This week at Walt Disney World, a number of big announcements were made, including an opening date for Pandora - The World of Avatar, an earlier-than-expected launch for Star Wars Land, plus the announcement that after a 13-year run, Wishes would be taking its final bow later this spring.
Outside Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort announces a number of new money-saving deals, Busch Gardens sets its schedule for the 2017 Food and Wine Festival and more!
1. Star Wars Land to launch in 2019 at Disney's Hollywood Studios
The biggest news this week was undoubtedly the surprise announcement that Star Wars-themed lands at Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will both be opening in 2019. This came as quite a shock, as most observers believed that the Disneyland version of Star Wars Land would open first, potentially in 2019, with the Walt Disney World version opening a year or more later. However, now Disney has gone on record as saying that even even if Disneyland beats Walt Disney World by a few months, these twin lands will at least open during the same year.
2. Pandora - The World of Avatar gets an official opening date this spring
In addition to the Star Wars Land opening date, it was also revealed earlier this week that, as rumored, the long-gestating Pandora - The World of Avatar land at Disney's Animal Kingdom will officially open on May 27, 2017. No further details were announced, but considering this new land is all but finished, we'd imagine that this is one date Disney will definitely be able to stick to, with soft openings potentially happening even before that date.
3. Wishes will be retired forever this spring to make way for new show Happily Ever After
Though we’ve known for some time that nighttime entertainment at the Magic Kingdom was going to be getting an update, Disney dropped a bombshell on us earlier this week when it was announced that Wishes, the long-running nighttime fireworks spectacular that has been a signature part of this park's evening entertainment for over a decade, would be going away forever later this year on May 11, 2017.
However, it looks like fans won’t have to wait too long for a replacement for this show, as Disney has announced that a brand new nighttime spectacular, entitled “Happily Ever After” will be making its debut at the Magic Kingdom just one day later on May 12, 2017. You can read more about this new show here.
4. Rivers of Light debuting next week
After nearly a year of delays, technical malfunctions, and dress rehearsals, Disney finally announced earlier this week that the long-awaited Rivers of Light would indeed be premiering in just a few days, on February 17, 2017 at 7:15 PM. However, lucky guests over the past few days have been getting a sneak peek at this new show over the past few days as there have been previews during park hours that have included the full version of this show.