Heading to the Disney Parks this summer?
Then be prepared for some fun and new experiences. New and updated attractions, new nighttime spectaculars, restaurants, shopping and more!
With these magical premieres in all four parks, there is now even more for your family to see and do.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Guests can travel to an otherworldly destination this summer: Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. When it opens May 27, this new land will give guests the chance to explore a mystical world of bioluminescent rainforests, floating mountains and soaring Banshees. In collaboration with filmmaker James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment, Disney is bringing to life the fantasy world of Pandora, inspired by Cameron’s epic film AVATAR.
Guests will discover two main adventures. Avatar Flight of Passage sends guests flying above the jungles of Pandora on a Mountain Banshee, and Na’vi River Journey, is a family-friendly boat ride that sails down a sacred river hidden within a glowing rainforest for an unforgettable encounter with a Na’vi Shaman.
Hungry adventurers can recharge at Satu’li Canteen, the main dining location in Pandora, or Pongu Pongu, a drink kiosk with a design as eclectic as its expat owner. Shoppers can stock up on Na’vi cultural items, toys, science kits and more at Windtraders.
And after the sun sets, Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests can discover rich new experiences throughout the park, starting with the new nighttime show, Rivers of Light. This visually stunning after-dark experience celebrates the majesty of nature and the connection between animals and humans. It’s a dramatic visual blend of water, fire, light and imagery all choreographed to an original musical score.
Magic Kingdom Park
Starting May 12, guests will be treated to one of the most elaborate fireworks displays ever created – a brand-new show called “Happily Ever After.” It will feature the latest in fireworks, pyrotechnics and projection technology, plus fresh animation, and a new musical score and theme song.
“Happily Ever After” will take guests on an inspiring journey filled with heart and humor, as Cinderella Castle itself becomes part of the story. Dazzling projections bring heartfelt Disney stories to life on and around the iconic castle. The 18-minute spectacle will feature moments from beloved Disney films such as “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin,” as well as modern blockbusters “Moana” and “Zootopia.”
“Happily Ever After” will be presented nightly, with show times varying based on park hours.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
A new limited-time concert event debuts May 26. “The Music of Pixar LIVE! A Symphony of Characters” will showcase memorable music from Pixar Animation Studios films, with appearances by beloved Disney•Pixar characters. A live orchestra provides the soundtrack for this 40-minute concert that will be presented three times nightly at Theater of the Stars (following regular daily performances of “Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage”). The show also will include appearances by Woody, Jessie, Mike and Sulley, the Incredibles and more.
Day or night, new Star Wars experiences are immersing guests in the world of this iconic saga. Guests can now interact with BB-8, the loyal droid from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” as well as other Star Wars characters inside Star Wars Launch Bay. New authentic props from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” are also featured in Star Wars Launch Bay, and the new AWR Troopers from “Rogue One” now appear in the daytime stage show “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away.”
Disney’s Water Parks
Guests can cool off on a whitewater adventure aboard Miss Adventure Falls, a brand new family-style raft attraction at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. Guests are immersed in the story of Captain Mary Oceaneer, a treasure hunter who roamed the seven seas in search of undersea artifacts – until a rogue storm marooned her ship and treasures at Typhoon Lagoon.
At Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, the “Frozen” Summer Games return from May 26 – Aug. 13. Kristoff and Olaf will be available for a special character greeting and photo opportunity, making Blizzard Beach the only place where guests can meet Kristoff at Walt Disney World Resort. During the friendly competition, guests will be able to participate in ice-pail relays, a snowball toss and much more snowy fun.
Featuring modern barbecue cuisine prepared in an open kitchen, The Polite Pig serves up Southern sides like mac-and-cheese and smoked corn and a hearty selection of craft beers and cocktails. There’s also a bourbon bar offering more than 50 selections. The Polite Pig is the newest concept from award-winning Orlando Chefs James and Julie Petrakis who own local favorite restaurants The Ravenous Pig and Swine & Sons.
Guests can also step aboard Paddlefish, Disney Springs’ iconic 1800’s paddleboat that’s been reimagined into a modern yacht experience. Paddlefish offers guests a delectable menu of fresh seafood, steaks and chops for lunch and dinner, as well as a delectable Sunday brunch. A new rooftop lounge serves up a late-night menu as well as fantastic views of the water and Disney Springs.
Disney Resort Hotels
Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort opens as the newest Disney Vacation Club Resort on July 17. Inspired by the legendary mining and railroad history of the Pacific Northwest, guests will come “home” to rustic elegance with these new studios, villas and waterfront cabins.
At Disney’s BoardWalk, there’s an enchanting new dining experience at Trattoria al Forno, the Bon Voyage Breakfast, featuring beloved Disney characters including Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Ariel and Prince Eric. Guests can make reservations by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dining or by calling 407-WDW-DINE. Cost is $34 for adults and $20 for children.
In Disney California Adventure – Guests will enjoy some of the Super Hero experiences year-round:
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! launches guests into a chaotic and hilarious adventure that combines a breathtaking free-fall sensation with all-new visual and audio effects. The action jumps to the beat of the attraction’s “awesome mix tape” of music, inspired by the films’ soundtracks. Guests will discover multiple ride experiences as they help Rocket in a daring plan to free the Guardians–a band of extraterrestrial misfits–from the fortress of The Collector, Taneleer Tivan. This attraction opens on May 27th.
- Super Hero Encounters: For the first time, citizens of Terra (Earth) will come face-to- face with They also may encounter the First Avenger, Captain America, and everyone’s favorite web slinger, the friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man.
- “Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!”: Star-Lord fires up his old-school boom box to get a party Everyone, including tree-of-few-words Groot, is bound to get in the groove and show off their moves during this awesome rock ‘n’ roll bash.
Summer of Heroes For a limited time (May 27 through Sept. 10):
- “Avengers Training Initiative”: Black Widow and Hawkeye assemble young recruits for a series of tests to see if they have what it takes to join the ranks of the Avengers.
- Heroic Encounter: Black Widow: Black Widow arrives on the scene several times throughout the day in an armored Avengers vehicle for her heroic encounter with park guests.
- Grab a Piece (or Bite) of the Action: Special themed merchandise, plus food and beverage items, will be available throughout Hollywood Land.
Another new, year-round show is fun for all ages:
“Disney Junior Dance Party”: Debuting Friday, May 26, this fun concert experience invites adults and kids to dance and sing along to the Popular Disney Junior characters from Disney Junior TV shows “Doc McStuffins,” “Sofia the First” and “The Lion Guard” are joined by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from the new series “Mickey and the Roadster Racers.”
Along with the Main Street Electrical Parade, some classic guest favorites have been enhanced and are set to return in Summer 2017. Dates will be available soon at Disneyland.com.
- The summer months offer a last chance to view the lights, music and fun of the beloved Main Street Electrical Parade. Nightly performances through Aug. 20 feature favorites like Cinderella’s ball, Elliot, the smoke-breathing, tail-waggin “Pete’s Dragon” and the glittering “To Honor America” finale.
- The popular nighttime spectacular “Fantasmic!” is set to re-open this summer on the Rivers of America, enhanced with new scenes and Guests will find Mickey Mouse in more scenes than ever before, and they’ll discover new roles for Genie from “Aladdin” along with characters from “Tangled,” “The Lion King” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
- As work continues on a new Star Wars-themed land, set to open in 2019, the iconic Disneyland Railroad is preparing to return this summer to take guests on a tour of the They’ll enjoy a new look along the Rivers of America, with a spectacular new vista of a waterfall, rocky cliffs and a dramatic gorge below.
- Also returning later this summer are the Rivers of America attractions: the Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia, Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes and Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island.
- In Tomorrowland, Star Wars and Disney fans will step into out-of-this-galaxy experiences at Star Wars Launch Bay, meeting some Star Wars characters and getting an up-close look at replica props and models from Star Wars movies, including the latest “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ”
Summertime at Walt Disney World is HOT! The heat combined with the humidity can make some days unbearable. Fortunately there are some things you can do to beat the heat.
For More Information
- 10 Best Ways to Beat the Heat at Walt Disney World – Adventures in Familyhood
- Summer Travel Tips – The Blogorail