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What Opened at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando in 2023

by Tad on December 27, 2023
1 Orlando Video

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'Sup! Welcome to Tad's toadally awesome list of what opened at Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort and the other Florida theme parks in 2023! You can consider me to be the Frog Family's historian, as I like to keep track of all the theme park hoppenings (both future and past). In this post, I'll go over everything that took place in 2023, but you can even check out last year's and the year before that. Without further ado, let's hop to it!

What's Coming to Disney World and Universal Orlando in 2023 - Happily Ever After

What Opened at Disney World and Universal Orlando in 2023

Magic Kingdom Park

"Happily Ever After" — returned April 3, 2023 — Once again, you can "reach out and find your Happily Ever After" at Magic Kingdom, as the fan-favorite show returned with all-new projections down Main Street, U.S.A.

What Opened at Disney World and Universal Orlando - TRON

TRON Lightcycle Run — opened April 4, 2023 — Imported from Shanghai Disneyland, TRON Lightcycle Run is a coaster-style attraction where riders board a train of two-wheeled Lightcycles. The ride pushes you into the energy, lights and excitement of TRON’s high-tech universe.

Mirabel Meet and Greet — started Sept. 15, 2023 — Guests could finally enter the Casita Madrigal and meet Mirabel at her new home, Fairytale Garden at Magic Kingdom.

Hatbox Ghost Materialized in the Haunted Mansion — appeared Nov. 30, 2023 — The Hatbox Ghost joined the other happy haunts of the Haunted Mansion. You can spot him next to the Endless Hallway.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Moana Meet and Greet — started April 22, 2023 — Moana greeted voyagers on Discovery Island, just in time for the 25th anniversary of the park — up until she moved to EPCOT in October at a spot next to Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana.

EPCOT

Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya — opened Aug. 30, 2023 — A new table-service restaurant has arrived at the Japan pavilion at EPCOT. It sits on the second floor, offering views of World Showcase during the day and fireworks at night. In addition to a full menu of shareable sushi and teppan menu items served Izakaya-style (all-you-care-to-eat), there's also an open sushi bar and grill.

Figment Meet and Greet — started Sept. 10, 2023 — Guests are now able to meet Figment, formerly only available in our imaginations, inside the Imagination Pavilion.

Disney 100 Celebration — Sept. 22 to Dec. 31, 2023 — EPCOT played host to the Disney 100 celebration at Walt Disney World.

What Opened in Disney World and Universal Orlando - Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana

Journey of Water, Inspired by “Moana” — opened Oct. 16, 2023 — This brand-new walkthrough attraction "lets guests interact with magical, living water in a beautiful and inspiring setting," and you can learn about the importance of the natural water cycle. On this same day, Moana began greeting at a dedicated spot in World Nature.

Asha Meet and Greet — started Nov. 1, 2023 — Asha from the newest animated film, "Wish," arrived at EPCOT.

Luminous the Symphony of Us — debuted Dec. 5, 2023 Harmonious had its last performance April 2, 2023, and EPCOT Forever returned April 3 in the interim before this all-new nighttime spectacular premiered in December. It features fireworks, fountains, lasers, lighting effects and music.

Dreamers Point — Dec. 5, 2023 — Near the exit of Spaceship Earth, a new statue that celebrates the legacy of Walt Disney has been placed alongside natural environments. It includes a wishing tree and a story fountain that plays iconic music from Disney storytelling.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

What Opened at Disney World & Universal Orlando - Roundup Rodeo BBQ; Bo-Peep and sheep figure

Roundup Rodeo BBQ — opened March 23, 2023 — A table-service restaurant is now open at Toy Story Land! Themed to feel like a rodeo run by Andy's toys, this immersive restaurant has toys, games and playsets scattered around, including toy versions of Jessie riding on the back of a Trixie pull-toy and Bo Peep and her sheep performing in the rodeo together.

Disney Springs

Corckcicle — opened April 28, 2023 — This is the first-ever retail location for this Orlando-based business that sells insulated drinkware, coolers and accessories.

EET — opened Dec. 4, 2023 — A new modern Indian restaurant opened its doors, with Maneet Chauhan, a James Beard Award-winning chef and Food Network personality, at the helm.

Summer House on the Lake — opened Dec. 14, 2023 — This new restaurant features a California-inspired menu and a beachy, breezy environment. The full-service restaurant also includes an in-house bakery and an extensive cocktail and wine list.

Universal Orlando Resort

What Opened at Disney World and Universal Orlando - Minion Land

Minion Land — opened Aug. 11, 2023 — The front of Universal Studios Florida has been taken over by the minions! Minion Land on Illumination Avenue features a new attraction, Villain Con Minion Blast, as well as new dining options and gift shops.

What's Opened at Other Florida Theme Parks in 2023

SeaWorld Orlando

Pipeline: The Surf Coaster — opened May 27, 2023 — SeaWorld Orlando is living up to its title as the Coaster Capital of Orlando with the introduction of its seventh toadally tubular roller coaster. The world's first surf coaster allows frogs to ride the waves along 2,950 feet of track and feel the rush with speeds up to 60 mph. These one-of-a-kind standing seats rise and fall to mimic the sensation of the waves. Hang on tight, because you're about to ride crests up to 110 feet tall and even conquer a curl with one epic inversion. Cowabunga!

Aquatica Orlando

Turi's Kid Cove — opened May 18, 2023 Tucked away between Big Surf Shores and Mango Market, this all-new water adventure attraction is set to bring tadpole-sized wet and wild fun to Aquatica Orlando! Not only will your littlest guppies be able to splish, splash, spray and play among watering palms, tipping buckets, spraying jets and water bobbles, but also hang ten on Tamariki Twirl — a miniature wave slide designed just for them! Parents will also be able to rest and relax while keeping a watchful eye on the little ones with ample seating surrounding the area.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

What's Coming to Disney World and Universal - Serengeti Flyer

Serengeti Flyer — opened Feb. 27, 2023 — The world's tallest and fastest ride of its kind, Serengeti Flyer features twin dueling arms that progressively sway back and forth reaching speeds of 68 mph and a maximum height of 135 feet at its peak. Frogs are seated back-to-back in rows of 10 across two gondolas and will experience multiple negative-G moments before plunging back toward the Earth. This screamin' swing allows frogs to soar high above Busch Gardens' 65-acre Serengeti Plain.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort 

Pirate River Quest — opened Jan. 12, 2023 — Join the LEGO pirate crew on a quest to find Captain Redbeard's lost treasure. Along the way, the pirate crew meets Calico Jade and encounters flamingos, monkeys and even a kraken.

I hope you've enjoyed this look at what opened at Disney World and Universal in 2023. Hop on over to our When to Visit Orlando page for more planning tips, part of our Orlando Planning Timeline!

Related: Best Time To Visit Disney World

Related: Best Time To Visit Universal Orlando Resort

Stay cool!

Keep hopping, Tad!
View Comments

Comments

Dec 29, 2023 at 4:29 a.m.
Maricela Says...

I’m very interested in getting some advice of how to buy tickets in a much better price for Universal and adventure Island last year I went to different parks, and it was terrible cause I paid a lot of money, and a lot of attractions or rides were closed, caused the weather and some other reasons, so this year I hope my children will enjoy more the theme parks

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