10. Flamingo Crossings hotels
Opening in: Early 2016
Disney has been quietly developing a new shopping and entertainment complex tentatively named Flamingo Crossings on the western edge of property. The first two tenants for this new area will be TownePlace Suites, Marriott's extended-stay brand, and SpringHill Suites. These two new hotels are scheduled to open in early 2016 and will have 500 suites between them. Both will be located on a 450 acre lot and will be constructed on Flamingo Crossings Way, right outside Disney World's western gate.
Construction on these two hotels is well under way, with progress easily visible from the street. Recently, a "topping off" ceremony took place as the final structural steel beam was placed for the new complex's first two hotels. While news about the larger Flamingo Crossing project as a whole remains scarce, if you want to brush up on what this project is (and why it matters) we've got a run-down here.
9. Morimoto Asia Restaurant
Opening in: Fall 2015
Back in November 2014, Disney made the rumored Morimoto Asia restaurant official. As the name suggests, this restaurant will be opened by Chef Masaharu Morimoto (of Iron Chef fame), and will feature “pan-Asian” food. The dining room will feature a collection of unique exhibition kitchens that showcase traditional Asian food preparation, featuring dishes like freshly-carved Peking duck and dim sum. Though this restaurant was initially supposed to open this past spring, a number of delays have pushed its debut back to fall. You can read more about this new restaurant here.
8. Avatar: Flight of Passage
Opening in: 2018
The headline ride in Pandora: The World of Avatar, now confirmed to be named Avatar - Flight of Passage, will be a major, "E-Ticket" attraction that will offer a simulated experience of flying over Pandora on a banshee creature. It has been compared to Soarin' at Epcot, but it is likely that the Avatar ride will actually be considerably more technologically advanced - supporting enhanced, more realistic movements and 3-D video on a wrap-around screen.
The plans show four separate theaters, spread across four floors. The show itself will be projected onto an enormous, IMAX-style curved screen, just as it is in the Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Florida. Riders will board vehicles that rise to one of three show levels in front of the screen, also in a similar style to the Universal attraction.
Construction on the ride building is well underway, with the massive steel structure peaking out from the treeline that separates this new area from the parking lot. During a recent interview with Variety, Bob Iger said that he had ridden a prototype of this ride, and it "It felt so real, so lifelike. There’s never been anything like it."
7. Rivers of Light
Opening in: 2016
Rivers of Light is a new nighttime show that will be hosted around and above the Discovery River and will feature live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery all centered around an illuminated Tree of Life.
Although no opening date has been specified, barges containing props and equipment for the show have been spied on the river and construction is easily visible from the newly reopened Flame Tree Barbecue restaurant. In addition, "dress rehearsals" are being held after hours which include full audio effects, suggesting that much of the show portion of Rivers of Light has been completed. Though we haven't heard official confirmation yet, inside sources reveal that this project is actually ahead of schedule and could open as early as 2016, a full year before its original 2017 target opening date.
6. The Edison
Opening in: TBC
Another confirmed resident setting up shop at Disney Springs is The Edison. This new dining and bar location will be based upon the original nightclub in Los Angeles, and will feature a steampunk theme. Construction has already begun on this location, but no opening date has been announced.