With a company as big as Disney, it is hard for guests (especially those who are active online) to be surprised by anything. Between well-sourced leaks, permit filings and even Cast Member chatter, whispers of pretty much every major Disney park development very often precede official announcements, sometimes by weeks or even months.

However, even though surprises are rare, this week Disney made several announcements that many weren't expecting. Though most of these revelations are good surprises (there's one notable exception, which we'll get to in a moment), here's all the developments you probably didn't see coming! 

1. The (temporary) return of Soarin Over California

Image: Disney

Though we officially said goodbye to the original version of Soarin’ several months ago, Disney has completed the refurbishment work on the interior queue and third theater and is celebrating by bringing back the original Soarin’ Over California film to Epcot for a few weeks before Sorain’ Over the World makes its big debut next month.

This is certainly an amazing surprise, and fans of the original film will certainly be happy to be able to experience this attraction one more time before its newest incarnation takes over in June. The early re-addition of Soarin’ should also help relieve pressure on Epcot, which has been suffering in recent months with this ride closed and Frozen Ever After still under construction. The recently announced closure of the Sum of All Thrills (and possibly what’s left of Innoventions as a whole) also isn’t helping things at this flagging park, but hopefully this surprise revival of a true park classic will hopefully help give an early boost to Epcot just in time for summer!

Image: Disney

If you’re feeling nostalgic, Soarin' Over California will be open at Epcot from May 27th through June 16th (the day before Soarin' Over the World debuts) and FastPass+ reservations for this experience are available via My Disney Experience right now! 

2. An early debut for Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire

Image: Disney

Though it has only been a few weeks since the former castle show Dream Along With Mickey closed forever, it looks like Disney is ready to debut their newest show in just a few weeks! It was revealed yesterday that Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire will begin performances at the Magic Kingdom on a newly refurbished stage in front of Cinderella Castle in just under a month, on June 17th. Though we knew that this show was set for a summer debut, this is a lot earlier than expected, and certainly great news for those who are looking forward to this exciting new show that features not only Mickey and his pals, but also friends from Tangled, Princess and the Frog as well as Frozen. 



Epcot gets a ride update just as another attraction prepares to close and old boat ride gets an upgrade, though not one which will deal effectively with the expected massive crowd. Meanwhile, one of Animal Kingdom's few major rides closes for half the summer right when the place becomes an "all-day park," Avatar Land construction crawls along, and DHS continues to operate with most of the park behind construction walls. What a mess.

I was excited to read about these developments. I always follow Disney updates just because I am hooked on Disney. But, when I don't have a trip in the works, I just browse. Decided, last minute, to book a trip for September and am really excited to be getting in on these attractions. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, though, because I kind of had things planned in my head and now it's back to square one to look at it all again.

about #4 -- so everyone will have to wait on the same line. Good.

I bet they changed the name to not mistake it for Pandora.

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