'Sup! Welcome to Tad's toadally awesome list of what's coming to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and the other parks in 2018 and beyond! As the Frog Family’s resident thrill seeker, tech junkie and head frog videographer — thank you very much — I’ve been keeping tabs on all the attractions and experiences headed to the Orlando theme parks over the last few years.
Things were really hopping at Disney World and Universal in 2013 and 2014 . While 2015 was laid back, like yours truly on a weekend, 2016 saw some sweet additions all across the 407 (a ka a Orlando). There were some major openings in 2017 — Pandora - the World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom and Universal's Volcano Bay water theme park being the two biggest.
On this post, we'll be tracking what's coming to Disney World and Universal in 2018 and beyond! Be sure to bookmark this page and visit often! Catch you in the parks!
What's Coming to Disney World and Universal in 2018
Donald Trump added to the Hall of Presidents — now open — The animatronic version of President Trump officially opened Dec. 19, 2017, at the Hall of Presidents. This attraction was under refurbishment for most of 2017. High-impact projection, sound lighting and other enhancements were added to the attraction.
The Incredibles "SUPER" Dance Party — summer 2018 — Edna Mode will join Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone from Disney•Pixar's The Incredibles at a brand new DJ-hosted dance party on the Rocket Tower Stage in Tomorrowland.
The Edison — now open — Resembling a 1920's electric company power plant, The Edison will feature food, cocktails, live entertainment, cabaret and music. It will feature distinct areas, with the Lab Performance room featuring entertainment such as palm readers, DJs and (ooh) contortionists. The Edison will be a sister restaurant to its Los Angeles location.
Terralina Crafted Italian — late 2017/early 2018 — Themed as an Italian home, this new restaurant will serve authentic Italian meals and cocktails. Overseen by James Beard Award-winner and Top Chef Master Tony Mantuano, this restaurant replaces Portobello Country Italian Trattoria.
Wine Bar George — spring 2018 — Master Sommelier George Miliotes returns to Disney (he helped open California Grill in 1995) with an intimate wine bar that will resemble a winemaker's home estate. I'm a teenager and don't know what any of that means, but mom says it's fancy, so, cool. Yay, wine people.
Maria And Enzo's — now open — Located next to The Edison, this Italian restaurant will be designed as speakeasy feel, matching the feel of its neighbor. This table service and fast casual restaurant will be run by the Patina Group, operators of Morimoto at Disney Springs and Via Napoli at Epcot.
Enzo's Hideaway — now open — This small tavern is inspired by Roman aperitivo bars, located in the storied rum-runner tunnels that adjoin Maria & Enzo’s. Inspired by Florida’s true history of rum running, Enzo’s Hideaway will pour Prohibition-era cocktails at its Tunnel Bar and serve a casual menu of hearty Roman dishes, such as the city’s legendary Bucatini alla Carbonara and Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe.
Pizza Ponte — now open — Located next to Maria And Enzo's, this fast-casual restaurant will serve pastry specialties such as Bomboloni (Italian doughnuts), Sfoglia di Riso (pastry with rice cream) and Tiramisu. Savory items include signature Triangolo (stuffed pizza bread) sandwiches, Porchetta (roast pork) and Pizza al Taglio, Sicilian-style pizza by the slice.
Jaleo — 2018 — A Spanish concept from Chef José Andrés.
Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill — 2018 — A modern concept inspired by laid-back California dining.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Toy Story Land — summer 2018 — An 11-acre land will rise up around Toy Story Mania, offering a Buzz-sized perspective on Andy's backyard. Look for oversized building blocks and game board pieces. There will be two new attractions, family coaster Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers. Aliens will be flying around in their toy saucers trying to capture your rocket toy vehicle with "The Claw." Big fan of the little green guys.
Guardians of the Galaxy — Awesome Mix Live! — June 9, 2018 — Star-Lord and Gamora will rock alongside an alien band to the hits of Awesome Mixtapes 1 and 2 at American Gardens Theatre for five showings daily.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Explorers Meet UP! A Great Bird Adventure — now open — Russell and Dug will help guests discover species of birds from around the world in their newest adventure at the Caravan Theater in Anandapur Village.
A "Dino-Tastic" Celebration for Donald Duck — summer 2018 — Donald Duck, LaunchPad and Scrooge McDuck take over Dinoland, U.S.A. for a fun, new character celebration. Rumor has it, this will be a permanent fixture at Animal Kingdom!
Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
H2O Glow Nights — June 21- August 11 — Woody, Buzz and Jessie throw a party on the beach complete with dancing, party games, character meet-and-greets and access to all of the attractions after hours. We're selling tickets!
ESPN Wide World of Sports
Multi-use sports and entertainment venue — 2018 — This one-of-a-kind venue will accommodate 8,000 fans and has the ability to be configured for events such as volleyball, basketball and concerts. A large number of cheerleading competitions are held at Disney World, and the ESPN complex hosts the Cheerleading World Championships each April. Lily, the resident jumper, will certainly enjoy this.
Universal Studios Florida
Fast & Furious: Supercharged — now open — Based on the popular film franchise, the new Fast & Furious: Supercharged puts guests in the middle of the action, where they'll explore the headquarters of Dom Toretto's underground racing world and be part of a high-speed chase with some of the films' stars. This will be similar to Fast & Furious: Supercharged that opened at Universal Studios Hollywood. Check out the video here. Fast & Furious at Universal Studios Florida will be located in the San Francisco area of the park.
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal's Aventura Hotel — August 2018 — This tower hotel will offer views of all three Universal Orlando theme parks and will embody a sleek, modern design. Its 600 rooms will offer warm-toned decor.
Infinity Falls — 2018 — Just when you think you know raft rides, SeaWorld changes the rules. This new ride will take you through the remains of an ancient civilization, past fountains, and waterfalls. World class rapids will spin and soak you, but that's nothing compared to the end. Your raft will enter a lift and be elevated to the top of Infnifty Falls. From there, you'll plunge down the tallest drop of its kind into the churning water below. The journey ends at Harmony Village, where you'll be informed and inspired to spread the message of conservation.
Ray Rush — now open — At nearly 60 feet tall, this new raft ride will send families on three exciting thrills as they slide, splash and soar like never before. Riders will be launched at 33 feet per second with water jets designed to propel rafts into the first of several enclosed tube sections. Next, riders will swirl into a colossal translucent sphere which spins the raft around the slide walls before entering another enclosed tube section. Finally, riders will drop into an open-air halfpipe that resembles the shape of a manta ray. Rafts will soar back and forth on the wings of the manta before entering the final enclosed tube section that ends with a splash.
What's New at Disney World and Universal Orlando in 2019 and Beyond
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Star Wars - Galaxy's Edge — Late Fall 2019 — This can't come here fast enough. At 14 acres, Star Wars -Galaxy's Edge will be the largest land at Disney World. It will transport guests to a never-before-seen planet, with two new attractions. One will be based around a secret mission aboard the Millennium Falcon and another that will place guests into the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance.
Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway — 2019 — 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. This new experience will replace The Great Movie Ride.
Tron Lightcycle Power Run — 2021 — Imported from Shanghai Disneyland, Tron Lightcylce Power 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.
New restaurant in Japan — date TBD — An all-new, artisan, table-service restaurant will be coming to the Japan pavilion in World Showcase showcasing Japanese craftsmanship and authentic cuisine.
Guardians of the Galaxy-inspired rollercoaster — 2021 —
Planned to be one of the world's longest enclosed rollercoasters, the ride will feature a unique story currently being created by Walt Disney Imagineering and include a new innovative ride system that’s guaranteed to “wow” guests.
Space-themed restaurant — date TBD — Guests will have the opportunity to dine in the stars in a space-station themed restaurant to be located next to Mission-Space.
New film in China — date TBD — This World Showcase pavilion will receive a new film.
“Ratatouille”-inspired attraction — date TBD — The France pavilion will be receiving an imported favorite. Similar to the popular 4-D ride Ratatouille: The Adventure that opened at the Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris, guests will shrink to Remy’s size and scurry to safety within Gusteau’s legendary Parisian restaurant.
Disney World Hotels and Resorts
Star Wars-inspired immersive resort — date TBD — Debuting as part of the new Disney 360 vacation concept, this is being billed as a living adventure that allows guests to immerse themselves in an entirely new form of Disney storytelling. From the second you arrive, you will become a part of a Star Wars story! 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, and 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!
Disney Riviera Resort — date TBD — Disney Vacation Club’s 15th property will have a rooftop restaurant and views of nighttime shows at Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
Disney World Transportation
Walt Disney World Skyliner — date TBD — A new gondola system will connect Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century and Caribbean Beach resorts and other locations with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot.
NBA Experience at Walt Disney World — summer 2019 — Located in the space formerly occupied by DisneyQuest, this NBA fan's dream will include interactive games, immersive experiences, a retail store and an adjacent restaurant.
New Cirque de Soleil Show — date TBD — With the closure of the current 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.
Universal Orlando Resort
Endless Summer Resort — 2019 — 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. With Surfside set to open in 2019, prices as low as $73 per night are being offered. Best of all, more than half of the rooms at both hotels will be family suites.
Universal's Islands of Adventure
New Wizarding World thrill ride — 2019 — Universal has announced a yet unnamed new generation of thrill ride coming to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Hogsmeade in Universal's Islands of Adventure! This "highly themed coaster experience" will more fully immerse guests in the Wizarding World, where they will encounter favorite characters and other creatures. It will be located where Dragon Challenge was located.
Hogwarts Nighttime Show — now open — Hogwarts castle lights up with your favorite house colors as the Sorting Hat narrates this evening spectacular on select nights throughout the year.
Universal Studios Florida
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.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort
THE LEGO MOVIE WORLD — spring 2019 — Everything is awesome, indeed! The Quest for Chi will be 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.
I hope you've enjoyed this look at what's coming to Disney World and Universal in 2018 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!
Related: Best Time To Visit Disney World