While the excitement surrounding the Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land announcements definitely hit an all-time high after last week's D23 Expo, now that the initial rush of post-confirmation euphoria has died down, fans have settled in for what will likely be a 2-3 year wait for Toy Story Land and at least a 5 year wait for Star Wars Land. Though waits are never fun, Walt Disney World fans can take heart, as the next several months will bring plenty of new experiences to the resort.
In fact, between now and December 2016 Walt Disney World will see the opening of at least eight new attractions including rides, shows, film exhibits and more! Here's everything Disney fans can look forward to over the next year and a half.
1. Star Wars Launch Bay
Location: Disney's Hollywood Studios
Opening in: Late 2015
It has only been a few weeks since the Magic of Disney Animation closed down at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but it looks like the this former attraction will be turned into the Star Wars Launch Bay before 2015 is over. This all-new walk through experience will include special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes of the new Star Wars films, demo stations featuring the latest Star Wars videogames plus opportunities to visit with new and favorite Star Wars characters. This area will also have special merchandise and food offerings. Though we don’t have an official opening date yet, we do know that this new attraction will open before the end of the year (probably at least a few weeks in advance of the Christmas Day opening of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens).
2. Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen
Location: Magic Kingdom
Opening in: Late 2015
The Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen has been confirmed to be taking over the space occupied by the former Adventureland Veranda restaurant and is set to open later this year. This new Jungle Cruise-themed dining location will will allow guests to experience what is being called “World Famous Jungle Cuisine” in one of several unique dining rooms, which include a crew mess hall and a once-hidden secret meeting room of the famed Society of Explorers and Adventurers (which may ring a bell for fans of the Adventurer's Club...)
As rumored, the restaurant will also be staffed by Jungle Cruise "Skippers" who will replicate the unique humor of the attraction inside this new restaurant. Both lunch and dinner table service will be available at the Skipper Canteen, which will likely begin taking reservations in the next few weeks.
3. Soarin’ Around the World
Opening in: 2016
Soarin’ Around the World will replace the current Soarin’ Over California film at Epcot once work on the third theater is complete (which is projected to be sometime early next year). It has been confirmed that this new film will be shown in all three theaters, replacing the former film entirely (some had wondered previously if there would be a choice between the two films), so if you still have some nostalgic feelings for the original Soarin', you'll want to ride before the end of the year.
You can check out a short preview video (which includes breathtaking shots of several new filming locations) below:
4. Frozen Ever After
Opening in: Spring 2016
We’ve known Frozen Ever After was coming sometime in 2016, but now it looks like we can expect this brand new ride to officially make its debut late next spring. During this year’s D23, we were able to get a sneak peek at some of the animatronic work being done to help bring this new ride to life (you can check out this part of the conference over at Inside the Magic), and we also learned that the original voice cast of the film has recorded additional dialogue as well as a new song just for the ride.