What Projects Are Still Coming to Walt Disney World?
So many projects happening at Walt Disney World, we thought it well to dedicate a page to all of the upcoming additions. Because of the pandemic, some if not many of these are fluid. Because Disney is announcing opening dates and posting progress often, you will want to check back for more information.
As attractions, hotels, restaurants and other new developments come, we will have a wealth of photos and descriptions to keep you in the loop. We’ve outlined these new attractions by their locations, in what you will find to be the most extensive one-stop listing on the internet.
Let’s start at the Magic Kingdom.
Tron Lightcycle Power Run
The TRON attraction is based on the same attraction found at Shanghai Disneyland. This coaster-style attraction allows riders to board a train of two-wheeled Lightcycles for a thrilling race through the digital frontier.
As you race outside the building you pass through an amazing canopy of lights. See it here:
The only challenge is that in D23 2019 a new image came out for D23. This version makes the canopy look like a glowing black image more in keeping to the dark tone of Tron itself. It seems to be missing the colorful look found in Shanghai. We will eventually see how it turns out.
Cinderella Castle 50th Anniversary Makeover
TTC & Parking Lot Remodel
The tram pick up and drop off locations are under an extensive remodeling, which will affect the security passage areas at the TTC. The bricks that were part of Disney’s Walk Around the World are being removed as part of that effort.
Stitch’s Great Escape! Replacement
While no formal attraction has been announced for this space to the left as you enter Tomorrowland, Imagineers have begun to disassemble the previous Stitch’s Great Escape, and management has told Cast Members that it will not return.
Rather than Future World and World Showcase, there will now be four major lands or neighborhoods: World Discovery, World Celebration, World Nature & World Showcase.
Bob Chapek has announced that Epcot will receive the largest transformation ever done on a Disney theme park. With that, Disney has announced that the following will close or be moved. This involves all of Innoventions West plus more:
- Club Cool
- Mouse Gears
- Electric Umbrella
- Innoventions East to Include Colortopia and Nanooze Break
- Epcot Character Spot
- Fountain View: Starbucks
- Pin Central
- Art of Disney
- Removal of Fountain of Nations
Let’s review what will happen as we move through each of those four neighborhoods:
World Discovery is essentially what was Future World East and it will include what was Universe of Energy and Wonders of Life, and what now is Mission Space and Test Track.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
This is in the former Universe of Energy space. This will be the first “other world” pavilion. It begins when guests enter what is called the “Galaxarium” which is sort of a planetarium-like exhibition exploring space. From there they will learn of the planet of Xandar, which introduces the Guardians of the Galaxy, and sets visitors up for their ride experience to see planet Earth from a Nova ship.
This coaster will feature a first ever reverse launch into space, and will offer a never-before-seen storytelling coaster that rotates to focus on the action during the ride.
The former Universe of Energy building will connect to a giant new show building being added behind it, to house a Guardians of the Galaxy thrill attraction. Claiming fame as the first roller coaster to come to Epcot, it will utilize one of the longest enclosed roller coaster systems in the world.
Next door in the former Wonders of Life Building, a new play pavilion will come alive in an innovative city center. Labeled as a “first of its kind”, it will host a rotating rostrum of interactive experiences, favorite Disney characters, hands-on activities and engaging entertainment.
“This innovative, new pavilion is beyond anything we’ve ever created and is completely unique to Epcot,” said Zach Riddley, portfolio executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. “Built on the power of play, it introduces an immersive and interactive ‘city’ where you can explore, create, and interact with some of your favorite Disney characters. This is an experience worthy of our bold vision for Epcot – and another signature element of our transformation.”
This pavilion includes fairly involved meet ‘n’ greet attractions, but also some interactive experiences as well. You can help Edna Mode create better super hero designs. You can participate in a water balloon throw with Huey, Dewey & Louie. This attraction will open with Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary.
Space 220 is the name of the restaurant that is to open adjacent to Mission Space. Guests will board a unique elevator that will take them on a journey to their space station while giving them real time views. The views of earth day and night are from 220 miles above.
This will be adjacent to Mission Space and will be a table service restaurant. Patina Restaurant Group (Tutto Italia and Via Napoli) will operate the new restaurant, and they’ve developed a menu that features internationally-inspired cuisine, more than 1,000 bottles of the world’s finest wines and a wide selection of craft beer.
Departures begin this Spring.
World Celebration is perhaps the biggest change coming to what was Future World. It begins from the entrance to the park, past Spaceship Earth, and down what was the Central Innoventions area/spine of the park.
Front Entrance Transformation
The front entrance of Epcot is being remodeled, with the former Leave a Legacy memorials being removed, and the area re-freshened.
Entry Fountain Returns
The existing fountain has been removed, and a new statue and fountain will be implemented. It is based on the original statue that graced the entrance into the park.
NOTE: Suspended for the unforeseen future
Spaceship Earth will remain the park’s grand icon but the journey will be transformed with new scenes reflecting the universal nature of the human experience. A new guide and all new narration will focus on the storytelling that brings people together. Many of the original scenes will be kept, however, but they will be brought to life in new ways. The thread that will tie this together will be something called Story Light. Guests will exit through a newly designed exit space.
Epcot invites everyone to dream together. That’s the purpose of this section which greets guests as they exit Spaceship Earth.
Stepping off of Spaceship Earth, guests will find themselves in a newly remodeled area that is a natural environment with global design elements.
New Walt Disney Statue
A centerpiece to this area is a new statue celebrating the legacy of the original dreamer, Walt Disney.
Interactive Wishing Tree
A unique tree will come to life as guests interact with this technological arbol.
Likewise a new water feature will celebrate the power and music of iconic Disney story telling.
New Dining Experience
A new dining option will come to Electric Umbrella, though what it will be has not yet been stated.
New Central Shopping Experience
MouseGears will be remodeled, and possibly renamed. A temporary location will be utilized while that remodeling occurs.
NOTE: May not remain in the current design.
A new pavilion at World Celebration will be the home base for Epcot’s signature festivals, providing a new vantage point of World Showcase and an ideal spot to witness the park’s nighttime spectacular. It would seem that this space straddles what was part butterfly garden during the Flower & Garden festival, part Club Cool, and part Starbucks. It appears to almost bump up against the monorail track as it passes Journey Into Your Imagination.
This three level structure will have one of the most remarkable designs at any Disney park and is expected to become a new icon for Epcot. It will feature a plaza level, a mid expo level, and a park that sits in the sky with a perfect advantage for looking at nighttime spectaculars.
Though not announced, it appears from artwork that Point of Entry, and Disney Traders, the two shops greeting guests as they move to World Showcase, will be removed. This will probably allow for better views from the Festival Pavilion.
Journey of Water
This first-ever attraction based on the Walt Disney Animation Studios hit film, “Moana,” will let guests interact with magical, living water in a beautiful and inspiring setting. This is the biggest addition coming to World Nature, and will be the entry into this neighborhood of the park.
New Club Cool
Club Cool will re-emerge apparently in a revised form but it’s uncertain where. It may also have a new name attached to it.
A Circle-vision 360 makeover has been announced also for China, and will features a seamless screen similar to what guests see when they visit the Epcot Experience.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is similar to the attraction found in Walt Disney Studios Paris. This attraction will wrap around the back half of the France pavilion.
The new attraction whisks guests into a crazy, culinary adventure in one of the capital’s most chic dining establishments, Chez Gusteau, offering a comical rat’s eye view into the world of Remy. Guests begin their adventure on the rooftops of Paris before boarding ratmobiles to scurry though the restaurant’s cold store and dining room overseen by the intimidating Chef Skinner.
The new crêperie will stand adjacent to the Remy’s attraction and will offer the cuisine of chef Jérôme Bocuse. It will feature dishes like you might find in the Brittany region of France. Along a sidewalk cafe guests can choose from either a walk-up counter, with savory crepes called galettes and sweet crepes, or a fuller table service menu.
NOTE: Suspended for the unforeseen future
Mary Poppins may someday have an “attraction” at the UK Pavilion at Epcot.
Guests would visit the Banks neighborhood in the back of the UK pavilion where they step in time as they enter #17 Cherry Tree Lane. This is where “the adventure begins” when they step inside the home. D23 did not note what kind of experience would happen once guests entered. Many hoped it would be a dark ride. Earlier discussion suggested that it could be an entry to a carousel or something of a spinner attraction. And some thought it could be similar to Belle’s Enchanted Tales.
I’m pleased to say that my inside sources say that it is a dark ride type experience and that it is in a vehicle unlike any other. What that is I’ve not yet been informed. But it is NOT a spinner, and it is NOT a “show” type experience. All that said, it has yet to be declared.
Where will it be located? The street seen above sits perpendicular to the buildings on the back half of the UK pavilion, which is based on Belgrave Square. It’s the park style area where British Revolution has been playing.
As for the time frame for the attraction, one image suggests a more contemporary Mary, and the other the more Victorian era. The announcement in D23 used chimney sweeps and Dick van Dyke to introduce the attraction. Also, the poster art plays more off of the original film.
This has been declared the most ambitious of all nighttime shows and was stated to premiere in 2020.
This show will celebrate how the music of Disney inspires people the world over, carrying you away harmoniously on a stream of familiar Disney tunes reinterpreted by a diverse group of artists from around the globe.
It will feature massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics, lasers and more.
New Logo & Anthem
A new logo has been introduced, which in truth, is the old logo Epcot had. Still, it represents what will be a multi-year transformation of the park with new experiences that will make Epcot more Disney, more family, more timeless and more relevant to those visiting. A new anthem has also been created, and was premiered at D23 2019. It was composed by Pinar Toprak.
The Epcot Experience
You can see many of these new coming attractions showcased at The Epcot Experience, now at The Odyssey. You can see the video of this below:
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Toy Story BBQ Restaurant
A brand-new table-service restaurant is set to come in 2020 to Toy Story Land. Upon entering Andy’s back yard, guests are magically transformed to the size of a toy, surrounded by playsets scattered throughout the area. Guests will soon discover that a new play area has been set up – and this time, it’s a rodeo! But of course, being Andy, it certainly isn’t your usual rodeo…
Using three cardboard boxes cut and taped together, Andy has created a new rodeo arena using some of his favorite toys, games, and play sets. And while some pieces are definitely western-themed, what makes this rodeo special is the broad assortment of toys that have been brought together to create a fun, colorful mashup-atmosphere that only a child could create.
Once inside, guests will be surrounded by all of the rodeo festivities in-action, as well as, western town and train station play sets. They just might spot some of your favorite Disney-Pixar characters scattered throughout the restaurant. Included in this playroom decor is a toy version of Jessie riding on the back of a Trixie pull-toy and unique toy versions of Bo Peep and her sheep, all who appear to be performing in the rodeo together. This immersive restaurant will surround guests with a kaleidoscope of toys, games, and play sets.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
While no formal announcement has been made, permits have been filed for a remodeling of the entrance area to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a project that has either happened or is underway at the other three entrances. No timeline or finished date has been announced.
Club 33 Addition
Adjacent to Festival of the Lion King on the way to Pandora: World of Avatar is a new Club 33. It is the fourth of the locations that have been built in the parks, and is the only one of the three that is being built from the ground up.
Walt Disney World Resort
Star Wars Hotel
The new Star Wars hotel will be a two-night adventure aboard a glamorous starship. Guests will arrive, park their cars, gather their luggage and then check in.
From there they will be shuttled to a star cruiser named Halcyon.
Once onboard the ship Halcyon, guests staying in this 100 bed hotel will interact with characters and become active participants in stories that unfold around them on their galactic journey. Everything from dining to unique experiences are part of a Star Wars story. Every view looks out into space. Cabins have different vistas.
If it couldn’t get cooler, what makes the experience at Walt Disney World so above and beyond is that guests will be able to stay in a hotel that completely immerses them into the world of Star Wars. While more details are on their way, this is a 100 bed hotel that acts more like a cruise line. What that means is that the experience is for a set number of days and will be all inclusive.
Guests will be part of a mission, with responsibilities where they have a role to play. After all, there’s conflict in space. And they must help to save the galaxy.
Of course, that doesn’t mean guests won’t have time to relax. When they say, room with a view, they mean something very different than your traditional hotel stay. Guests will feel like they are out in the cosmos.
Reflections–A Disney Lakeside Lodge
Note: Rumored to be delayed or cancelled.
A new nature-inspired, mixed use Disney resort will open in 2022 along the shores of Bay Lake between Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. This deluxe resort will have some 1,700 rooms, with 900 being DVC villas. This will be Disney’s 16th DVC location.
This is a country lakeside lodge reimagined. Among the different kinds of rooms that will be available to include A-frames and tree houses.
Princess & the Frog Restaurant
At D23 2019 Disney also announced that a new restaurant would sit on Bay Lake that would be themed to Princess and the Frog.
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort will soon welcome a new tower with a 14 story expansion to include 349 guest rooms plus 22,000 square feet of meeting space and a 90 seat restaurant. A rooftop reception space will offer views of the nightly Walt Disney World Resort.
The hotel is operated by Marriott International.
Fort Wilderness: New Tri-Circle-D Stables
With the addition of Reflections, the horses are being moved across from their current position, and will be re-built with new barns and updated outdoor spaces. This should debut in Spring 2020.
This is a newer development on the far West side of the Walt Disney World property, just beyond Disney’s Coronado Springs on Western Way. It includes a number of new projects underway:
Permits have been filed for a retail center that will include a Walgreens, Speedway gas station and a Target Store. Supposedly the plan calls for 29 retail and restaurant buildings to be developed in three phases. That will come out to approximately 237,000 square feet. Target reemphasized its role during the 2019 D23 conference.
This hotel would be 7 floors, 250 rooms and would share a courtyard with the Home 2 Suites. They are both part of the Hilton hotel brand.
Home 2 Suites
A Hilton hotel as well, this too is a 7 floor, 250 bedroom complex and will share a common plaza with the Homewood Suites. In addition to a shared pool, there will be a lazy river feature.
Fairfield Inn & Suites
This is a 250 room, 7 floor complex that will be part of the Marriott chain. It will be a stand alone hotel, with its own pool amenity area.
This is a 250 room, 7 floor hotel that will set apart by itself, and not share a common courtyard with other hotels. It also will have a pool amenity area.
Hampton Inn & Suites
This should also be a part of the entire complex of hotels being established at Flamingo crossings. Permits filed suggest that it will sit by itself with not other shared hotelier. It will include a pool amenity as well.
When these hotels are completed, there will be seven hotels total in the Flamingo Crossings area, which will include current Marriott properties, TownPlace & Springhill Suites.
Student Housing Complex
Some 1,300 apartments will be added to the current apartments found here. These are 4-story multi-family buildings with sports/recreational courts, community and education centers, swimming pools and more. It is intended to accommodate interns who are part of Walt Disney World’s college and international programs.
Ample Hills Creamery
The same handcrafted ice cream and mix-ins store found at BoardWalk is coming to Disney Springs. It will be in a brand new location on the West Side. An opening date or exact location has not yet been confirmed.
M&M’S Orlando store will be creating a new state-of-the-art store with an immersive experience that combines the fun & M&M’S. The new store is set to open in 2020 near the NBA Experience and will be filled with favorite chocolate candies.
Cirque du Soleil Replacement Show
On New Year’s Eve 2017, La Nouba held its last show after a twenty year run, and Disney announced that a new show was in the making. Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and Imagineering are teaming up to bring a new show that would pay homage to Disney’s rich history of animation.
Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, elaborated, sharing “We are incredibly inspired by Disney’s immense creative universe. We are convinced that bringing Disney’s magic to life on stage will touch audiences and bring them back to their childhood.” Disney characters will interact with the cast of the show. Animation legend Eric Goldberg is leading the animation side of this effort.
Previews will be March 20th, with the world premiere will be April 17, 2020.
Beatrix Restaurant, Coffeehouse & Market
Beatrix, owned by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (a Chicago-based restaurant group), will open their first restaurant in Florida at Disney Springs West Side. Beatrix is your neighborhood restaurant, coffeehouse and grab-and-go market featuring healthy food options including vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan along with fresh-squeezed juice cocktails. The restaurant will also offer a bakery and full-service bar with a selection of all-American beer and wine. Executive Partner and Divisional President, Marc Jacobs, explains “Beatrix represents the way people are eating today – it’s that mix of health and comfort. Whether grabbing a cup of coffee and your favorite pastry, or having a cocktail, lunch, or dinner with friends, it’s your neighborhood meeting place.”
Bridge Between Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Grand Floridian
Work is underway to provide a pedestrian bridge that will connect guests between Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and the Magic Kingdom. This involves providing a bridge that goes over the canal way being the Magic Kingdom holding the famed Electrical Water Pageant.
Debuting in late 2020, Disney Genie will be a new digital offering to enhance the way guests plan for and experience a trip to Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney Cruise Lines
Disney Cruise Line is planning on three new ships in the next phase of expansion. By the time these three ships are sailing, they will have nearly doubled the size of their fleet. These ships are being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany with scheduled completion dates of 2021, 2022 and 2023.
All ship names, design plans and itineraries are still in development, with each of the ships expected to have their own unique experiences. The three new ships will be powered by clean-burning liquefied natural gas and be the same size – approximately 135,000 gross tons with about 1,250 guest staterooms planned – which is slightly larger than the newest Disney Cruise Line ships, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.
Disney Cruise Line’s Fifth Ship
Disney Wish is the name given to the 5th ship to join the Disney Cruise Line. This ship will set sail in January of 2022 after being completed in late 2021.. Stern characters have always been a tradition. Rapunzel will be the Stern character on the Disney Wish. Pascal, her sidekick will join her.
The three-story atrium reflects a fairytale theme. It is a fairly bright, airy, and whimsical space.
Disney Cruise Line’s Sixth Ship
This ship is expected to be readied in 2022 with guest departures occurring in 2023. Its name has not been offered yet.
Note: Rumored to be delayed.
Disney Cruise Line’s Seventh Ship
This ship is expected to be readied in 2023 with guest departures occurring in 2024. It’s name has not been offered yet.
Note: Rumored to be delayed or cancelled.
Port Canaveral Terminal Remodel
Disney has always had a very distinctive terminal in Port Canaveral. But with the addition of three ships, a major renovation is coming to what is Terminal 8, to include an expanded arrivals hall, additional seating to 1000, an extended drop off area for guests and a new “jet-way” style passenger boarding bridge.
Additional Terminal Remodel
Terminal 10 will also be remodeled for Disney’s use for when two ships are in port at the same time. This is an adjacent terminal to Terminal 8. The project, estimated to cost $46.5 million, is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2021.
Disney’s New Island Destination
Disney finally has formalized its announcement of a second Island experience in the Bahamas. This destination will celebrate the spirit and culture of The Bahamas and the natural environment at a new Disney port of call, which will be located on the island of Eleuthera at a place called Lighthouse Point.
The development is projected to be between $250 million and $400 million and will be the cruise line’s second private destination, joining Castaway Cay. It will support the sailings of additional ship itineraries.
Joe Rohde is heading up this endeavor, and is focusing on making sure there is a major conservation effort involved as well as providing economic opportunity to the people of the area. It’s an opportunity to focus on the culture of the Bahamas as well. Think Aulani meets Bahamas with the use of local artists. Rohde has emphasized collaboration with the people of the Bahamas in this endeavor.
What’s New at Walt Disney World
We just showcased what’s coming to the Vacation Kingdom of the World. There are more than 100 new attractions, hotels, restaurants, shops and more that have opened up in the last couple of years. Check out our extensive listing!