There are so many new and exciting updates happening at Walt Disney World right now! Even for me, someone whose job is to keep up with all this news, it’s hard to keep it all straight. So here is a master list of everything we know now.
This is everything that has been officially released and confirmed by Disney. I’ve sorted them by location, parks, Springs, and resorts. I’ll keep this list updated so you can bookmark this page. It’s easy to miss updates so if you see anything you think is incorrect on this list, drop me an email and let me know.
Last updated: 08/26/19 (with all updates from D23 Expo 2019)
- Disney World Resort
- Magic Kingdom
- Epcot Redesign
- Epcot World Celebration
- Epcot World Discovery
- Epcot World Nature
- Epcot World Showcase
- Epcot Fireworks
- Hollywood Studios
- Disney Springs
- Walt Disney World Resorts
All of Walt Disney World Resort
Disney Skyliner: This one goes in its own category, as it will affect many areas of the parks and resorts. This new gondola system will connect Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot to four resort hotels- Art of Animation Resort, Pop Century Resort and Caribbean Beach Resort as well as the upcoming new DVC property, Riviera Resort.
Status: The support towers are in place, cables are going up, and the Skyliner boarding stations are under construction.
Timeframe: Sept. 29th, 2019
Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration: Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration will feature new food, merchandise, and entertainment, including a new dance party with Mickey, Minnie and their friends. Mickey and Minnie will greet guests together inside Town Square Theater, sporting all-new colorful outfits for their special celebration. This new meet and greet location will also have a guestbook to sign.
Timeframe: Runs from Jan. 18 to Sept. 30, 2019
Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party Parade: Replacing the current Move it, Shake It Parade, sounds pretty similar except new music, new outfits, and with a focus on Mickey Mouse. An all-new song, “It’s a Good Time,” will play several times daily as part of the new parade. Other characters will also be there including Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, and many others.
Timeframe: Begins January 18th and will run daily indefinitely.
Tron Lightcycle Ride: Coming to Tomorrowland in between Space Mountain and the Tomorrowland Raceway. This is Shanghai Disney’s biggest attraction and having it come to WDW is so exciting. A definite intense thrill ride with a large footprint, this will be a huge addition to Magic Kingdom’s park.
Timeframe: No specific date released, will be completed by 2021.
Future World Redesign: Epcot’s Future World will now be World Neighborhoods. (Which fits in better with World Showcase as well.) Let’s take each area one by one.
is the center of it all. It will feature an updated version of Epcot’s original fountain. Spaceship Earth will remain the icon of Epcot but will be updated with new scenes and a new narrator focusing on the power of storytelling. It will also have an area called Dreamers Point before you reach the World Showcase with gardens and a wishing Tree. This will have views all the way to World Showcase with an interactive fountain, and a new statue of Walt. And a new three-tiered pavilion will become the new festival center with a higher level having an ideal view of the new fireworks show. Here’s the full list of this new neighborhood:
- An updated version of Epcot’s original fountain will be added along with greenery at the entrance.
- Spaceship Earth which will be getting some updated scenes as well as a few new scenes, and instead of focusing on communication and technology it’ll focus on storytelling. The narrator will change to reflect this new focus and tie it all together. Timeframe: unknown
- Dreamers Point will be a new area behind Spaceship Earth which will feature a new statue of Walt Disney, interactive garden areas and a Wishing Tree.
- Then you’ll have a new pavilion in the center that will become the new Festival Center. This will host live events and have three tiers, a Plaza level, Mid-Expo level, and a sky park to view the nighttime shows. It will become the hub of activities events and festivals. Timeframe unknown
- Experience Center: Disney will be setting up a place where we can get previews and track all these new changes to Epcot. The Experience Center will be in the Odyssey Events Building (located between Test Track and Mexico). It’ll feature interactive exhibits to help visualize these new projects. Similar to the displays they set up to show us Toy Story Land and Star Wars over at Studios. Timeframe: October 1st 2019
- Also inside of this new World Celebration neighborhood seem to be the existing Imagination pavilion with Journey to Imagination which wasn’t announced to have any changes.
Existing buildings that will be redone for this new World Celebration area: Parts of Innoventions East will be closing for good. Rumor is part of the building will be removed to create a wide walkway area that will lead guests directly to the new Guardians coaster when it opens. While unconfirmed by Disney as of now, this would certainly make sense as this new thrill ride will be a huge pull for crowds. From what we can tell, Fountain of Nations, Art of Disney, Character Spot, Fountain View, and Club Cool all will be closing on Sept. 8th, 2019 with the other locations not listing closing times as of now. The characters from the Character Spot will be relocated temporarily. When it’s finished this area will still feature Mouse Gear, a Starbucks location, and a quick-service dining location (whether it will be Electric Umbrella or something else isn’t known now) but everything will be moved to other places while they refurbish the buildings. Timeframe: Closings beginning Sept. 8th, 2019 with no completion dates at this time.
A redesigned main entrance area: Between the entry and Spaceship Earth. The Leave-A-Legacy photos (those tombstone like things) will be relocated outside of the park entrance. So for those that worried they would lose their photos, they’ll still be there, just moved to a new location. Once those are moved it opens up all that space for new pathways and green spaces as well as a newly re-designed fountain. If you zoom in you can see how great it all looks. I’m imagining riding over this area on the monorail and how pretty it will be. Not only more aesthetically pleasing but it should also have a much better crowd flow for entering the park.
Timeframe: The initial entrance area completed by 2021 but other new areas have no date yet.
This area is about space exploration and science. It’ll add the Guardians Coaster, Space 220 restaurant and the Play pavilion where you will interact and play with Disney friends both tea and virtual. Full list of this new neighborhood:
- Space 220 Restaurant (opening Winter 2019)
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind coaster
- New Play pavilion
- Mission Space
- Test Track
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind: this ride will also include a reverse launch and will rotate to focus on the story, creating a thrilling yet family-friendly coaster. This is currently being constructed where Universe of Energy used to be. You can’t miss it, as the building is so large it can be seen from the whole park. The size of this ride is staggering- the foundation for the new attraction is the largest concrete pour Disney’s ever done, and you could fit four Spaceship Earths inside the ride’s show building. This indoor roller coaster will be the world’s first “storytelling coaster”, with the train cars making sure riders are fully immersed in the story, and aren’t just zooming past it on the tracks. These new coaster cars will be fully motion-controlled and will feature a 360-degree spinning motion so that the ride will control where guests are looking.
Timeframe: Sometime by 2021
Space 220 Restaurant: Located in Future World between Mission Space and Test Track. The restaurant will offer simulated views into space with guests sitting in a spaceship themed dining room. The new space-themed restaurant will make guests feel as if they are actually traveling through space via the use of a 250-foot-long digital screen wrapping around the curved room. New information states that the dining room will seat more than 350 and that guests will access the dining room by “two fully functioning elevators with large digital screens to simulate the trip to the space station.”
Timeframe: Winter of 2019.
PLAY themed pavilion in Future World: The new pavilion will be located in the redesigned domed building previously known as Wonders of Life. This building is only used seasonally for some of the Festivals as you can see pictured below.
We don’t have a name of this new pavilion, but it will be themed around the “power of PLAY”. Disney describes it as an “immersive and interactive city where you can explore, create, and interact with some of your favorite Disney characters.” This city will have unique interactive experiences, hands-on activities, and engaging entertainment.
Timeframe: Completed by 2021
Heading over to the other side of the park we have this new neighborhood focusing on our ties with nature. Full list of this new neighborhood:
- NEW: Journey of Water, a Moana inspired attraction in the space between the center and the Seas pavilion
- The Seas with Nemo pavilion (no changes announced for this area which includes Turtle Talk, Nemo Ride, and Coral Reef restaurant
- Living with the Land
- Soarin Around the World
- NEW Awesome Planet film inside The Land is set to debut in January 2020.
Journey of Water: This will let guests interact with magical, living water just like Moana. Described as a “lush exploration trail” it will allow guests to interact with magical, living water and learn about the importance of the natural water cycle.
This neighborhood will still feature the lands we love to visit with some new additions:
- Mary Poppins attraction and area: United Kingdom pavilion will feature a new Mary Poppins attraction that will take guests to the Banks family home for a new adventure. In addition to the attraction itself, Cherry Tree Lane area will be added complete with Admiral Boom. No timeframe given.
- Ratatouille Ride: The Ratatouille ride at the France pavilion now officially has a name: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. It’s a ride that’s already in Disneyland Paris. A family-friendly 3-D attraction that moves you through 3-D screens while you’re shrunk down to rat size.Timeframe: Summer 2020
- In the new area where Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will open you’ll also have a new La Crêperie de Paris offering both table and quick-service options also opening summer 2020.
- Also coming to France, the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along that will share space with Impressions de France will arrive in January 2020.
- Canada Pavilion gets a new film titled Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360 in Jan. 2020
- Wonderous China opens in China pavilion January 2020.
Epcot Fireworks Shows
Illuminations Ending: The long-running show will be having its final show on September 30th, 2019. There won’t be a break where no nighttime show will run, but the interim show Epcot Forever will immediately begin once Illuminations ends.
Timeframe: Final show Sept. 30, 2019
Epcot Forever: Once Illuminations ends, and before the new one begins in 2020, there will be a limited time show running for the year or so in between. “Epcot Forever” will feature classic Epcot tunes starting with a spark of imagination that swells into an epic spectacle of fireworks, music, lighting, lasers, and special effects kites.
Timeframe: Debuts October 1st, 2019.
HarmoniUS Nighttime Show: following the limited-time run of Epcot Forever at Epcot, a new nighttime spectacular called HarmonioUS will be the largest ever created for a Disney park. It will celebrate how the music of Disney inspires people the world over, and will feature massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics, and lasers. Rumors say this technology will be new to Disney parks and they’re looking for ways to really bring it to a whole new level of immersion for guests. There’s lots of options and space for them to use so I’m excited to see what they come up with.
Timeframe: All we know is sometime in 2020.
Takumi Tei Japanese Signature Restaurant: Update: This new signature restaurant has opened as of 07-05-19. Takumi Tei is a signature (in other words pricey and upscale) dinner option offering sushi and other Japanese cuisine and highlighting the culture of Japan. Reservations and info here.
Timeframe: Open Now
New park logo: 2019 will be the 30th anniversary of Hollywood Studios so they’re starting the year off with a big change, introducing an all-new logo for the park that will incorporate its new direction of celebrating movies and animation.
Timeframe: Debuted May 1st, 2019
Incredibles comes to Pixar Place: The entire area will be transformed into Metroville, the world of The Incredibles. There will be a dance party similar to what they used to have in Tomorrowland, you can meet Edna Mode, photo ops, and more.
Timeframe: Starting Jan. 18th, 2019-Sept. 30th
Mike & Sully Meet and Greet: They’ll be at Walt Disney Presents where Star Lord used to be.
Timeframe: Starting Jan. 18th, 2019-Sept 30th
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy: A new show that’ll put you right in the middle of the Cars universe. Located near Rock n Roller Coaster, we are assuming it’s in the building that’s used seasonally for special events that’s in between the coaster and Tower of Terror. Lightning demonstrates what he’s learned over the years by using his brand-new, state-of-the-art racing simulator and its wraparound screen. After the show, you’ll even have the chance to snap a photo with trainer-turned-racer Cruz Ramirez just outside the Academy.
Timeframe: Update:Open now
“Wonderful World of Animation” Show: a nighttime show, debuting as part of the park’s 30th Anniversary celebration. The show will use state-of-the-art projection technology to celebrate 90 years of Disney animation, all beginning with Mickey himself. No word on where this show will happen, but the artist’s rendering shows the Chinese Theater, so we’re thinking it will be located in the center of the park, where the current fireworks and projection shows happen, and not as a replacement for Fantasmic.Timeframe: Showing nightly as of May 2019
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway: This attraction is being built in the former Great Movie Ride location. It will bring a two-dimensional cartoon into a real-world experience. The first-ever ride-through attraction themed to Mickey Mouse will have an original story and theme song as it takes guests on a journey through the Disney Channel’s “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts.
Status: Currently under construction, but the front of the Chinese Theater is now free of construction walls.
Timeframe: Early Spring 2020
Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge: See this article for all the details on this exciting new land! Timeframe: Opening August 29th, 2019 with one attraction running at the opening (Smugglers Run) and Rise of the Resistance set to open Dec. 5th, 2019.
Disney World Resorts
Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs: Gran Destino Tower will be 15 stories tall, with a two-story lobby (pictured above), and a roof-top table service restaurant. A second new restaurant will also be added, located on an island in the middle of the resort’s 14-acre lake, Lago Dorado. New walkways will stretch across the lake, allowing quick and convenient passage to and from all areas of the resort. All of the 1,800-plus existing rooms are also being updated with new fixtures, furnishings, and lighting. An all-new color palette will tie the entire resort together when the tower opens, with a total room count of more than 2,400. Two new restaurants will be available in the new tower.
Timeframe: Open now as of July 8th, 2019. Reservations here.
DVC “Disney Riviera” Resort: This one will be next door to the Caribbean Beach Resort and is set to open in Fall of 2019. The theme is inspired by the European grandeur Walt Disney experienced in his travels along the Mediterranean coastline. This new resort will also be connected to the new Skyliner Gondola system. Disney’s info here.
Timeframe: Opening December 16th, 2019.
Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge: A new nature-themed resort which will be located on Bay Lake between the Wilderness Lodge and the Campgrounds. This will be a deluxe resort, and will include more than 900 hotel rooms and proposed Disney Vacation Club villas spread across a variety of unique accommodation types. Since this new hotel and resort is inspired by wonders of nature and artistry of Walt Disney, it’s only fitting for it to be the new location of a “Princess and the Frog”-themed restaurant, since that film features stunning animated sequences of the natural beauty of the bayou. Timeframe: Sometime in 2022
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser: This will be a totally new experience unlike anything else! Immersing you fully into the Star Wars universe for two days. To understand it, think of it, not as a resort, but as a cruise. You will feel as though you are actually traveling the galaxy to board your Starcruiser, a ship called Halcyon (pronounced “Hal-see-on”.
Since the experience is more like a cruise, the entrance is a terminal where you will board your launch pod that seems to link up to your ship and then you’ll board the Halcyon.
Once you arrive you’ll enter the atrium (again think of the terms like a cruise ship) and you’ll spend the next two days and nights living onboard the Spaceship as it travels to its destination, the planet Batuu (which will be your visit to the Galaxy’s Edge land at Hollywood Studios).
Every window has a view of space. You will truly feel as though you are traveling the galaxy with your fellow guests and the alien crew. You’ll, of course, have your own “well-appointed” cabin with ever-changing views as you travel through space.
On the ship, you’ll encounter many characters from the Star Wars universe such as Chewie and Rey, as well as some new ones you’ll meet here. There will, of course, be story elements as you may encounter members of the Dark side as well. The choices you make and the interactions you have while onboard will affect your journey as you can choose sides and allegiances.
Your two-day cruise will include your activities, like facing off with a training remote with your lightsaber, or visiting the bridge and learning some of the ship’s navigation and defenses (just in case there’s trouble!). It also includes your onboard dining experiences and your port day excursion to Black Spire Outpost on Batuu.
This experience sounded truly amazing and unlike anything else and I cannot wait! The Starcruiser is currently under construction and still seems to be in the early stages. No word yet on pricing or timeline for completion. But you know that this experience will be highly popular with fans who want to spend a couple of days living in their favorite Star Wars universe. Disney’s official details here.
Cirque du Soleil show: A brand new show is coming from Disney Animation and Cirque du Soleil who combined to create a show that will blend Disney storytelling and heart with Cirque du Soleil’s signature artistry. Previews will begin March 20, 2020, leading up to the world premiere on April 17. Tickets here.
Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill: The Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill will “modernize the traditional bar and grill concept” in a location designed by Tony Chi. The menu will highlight many of Puck’s signature dishes along with handcrafted specialty cocktails, beer, and wine. Located next to the Coke Store across from Chicken Guy.
Timeframe: Open now
Jaleo: This Spanish restaurant from Chef José Andrés’Jaleo will “feature an extensive menu of tapas that reflect the rich regional diversity of traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine, such as paella cooked over a wood fire, hand-carved Jamon Iberico de Bellota, and wood-grilled Iberico pork.”
Timeframe: Open now
City Works Eatery & Pour House: It’s said to be located near the NBA Experience which is being built where Disney Quest used to be, on the Westside. It’s still not totally clear if this is replacing the original plans for the NBA place, or if this will be connected to it since the concept arts seem to use the same space. So maybe this will be the restaurant and the NBA Experience will be the games and such…? I guess we will hear more about it soon. But City Works is said to specialize in craft beers, and the restaurant and bar will offer plenty of high-def TVs including a 165-inch screen, perfect for viewing your favorite live sporting events.Timeframe: Winter 2019
NBA Experience: Also located in the space that used to be Disney Quest, this new eating and playing experience is all about basketball. Inside this impressive venue inspired by modern-day NBA arenas, you can enjoy 13 unique experiences that merge the magic of Disney with the thrills of the NBA. More details here. Timeframe: Open now