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October's update on the new attractions, shops and restaurants coming to Walt Disney World features new information on another hotel coming to Walt Disney World, a new show at Disney's Hollywood Studios and some construction updates for Star Wars Land. 

With over two dozen new things now confirmed to be coming to Walt Disney World, there is quite a lot to take in! 

25. Jedi Training – Trials of the Temple

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed

Opening in: 2015

The Jedi Training Academy show will  be closing on October 4th to make way for a new experience coming later this year. Jedi Training - Trials of the Temple will be a new show that will focus on the characters of the Star Wars Rebels animated show on Disney XD. The show will feature all new sets, characters and props that guests familiar with the ‘Rebels’ universe will recognize while still involving younger guests in an interactive way. Though we don’t have an exact start date, we’d guess that this new show will either debut alongside the Star Wars Launch Bay attraction (which is opening in December). 

24. Star Wars Launch Bay

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed

Opening in: Late 2015

It has only been a little over a month since the Magic of Disney Animation closed down at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but it has now been confirmed like the this former attraction will be turned into the Star Wars Launch Bay before 2015 is over, opening in December. 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. 

23. Millennium Falcon ride

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed 

Opening in: TBA

The first confirmed ride for the forthcoming Star Wars Land at Disney's Hollywood Stuiods will be a flight simulator ride that allows guests to “take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission”. While we don't know much about the technology that is going into this ride, we are expecting this to be a signature piece of Star Wars Land, and will likely push the boundaries of what simulator rides can be. Work on this new ride will begin next year, but we have no idea when it might open. 

22. Star Wars Cantina restaurant 

Image: Disney

 

Status: Confirmed 

Opening in: TBA

One development that was rumored for the original Star Wars Land that ended up making the cut for the reimagined version of this band new land is the iconic Star Wars Cantina. Although the Cantina will no longer be located on Mos Eisley (Star Wars Land will be its own, unique in-universe planet) this dining location will have several familiar entertanment options and will feature the (in)famous Blue Milk drink. Perhaps Disney is hoping Blue Milk will become the new Butterbeer? 

21. The First Order battle attraction

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed 

Opening in: TBA

Little is known about the second new ride coming to Star Wars Land. All that has been confirmed so far is that the events of this second attraction are set against the backdrop of the forthcoming Star Wars films (including Episode VII and next year's Rogue One), and guests will be put in the middle of a battle with new Star Wars baddies The First Order.

20. Soarin' Around the World

Status: Confirmed 

Opening in: 2016

Soarin’ Around the World has been confirmed to be replacing 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) above.

19. NBA Experience restaurant

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed 

Opening in: 2016 or 2017

In summer 2015 it was confirmed that a new "NBA Experience at Walt Disney World" restaurant would be moving in to Disney Springs. Though details were scarce at first, we learned several months later that this new dining and entertainment center would be taking over the spot currently occupied by DisneyQuest. 

It is unknown if the DisneyQuest building will be demolished when it closes or whether the structure will simply be gutted to make room for the new restaurant. However, what we do know is that DisneyQuest is closing in 2016, and the new NBA experience restaurant will be replacing it either late next year or in early 2017. 

18. The Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed 

Opening in: Late 2015

During a special Jungle Cruise panel at the 2015 D23 convention, Disney finally confirmed the existence of the long rumored Jungle Cruise-themed restaurant at the Magic Kingdom. Officially named The Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen, this new location will be taking over the space occupied by the former Adventureland Veranda restaurant and will be welcoming its first guests later this year.

Interestingly, this new dining location will tie into the Society of Explorers and Adventurers, which has been absent from Walt Disney World since the closure of the Adventurer's Club in 2009. Alberta Falls, the proprietor of this new location, is the daughter of the late founder Albert Falls, who is a member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. In an unprecedented move, it was confirmed that some narrative changes will be coming to the Magic Kingdom's Jungle Cruise ride to support the story and theme of this new restaurant.

17. New theater at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed (but not announced)

Opening in: TBA

A new theater has been under construction at the far end of Sunset Boulevard for several months now, and work has progressed fairly quickly. Though this project remains unannounced, the new theater building is noweasily visible from the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror And Rock 'n' Roller Coaster queues. We still don't know what exactly is coming to this theater, but official audition listings have popped up for an all-new Villains-inpired show, which could be what this new theater will be used for. 

16. Frozen Ever After

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed
 

Opening in: May 2016

While we've known about the Frozen boat ride that is replacing Maelstrom since last year, we got our first real details about this attraction this past June. Confirmed to be named Frozen Ever After, this new ride will use the same boat ride system as Maelstrom, and will have projection enhanced animatronics, similar to those in use at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

It has also been confirmed that the ride will feature a truncated version of the events of the film, as told by the troll characters, and will also feature a small cameo by the "snowgies" popularized by the Frozen Fever short. Construction is well underway and the attraction is on track to open next spring

15. Royal Sommerhus Frozen Meet and Greet

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed


Opening in: May 2016

Frozen Ever After isn't the only change coming to Norway at Epcot. A new 13,000 square foot Royal Sommerhus meet and greet will be opening alongside Frozen Ever After at Epcot next spring. Work on this new building (which will take over the expansion pad in between Norway and Mexico) is already well underway and is easily visible in between Mexico and Norway. 

It was confirmed at the 2015 D23 Expo that this new attraction will be a regular character meet and greet, without any special effects. Interestingly, the exterior of the building that will house this attraction s actually based on a real log cabin in Norway, helping to evoke the style and design of the country.

14. STK Restaurant

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed

Opening in: 2015

Though it was rumored for quite some time, it was finally confirmed earlier this year that STK Orlando, a 14,000 square foot, two story restaurant would be coming to Disney Springs later this year. 

In a prepared statement, Jonathan Segal, CEO of The ONE Group said of the new location, “We are thrilled to join the Disney Springs family with the launch of STK Orlando,” and added “The combination of an innovative menu and high-energy atmosphere has driven the success of STK, and we believe it will be an ideal addition to Disney Springs, and will help further cement its status as a place for friends and family to gather for fine dining and entertainment.”

13. Slinky Dog roller coaster 

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed

Opening in: TBA

A brand new roller coaster is coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios that will form the backbone of the all-new Toy Story Land. Described as a family-friendly roller coaster (so expect low speeds and small height restrictions), this new unnamed attraction will see guests boarding vehicles shaped like Slinky Dog and then zooming around a winding track, passing through tunnels and other landmarks around Toy Story Land.

12. Buzz Lightyear spinning ride 

Image: Disney

 

Status: Confirmed

Opening in: TBA

The second confirmed new attraction for Toy Story Land is a spinning flat ride that will feature a giant Buzz Lightyear standing guard over the famous little green aliens from the Toy Story series, who will take guests around in flying saucer-shaped vehicles while The Claw (oooohhh!) dangles above.

11. New Discovery Island restaurant

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed

Opening In: 2015

It was confirmed last December that a new table service restaurant will be taking over some of the massive building currently occupied by quick-service restaurant Pizzafari. Construction is well underway to separate this new restaurant from Pizzafari, which has closed for refurbishment while work is completed. Though we don't know the name of this new location or what type of food will be served, this new restaurant is still projected to be opening later this year. 

10. Flamingo Crossings hotels

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed

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

Most recently, a third hotel has been confirmed to be coming to Flamingo Crossings, with the Orlando Sentinel hypothesizing that is could possibly be a Hampton Inn. Though we know that this new hotel is on the way, who exactly is behind its development remains a mystery. The Orlando Sentinel also confirmed that this new property will occupy 4.97 acres of land and will add 250 rooms to the resort. 

9. Morimoto Asia Restaurant 

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed

Opening in: Now open! 

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.

This restaurant is now open, having its grand opening ceremony on September 29th, 2015.

8. Avatar: Flight of Passage

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed

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 

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed
 

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 

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed
 

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. 

5. The Planet Hollywood Observatory

Image: Planet Hollywood

Status: Confirmed 


Opening in: 2016

Planet Hollywood has finally confirmed its long-rumored redesign, and will be transitioning into a “turn-of-the-20th-century observatory” in order to jive with the new Disney Springs theme, complete with a Planet Hollywood water tower (replacing the current sign).

“Disney is turning it into a turn-of-the-century Central Florida mining town, and the observatory was a feature at the time,” said Planet Hollywood International founder and chairman Robert Earl. “We’ve gone back to that look for Planet Hollywood.”

In addition to the changes to the building, the name of this establishment will change to Planet Hollywood Observatory and a new menu will be introduced. 

4. Kilimanjaro Sunset Safaris

 Status: Confirmed
 

Opening in: 2016

Disney announced at the 2015 D23 Expo that Kilimanjaro Sunset Safaris will be coming sometime next year, and that work is currently underway on the existing Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction to “magically extend the orange glow of the setting sun” (which means, essentially, they’ll be installing some fancy lights). The only only real difference confirmed to be a part of this new(ish) nighttime experience will be the addition of two new species to the ride: hyenas and African wild dogs.

3. Avatar "mess hall" restaurant   

Image: FOX

Status: Confirmed (kind of)
 

Opening in: 2018

Though Disney still has not officially confirmed the existence of this quick service dining location inside Pandora: The World of Avatar, this new restaurant location was visible in a model that Disney had on display for the event. In addition, during the Parks and Resorts panel, special "in universe" food options were discussed, but not specified. Though we don't know what it will be called, we feel confident saying this rumored restaurant will indeed exist in Pandora: The World of Avatar 

2. Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed


Opening in: Now open! 

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar finally opened in September 2015 at Disney Springs. This new bar features plenty of unique hand-crafted drinks, plenty of references to the Indiana Jones films and more. Click here for more on this newly opened watering hole. 

1. Avatar Boat Ride

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed
 

Opening in: 2018

Housed partially on the ground floor of the same building that will host the flying attraction, and partially outside, this still unnamed attraction will be a "C-Ticket"-style boat ride. Speculation suggests that Disney will employ advanced audio-animatronics to bring to life the inhabitants of Pandora as guests travel around a circuit that will take them around the planet's beautiful jungles at night, when bioluminescent plants begin to glow.

This boat ride will be only the second dark ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom (after the fast-paced, thrilling Dinosaur) and will offer a much-needed family ride to the park's roster as well. 

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