Just when you thought the fun was over, it’s really just beginning! Though the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary comes to a close on March 31st, there is plenty more to get excited about in the parks and Disney Springs in the coming months. Whether it’s giving a beloved character a big hug, showing off the perfect pair of Minnie ears or giggling your way through an exciting adventure with your entire family, everyone can enjoy all kinds of thrills at Walt Disney World Resort.
Some Favorite Characters Make Their Debut
You’ve probably heard about the recent returns of some fan favorite character meet-and-greets at Enchanted Tales with Belle, Ariel’s Grotto and Pete’s Silly Sideshow at Magic Kingdom Park, but you won’t believe who is making their first appearances at Walt Disney World soon!
Just in time for the 25th Anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Moana will greet fellow voyagers on Discovery Island for the first time, starting April 22.
This fall, Mirabel from the Walt Disney Animation Studios hit film “Encanto” will greet Guests in the Fairytale Garden at Magic Kingdom, which will be transformed with whimsical décor inspired by La Familia Madrigal.
And finally, though not exactly a new appearance, Guests will get the chance to hug long-time EPCOT icon Figment at the Imagination! Pavilion for the first time since early 2008.
Grand Finale of EPCOT Transformation
If you’ve been to EPCOT in the past year or so, you’ve no doubt seen all the changes in the works to bring to life World Celebration and World Nature as part of the park’s multi-year transformation. Well, get ready because it will all be completed later this year!
Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana will debut this fall in World Nature. This self-guided exploration trail will take you through the natural water cycle – from the skies to oceans and all the way back again. Just like Moana, Guests are encouraged to become a protector and friend to our natural resources. We’ve already seen the completion of Te Fiti, so it will be great to finally see the entire area come together!
When CommuniCore Hall opens in World Celebration later this year, it will be the center of festival programming throughout the park. In new renderings released today, Guests can see this will be home to a new character greeting location called Mickey & Friends. Guests will be able to meet Mickey Mouse and some of his best pals in this colorful space.
CommuniCore Hall will also be the home of a dynamic exhibition space that will transform with each festival throughout the year, as Guests can see here in one possibility imagined for EPCOT International Festival of the Arts. Playing with light, shapes and reflections, the architecture of this building was designed by Walt Disney Imagineering to celebrate the legacy of EPCOT and the original CommuniCore buildings.
Disney100 Comes to Walt Disney World
In case you’ve missed it, 2023 is the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney company! The celebration started off in Anaheim, CA at Disneyland in January. Don’t fret if you want to stay on the East Coast, though – EPCOT will host the Disney100 celebration at Walt Disney World Resort to commemorate this monumental milestone later this year! So what will this NEW celebration bring? You’ll be able to enjoy all-new experiences as we celebrate this momentous anniversary and the culmination of the EPCOT transformation – from meeting Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in their platinum attire to snapping a selfie with a platinum sculpture of the one who started it all and watching Spaceship Earth illuminate the evenings with a special lighting design.
We also know that EPCOT is switching from its 50th anniversary nighttime spectacular (Harmonious) to the temporary nighttime spectacular (EPCOT Forever) on April 3rd. But later this year, a new nighttime spectacular will debut at EPCOT, inviting everyone to gather around World Showcase Lagoon for a show that will unite us through commonalities of the heart in a dazzling display of fireworks, lasers, music and light. Featuring an original composition along with select songs from the Disney songbook, this new spectacular will remind us that we’re more alike than different, connecting our hearts together as one.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Celebrates 25 Years
And because it’s no secret that everyone loves celebrations at Disney, we can’t wait to celebrate 25 years of innovation & conservation at Disney’s Animal Kingdom next month on Earth Day (April 22nd)! Since it opened on April 22, 1998, this one-of-a-kind theme park has offered awe-inspiring animal encounters, thrilling attractions and larger-than-life musical stage shows. Since 1995, with support from The Walt Disney Company and guests, the Disney Conservation Fund has directed $120 million to support nonprofit organizations working with communities to save wildlife, inspire action and protect the planet. Additionally, the Disney Conservation team leads best-in-class scientific programs to conserve wildlife in Disney’s backyard and beyond, connects people to build a network for nature, and cares for the planet through everyday actions.
In April, there will be new ways to join in the celebration for Earth Day and this milestone, including new sweet and savory treats, specialty merchandise and limited-time character sightings in the park. There will be more surprises on April 22, when the park officially turns 25. Stay tuned to the Mousekemoms Blog for more details coming soon!
Tiara-topped Water Tower Coming Soon to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Magic Kingdom
Though the beginning of the year saw a fan-favorite attraction come to an end, we are already seeing progress on the brand new attraction – Tiana’s Bayou Adventure – and we’ll soon see the completion of a tiara-topped water tower emblazoned with the Tiana’s Foods logo making its way to Magic Kingdom later this summer.
Disney Parks guests will get to experience Princess Tiana’s story like never before following the attraction’s debut at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort in 2024, and what a party it will be! The story will pick up where the film left off as guests join Princess Tiana and jazz-loving alligator Louis on an adventure down the bayou as they prepare to host a one-of-a-kind celebration during Mardi Gras season where everyone is welcome. Along the way, Guests will encounter familiar faces, make new friends and travel through the bayou to original music inspired by songs from the film. Lots of memorable fun in store!
Tron Lightcycle / Run Opening Next Month
You may have heard that one of the fastest coasters at any Disney park is launching soon in Magic Kingdom. Starting April 4, Guests will be able to race across the Grid in TRON Lightcycle / Run presented by Enterprise. As members of Team Blue, this will be the chance to board a high-speed Lightcycle and compete against a fierce group of Programs known as Team Orange.
Merchandise fans can gear up for the Grid with racing-inspired apparel, collectible pins, must-have toys and light-up accessories inspired by the TRON films and the attraction itself. We’ve even seen the announcement of a new snack cart, Energy Bytes, coming to Tomorrowland for the opening of this futuristic attraction!
New Offerings Opening At Disney Springs
Finally, we’ll soon see the opening of two new locations at Disney Springs – Summer House on the Lake and Corksicle!
A stunning new restaurant will open at Disney Springs in late 2023. Summer House on the Lake embodies a breezy, beach house vibe that will pair perfectly with the sweeping views of Lake Buena Vista.
Guests will be able to enjoy a California-inspired menu featuring simple, sustainable ingredients – from pizza and pasta to fresh salads and sandwiches. Plus, Guests can savor the restaurant’s exclusive Summer House Rosé along with a selection of wine, beer, handcrafted cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks. I’m sure the Mousekemoms will have to check this one out to enjoy a drink on one of three expansive outdoor patios with a lake view! And to make matters even sweeter, The Cookie Jar, a dessert-focused market within this space serving up freshly baked cookies and house-made pastries.
Just announced today, Corkcicle is coming to Disney Springs! A local Orlando business, Corkcicle creates innovative, obsession-worthy, high-performing insulated drinkware, coolers and accessories in a variety of gorgeous colors that elevate every sip and bring delight to everyday moments. This kiosk will be Corkcicle’s first-ever retail location and will open later this spring.
What are you most excited about? Make sure to stay tuned to the Mousekemoms Blog to hear about all the latest Disney news!
Hannah is a longtime Disney fan and travel agent at Kingdom and Cruise Travel. She lives in Virginia with her husband, two young kids, and dog. She finds joy in helping others go on their dream trips & would love to help you experience yours!