What’s New in 2017
“Here in Florida, we have something special we never enjoyed at Disneyland… the blessing of size. There’s enough land here to hold all the ideas and plans we can possibly imagine.” ~ Walt Disney
One of my favorite things about each new year is the anticipation of the latest attraction, show, or experience that will be coming to the Walt Disney World Resort. While I cherish the familiarity of the classics, there’s something exciting about getting to see Walt’s dream continue with Imagineers bringing new ideas to life.
Here’s a little peek into 2017.
Let’s welcome some new attractions!
Rivers of Light is coming to Animal Kingdom. Definitely. Finally. Okay, I am really hoping it’s true! Everyone originally expected for the arrival of Rivers of Light to take place in the spring of 2016, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Instead, the Jungle Book: Alive with Magic was quickly put together to appease guests who were planning on seeing Rivers of Light. There were some technical difficulties that prevented the original debut. Let’s hope it lives up to the hype!
With the anticipated arrival of Rivers of Light, Animal Kingdom started staying open later with new experiences such as Kilimanjaro Safaris at night, The Tree of Life awakenings, and a variety of musical acts. Regardless of what Rivers of Light brings, you should definitely check out Animal Kingdom after dark!
Although an exact date hasn’t been released, Pandora – The World of AVATAR is scheduled to open at Animal Kingdom in the spring of 2017. Pandora will come to life through floating mountains and glowing rainforests. The main attraction in Pandora, which is also opening in 2017, is AVATAR: Flight of Passage. In this E-ticket attraction, guests will fly over Pandora on a Banshee!
The Edison restaurant is expected to open in Disney Springs in 2017. The restaurant and bar will be set in a 1920s-era power plant, and will feature live musical acts and American cuisine.
Miss Fortune Falls is scheduled to open at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon in late spring of 2017. This family raft ride is going to be the longest at a Disney water park. On October 3rd, the Shark Reef closed to make room for the new attraction.
Shall we say goodbye?
It seems that Stitch’s Great Escape may be on the chopping block. On October 2nd, the attraction went to seasonal operation. It only seems a matter of time before it is replaced entirely. (Rumor has it that a Wreck It Ralph-themed attraction coming in its place, but its pure speculation at this point.)
What’s in our wishful future?
We plan to keep an eye on a replacement for the Main Street Electrical Parade. The nighttime spectacular ended its run on October 9th and was sent back home to Disneyland. There has been speculation that Walt Disney World would receive a similar parade to Disneyland’s Paint the Night, however Disney has not made any official announcements.
With construction underway for the new Star Wars-themed land and with Star Wars Weekends gone, we hope that there will be more Star Wars-themed entertainment and experiences added to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to hold us over until the expansion is complete. Wouldn’t a character dining experience just hit the spot?
Speculation has the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights possibly relocating to Disney
Springs for the 2017 Holiday. Since there has been no confirmation at this point, this could be generated by fans that deeply miss this amazing light display. I, for one, would love to see this actually happen.
We’ve got our eye on you!
With Pandora opening in 2017, hopefully the Na’vi River Journey boat ride through the bioluminescent forests will not be far behind. We expect that it may open with the opening of Pandora, but Disney hasn’t announced a date officially.
While no date has been set for Toy Story Land or the Star Wars-themed land, it most likely will not be in 2017. (Patience will be our virtue on this one.) Star Wars Land is going to be 14-acres, making it the largest “land” at Walt Disney World, and will feature a Millennium Falcon attraction. Toy Story Land will be slightly smaller at 11-acres, and be themed around Andy’s backyard, from a toy’s perspective, of course. We will be covering the progress and construction on these newest lands at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and keep you posted!
Fans have been worried in the past, but with the expansion of the new Toy Story Land, it’s probably only a matter of time before One Man’s Dream is evicted, along with the Voyage of The Little Mermaid stage show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Since this is only a theory at this point, we have our ears to the ground.
Ellen’s Energy Adventure at the Universe of Energy is rumored to be closing. While this has been circulating since the summer, there has been no substantiation by Disney. A Guardians of the Galaxy attraction is rumored to be the replacement. While it seems likely that Ellen’s could be given the ax, the Marvel contract that Universal has might prevent Guardians from being the replacement.
Annual Events To Look Forward To:
Although they aren’t new, we will keep you up-to-date on any changes and additions to these annual events!
January: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
February: Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend
February/march: Atlanta Braves Spring Training at Disney’s Wide World of Sports
March-may: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
September: Night of Joy
September/october: Mickey’s Not-so-scary Halloween Party
September- November: Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
November: Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend
November – January: Holidays at Walt Disney World
As you may have noticed with 2016, new attractions, restaurants, and experiences pop up all the time at Walt Disney World. I’m sure this only scratches the surface of what we can expect in 2017. I’m definitely excited to see what else may be in store for our “great, big, beautiful tomorrow!”