Though the next 4 years are going to be transformative for Walt Disney World, there is a LOT going on in the next 6 months. From the phased opening of Star Wars Land to the start of an all-new nighttime show, here's everything new guests can experience at the resort from now until the end of the year!
1. The NBA Experience (Disney Springs) - August 12, 2019
Disney confirmed this year that the NBA Experience will open this summer on August 12, 2019, just before the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios. When guests enter the NBA Experience, they will feel as if they’re walking through the players’ tunnel at an NBA or WNBA arena and will then be able to check out a variety of experiences themed to the world of basketball.
A ticket to NBA Experience will be all-inclusive, and will allow guests to access every activity inside this entertainment complex. In addition to being able to experience whatever they want, whenever they want, guests will also be able to return to favorite areas and experience them over and over again if they wish. Some of the options will include:
- A slam dunk challenge, where guests can change the height of a standard 10-foot hoop to as low as seven feet to perform their own superstar moves – captured by burst photography.
- An activity that tests shooting skills with spots on a court that light up as guests move from one location to another attempting to sink as many shots as possible in 15 seconds.
- A way for guests to see how they stack up to some of the world’s best basketball players by measuring their vertical leap, wingspan, shooting and dribbling.
- Personalization for various activities with guests’ names and associating the activity with their favorite NBA or WNBA teams.
- Real-time technology to aggregate statistics of NBA and WNBA games and players for continuous updates, while leaderboards will track top NBA Experience performers throughout each day.
2. Disney's Not-So-Spooky Spectacular (Magic Kingdom) - August 16, 2019
Neither the 2018 nor the 2017 edition of Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party featured any new shows or entertainment offerings, but it looks like this temporary dry spell is ending in 2019, as this year's event will feature a brand new nighttime show, Disney's Not-So-Spooky Spectacular. Though we've been expecting this change since the end of Wishes in 2016, Disney has finally announced that the long-running Happy HalloWishes will not be returning, and its its place will be a new show that will feature state-of-the-art projection effects, lasers, lighting and dazzling fireworks that come together to tell a not-so-scary story about how anything can happen on Halloween night.
According to Disney the show will take guests along on a trick-or-treating adventure, where four friends – Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy – find themselves drawn into a mysterious haunted house. The journey takes them from one room of the house to another, encountering dancing skeletons, waltzing ghosts and a whole series of troublemaking Disney villains.
3. Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run (Disney's Hollywood Studios) - August 29, 2019
The first confirmed ride for the forthcoming Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios is a flight simulator ride that allows guests to “take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission”.
Interestingly, guests who experience this attraction won’t just be tagging along for a ride (like they currently do on Star Tours) but will actually be piloting the Millennium Falcon themselves! Guests will be able to turn, bank and even fire weapons in this simulation-style experience.
When guests enter the attraction they will be able to climb into one of seven pods that seat six riders each. Each pod will be able to rotate 360 degrees, and there will be a LOT of interactive elements all around riders that will affect the experience. According to one of the attraction's creative directors, there will be 200 buttons, knobs and switches on the inside of the cockpit, each with a specific function.
And interestingly, many of these interactive elements will be specific to different "jobs" riders will have on the ride, similar to the format for Mission: Space. So, for instance, gunners in the center will have weapons controls while engineers in the back will have buttons and levers related to keeping the ship flying.
And guests will definitely want to do well with their jobs, as those who bring back their bounty and fly the ship expertly without a lot of damage will be able to earn extra Galactic Credits, which will change the way characters in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge interact with them. Conversely, guests who lose the bounty or damage the ship will end up owing money, which will also produce different interactions with characters.
This all sounds really exciting, but it looks like there will be one big issue with this attraction when it opens: wait times are going to be crazy. With seven pods that seat 6 each, you're looking at an attraction that can only handle 42 guests per ride cycle, which is very low for an attraction that will undoubtedly be extremely popular when it opens next year. And making matters potentially even worse, Millenium Falcon: Smuggler's Run will be the ONLY ride that opens with Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will not open until later this year.
Because of the massive interest that will undoubtedly accompany this attraction, Disney has announced that they will not be offering FastPass+ reservations for this attraction when it opens, and we don't expect this to change very much while this attraction is the only one open in this part of the park.
4. Oga's Cantina (Disney's Hollywood Studios) - August 29, 2019
Oga's Cantina will be the local watering hole on Black Spire Outpost, and will have both choices for kids and libations for adults. Interestingly, musical entertainment in this establishment will be provided by RX-24, who Star Tours fans may recall as the former StarSpeeder 3000 pilot droid prior to the "Adventures Continue" reimagining of this attraction.
Inside the Cantina guests can enjoy exotic sounding drinks like the Bespin Fizz, Bloody Rancor, Dagobah Slug Slinger, Fuzzy Tauntaun, Jedi Mind Trick, Jet Juice, The Outer Rim, Spriran Caf, T-16 Skyhopper, and Yub Nub, and non-alcohol drinks Black Spire Brew, Blue Bantha, Carbon Freeze, Cliff Dweller, Hyperdrive Punch It!, Jabba Juice, Moogan Tea, and Tarine Tea. You can read more about the menu in this out-of-this-world eatery here.