What’s New at Disney World this Summer

by LivingByDisney
New for Summer at Walt Disney World

There’s been a lot of new things added to the summer schedule for Walt Disney World. It’s always hard to keep up with it all. I feel that way and I’m watching this stuff all the time.

Here’s a master list of everything new to help you with your planning. Now you won’t miss a thing when you come visit Disney World this summer!

Pandora in Animal Kingdom

Pandora World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Let’s start with the biggest one. If you are in any way familiar with Disney Park news then you’ve probably heard of Disney’s biggest project; Pandora: The World of Avatar which is the new land at Animal Kingdom park.

We’ve been hearing about this project for over 5 years now, so being able to see it all come to life has been so exciting. You can see my review of Pandora here and my must-do list here.

Flight of Passage Pandora

It will be the biggest change in your touring plans for visiting WDW since now Animal Kingdom becomes more than a half day park. Keep in mind this area will be very popular for a while so early and late touring will always be your best bet. If you are staying at a Disney World resort take advantage of the extra magic hours you’ll get.

Also remember Pandora is quite different at night versus daytime. So if this new land is something you’re really into, you may want to see it both ways. And, even though it’s not as recent, Rivers of Light is still new for many people, and that show will only be during the evenings.

TIP: An Idea for a Perfect Pandora Visit
  • Try to get an early evening FastPass for Flight of Passage.
  • Arrive about 4/5 in the afternoon.
  • Have a drink at the Nomad Lounge,
  • Tour Pandora, ride FoP with your FastPass.
  • Have dinner at Satuli Canteen (order ahead on the My Disney Experience app)
  • Ride Navi River Journey and take pics of all the daylight beauty of Pandora.
  • Then go see the first Rivers of Light show.
  • Go back into Pandora to see it after dark.
  • If you end up staying late enough for crowds to drop maybe you can ride Flight of Passage again. (Trust me you will want to!)
  • Don’t forget to watch the projections on the Tree of Life on your way out of the park.

 

Pixar Live! at Hollywood Studios

New for Summer at Walt Disney World

The newest show at Hollywood Studios celebrates the music of Pixar. It’s a blend of movie clips, sing along style lyrics, a full orchestra playing the music, and characters that appear to host the songs. There is some incredibly beautiful music from these films.

New for Summer at Walt Disney World

I was surprised that the overall tone of the show was more serious. I was expecting more of a sing-along (which they do at the very end for You’ve Got a Friend in Me). Many of the scores they chose highlight the more emotional scenes from the movies. The final scenes from Toy Story 3, The gorgeous but sad montage of Ellie and Carl from UP, the scene where Sully says goodbye to Boo in Monsters Inc. I found I was a little emotional watching it, and the music is undeniably pretty.

If you have very young kids they may be a little bored during this show. I’d probably skip it for more time at Beauty and the Beast or Disney Jr. If you enjoy going to the symphony, or classical concerts, then you will definitely love this show.

Pixar Live is in the same theater as the Beauty and the Beast show. That show runs during the day, while Pixar starts around 5 pm in the evening and has about three shows each night. Check times guide for exact schedule.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Meet and Greet at Hollywood Studios

New for Summer at Walt Disney World

You can now meet Starlord and Baby Groot at Disney World! They’re at Hollywood Studios in the One Man’s Dream Exhibit (they replaced Moana). Starlord is pretty awesome, but let’s be honest. It’s all about that Baby Groot. He manages to be quite the conversationalist, despite the fact that all he says is “I am Groot”. So adorable! If you are a fan of the movies definitely go and see them.

Also, for the super fans, there’s a super cute Groot cookies and cream cupcake at the Studios Starbucks, as well as a Groot sipper cup sold throughout the park.

 

Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom

The new fireworks show that replaced Wishes is absolutely fantastic and is a must-do for any trip to Disney World. Seriously. Do yourself a favor and DO NOT miss it. For my review and photos of the show check out this article here.

The show runs every night at Magic Kingdom park. Times can vary, but it’s usually somewhere around 9 pm-10 pm. Check the article linked above for the best place to watch it.

 

Disney Movie Magic at Hollywood Studios

I must admit this show is a little bit…weird. Not so much because of the show itself, but more so why it’s here. Disney had a huge media event last week, and showcased everything new for summer.  This show was never mentioned. Then two days after all the media left, it was suddenly announced in the park that they would be debuting a brand new show before the normal Star Wars fireworks. It’s called Disney Movie Magic, or so they say. I’m honestly not completely sure because it’s not been in print. It doesn’t show up in any of their times guides or maps. I’m not sure we really needed a show before the nighttime show. You know?

Disney Movie Magic is a projection show, not a fireworks show. It showcases scenes from several of Disney’s live action movies including the recent Beauty and the Beast which I was super excited about. Many more also, such as Pirates, Mary Poppins, Guardians of the Galaxy and Tron (yeah really). It’s okay. Nothing super exciting. It seems to run about 30 minutes before the fireworks.  So if you want a decent place to view the Star Wars fireworks then you’ll probably already be standing there to watch this one as well. That’s honestly about all there is to say about it. It seems more filler, and something they can easily switch out to show other scenes from newer movies as needed.

 

Other Recent Additions

rivers of light at Animal Kingdom Disney World

Depending on when your last visit to Disney World was, there are a few things that may be new to you. Typhoon Lagoon has a new water slide called Miss Adventure Falls, Wilderness Lodge has a new restaurant called Geyser Point, the show Rivers of Light is still happening each night at Animal Kingdom, and the projection show Once Upon a Time happens after the fireworks each nigh at Magic Kingdom (don’t miss it! I’m a huge fan of this show).

If you’re planning on a summer visit, remember to prepare for the heat. Check out my Summer Survival Guide for some basic tips to be prepared before you come. And my article on what to bring in your park bag for some of my go-to favorites.

 

 

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