With 2017 being a big year for Walt Disney World in terms of announcements for future attractions, new openings, sad closures and refurbishments, the current merchandise slogan used for 2018 is ‘The year to be here’. Let’s take a look at some of what this coming year has in store to make this a great vacation destination.
8. The Calm Before the Storm
With the crowds anticipated for 2019 when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at Hollywood studios, this coming year is the perfect opportunity to visit before the inevitable masses descend on the World next year. With updates for some attractions either in the pipeline or already completed, book a visit to see the Donald Trump addition to the Hall of Presidents, await the reworking of the ‘Bride auction’ scene on Pirates of the Caribbean or pick up on those attractions you missed last year with Pandora: World Of Avatar and Happily Ever After show. Or even make use of the latest “Minnie Van” transportation system all make this a great time to visit.
There is also good news for those staying at one of the seven ‘good neighbour’ Disney Springs resort area hotels with the addition of Extra Magic Hours and 60-day FastPass+ booking privileges at these hotels: B Resort & Spa, Best Western Lake Buena Vista, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando, Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace, Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, Holiday Inn Orlando, and Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista. All making Walt Disney World an increasingly sensible and appealing option for a vacation destination for 2018.
7. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Enhancements
The major bulk of the disruption at Caribbean Beach Resort will start to unveil its purpose when new enhancements will debut this Summer. Several areas of this resort have been undergoing transformation including the resort’s existing lobby, an expansion of Centertown Market, and the addition of “Shutters”, a new Caribbean-inspired table service restaurant and “Banana Cabana” pool bar. Those staying at the resort this year can look Forward to sampling the new offerings as the work starts to tail off. We will look to get photos of the enhancements when available and also any news on the continued work on the Riviera DVC resort and Coronado Springs enhancements still under construction.
6. 20th Anniversary, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom theme park will reach a milestone 20th anniversary on Earth Day on the 22nd April this year.
No events have yet been announced for celebration, however we are expecting some announcements to come as we approach the anniversary date.
5. New Dining Experiences, Disney Springs
There is a host of unique and varied dining offerings already available at the wonderful Disney Springs location and 2018 sees the debut of eight new food and beverage locations to expand the already varied selection. The Edison, Enzo’s Hideaway, Pizza Ponte and Maria & Enzos Ristorante have all opened as of January. Further restaurants Terralina Crafted Italian, Wine Bar George, Jaleo and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill are slated to open later on in 2018 and we will post more information on our blog when dates and menus are released.
4. Star Wars Additions, Various locations
Although Star Wars Land is scheduled for a (late) 2019 opening at Hollywood studios, that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a great year to see things already added. At Hollywood Studios, Props and models from Star Wars: The Last Jedi were recently put on display at Star Wars Launch Bay. Over at Star Tours – The Adventures continue, two new exciting destinations have been added taking passengers to Crait, the site of an epic battle in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Batuu, the remote outpost which guests will discover when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at the park next year. Finally the newly opened Experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire Hyper-Reality Experience at Disney springs looks set to be to be a big winner for Star Wars fans this year, transporting them deep into the Star Wars universe, it gives the chance to walk freely and untethered through a multisensory experience with friends and family.
Along with the new additions above, we expect to see more information for Star Wars: Galaxys Edge to be released as the year progresses so keep your eyes peeled for more news!
3. International Festivals Return, Epcot
As ever, the popular festivals are again a must attend for this coming year. This year sees the International Festival of the Arts return for a second year running from January 12 to February 19. offering seminars, workshops classes on drawing animation, photography and the art of making topiaries as well as unique food offerings and a Disney on Broadway performance series at the America Gardens Theatre, this is a great new addition to the yearly festival circuit.
International Flower & Garden Festival Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary running from February 28-May 28. It will again Feature Disney character topiaries, food offerings at 15 Outdoor Kitchens, garden tours, the Garden Rocks music series and the return of the Egg-Stravaganza scavenger hunt.
The International Food & Wine Festival Returns in the fall seeing all the favourites back around the world showcase, including tasty global food samples and marketplaces, the unmissable Eat to the Beat Concert Series and the ever popular guest chef appearances, culinary demonstrations and beverage seminars. We will continue to post news of the offerings for all festivals as and when they are released for the year ahead.
2. New ‘UP’ inspired show, Animal Kingdom
With the announcement of the closure of the often overlooked “Flight’s Of Wonder” back in December (our post here https://www.facebook.com/watsonsdodisney/posts/1440429796083485) Came the additional news that this would be making way for a new show featuring Russell and Dug from Disney/Pixar’s Movie ‘UP’. The new experience will offer guests the chance to watch Russell and Dug as they discover species of birds from around the world in their newest adventure at the Caravan Theater in Anandapur Village. Dates are yet to be confirmed for it’s opening however we sighted work was well underway in the first week of January in starting the transformation on the Theater to accommodate the new residents and we will post on the blog as soon as we have more news.
1. Toy Story Land, Hollywood Studios
Without a doubt the biggest reason to visit for 2018 is the opening of the new Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios. This highly anticipated 11 acre expansion springing up behind Toy Story Mania ride building is starting to take shape ahead of its slated summer opening. Actual opening Dates are yet to be confirmed by Disney, however anyone heading to Walt Disney world towards the middle of the year should have the opportunity to visit. Featuring the family friendly ‘Slinky Dog Coaster’ and ‘Alien swirling saucers’ attractions as well as new dining offerings, this is sure to be the place to see this year.Do you have visits planned for 2018?
We would love to hear what else you are looking forward to for 2018, 2019 and beyond!
Thanks for reading, and we hope you enjoyed the read will stay tuned for more to come this year!
(All Disney concept images copyright Disney)