Five Significant Changes Coming to Walt Disney World

Change is in the air at Walt Disney World. There are plenty of construction walls, and guests can’t help but see cranes, fake facades, and other indications that something is happening behind the scenes. Here are five huge changes that you can expect soon at Walt Disney World. Don’t let the construction keep you away. There is still plenty of magic to go around.

5) Expansion of Two Popular Rides

Soarin’ at Epcot and Toy Story Midway Mania! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are two of the most popular rides at Walt Disney World. They are both considered great fun for families, and the lines grow long early in the day. They are Tier One FastPass+ attractions at their parks, and the reservations will usually run out early. Walt Disney World has announced that both rides are set to receive expansions. An additional track is going to be added to Toy Story Midway Mania!, which will cut down on wait times. A third theater will be added to Soarin’. There is an unconfirmed rumor that Soarin’ will receive a new film as well. The expansions are expected to be completed sometime in 2016. There is no word on whether or not the rides will need to close during the work.

4) Another New Name for Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a park in transition. In 2014 some attractions closed, and in early 2015 the Sorcerer Hat was removed. There are plenty of rumors about what the future holds for the park, and several of those rumors involve Star Wars. One thing is sure, the park will receive a name change sometime in the future. Disney CEO Bob Iger recently let the news slip during a shareholders meeting. He did not say what the new name will be, nor did he say when that will be announced. It will be the second name change for the park. It opened as Disney-MGM Studios on May 1, 1989.

3) Updated Norway Pavilion

The closing of Maelstrom at Epcot was met with a lot of emotion. Many people were upset that a favorite was closing to make way for a ride based on a movie. Others were thrilled because of a love of all things Frozen. The update at Norway is going to be more extensive than originally thought. The new Frozen ride will take over the space that held Maelstrom. It is expected that there will also be a character meet and greet area that will feature Anna and Elsa. Plans have been filed that will add a new building to the pavilion. That building will house the character area and will have restrooms as well.

2) Disney’s Animal Kingdom

There are plenty of changes taking place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. A new nighttime show called Rivers of Light is expected to open sometime in March, 2016. New dining options are in the works. The biggest change is that a new land will open in 2017. Pandora: The Land of Avatar will feature scenes and creatures from the popular film, and James Cameron himself has provided creative assistance. Two new rides have been announced. One will be an indoor boat ride and the other a flying attraction. Construction for Pandora is well underway in the area that used to be home to Camp Minnie-Mickey.

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1) Disney Springs

Nowhere is change more evident right now than at Downtown Disney. The transformation to Disney Springs is well underway. New shops and eateries seem to be opening weekly. There are still plenty of construction walls, but the area is starting to take shape. The Village Causeway is now open, and it is lined with kiosks. A pedestrian bridge will soon be in place. One parking garage is operational, helping to alleviate some of the parking problems. Disney Springs still has a long way to go. High end restaurants opening, including Morimoto Asia, The BOATHOUSE, and STK Orlando. The change from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs is expected to be complete in 2016. Until then, guests with dining reservations should give themselves extra time.




About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.