2016 may not have been the best year at Walt Disney World attendance-wise, but this past year was definitely one of the biggest years ever in terms of new attractions. With Frozen Ever After, Soarin' Around the World, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire, Once Upon a Time, and even The Muppets Present Great Moments in History making a splash this year, 2016 saw almost two dozen new attractions opening at Walt Disney World over the course of the year.
However, what goes up must come down, and with big projects like Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land in the works, 2017 isn't going to see quite as many new attractions opening as 2016 did. Though Disney Springs will be getting a number of new additions in the next year, when it comes to big attractions, there are only a handful currently slated to debut in 2017. And unsurprisingly, most of them will be coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom!
1. Rivers of Light
Opening in: Early 2017 (rumored)
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.
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 Fortune Falls
Opening in: Spring 2017
Walt Disney World water park Typhoon Lagoon is currently closed for refurbishment, but when it reopens next year, it will have a brand new ride. Named 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 (which will be the longest raft attraction in all of Walt Disney World when it opens) 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.
This new attraction seems like a great addition to the attraction lineup at Typhoon Lagoon, which has only ever gotten one other new attraction before (the Crush 'n' Gusher water coaster in 2005) over the course of its nearly 30-year history.