The new year is finally here, and after this final holiday week ends, crowds will recede once again as families return to work and school. In addition, Walt Disney World will continue its tradition of ramping up refurbishments around the resort, taking advantage of the lighter crowd season to get some much needed work done on classic attractions around the resort.
However, even though there will be a number of closures happening in the next few weeks (both temporary and permanent), that doesn’t mean that there is nothing to look forward to at the resort this month. Here’s everything coming to Walt Disney World in January that you'll definitely want to know about!
1. The Epcot International Festival of the Arts makes its big debut
In the closing weeks of 2016, Walt Disney World announced that Epcot will be adding a third festival to its annual lineup: the Epcot International Festival of the Arts. This new festival will kick off in just two weeks on January 13th and will take place weekends only (Friday-Monday) until February 20th.
In addition to showcasing pieces from Disney historical artists like Mary Blair and Herb Ryman and current Disney artists like Joe Kaminski and Costa Alavezo, there will also be live demonstrations from local artists during this event, allowing guests to get an up close look at the creative process.
However, this new festival won't just involve visual art! Disney will be celebrating the performing arts as well during this festival with a number of performances inspired by Disney Broadway hits like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin and more!
And of course, it wouldn't be an Epcot festival without food! Several kiosks will be open around the World Showcase with special treats that celebrate the culinary arts as well! Though specific menus have not been released, we're excited to sample everything this new festival
2. A brand new show debuts at the Magic Kingdom
One of the most storied traditions at the Magic Kingdom is the park opening show. Currently, guests who wake up early are able to see a short show at the Magic Kingdom Main Street USA train station featuring their favorite characters welcoming them to the park. However, beginning next week, the Magic Kingdom will be allowing guests in before the park officially opens, and unfortunately because of this change, the train station show has unfortunately been canceled, and will have its last performance on January 8th.
However, the good news is that Disney will be debuting a brand new show actually inside the park, now that guests will be able to hang out on Main Street USA prior to park opening. Beginning on January 9th, a new welcome show will officially open the park for the day on the Castle Forecourt Stage (the same place where Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire is performed). During this new show, a Royal Herald will appear at park opening to deliver a proclamation and welcome a few familiar characters to the stage, officially opening the park so “the magic can begin!”
Though we’ll be sad to see the current welcome show go (and we’re assuming that the catchy medley that plays every morning will soon be relegated to our memories and YouTube videos), this new location for the opening show makes a lot more sense. The previous show was a lot of fun, but it was often very hard to see as guests often pushed and shoved to be the first to get into the park while this show was going on, making it hard to watch. This new location should offer much more viewing space, while letting guests eager to get to their first FastPass+ reservation the ability to bypass this show completely.