2016 brought us Frozen Ever After, which has been a big hit, with lines stretching out up to 300 minutes. What is coming to Disney World in 2017?

Pandora – The World of Avatar in Animal Kingdom

what's new at Disney World in 2017?
The Na’vi River Journey concept art

Avatar is coming to Disney World!

One of the biggest changes coming to Disney World in 2017 is a brand-new, themed land called Pandora – The World of Avatar, opening in Animal Kingdom this summer. It will feature two attractions, a restaurant called Satu’li Canteen, and Wind Trader’s and Pongu Pongu gift shops.

The Na’vi River Journey will take guests down a river hidden by a dark, glowing rainforest. Joe Rhode, a Disney Imagineering senior VP of creative, describes it as, “this beautiful, lyrical ride into the bioluminescent forest.”

The Avatar Flight of Passage will take guests flying over Pandora on a banshee! Similar to Soarin,’ Avatar Flight of Passage will be a motion flight simulator that takes guests through Pandora.

Disney broke ground on this much-anticipated addition in 2014. They recently released a video showing what it will look like. Among the many cool things to expect is a carpet that changes color as you walk across it!

What else is new?

Magic Kingdom Rope Drop has completely changed

Magic Kingdom has drastically changed its opening procedures. They have eliminated rope drop and the welcome show at the Main Gate. Now they are opening Main Street an hour early and allowing guests to shop and enjoy coffee and breakfast from the Main Street Bakery while they wait for the new opening show, “Let the Magic Begin.” This takes place in front of Cinderella’s Castle five minutes before the rest of the park opens. Ropes now drop at the individual spokes on the hub in front of the castle, so the lands still do not open early. More information on that can be found here.

Wishes will be replaced by Happily Ever After

The long-running Wishes spectacular at Magic Kingdom will be replaced by a new show on May 12, 2017, Happily Ever After. It will feature cutting edge technology, pyrotechnics, and a score made up of new twists on beloved Disney animated movie songs. The castle will be transformed into a backdrop to tell the stories of some of the most beloved animated movie characters.

whats new in disney world 2017
Disney Castle Transformation for Happily Ever After, the new nighttime spectacular replacing Wishes this spring.

Star Wars Guided Tour at Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios added Star Wars Guided Tour on Jan. 2. It is a seven-hour VIP guided tour of all things Star Wars. Tickets are $129 and tours are offered on Mondays and Saturdays. Reserve your spot by calling 407-WDW-PLAY. It includes character greetings, reserved viewing for Star Wars – a Galaxy Far, Far Away, a Star Wars-themed dinner at a quick service restaurant and a  Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party, fireworks viewing, and more.

Highway in the Sky Dine-Around

Disney must have realized that people liked to (eat and) drink around the monorail. Disney just introduced a progressive monorail dinner at three resorts. It begins at the Contemporary at The Wave…of American Flavors for appetizers and a cocktail. Next up is drinks and appetizers at the Polynesian. Dinner is held at Cítricos at the Grand Floridian. There guests get to try the special Chef’s main course selection, followed by a champagne gathering in the beautiful main lobby. Then everyone heads back to the Contemporary to watch the Wishes fireworks show over Cinderella’s Castle from a private patio while enjoying desserts, cheeses, cordials, and coffee. The price is $150, taxes and gratuity included.

New Disney Springs Restaurants

Coming Early 2017

Planet Hollywood Observatory – This Hollywood-themed restaurant will have a new menu with the influence of Celebrity chef Guy Fieri on the burgers and sandwiches.

What's new at Disney World in 2017?
Lobster Boil at PaddlefishInstagram – PaddleshipORL

Paddlefish – This pescatarian-friendly location will feature an upscale modern-nautical theming. As it was previously Fulton’s Crabhouse, they will have some of the old Fulton’s favorites along with new offerings. A “build-your-own” lobster boil, table-side guacamole, lobster roll, and some delectable desserts are among the items slotted to make your tastebuds very, very happy.

Coming Spring 2017

The Polite Pig  The Town Center of Disney Spring will feature a restaurant by  James and Julie Petrakis which will have wood-fired, smoked, and grilled fare along with  craft beer. Yes, please.

The Edison – The Edison will Resembling a 1920’s electric company power plant in Industrial Gothic style. It will feature food, cocktails, live entertainment, music and even cabaret. The Edison will have distinct areas – The Lab performance space, The Ember Parlour, The Telegraph Lounge, The Patent Office, The Tesla Lounge, The Radio Room, and a Waterfront Patio. The Edison will be serving classic American food and drinks.

Coming Fall 2017

Wine Bar George – The Master Sommelier who helped with the opening of California Grill, George Miliotes, will be lending his expertise to this wine bar that will resemble a vintner’s estate.

Miss Adventure Falls ride at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

What's new at Disney World in 2017?This new raft ride will be among one of the longest ride at any Disney water park, reportedly lasting a full two minutes. This ride tells the story of Captain Mary Oceaneer, a treasure hunter who was stranded at Typhoon Lagoon years ago. Guests will board rafts and take a white-water rafting voyage through that tells her story and showcases her treasure collection.  Another change is the name; Disney had been calling it Miss Fortune Falls.


Choza Tequila coming to Epcot

A new tequila spot will be opening in Epcot at the Mexico pavilion. It will be outside, and guests will be able to get a margarita, an empanada, or fresh guacamole and chips!

The Hall of Presidents

This iconic attraction will be closed for roughly six months as Disney adds the 45th President of the United States.

Weddings in the Magic Kingdom

Guests can now get married in the Magic Kingdom during a special after-hours ceremony which includes a trip down Main Street in Cinderella’s coach, a wedding in front of the castle and a private reception in Fantasyland with up to 300 guests. The price has six figures. For more information, contact a Disney Wedding Specialist!

We can’t wait to try out all the new things coming to Disney World in 2017, can you? What are you most excited about? I think for me, a trip through Pandora followed by dinner at Paddlefish in Disney Springs sounds like a perfect day!

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