On the Horizon: What 2019 Holds for Walt Disney World

Even though 2021 is going to be the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, you won’t have to wait until then to celebrate. It looks like 2019 is going to be one of the most incredible years ever! Here are some of the highlights of what you can expect.

Magic Kingdom

For a good part of 2019 the Walt Disney Company will be celebrating Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday. (The actual date that he turns 90 is November 18, 2018.) Such an occasion needs more than a couple of days to celebrate, and what better place to party than the Magic Kingdom? Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration will start on January 18, 2019. This will include Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party, Limited-Time Magic, and more. There will also be special treats and merchandise. It’s a party that you won’t want to miss.


The sad news at Epcot is that IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is going to close sometime in the summer of 2019. (The closing date has not yet been announced.) The good news is that it will be replaced by a new fireworks extravaganza. Considering that Happily Ever After immediately replaced Wishes at the Magic Kingdom, it’s doubtful that Epcot will go without a nighttime show for long.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios โ€“ Part One

A favorite character meet and greet is returning to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Mike and Sully from Monsters, Inc. will return to the park on January 18. Also on the same day Pixar Place will be taken over by characters from The Incredibles. You’ll be able to meet Edna Mode, and there will be a dance party with Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, and Frozone. Pixar Place will be transformed into a city block from Municiberg, and you’ll be able to hunt for Jack-Jack. The Incredibles will be at the park through September 30, 2019.

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom

2019 will be the 25th anniversary of the release of The Lion King, which is another reason to celebrate. You’ll be able to do that at the Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party. This will take place on Discovery Island, and will feature Rafiki and Timon. It will run daily from January 18 through September 30.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios โ€“ Part Two

Fans of the Cars franchise will be thrilled to know that a new show is coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy will feature several of your favorites from Radiator Springs. Outside of the show there will be a picture opportunity with Cruz Ramirez. Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy will open “early 2019”. There is also a chance that Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will open sometime in 2019. That was announced at one point, but no further information has been released.

Disney Springs

The openings continue at Disney Springs. City Works Eatery & Pour House is a high end sports bar and restaurant that is scheduled to open in the summer. Also on the way are Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, Jaleo, and NBA Experience. None of those three have been given a season for opening, but sometime in 2019 is a good guess. Other new openings should also take place, since Disney Springs is designed to be a place that is always changing and evolving.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios โ€“ Part Three

Arguably the most anticipated opening of 2019 will be Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The new land is scheduled to open “late fall 2019”. The first day of winter in 2019 is December 21, so the opening could be as late as December 20. There will be two new rides, a Cantina-style restaurant, a shopping area, and plenty of surprises. The new land will be on the planet Batuu, in the town Black Spire Outpost. The idea is to totally immerse you in the Star Wars universe. It’s going to be unlike anything else found at Walt Disney World.

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.