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The 27 New Attractions, Shops and Restaurants Coming to Walt Disney World by 2021 (December 2015 Edition)

14. 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.

13. STK Restaurant

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed

Opening in: 2016

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.”

12. 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.

Work on this attraction (as well as the broader Toy Story Land) is expected to kick off any day now, as Disney has relocated the Sorcerer Mickey meet and greet out out of the former Backlot Tour queue, suggesting that a groundbreaking is imminent. 

11. 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.

10. New Discovery Island restaurant

 

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed

Opening in: Spring 2016

in late November 2015, Disney confirmed plans to convert the back half of Pizzafari into a new table service restaurant: Tiffins. This new signature table service restaurant will open at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Spring 2016 alongside the Rivers of Light show and the nighttime version of Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Tiffins will celebrate the art of traveling, and feature a diverse menu with dishes from several places that inspired the creation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Tiffins will be open for both lunch and dinner, and will feature waterfront views from indoor and outdoor seating areas. Though we don’t know anything about specific menu items or prices, we do know that Tiffins will be a “signature” dining experience, which means guests can expect this one to rank somewhere between Be Our Guest and Le Cellier in terms of cost, and those who enjoy using the Disney Dining Plan can assume that meals here will be in the two-credit range.

9. 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. 

8. Avatar: Flight of Passage

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed

Opening in: 2017

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. It has also now been confirmed that this show will open in Spring 2016. 

You can learn more about this new show in the newly-released video below:

6. A new restaurant at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Image: Disney

Status: Rumored
 

Opening in: Late 2016

In late November it was confirmed that quick service eatery Pizza Planet will close on January 11, 2016 for a lengthy refurbishment that will last a majority of the year. While that might not be especially noteworthy by itself (after all, a Toy Story-inspired Pizza Planet won’t make sense in this space once Toy Story Land opens), reports have surfaced that this eatery will reopen again much later in 2016, possibly with a new theme that could hearken back to the days of Disney-MGM Studios.  

While just a rumor at this stage, many have hypothesized that because of Pizza Planet’s proximity to MuppetVision 4-D, a Muppets-themed makeover could be in the works. This change would effectively create a mini Muppets-themed land in this spot. This certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing, and would recall the original plans for Disney-MGM Studios, which included quite the extensive Muppets-themed area, complete with a Swedish Chef Cooking School Restaurant where Pizza Planet currently sits, and Gonzo's Pizza Parlor where Mama Melrose's currently sits

5. 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. 

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