Blizzard Beach, Disney World, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Planning, Updates

Awaken Summer!

This week, Disney has unveiled new details and made several announcements about several new offerings that begin this summer.  Let’s take a look at what is new or coming soon this summer, park by park!

Magic Kingdom

  • Recently, a new table service restaurant debuted in Adventureland.  Skipper Canteen is the first table service restaurant to be entirely themed after a popular attraction.  The new restaurant features cuisine of Asia, South America, and Africa with the help of the famous riverboat pilots.  Lunch and dinner are the only meals served here, and only same day reservations are accepted.

Friendship Faire

  • “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” is an all new live stage show that will feature Mickey and the rest of the Fab Five, along with several friends from popular movies such as Tangled, The Princess and the Frog, and Frozen.  You can find the show being performed at the hub of the park on the castle stage.


  • FrozenThe new Frozen Ever After attraction is scheduled to open this June, although a specific opening date has not yet been set.  Frozen Ever After will take Guests on an adventurous boat tour through the kingdom of Arendelle. After disembarking, guests can top off their “Frozen” experience by meeting the royal sisters in their new Royal Sommerhus greeting location.  It is not currently known if Anna and Elsa will also be greeting guests at Princess Fairytale Hall at the Magic Kingdom, but rumors have indicated they will not.
  • The long wait for the update to “Soarin” is almost over!  “Soarin Around the World” will take flight beginning June 17th!  Other updates includes all new digital screens and projection systems, so we’ll no longer have to see all the dust bits that were stuck to the film.  FastPass+ reservations were open for booking yesterday, so if you have a summer trip planned, be sure you don’t forget to book your FastPass+!

  • In early May, characters from the new feature film “Finding Dory” will appear with Crush in “Turtle Talk with Crush.”  I’m guessing they will show up as pre-recorded guests, the same way Dory currently does at the beginning of the show.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • The Star Wars Launch Bay opened this past fall, and is where you will find characters such as Chewbacca and Kylo Ren.  There is a Disney Visa meet and greet with Kylo Ren, which will give you a much shorter line than the regular standby line.  You can also find a couple of jawas making trades near the cantina, as well as view several exhibits that feature replica props, models, costumes, concept artwork and artifacts from the Star Wars films.  You can also catch a small film from the people behind the latest Star Wars movie.
  • After the release of “The Force Awakens,” new scenes were added to the popular Star Tours attraction.  If you’re one of the few people that still hasn’t seen the movie, you might want to catch it before boarding your Star Tours flight so you don’t have any spoilers.
  • A new stage show, “Star Wars:  A Galaxy Far, Far Away,” will play out iconic moments from the film saga on Center Stage (in front of the Chinese Theater), and will feature appearances from Star Wars characters like Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Darth Vader and Darth Maul.  The show begins with Captain Phasma marching her troops from the Star Wars Launch Bay to the stage.
  • Star Wars“Star Wars:  A Galactic Spectacular” is the new fireworks show that will replace the current “Symphony in the Stars” each evening.  Set to debut in June, the show will combine fireworks, pyrotechnics, special effects and video projections that will turn the nearby Chinese Theater and other buildings into the twin suns of Tatooine, a field of battle droids, the trench of the Death Star, Starkiller Base and other Star Wars destinations.
  • You can ensure great fireworks viewing, along with delectable desserts and beverages, by reserving a table at the Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party.  Advanced reservations are required, so book as early as 180 days in advance!
  • Olaf will be taking up residence at the beach along Echo Lake, greeting guests beginning this spring.
  • Mickey and Minnie will also receive a new meet and greet location just off Commissary Lane near the Sci Fi Dine In Theater.  At “Mickey and Minnie Starring in Red Carpet Dreams,” guests can meet the iconic Sorcerer Mickey or see Minnie as a Tinsel Town Starlet.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • There have been some unexpected delays with the opening of “Rivers of Light,” which was originally supposed to debut tonight.  Until the show can officially open, they have created a limited engagement show based on the new feature film, The Jungle Book.  “The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” is filled with music and special effects that celebrates the new film and the classic songs, now infused with an Indian influence.
  • Beginning May 27th, the Tree of Life will come to life at night, with flickering fireflies that awaken the animal spirits carved into the tree’s trunk.
  • Guests can enjoy Kilimanjaro Safaris in the evening hours, thanks to special lighting that will allow guests to explore the savanna – and its inhabitants – well into the night on Kilimanjaro Safaris After Dark.
  • Harambe Market recently opened last fall, offering quick service meals inspired by the street foods of Africa.


  • Tiffins is a new table service restaurant located on Discovery Island that is set to open Memorial Day Weekend, serving lunch and dinner.  The menu is inspired by the flavors of Africa, Asia, and South America.  There will be almost as much seating outside as there is inside.  No announcement has been made yet regarding dining reservations, but I would assume that they will not accept reservations in the beginning, much like Skipper Canteen at the Magic Kingdom.
  • Guests can turn into “party animals” at the Harambe Wildlife Parti and enjoy lively African music, exotic foods and drinks, and explore the local marketplace.  Or, if you are on Discovery Island, join in the fun at at Discovery Island Carnival, where you will be entertained with music, dancers, and stilt walkers.

Blizzard Beach

  • frozen-blizzard-beach-hero-fullKristoff and Olaf will be hosting the inaugural “Frozen Games” this summer.  Guests may join either Team Kristoff or Team Olaf and participate in a variety of activities such as Pail Relays, Snowball Toss, and Slide Races.

Disney Springs

Town Center

  • The newest neighborhood at Disney Springs, the Town Center, is scheduled to open this May.  Retail and dining options include Anthrolpologie, Sephora, Oakley, D-Luxe Burger, Blaze Pizza, and a Sprinkles Cupcake ATM.  The opening date for the individual retailers will vary, but there should be over 30 new tenants by the end of summer.

Holy cow!  There are a lot of new offerings coming this summer!!  My head has seriously been spinning with all of these new announcements, along with sneak peeks of what is to come with the new Star Wars and Toy Story Lands that Disney has released this week.  We typically avoid the summer months because of the heat (it’s hot enough here in Georgia), so we probably won’t be there until September.  I will most definitely stay on top of everything going on this summer and report any updates here!

If you ever need help or have any questions about booking a Walt Disney World vacation, don’t hesitate to contact me!  You can either use the “Contact Me” form above, or send me an email at  And remember, my services are always free!


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