Happy New Year!!! 2016 brought new additions to the theme parks of Central Florida, and 2017 is going to be a year filled with even more new attractions, lands, and restaurants across the board.
I thought a great way to start the year would be to spend the week looking forward to what is coming in 2017 leading up to me sharing my favorite picks this Friday on icFlorida’s Best Bets on WFTV!
So let’s get this new year started by taking a look at what is coming to the Walt Disney World Resort!
While this year will see the long awaited arrival of Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the amped up construction of both Star Wars and Toy Story lands at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there are new shows, attractions, restaurants, and events that will be making their debut at the Walt Disney World Resort!
New In 2017: Walt Disney World Resort
Pandora: The World of Avatar – Summer 2017
Pandora: The World of Avatar will open in this summer, and this land full of fantasy and cutting-edge technology has been created in collaboration with filmmaker James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment.
The land will feature two signature attractions, Avatar Flight of Passage that will send guests flying above the jungles of Pandora on a Mountain Banshee and on the Na’vi River Journey this a family-friendly boat ride will take riders through the dramatic Bioluminescent rainforests.
The Satu’li Canteen will be the land’s main dining location while Pongu Pongu, a drink kiosk with a design as eclectic as its expat owner, will help keep visitors fed while they ride and shop for Na’vi cultural items, toys, science kits and more at Windtraders.
Rivers of Light – 2017
This powerful theatrical production takes Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests on a magnificent emotional journey – a visual mix of water, fire, nature and light choreographed to an original musical score. Continuing the park’s transformation from a day-into-nighttime experience, the amazing after-dark show on the banks of Discovery River celebrates the majesty of nature and the connection between animals and humans in the world. With innovative and never-before-seen technology, Rivers of Light will be unlike any other production ever staged at Walt Disney World Resort.
Star Wars Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Spring 2017
An all-new Star Wars Guided Tour is a seven-hour immersion in all current Star Wars experiences at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Character greetings, themed dining, ride experiences, insider’s tours, dessert party and VIP viewing of Star Wars: a Galactic Spectacular are among highlights. Offered Mondays and Saturdays, it’s part of several new Star Wars additions announced in December 2016 for the park, including a new onstage sequence in the daytime experience “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away.” Star Wars-themed lands are planned for Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.
Sky Dine-Around – 2017
The new experience gives guests priority boarding on the monorail for a distinctly Disney dining experience with stops for cocktails, appetizers, dinner and dessert. From a welcome cocktail at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, guests call at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (appetizers), Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (entree), and back to the Contemporary for dessert, cordials and coffee. This experience will be offered Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Epcot International Festival of the Arts – Weekends (Friday to Monday) January 13 – February 20
Epcot welcomes an all-new festival playing winter weekends and treating guests to a triple scoop of artful fun. For six colorful weekends visual, culinary, and performing arts will take center stage. Each weekend will feature taste bud-tempting and eye-dazzling creations from the Disney culinary team. Meantime, exciting new art from various media will tempt art lovers. Because the artwork will change out, it’s a new art festival every weekend. In addition, the lagoon-side stage at American Gardens Theatre will pulse with favorite showtunes performed by Broadway talent. In a collaboration with Disney Theatrical, songs from some of Disney on Broadway’s award-winning shows including The Lion King, Newsies and Aladdin will be performed.
Miss Fortune Falls – Spring 2017
Aboard this family-style raft adventure, guests will be immersed in the story of Captain Mary Oceaneer. Legend holds that this treasure hunter roamed the seven seas in search of undersea artifacts – until a rogue storm marooned her at Typhoon Lagoon. Guests gently ascend in treasure rafts, only to plunge into a whitewater adventure where they will encounter some of Mary’s deep sea booty. When it opens, it will be one of the longest attractions (2 minutes) at Disney’s Water Parks.
Disney Springs – Throughout 2017
New dining establishments will help round out the line-up of dining, shopping, and entertainment at Disney Springs!
Paddlefish – Sleek and modern after a bow-to-stern transformation from the former Fulton’s Crab House, Paddlefish will serve fresh seafood, steaks and chops. Unique menu choices for seafood lovers include a build-your-own boil. A new rooftop lounge will serve up a late-night menu and shipshape views of the water and Disney Springs. Open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.
Planet Hollywood Observatory – Longtime Downtown Disney-goers will remember the iconic domed restaurant that drew celebrities and fans of the Hollywood scene. The reborn space will be themed to stars of a different kind: a turn-of-the-20th-Century observatory serving up amazing burgers and sandwiches created by celebrity chef Guy Fieri, and craft cocktails whose names are inspired by the planets and space travel. Movie memorabilia, video screens, contemporary music and themed merchandise complete the scene.
The Polite Pig – A sister restaurant to the Ravenous Pig, a favorite with Orlando locals, The Polite Pig will bring the same focus on genuine Florida cuisine to a broader global audience at Disney Springs. Lunch and dinner menus will feature a variety of wood-fired smoked and grilled items as well as an innovative beverage program that serves all drinks on tap, including beer, wine and cocktails.
Wine Bar George – Orlando master sommelier George Miliotes uncorks his first Disney wine bar in a space reminiscent of a winemaker’s estate warmed by oak wood and cozy lighting. Small plates dominate the food menu but it will be the wines with a starring role: more than 100 selections both by the bottle and the glass in a range of varietals and vintages.
New Cabins and Deluxe Villas coming to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – 2017
A proposed new Disney Vacation Club Resort, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, is scheduled to open, featuring new Resort accommodations that include plans for Deluxe Villas and unique waterfront cabins. Other enhancements coming to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge include a brand-new bar & grill, in addition to a quick-service restaurant. A sweeping re-imagination of the former Hidden Springs Pool, part of Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, is also scheduled to open in summer 2017. Named Boulder Ridge Cove, this area will feature an expanded sun deck and zero-depth-entry pool.