Last year at Disney’s annual D23 Expo the company previewed some of the larger attractions that the company will be opening across its parks in Orlando. While a few of the expansion will take some time to complete, including some of the Star Wars and Avatar lands, the company is teasing a little more of the expansion that will be available for guests this year.
In Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the park will be opening several new expansions, one of the largest in the site’s 18-year history. Disney’s Animal Kingdom will debut new day-into-nighttime experiences that celebrate the magic of nature, all kicking off on Memorial Day Weekend.
The park’s iconic Tree of Life (shown above) will awaken each night amid a lively celebration of Discovery Island music and dance. Through carefully crafted visuals, animal spirits will appear alongside enchanted fireflies. They will reveal stories of wonder as the tree morphs to showcase the magic of nature.
This summer Kilimanjaro Safaris will transition to a new nighttime adventure, and for the first time, hyenas and African wild dogs will join the safari trail. In Discovery River, a limited-engagement show inspired by Disney’s hit live-action film The Jungle Book will take center-stage.
Called “The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic,” the show will be a live event filled with music and special effects that celebrates the new film and the classic songs. The show will bring to life the wonder of the film and story, and it is now infused with an Indian influence.
Tiffins signature restaurant will be open on Discovery Island this Memorial Day Weekend. Guests seated in the restaurant’s travel-themed dining rooms or on the waterfront patio can enjoy African, Asian and South American cuisine.
Across the park, guests can experience wondrous new nighttime experiences and entertainment, all designed to celebrate the marvels of nature. Guests can still enjoy the long-time favorites such as Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, Kali River Rapids and more – just in a whole new light as more nighttime attraction become a staple.
Over in Epcot Anna, Elsa and other beloved characters from the film, “Frozen,” will find a new home. The characters will also appear in several other Disney parks, all set to start this June. Meanwhile “Turtle Talk with Crush” will get a makeover to promote the new PIXAR film “Finding Dory”.
Anna, Elsa and their latest-generation Audio-Animatronics co-stars will welcome guests aboard the new Frozen Ever After boat ride that sails into a “Frozen” world at the Norway pavilion. The ride will takeover the previous ride at the location.
Passengers on their way to Arendelle’s Winter in Summer Celebration for Queen Elsa visit the ice palace and hear beloved film tunes plus new lyrics by Oscar-winning “Let It Go” songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson.
Also at Norway pavilion, Anna and Elsa will greet guests in the new Royal Sommerhus, modeled after a traditional Norwegian cabin.
In Future World, guests will celebrate the U.S. debut of the new Soarin’ Around the World attraction at The Land Pavilion starting on June 17. Now with a third Epcot theater, plus new digital screens and projection systems, the expanded attraction takes guests on an exhilarating “flight” above spectacular global landscapes and man-made wonders.
Guests will also find new additions at “Turtle Talk with Crush” beginning in early-May with characters from Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory”. When Crush the sea turtle swims up to the “Human Tank” at Epcot, he’ll be joined by Dory and some of her new friends that guests will get to know when “Finding Dory” swims into theaters on June 17, 2016.
In the Magic Kingdom classic Disney characters will join contemporary animated film stars this June in a new extravaganza on the grand Cinderella Castle stage. Guests at the Magic Kingdom will also get a chance to experience a new dining adventure.
For the first time, modern Disney characters Tiana of “Princess and the Frog,” and Rapunzel of “Tangled,” co-star with Anna and Elsa of “Frozen,” and a host of classic characters in the new Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire.
Performed on the grandest stage in the kingdom, the star-studded tale of friendship presents Mickey Mouse and his troupe of Merry Makers – Minnie Mouse, Donald, Daisy and Goofy – who invite 10 new friends from different animated worlds to join the celebration. This “timeless fairytale” of a show combines grand dance, fireworks and stunts with memorable music, an original song and special effects.
Disney Parks will welcome its first princess inspired by diverse Latin culture this year. Elena of Avalor will appear at Walt Disney World Resort later this summer and at Disneyland Resort in the fall, following her television debut in a new animated series this summer on Disney Channel.
Next door to the legendary Jungle Cruise, guests can enjoy the bold flavors of “World Famous Jungle Cuisine” served by the crew of the new Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen. It’s the first Disney full-service restaurant themed after a specific park attraction.
The next generation of Star Wars-themed fireworks shows, “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular,” will premiere this June with new themed fireworks, lasers, special effects and video projections of iconic characters and scenes from the complete saga, all set to the iconic score of the film series.
The live stage show “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” debuted April 4, celebrating iconic moments from the Star Wars saga with live vignettes featuring popular characters such as BB-8, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Darth Maul.
The March of the First Order Stormtrooper procession led by Captain Phasma from the Star Wars Launch Bay to the park’s Center Stage adds menace to the entertainment. The just-opened Star Wars Launch Bay showcases large-scale artifacts and encounters with characters including Kylo Ren.
The re-imagined Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple experience also features new characters. And at Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, guests buckle up for an enhanced high-speed journey with new Star Wars: The Force Awakens characters and a visit to Jakku.
In the park’s Hyperion Theater, the Royal Historians of Arendelle host a jolly sing-along tale of their “Frozen” kingdom with special appearances by Anna, Elsa and Kristoff. And at Celebrity Spotlight, guests can meet Olaf, one of the more adorable snowmen you will ever meet.
At Disney Springs guests will find the largest expansion in the attraction’s history. Disney Springs is a retail, dining and entertainment experience. The location is inspired by Florida’s waterfront towns and includes The Landing, Marketplace and West Side. The new location, Town Center, will debut next month — adding more shops, dining venues and opportunities for guests to relax, refresh and reconnect with each other.
As Disney Springs continues to expand and diversify its dining, shopping and entertainment, more exciting high-profile tenants are coming onboard, including Anthropologie, Under Armour, kate spade new york, Sephora and Lucky Brand, among others. Other new shops opening in 2016 include Zara, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, UNIQLO and PANDORA.
More than 30 new tenants will be coming to Disney Springs this summer, including retail shops and dining venues. Disney Springs is also expanding its culinary attractions. New destinations include Tablas Frontera by Chef Rick Bayless; Homecoming – Florida Kitchen and Shine Bar by Chef Art Smith; STK Orlando, a modern steakhouse with the ambience of a sleek lounge; Sprinkles, the world’s first cupcake bakery; Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a modern-day “pizza joint” with artisanal pies; and the reimagined, Planet Hollywood Observatory with new outdoor terrace and live entertainment.
Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless and Chef Art Smith join master Chef Masaharu Morimoto in a growing collection of James Beard Award winning chefs at Disney Springs.