Change is constant at Walt Disney World, and for this summer's update on all of the big changes happening around the resort we take a look at a number of unannounced projects that have been confirmed by publicly available permits, including a new ride at Typhoon Lagoon, a new entrance for Disney's Hollywood Studios, and an intriguing new development at the Magic Kingdom as well.
In addition, we have several updates on new attractions coming to the resort this summer and in the coming years as well!
13. Rivers of Light still on the way for Disney's Animal Kingdom
Though evening operations at Disney's Animal Kingdom began in spring 2016, the Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular experienced some unspecified technical difficulties and was delayed only a few weeks before it was set to debut. Filling its spot right now is the temporary Jungle Book: Alive with Magic show (which you can read more about here), but Disney has assured fans that when it is ready, Rivers of Light will debut sometime later this year. We don't know when that will be, but hopefully Disney will give us an update soon.
12. New transportation in and out of the Magic Kingdom
Earlier in 2016, Disney filled permits with the South Florida Water Management District to redevelop World Drive. For those unfamiliar, World Drive is a major artery of Walt Disney World's transportation and is the road that brings guests past Disney's Hollywood Studios and the BoardWalk Resort, right up to the Magic Kingdom's Transportation and Ticket Center, before continuing past the Contemporary Resort and then tapering around far side of Fantasyland.
According to the recently filed permits, Walt Disney World will be adding a flyover ramp which will route traffic directly from World Drive so that guests heading for the resort-area hotels can bypass the Magic Kingdom parking plaza altogether. In the opposite direction, another newly-constructed flyover ramp will allow traffic heading from the Contemporary Resort side of World Drive to continue on World Drive beyond the Magic Kingdom parking plaza, directly en route to the BoardWalk Resort and Disney's Hollywood Studios.
In addition, Disney will be widening World Drive as well on both sides of the street, transforming the two-lane sections into three lanes and the three lane sections into four lanes. It has also been heavily rumored (though not explicitly confirmed by the recently-filed permits) that the parking toll booths at the front of the Magic Kingdom will also be replaced during this extensive roadwork.
11. A new show for the Magic Kingdom
Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire will begin performances at the Magic Kingdom on a newly refurbished stage in front of Cinderella Castle later this month on June 17th. This exciting new show features Mickey and his pals, as well as friends from Tangled, Princess and the Frog as well as Frozen. This show will include several musical numbers, and should run about 20 minutes long (similar to the former Dream Along With Mickey).
10. Star Wars Land will break ground this year
Though it was rumored for several years, it was finally confirmed in August 2015 that Star Wars Land was indeed coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios. And in possibly even better news, ground will be broken on this new land sometime this year.
The goal for this land is to fully immerse guests in the world of Star Wars, with authentic food, scenery and of course attractions that look like they would fit right in next to an X-Wing.
The first of two planned rides for this new area is a still-unnamed Millennium Falcon simulator that will allow guests to the Millennium Falcon themselves, turning, banking and even firing weapons in this ambitious new experience.
Though the Millennium Falcon attraction will be cutting edge, the First Order ride will be more of a classic dark ride that will use a motion base ride vehicle to move riders through scenes with screens (similar to what guests currently experience at The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure).
In addition to the two new rides, there will also be a new intergalactic cantina restaurant, a high-end "dinner club" and plenty of opportunities to interact with "in character" cast members (similar to the experiences guests have with in character team members over at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter).
While we know that work will begin sometime this year, predictions are all over the place when it comes to when we might actually be able to visit a galaxy far, far away, with many saying it will likely be 2020 at least before this new land is actually built.