever After is going to open in the Norway Pavilion. The ride will use the same boats as Maelstrom, the attraction that it is replacing. Audio-Animatronics will be used to take guests inside of Arendelle during the Winter Festival. Expect to see all of your favorite characters. Frozen Ever After is slated to open “Spring 2016”, but no precise date has yet been announced. Another change to the Norway Pavilion will be a meet and greet featuring Anna and Elsa.
2. Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The Disney’s Hollywood Studios of the future will bear little resemblance to the park that you might visit today. In August, 2015 it was announced that two new lands will be built. One will be based on the characters of the Toy Story franchise. Guests will go into Andy’s backyard and be the same size as the toys. Two new rides are expected in the 11 acre land, including a family friendly roller coaster on Slinky Dog’s back. The other new land is going to have a Star Wars theme. This land will be 14 acres, and will take guests deep into the Star Wars universe. There will be two new attractions, one of which will allow you to take the controls of the Millennium Falcon. Because of the construction of the new lands, Star Wars Weekends have officially been canceled. No timetable has been given for the opening of the new lands, in fact Disney has not even announced which year they plan to have them operational. Ground is expected to break in early 2016. Things are changing quickly at the park, so if you have a favorite attraction you might want to make a quick trip to Florida because many rides and shows are rumored to be on the chopping block.
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1. Pandora – The World of AVATAR
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
In September, 2011, Disney announced that a new land was planned for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The land would be based on the movie Avatar. After the announcement little was said about the plans, and some people thought that the idea had been shelved. On January 5, 2014, Camp Minnie-Mickey closed, and ground broke soon after. Pandora – The World of AVATAR is going to have two new rides. One will be a boat ride that takes guests through Pandora. The second ride, Flight of Passage, will be a major attraction that allows you to fly with a mountain banshee. Pandora – The World of AVATAR is scheduled to open in 2017. There will be another change at Disney’s Animal Kingdom that will take place before that. Rivers of Light will be a nighttime show that features water screens, floating lanterns, music, and more. It is set to debut in Spring, 2016.