Leaping lily pads! So many ribbeting announcements came from the D23 Expo, we can hardly contain our excitement! We've got even more details about the innovative new Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel, as well as an official name for the TRON coaster in Magic Kingdom — TRON Lightcycle Run. And where do we even begin with the heaps of frogtastic Epcot news?! From new attractions featuring Moana and Mary Poppins to a new nighttime spectacular, there is so much hoppening in the next few years! Don't worry ... all of the details from the Expo can be found below, so hop to it!
'Sup! Welcome to Tad's toadally awesome list of what's coming to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and the other parks in 2019 and beyond! As the Frog Family’s resident thrill seeker, tech junkie and head frog videographer — thank you very much — I live to keep tabs on all the attractions and experiences heading to the Orlando theme parks, and I've been doing it a few years. This is perhaps the BIGGEST year in theme park openings — at least since I've been tracking them — because 2019 is the year the Star Wars land has officially opened at Walt Disney World! It's hard to believe we're now racing toward the end of the year. So much has already hoppened, and there's still a lot more to come!
If you're curious about all of the Universal Orlando and Disney World construction around the parks, you're at the right place. Be sure to bookmark this page because I add to it as new rides, shows and other hoppenings are announced! (Hop here to see what opened in 2018 and previous years.)
What's Coming to Disney World in 2019
Disney Junior Dance Party! — opened Jan. 18, 2019 — Let the tadpoles get their boogey on in this all-new dance party featuring Disney Junior characters, including Vampirina, Doc McStuffins and more.
Municiberg — started Jan. 18, 2019 — Pixar Place has transformed into the hometown of The Incredibles where a party is being held in their honor ... complete with Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible and Frozone. Oh, and the oh-so-fashionable Edna Mode finally has her own meet-and-greet. Be sure to keep an eye out for signs of the mischievous Jack-Jack as well.
Mike and Sulley Meet-and-Greet — started Jan. 18, 2019 — Mike and Sulley of Monsters, Inc. fame have made their grand return to Hollywood Studios for a meet-and-greet.
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy — now showing — A new show has arrived near Rock 'n' Rollercoaster in which Lightning McQueen showcases all of his tricks of the trade ... but things don't always go according to plan! This new show features animatronic cars (your fave characters, of course) and lots of surprises.
Wonderful World of Animation — now showing — Honoring 30 years of Hollywood Studios, a new nighttime spectacular brings characters to life like never before while touching on themes of magic, family, adventure, romance, villains and friendship.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge — now open — It's finally here! At 14 acres, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is now the largest land at Disney World. Be transported to a never-before-seen planet with two new attractions (Rise of the Resistance opens later on Dec. 5, 2019). Disney will debut the next generation of all-electric, life-like animatronics called A1000s in the new land. Our full guide to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will take you through all of the details!
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run — now open — Guests become the flight crew for this super immersive ride on the fastest ship in the galaxy.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance — Dec. 5, 2019 — Guests will be taken hostage, resulting in a battle between the First Order and the Resistance ... and Kylo Ren himself.
Mickey and Minnie Greeting Guests together! — started Jan. 18, 2019 — As part of Mickey & Minnie's Surprise Celebration, on account of Mickey turning 90, these two love birds, ahem mice, are greeting guests together at Town Square Theater in brand-new outfits! Guests can sign a guestbook to let Mickey and Minnie know how much they love them!
Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party — started Jan. 18, 2019 — Mickey, Minnie and pals join together during this afternoon street party that plays several times daily during Mickey & Minnie's Surprise Celebration! There's even a brand-new song, "It's a Good Time," just for the occasion.
Pluto Heads to Pete's Silly Sideshow in Storybook Circus — started Jan. 18, 2019 — Head to Fantasyland to meet Mickey's dog, Pluto, at Pete's Silly Sideshow.
Takumi-Tei — now open — An all-new, artisan, table-service restaurant will be coming to the Japan pavilion in World Showcase, showcasing Japanese craftsmanship and authentic cuisine.
Space 220 — winter 2019 — Guests will have the opportunity to dine in the stars in a space-station themed table-service restaurant located next to Mission: SPACE. You'll hop in a special elevator that makes you feel like you're traveling to the space station in real time. Once inside, the restaurant will have panoramic daytime and nighttime views of Earth from 220 miles up. It will feature international cuisine, more than 1,000 bottles of wine and a wide selection of craft beer.
Epcot Forever — Oct. 1, 2019 — Illuminations: Reflections of Earth is coming to a close summer 2019, to be replaced by a limited-time fireworks show, Epcot Forever, shortly thereafter. This show is set to focus on the music and fun of Epcot's past and present attractions. It will feature fireworks, laser and light effects and special kites. The fireworks will even be environmentally-friendly, as they will be made out of cornmeal instead of cardboard.
Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts and Barbecue — 2019 — A new fast-casual barbecue restaurant will be taking the place of Liberty Inn (which closed July 8, 2019) at The American Adventure pavilion later this year.
Walt Disney Imagineering presents the Epcot Experience — Oct. 1, 2019 — Guests will be able to visualize Epcot's future plans at a new experience center inside the Odyssey Events Pavilion. There will be interactive exhibits that reveal details about Epcot's upcoming transformation.
Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party — started Jan. 18, 2019 — Dance along with Timon and Rafiki to celebrate The Lion King's 25th anniversary.
Kevin from "Up" Meet-and-Greet — started Feb. 2019 — Kevin from Pixar's "Up" is now available to meet guests. Watch for her strutting her stuff near the Tree of Life!
Rivers of Light: We Are One — now showing — An updated version of the park's beloved nighttime pageant, featuring additional imagery from both Disneynature films and animated films alike, has come to life.
Tree of Life Projection Show — now showing through Sept. 30, 2019 — The Tree of Life gets a new projection show, paying tribute to the special anniversary of "The Lion King."
Gran Destino Tower - Disney's Coronado Springs Resort expansion — now open — The new, 15-story tower will be the main entrance point for hotel resort guests and will add 545 guest rooms, including 50 suites and a new, two-story lobby. A themed table-service restaurant will sit atop the tower and offer views of the resort. A second restaurant, Villa del Lago, is also planned for an island in the middle of the resort's 14-acre lake.
Bibbidi Bobiddi Boutique at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa — now open — The third and newest Bibbidi Bobiddi Boutique will be opening its doors later this summer. Just like the other locations at Magic Kingdom and Disney Springs, young guests (ages 3-12) can receive magical makeovers into princesses and knights. The Grand Floridian boutique is currently booking appointments ahead of opening.
Disney Riviera Resort — Dec. 2019 — Disney Vacation Club's 15th property will offer about 300 family-friendly vacation homes, including deluxe studios, one-and two-bedroom villas and grand villas that sleep up to 12 guests. It's already accepting reservations and will offer transportation by Disney Skyliner. It will have a rooftop signature table-service restaurant called Topolino's Terrace - Flavors of the Riviera and views of nighttime shows at Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Topolino is the Italian name for Mickey Mouse. The restaurant will include an expo kitchen and wood-burning grill, and will serve authentic French and Italian dishes. It will also offer character dining.
Disney World Transportation
Walt Disney World Skyliner — Sept. 29, 2019 — As one of the major Disney World construction projects, this new gondola system will connect Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney's Pop Century Resort, Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort and future Disney's Riviera Resort to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot.
NBA Experience at Walt Disney World — now open — Located in the space formerly occupied by DisneyQuest, this NBA fan's dream will include interactive games and immersive experiences that allow you to shoot hoops and dunk balls. It’ll also feature a retail store and an adjacent restaurant.
City Works Eatery & Pour House — 2019 — The seventh of its kind in the country, City Works will offer 80 beers on tap and a menu of American food sure to delight every member of the Frog Fam.
Ron Jon Surf Shop — late 2019 — This 10,000-square-foot shop will be located inside Town Center.
What's Coming to Universal Orlando in 2019
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure — now open — Ready to take a ride with Hagrid? Hop on his motorbike for a wild roller coaster ride that will have guests soaring along with some of the Wizarding World's most magical creatures. Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure will sit where Dragon Challenge was located inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Hogsmeade. This "highly themed coaster experience" will more fully immerse guests in the Wizarding World — including the Forbidden Forest! — where they will encounter favorite characters and other creatures while reaching speeds of up to 50 mph! Your experience will be different depending on whether you're on the enchanted motorbike or in the sidecar!
Currently, the ride's operation hours may vary due to maintenance and technical support. For several weeks, it had been opening midday, but Universal Orlando is now aiming to open the ride in the morning and throughout the day. However, it will be closing before the park closes.
TODAY Cafe — now open — Step inside a recreated Studio 1A, where the TODAY Show broadcasts live, for some quick eats! This themed cafe is serving up fresh pastries, sandwiches, salads and coffee.
Bigfire — now open — This new rustic-themed restaurant will be serving up bison burgers, coffee-and-cocoa-rubbed steak and smoked salads, inspired by an open-fire cooking style. The decor will include a suspended canoe and twinkling lights and lanterns to top off the outdoorsy ambience. We sure hope it serves s’mores for dessert!
Endless Summer Resort — now open — Endless Summer Resort will encompass Universal's first ever on-property value hotels. The Endless Summer Resort — Surfside Inn and Suites and Dockside Inn and Suites — will offer guests the same perks as Universal's existing hotels, complete with a beach and surf theme. Surfside Inn and Suites is now open, with prices as low as $131 per night, with Dockside Inn and Suites expected to open in March 2020. Best of all, more than half of the rooms at both hotels will be family suites.
What's Coming to Disney World and Universal Orlando in 2020 and Beyond
TRON Lightcycle Run — 2021 — Imported from Shanghai Disneyland, Tron Lightcycle Run will be 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.
Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway — spring 2020 — Starring everyone's favorite pair, this new attraction will put guests inside the wacky and unpredictable world of a Mickey Mouse Cartoon Short, where they're the star and anything can happen. This new ride will feature "2 1/2 D," a new no-glasses-required experience. Listen up: The train will use sound from the original whistle featured in the 1928 short, “Steamboat Willie.” This new experience will replace The Great Movie Ride.
Roundup Rodeo BBQ — date TBD — Using three cardboard boxes cut and taped together, Andy is building a rodeo play arena with some of his favorite toys — that’s the concept behind Toy Story Land’s future table-service restaurant.
HarmonioUS — 2020 — After Epcot Forever's one-year run, the new main lagoon show is listed as “a worldwide celebration of Disney music” with highlights from the show featuring "Moana," "Brave," "Pocahontas," "Hercules" and many others. It's promised to be "the largest nighttime spectacular ever created for a Disney park." The all-new show will feature massive floating set pieces, LED panels, moving fountains, lights, lasers, pyrotechnics and more.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind — 2021 —
Planned to be one of the world's longest enclosed roller coasters, the ride will feature a unique story currently being created by Walt Disney Imagineering and will include a new innovative ride system that’s guaranteed to “wow” guests. The experience begins in the "Galaxarium," a planetarium-like exhibition that highlights the formation of Earth's galaxy and Xandar. But then the Guardians of the Galaxy arrive, and you're whisked away on an adventure across the cosmos. The D23 Expo revealed that it will be a storytelling coaster that rotates 360 degrees so you can focus on the action, and will include the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster.
"Awesome Planet" film — Jan. 2020 — This new film coming to The Land pavilion will showcase the beauty of Earth and promises to deliver a resonating environmental message.
"Wondrous China" film— date TBD — This World Showcase pavilion will receive a new film that is presented in a seamless 360-degree format.
"Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360" film — Jan. 2020 — This World Showcase show will be updated with a new story and scenes.
Remy's Ratatouille Adventure — summer 2020 — The France pavilion will be receiving an imported favorite. Similar to the popular 4-D ride Ratatouille: The Adventure that opened at Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris, guests will shrink to Remy’s size and scurry to safety within Gusteau’s legendary Parisian restaurant.
La Crêperie de Paris — summer 2020 — A brand-new crêperie will serve savory and sweet crepes, along with table-service and quick-service dining options, featuring a menu from celebrity chef, Jerome Bocuse.
"Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along" in France — Jan. 2020 — This will be shown in addition to the pavilion's current film, Impressions de France.
Mary Poppins attraction — date TBD — The United Kingdom pavilion will host the first attraction inspired by Mary Poppins. Stroll along Cherry Tree Lane past Admiral Boom's house, and enter Number 17, the Banks family's home.
PLAY! pavilion — 2021 — Opening in time for Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary, this new pavilion in the former Wonders of Life location will showcase first-of-its-kind experiences devoted to play and fun, including an interactive city where guests will be able to interact with characters. Help Edna Mode on a fashionable quest to rid the world of uninspired style, or compete in a water-balloon fight with Huey, Dewey, Louie and Webby.
Reimagined main entrance — date TBD — Epcot's main plaza will include new pathways, green spaces and a reimagined fountain. The Leave A Legacy photos will move just outside the park's gateaway. There will be additional redevelopment to the area between Spaceship Earth and World Showcase Promenade.
Special events pavilion — date TBD — A new pavilion will provide a home base for the park's annual festivals and live events. The three-level structure will provide stunning views of the park from a plaza level, a middle expo level and a sky level.
Dreamers Point — date TBD — Near the exit of Spaceship Earth, a new statue that celebrates the legacy of Walt Disney will be placed alongside natural environments. It will include a wishing tree and a story fountain that plays iconic music from Disney storytelling.
Journey of Water, Inspired by “Moana” — date TBD — This brand-new walkthrough attraction will "let guests interact with magical, living water in a beautiful and inspiring setting," and you'll get to learn about the importance of the natural water cycle.
Disney World Hotels and Resorts
Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Lodge — 2022 — Disney's 16th Disney Vacation Club property is in the works at the former site of River Country water park. Slated to open in 2022, the nature-themed, deluxe hotel will be located between Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser — date TBD — Debuting as part of the new Disney 360 vacation concept, this hotel is being billed as a living adventure that allows guests to immerse themselves in an entirely new form of Disney storytelling. Guests will check in for a two-night adventure aboard a starship, the Halcyon. You’ll become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with characters, stories and adventures that unfold all around you. It is 100% immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day. It will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits. This new resort will be located near Hollywood Studios, so there will be easy access to Galaxy's Edge!
New Cirque de Soleil show — Apr. 17, 2020 premiere — With the closure of the most recent show at Disney Springs on New Year's Eve 2017, Disney has announced Cirque du Soleil will develop a new original show that will pay homage to Disney's history of animation. It will feature Disney characters!
Beatrix — date TBD — We're excited that this new restaurant coming to Disney Springs West Side will feature healthy food options, including vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan menu items. Beatrix is your neighborhood restaurant, coffeehouse and grab-and-go market all rolled in one. It will also feature a bakery and full-service bar with beer, wine and fresh-squeezed juice cocktails.
Universal's Epic Universe — date TBD — Universal Orlando Resort announced that it's building a brand-new theme park called Universal's Epic Universe. Little is known about the timeline or the themed lands, but Universal says it will be its most immersive and innovative theme park yet. In addition to the lands, it will feature an entertainment center, hotels, shops, restaurants and more. Located about 12 minutes away from its existing properties, Universal's Epic Universe will nearly double Universal's total available acreage! Check out the latest developments in our Universal's Epic Universe guide.
Super Nintendo World — date TBD — Universal has partnered with Nintendo to bring to life experiences based on Nintendo's games, characters and worlds. The first new addition — Super Nintendo World — will open at Universal Studios Japan in 2020. Orlando and Hollywood versions are set to follow. We wouldn't be surprised if this ends up at Universal's Epic Universe!
What's Coming to Other Florida Theme Parks in 2019 and Beyond
THE LEGO MOVIE WORLD — now open — Everything is awesome, indeed! The Quest for Chi has been transformed into a new LEGO MOVIE boat ride in addition to two new rides, character meet-and-greets and a fun playscape. Lily and I *demand* to meet Princess Unikitty ASAP.
Sesame Street Land — now open — Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street? It's at SeaWorld Orlando! The new land, which has recreated the beloved Sesame Street neighborhood, opened in March 2019. You can explore Big Bird's nest and Hooper's Store ... and even knock on Oscar's trash can! Check out our full Sesame Street Land guide to see what you can expect.
Ice Breaker — spring 2020 — SeaWorld's first multi-directional launched roller coaster is coming! It'll feature four launches — both forwards and backwards — that will ultimately launch you into the steepest vertical drop in Florida at 100 degrees. Expect lots of twists, turns and airtime!
Tigris — now open — Busch Gardens Tampa debuted Florida's tallest launch coaster in April 2019. You're launched forwards and backwards, with heights up to 150-feet speeding at 62 mph!
Iron Gwazi — spring 2020 — Gwazi is getting a makeover! The former wooden coaster that closed in 2015 is being converted into a hybrid steel-wooden coaster, manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction. It will feature all-new thrills and restored elements from Gwazi. Standing at 210-feet-tall, it will become North America's tallest and the world's fastest and steepest hybrid coaster. Iron Gwazi will also have three inversions, including a 180-degree stall that will keep rides upside down for a few seconds while moving forward.
I hope you've enjoyed this look at what's coming to Disney World and Universal in 2019 and beyond. Make sure to come back to see what's been added as you get closer to your visit. Hop on over to our When to Visit Orlando page for more planning tips, part of our Orlando Planning Timeline!
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