LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – An incredible lineup of new attractions and experiences open to guests starting this Memorial Day Weekend and kick-off summer vacation season with new magic across all four Walt Disney World theme parks, Disney Springs and beyond.
The fun heats up starting May 27 when new nighttime experiences awaken at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with stunning animation on the Tree of Life, new after dark adventures on favorite attractions such as Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids and more, as well as festive new nighttime entertainment across the park.
A day later on May 28, Disney’s hit live-action film The Jungle Book provides inspiration for a new nighttime show, The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic, that comes to life on Discovery River.
And starting June 17, guests can experience the enhanced Soarin’ Around the World attraction at Epcot; the star-studded new stage show “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” at Magic Kingdom Park; and the new “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Starting June 21, the all-new Frozen Ever After attraction and Royal Sommerhus, where Anna and Elsa will greet guests in authentically Norwegian-inspired settings, opens to guests at Epcot.
More Magic, More Memories, More Fun
Across its four theme parks, multiple resort hotels and diverse shopping and dining offerings, guests will find unforgettable experiences to share with family and friends at Walt Disney World Resort, making every moment as magical as it can be:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
For the first time in its 18-year history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will debut new day-into-nighttime experiences that celebrate the magic of nature, starting May 27.
-- The park’s iconic Tree of Life will awaken each night amid a lively celebration of Discovery Island music and dance. Through stunning visuals, animal spirits appear and enchanted fireflies reveal stories of wonder as the tree morphs to showcase the magic of nature.
-- Kilimanjaro Safaris transitions to a new nighttime adventure in the extended orange glow of a setting sun. For the first time, hyenas and African wild dogs join the safari trail creature feature.
-- Discovery River becomes the stage for music and pageantry in a limited-engagement show inspired by Disney’s hit live-action film The Jungle Book. Premiering May 28, The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic (photo above) is a live show filled with music and special effects that celebrates the new film and the classic songs, now infused with an Indian influence.
-- Hungry adventurers can have lunch or dinner at the new Tiffins signature restaurant on Discovery Island beginning May27. Guests seated in the restaurant’s travel-themed dining rooms or on the waterfront patio can sip libations and savor dishes featuring African, Asian and South American flavors.
-- Across the park, guests can experience wondrous new nighttime experiences and entertainment celebrating marvels in nature and enjoy long-time favorites such as Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, Kali River Rapids and more – in a whole new light.
Anna, Elsa and other beloved characters from the blockbuster film, “Frozen,” will give the summer season a warm hug at Epcot beginning June 21. Meanwhile “Turtle Talk with Crush” makes fun waves and Soarin’ Around the World takes guests to new heights starting June 17.
-- Anna, Elsa and their “Frozen” friends will welcome guests aboard the new Frozen Ever After boat ride that sails into a “Frozen” world at the Norway Pavilion starting June 21. Passengers on their way to Arendelle’s Winter in Summer Celebration for Queen Elsa visit the ice palace and hear beloved film tunes plus new lyrics by Oscar-winning “Let It Go” songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.
-- Also at the Norway Pavilion, Anna and Elsa will greet guests in the new Royal Sommerhus, modeled after a traditional Norwegian cabin.
-- In Future World, guests will celebrate the U.S. debut of the expanded Soarin’ Around the World attraction at The Land Pavilion on June 17. Now with a third Epcot theater, plus new digital screens and projection systems, the enhanced attraction takes guests on an exhilarating “flight” above spectacular global landscapes and man-made wonders.
-- Guests can now find new additions at “Turtle Talk with Crush” with characters from Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory”. When Crush the sea turtle swims up to the “Human Tank” at Epcot, he’ll be joined by Dory and some of her new friends that guests will get to know better when “Finding Dory” swims into theaters on June 17, 2016.
Classic Disney characters will join contemporary animated film stars beginning June 17 in a new extravaganza on the grand Cinderella Castle stage, and Magic Kingdom guests can experience a new dining adventure.
-- For the first time, Tiana of “Princess and the Frog,” and Rapunzel of “Tangled,” co-star with Anna and Elsa of “Frozen,” and a host of favorite Disney characters in the new Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire. Performed on the grandest stage in the kingdom, the star-studded tale of friendship presents Mickey Mouse and his troupe of Merry Makers – Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy – who invite 10 new friends from different animated worlds to join the celebration. This “timeless fairytale” of a show combines grand dance, fireworks and stunts with memorable music, an original song and special effects.
-- Disney Parks will welcome Elena of Avalor, Disney’s first princess inspired by diverse Latin cultures. Elena of Avalor will appear at Walt Disney World Resort later this summer and at Disneyland Resort in the fall, following her television debut in a new animated series this summer on Disney Channel.
-- Next door to the legendary Jungle Cruise, guests can enjoy the bold flavors of “World Famous Jungle Cuisine” served by the wisecracking crew of the new Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen. It’s the first Disney full-service restaurant themed after a specific park attraction.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
In the galactic wake of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, new Star-Wars-themed experiences shift into light speed.
-- The next generation of Star Wars-themed fireworks shows, “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular,” will premiere June 17 with new themed fireworks, lasers, special effects and video projections of iconic characters and scenes from the complete saga, all set to the unforgettable score of the film series.
-- The live stage show “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” debuted April 4, celebrating iconic moments from the Star Wars saga with live vignettes featuring popular characters such as BB-8, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Darth Maul.
-- First Order Stormtroopers led by Captain Phasma march from Star Wars Launch Bay to the park’s Center Stage, adding menace to the entertainment. Star Wars Launch Bay showcases large-scale artifacts and encounters with characters including Kylo Ren. The re-imagined Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple experience also features new characters. And at Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, guests buckle up for an enhanced high-speed journey with new Star Wars: The Force Awakens characters and a visit to Jakku.
Disney Springs and Water Parks Make a Splash
Inspired by Florida’s waterfront towns and natural beauty, Disney Springs is a charming district filled with unique retailers and restaurants from award-winning chefs. Throughout the summer, new stores and restaurants will open as Disney Springs more than doubles the number of retail, dining and other venues for guests.
-- As Disney Springs continues to expand and diversify its dining, shopping and entertainment, more exciting high-profile tenants are coming onboard, including Anthropologie, Under Armour, kate spade new york, Sephora and Lucky Brand, among others. Other new shops opening in 2016 include Zara, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, UNIQLO and PANDORA.
-- More than 30 new tenants will be coming to Disney Springs this summer, including retail shops and dining venues.
-- Home to world-class dining, Disney Springs is shaping up to be a culinary dream. With its chic style and Pan-Asian flavors, Morimoto Asia offers just a taste of what’s to come as more new eateries are gearing up to open in the coming year, including Tablas Frontera by Chef Rick Bayless; Homecoming – Florida Kitchen and Shine Bar by Chef Art Smith; STK Orlando, a modern steakhouse with the ambience of a sleek lounge; Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a modern-day “pizza joint” with artisanal pies; and the reimagined, Planet Hollywood Observatory with new outdoor terrace and live entertainment.
-- Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless and Chef Art Smith join master Chef Masaharu Morimoto in a growing collection of James Beard Award winning chefs at Disney Springs.
-- At Cirque du Soleil’s “La Nouba,” the new B-Boys hip-hop, breakdancing threesome showcases a rare mix of rhythm, strength and “how-did-they-do-that?” moves. As part of the show’s ongoing evolution, the masterful Aerial Bamboo act joins recent additions of madcap clowns and a breathtaking rolla bolla juggling act.
Meanwhile, Disney’s Water Parks ramp up with playful spirits and summer fun faster than Olaf can beg for warm hugs.
-- At Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Olaf from Disney’s animated hit “Frozen,” will be living his “In Summer” dream as he and Kristoff host The “Frozen Games” of friendly, fun competitions that begin May 27 and run through Aug. 21.
-- Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park castaways can splash down on a sandy summer beach with a cold ale and savory snack after a wild slide on Crush ‘n’ Gusher water coaster.
Disney guests will have a magical summer experience wherever they play, dine, relax or celebrate at Walt Disney World theme parks, entertainment venues and resort hotels. For more information about Walt Disney World Resort, visit www.disneyworld.com and www.disneyparksblog.com.