Whether you’ve been taking a short break from Walt Disney World trips or whether you’ve been going faithfully every year, 2018 is going to be a great time to return to the World. There is so much new stuff, you will hardly recognize the place. Ok, not really, but still, A LOT OF NEW STUFF!!!
Magic Kingdom News
Main Street, U.S.A. is getting a new destination! Work has already begun on a live entertainment theater. Just as Main Street itself was inspired by Marceline, Missouri (Walt’s early childhood hometown), the new theater will be based on one from Kansas City (where Walt moved when he was nine years old). The Willis Wood Theater opened in 1902 in Kansas City, with a gleaming exterior of yellow brick and white terra cotta. Walt would no doubt have felt that, with the confectionery scrollwork curling from rooftop and corner balconies, the Willis Wood would fit in perfectly with the elegance of his own Main Street, U.S.A.
Disney promises to bring “world class entertainment” to Main Street, U.S.A. at this theater, akin to shows like “Frozen Live” at the Hyperion in Disney California Adventure. What Broadway-style show might the new theater host? With the film MARY POPPINS RETURNS coming in 2018, perhaps the new theater will feature this supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Disney favorite! What’s your guess??
Disney’s Hollywood Studios News
A new land is opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in summer 2018. No, it’s not Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge – not yet! You’ll have to wait until 2019 to travel to the galaxy far, far away. But much closer to home – right in Andy’s backyard, in fact – is Toy Story Land! If you were sad about the closure of the Honey I Shrunk the Kid Playground, here’s your chance to shrink again – this time to the size of a toy. Disney promises that you’ll experience the “Joy of Being a Toy.” Scattered around the land (Andy’s back yard) you’ll come across giant building blocks and game board pieces with many beloved Toy Story characters represented (either with character greetings or other homages).
Fans of Toy Story’s Slinky Dog will be delighted to discover that he will have his own roller coaster. Slinky Dog Dash is an attraction the whole family can enjoy together, with ride vehicles nestled cozily in Slinky Dog’s coils. The back story here is that Andy has built a toy roller coaster stretching all across his backyard using the bright red and yellow pieces of his Mega Coaster Play Kit, throwing in creative touches with his other toys (Jessie strides across the track and Dinosaur perches on top of a tower of blocks). In addition to the fun of the coaster and the movie elements, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the new land from Slinky Dog Dash.
Right next door, you’ll find the Alien Swirling Saucers attraction – a life-sized toy play set that Andy won at Pizza Planet (seen in the original TOY STORY film). You’ll zoom along in a your rocket vehicle among toy planets and satellites while LGM (Little Green Men) flying above in flying saucers attempt to grab you with “The Claw.” To lighten the mood for younger guests, Disney has written some cool, electronic “Space Jazz” just for the Alien Swirling Saucers ride. And maybe you’ll be the lucky vehicle snagged by The Claw and hear the aliens intone their famous, “Oooooooo!”
Toy Story Midway Mania will be given a new entrance so it will be truly part and parcel of Toy Story Land. (The current entrance corridor, beyond the Pixar arch, will become a backstage area.) Starting this summer, you’ll enter the ride through a Midway Games set “box.” (Remember, you’re the size of a toy!)
Also in Toy Story Land, a counter service restaurant will resemble a giant Woody’s Roundup lunch box and thermos, while Scrabble pieces will spell out the restroom sign.
Opening day hasn’t been announced – but May 1, 2018, is the 29th anniversary of the opening of the park itself – so that might be a hint!
You’ll be able to enjoy the feeling that you’re shrinking at Epcot as well as at Disney’s Hollywood Studios when the France Pavilion debuts a Ratatouille themed ride. You’ll find that you’re the same size as Remy as you scurry across Gusteau’s legendary Parisian restaurant.
A new Frozen Ever After fireworks dessert party has begun at Epcot’s Norway pavilion. You can watch IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth with an unobstructed view along World Showcase Lagoon while nibbling an assortment of Frozen-themed sweet and savory treats. These are not your run-of-the-mill buffet desserts. The highlights include:
- Kristoff’s Kransekake Almond Cookie
- Wandering Oaken’s Eclairons
- Hans’ Key Lime Tarts with Orange Glitter Glaze
- Troll Rock Crispy Bon Bons
- Elsa’s Blue Velvet Cupcakes
- Freeze Fried Salted Caramel Popcorn
- Olaf’s Warm Double Chocolate S’mores Pudding Cake
- Anna’s Warm Cottage Pudding with Salted Caramel Glaze
- Grand Pabbie’s Mystical Winter Spiced Snack Mix
- Duke of Weselton’s Cheese Fondue—served with country bread cubes, broccoli, and grilled flatbread
- “Frozen Heart´is the featured non-alcoholic beverage of the dessert party.
After the fireworks, you’ll have the opportunity to take the snowy boat ride through Arendelle on the ever-popular Frozen Ever After – with no wait.
Animal Kingdom News
The Animal Kingdom park celebrates its 20th anniversary on April 22! Disney promises fun surprises to commemorate the date. Rumors include Photopass magic shots with new Na’vi elements in Pandora. Meanwhile, the Flights of Wonder show will be updated with Russell and Dug from the Disney Pixar film UP at the Caravan Theater in Anandapur Village in the Asia section of the park.
Disney Springs News
Eight (count ‘em!) brand new food and beverage locations will open at Disney Springs in 2018. The Edison opened in the first week of January. Disney calls it an “industrial Gothic-style destination for fine food and handcrafted cocktails.” A fictional back story sets the stage for the original historic Disney Springs power plant repurposed as a trendy restaurant. Terralina Crafted Italian (replacing Portobello Country Italian Trattoria) will open near Paddlefish in The Landing. Other new locations include Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, Enzo’s Hideaway and Pizza Ponte, Wine Bar George, Jaleo on the West Side, and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill in Town Center.