As winter begins to fade away around Walt Disney World, it's time once again to take a look at some of the big projects Disney has in the works for the next five years.

For our first update of 2017, we take a look at some of the final touches being put on Pandora - The World of Avatar, two (potentially) cancelled projects at Epcot and the Magic Kingdom, and a newly-renamed attraction opening in just a few weeks! But first, let's take a look at the evolving situation with one of Walt Disney World's longest-gestating projects.... 

1. Rivers of Light

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed

Opening in: Early 2017?

As you might already know, Rivers of Light, the new nighttime spectacular which was first announced for Disney's Animal Kingdom back in 2015, and was supposed to debut in 2016, has now been delayed to 2017, and is expected to debut sometime in the first half of the year.

In recent weeks Cast Member previews of this new show have been happening after-hours at Disney's Animal Kingdom, but reports out of these shows have not been exactly glowing, with attendees describing a show that is missing key effects and lacking the "wow" moments that we've come to expect from nighttime spectaculars at Disney Parks.

Image: Disney

While we don't know if the show that was performed during these special previews was indeed the final show, Disney seems like they are committed to opening this show in the near future (in addition to the Cast Member previews, additional props have appeared around the Discovery River in recent days) and it seems likely that Disney is still aiming for an early 2017 release date for this show, even though they haven't officially announced as much. 

Even though this show has been delayed and (reportedly) downsized, we're still excited to see this nighttime spectacular finally debut at Disney's Animal Kingdom. And while this holdover from 2016 will likely be the first new attraction to debut next year at Walt Disney World, it definitely won't be the last. 

2. Miss Adventure Falls 

Image: Disney 

Status: Confirmed

Opening in: March 2017

Typhoon Lagoon will soon begin construction on a new ride that will debut when the park opens back up after its annual refurbishment this March. Named Miss Adventure Falls (formerly Miss Fortune Falls), this new attraction will be a lengthy family raft ride that will tell the story of fictitious Captain Mary Oceaneer, a treasure-hunting heroine who got stranded at Typhoon Lagoon years ago by a rogue storm.

During this two-minute raft ride (the longest raft attraction in all of Walt Disney World) guests will embark on a story-driven journey through Captain Oceaneer’s past before plunging into a thrilling white-water adventure where they can see unique artifacts that Captain Mary Oceaneer collected on her many treasure hunts around the world as they zoom by. 

Interestingly it has also been confirmed that this upcoming attraction will be able to check out an Audio-Animatronic parrot who’s still hunting for treasures at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon to this day!

3. The Polite Pig 

Image: Disney

Status: Confirmed

Opening in: 2017

Local Orlando chefs James and Julie Petrakis, who are well known as the chef-owners of local eateries The Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder, have announced that they will open new restaurant The Polite Pig at Disney Springs next year. This new "fast-casual" restaurant will serve both lunch and dinner, and have indoor seating for 200 guests. 

The menu will include a variety of "from the smoker" entrees priced between $15 and $20 with selections like Ribeye, a Whole Chicken, and Baby Back Ribs. For those feeling a little bit less adventurous, a variety of sandwiches priced between $9 and $14 will also be available, and will include a Ribeye Melt, Blackened Mahi, Fried Chicken, and a Salmon BLT. This new restaurant is expected to open in Spring 2017 in the Town Center area of Disney Springs, near Amorette's Patisserie. 



I really want more information on Star Wars land because right now I can't help but feel like the main attractions sound really weak to headline this huge land. Basically we have 2 announced rides and they are both simulators, one sounding like a copy of Universal's spiderman/transformers formula. If this is going to be Disney's answer to Harry Potter land I don't know if it will cut it. Harry Potter Land Orlando has 2 themed lands, a completely unique simulator/dark ride hybrid, a simulator/coaster hybrid, a really unique train ride experience, a traditional coaster, and a family coaster. I get that controlling the millennium falcon is a cool concept but I can basically do the same thing at Dave and Busters. Also I like the idea of having the setting be an original planet but I wonder if it will come back to bite them in the end. Part of the huge draw of Harry Potter Land is being completely immersed in settings you know and love, Star Wars land will be missing a lot of that by setting it on an original planet like this. Maybe I'm being too pessimistic and maybe I'm comparing it too much to Harry Potter Land but I really just want to see more information on what they are going to do to inject some magic into this land.

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