What's New at Walt Disney World in 2017
Disney World with kids By Holly Rosen Fink
If you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World in 2017 with your family, you’re all in for a treat. New rides, groundbreaking shows, innovative restaurants, events and hotels are making Orlando with kids the place to be this year. The park’s creative building team, coined “Imagineers,” truly have a lot of Disney magic up their sleeves.
In 2016, they welcomed new rides, numerous daytime and nighttime light shows, additional character experiences and so much more. And they’re all designed with one purpose in mind: to delight the palette of children and adults alike. After all, it is the “happiest place on earth”!
Here’s a comprehensive guide to what’s new at Disney World in 2017 so your family doesn’t miss out on anything.
Magic Kingdom is buzzing with activities for 2017 that are new at Disney World. There are new opportunities to meet characters, including a new daily welcome show at Cinderella Castle. There’s also the new Royal Friendship Show featuring Princess and the Frog, Tangled, and Frozen characters. The show combines dance, fireworks and stunts with special effects. To top it off is Happily Ever After, a new nighttime show that blends fireworks and original music.
Over at the Hall of Presidents, Disney is adding an animatronic version of the 45th president of the United States to the collection. Plus private cabana rentals and "Disney After Hours" events nights were also recently added. They give visitors get access to over 25 popular attractions and Character Greetings with little or no wait time, and one of the coolest things to do in Orlando with kids right now.
Frozen fans will go ape for Frozen Ever After, a family-friendly ride in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion that’s new at Disney World. Nearby fans can also meet Queen Elsa and Princess Anna. The beloved ride Soarin’ was updated to take visitors around the world, complete with stunning sights, spectacular sounds and even subtle scents. Other additions new at Disney World are the Turtle Talk with Crush ride and a chance to meet characters from Inside Out.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
If your kids are Star Wars fans, Hollywood Studios has their interests covered. The Star Wars themed entertainment that is new at Disney World include Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Launch Bay. The Force awakens in Star Tours – The Adventures Continue and Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, where kids can train with lightsabers and fight Darth Vader. Disney also recently launched Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, a firework, laser and special effects show set to music. To round it up all these spectacular things to do in Orlando with kids is the seven-hour Star Wars Guided Tour.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom is getting a whole new addition this summer called Pandora – The World of AVATAR. It will include attractions AVATAR Flight of Passage and the Na’vi River Journey, the Satu’li Canteen restaurant, Pongu Pongu drink location and Windtraders merchandise shop. Also look for Tiffins, a new restaurant, and the New Night Time Experiences.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
One of the most fun things to do in Orlando with kids is to spend the day a Typhoon Lagoon. In the spring, guests can enjoy a new family-style raft attraction. Considered the longest Disney water park attractions, guests will be immersed in the story of Captain Mary Oceaneer.
Disney’s New Dining Experiences
Literally dozens of shopping and dining locations made their debut at Disney Springs in 2016. These include Homecoming Florida Kitchen by Chef Art, which features gourmet Southern cooking. Be on the lookout for the opening dates for Planet Hollywood, Observatory, Paddlefish, The Polite Pig, The Edison, and Wine Bar George in the new year. Also scheduled to open is Disney’s Wilderness Lodge this summer. The new Highway in the Sky Dine-Around is a five-stop progressive dinner at three Disney resort hotels. It concludes dinner with dessert, cordials, and a private patio viewing of the nightly fireworks show. The new Stars Wars Launch Bay at Epcot offers themed meals.
New Hotels and Resorts
Hotels new at Disney World opening up in 2017 include Margaritaville Resort Orlando and The Delaney Hotel. Over the next two years, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort plans a 15-story lakeside tower, adding an additional 500 rooms. A new centralized location adding waterside dining and a marketplace is planned for Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Copper Creek Villas & Cabins will be the 14th Disney Vacation Club development and the second at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.