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Walt Disney World Resoort

Big Changes Coming to Walt Disney World by 2021

Walt Disney World Resort will be turning 50 in 2021

On October 1, 2021, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, will be turning 50. Yes, the iconic theme park has a massive anniversary coming up, and they’re preparing big time. As anyone who has been to Disney in the last few years will tell you, the entire resort is basically one big construction zone as they prepare to open new rides, attractions, restaurants and resorts in anticipation of the big birthday.

There are dozens and dozens of new projects happening at Walt Disney World pretty much all of the time, but few will have the impact of these 10 massive changes and additions. New meet-and-greets, photo opportunities, dining experiences and snacks roll out with little-to-no fanfare. But a project like Disney’s new transportation system the Skyliner and the new Star Wars-themed land in Hollywood Studios are going to change the entire theme park world, even beyond Disney
Disney Riviera Resort
Members of Disney’s timeshare program, Disney Vacation Club, will have a new place to stay in the fall of 2019. Disney Riviera Resort, a 300-room hotel adjacent to the Caribbean Beach Resort, will feature a rooftop restaurant with views of Epcot and Hollywood Studios. It will also act as a hub for another major Walt Disney World project…

Disney Skyliner
Yes, the Disney Riviera Resort will be the main hub for Disney’s new transportation system, the Disney Skyliner. Disney park fans who miss the old gondola attraction at the Magic Kingdom will be thrilled to know they can take this gondola system from Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach and the Riviera Resort to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

Guardians of the Galaxy Rollercoaster in Epcot's Future World
The Guardians of the Galaxy have already taken over Disney California Adventure with Mission: Breakout in the old Tower of Terror space. But soon, the Marvel heroes will be coming to Epcot’s Future world with an untitled indoor rollercoaster. This attraction will be moving into the old Universe of Energy Pavilion. Though not much is known about the storyline of the ride, Disney Parks Blog revealed it will be one of the world’s longest enclosed coasters.

The Incredibles at Pixar Place in Hollywood Studios
With the opening of Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the future of Pixar Place was called into question. At least for 2019, the area will be saved by The Incredibles and turned into a Municiberg city block. In this area, superhero fans will be able to meet Edna Mode, play a scavenger hunt while looking for Jack-Jack and go to a dance party starring Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible and Frozone. This reinvention of Pixar Place will start in early 2019.

Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy at Hollywood Studios
Ka-chow! Cars is coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios thanks to a new show attraction, Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy. Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater and Cruz Ramirez are taking over Sunset Showcase with a brand new show that features McQueen sharing his tips for being a top racer. Of course, hijinks will ensue. This attraction is set to open in spring 2019.

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
There are a lot of Disney rides from your childhood you didn’t know where gone, and the latest one is The Great Movie Ride. The centerpiece attraction of Disney’s Hollywood Studios went on one last adventure through film history on August 13, 2017. It’s set to be replaced by another movie icon: Mickey Mouse. In his first-ever ride, Mickey Mouse and his beau Minnie will star in a "2-and-​1⁄2-D" setting. Yes, it’s like a 3D adventure without glasses. This innovative new ride will open in 2019.

New Fireworks at Epcot
If there’s one must-do activity at Epcot, it isn’t eating at the park’s best restaurants or riding Spaceship Earth. It’s seeing IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. The nighttime spectacular features a giant spinning globe, awe-inspiring fireworks, lasers, water and lights as it tells the story of Earth’s creation and how different cultures unite. It’s been a fan favorite since its debut in 1999, but after 20 years, it’s closing. Though we know nothing about the new show, if it’s replacing IllumiNations, it has big shoes to fill.

Ratatouille Ride Coming to Epcot’s World Showcase
There are a lot of international Disney rides we want in America, and soon we’ll be getting one of them. This 4D trackless ride is coming to Epcot via Disneyland Paris, and it uses sights, sounds, smells and sets to make you truly feel like an unwanted rat in a Parisian kitchen. There’s no exact opening date for this, but it’s expected to open in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
There are a lot of small new things coming to Walt Disney World before the resort’s 50th anniversary, but nothing will change the landscape of the theme park quite like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The fully immersive new land is coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in late fall 2019 and will feature a Millennium Falcon ride, a battle between guests and the First Order, a brand new restaurant and a Star Wars-themed hotel just outside Hollywood Studios’ gates. This is just another way that Star Wars is taking over Disney theme parks.

Tron Lightcycle Power Run in Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland
Space Mountain won’t be the only rollercoaster in Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland come 2021. Yes, the marquee attraction from Shanghai Disneyland will be in Orlando in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary. Ground has already broken for the Walt Disney World version of this attraction, which has guests boarding a two-wheeled lightcycle and zipping through the digital world of “Tron.” All we know is that once Tron Lightcycle Power Run opens in the Magic Kingdom, it will be easier to complete your ultimate Disney rides bucket list.
To learn more about planning a Walt Disney World Resort vacation, contact one of our Academy Travel Representatives directly, or call 609-978-0740

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Academy Travel is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner and has been designated as a
Platinum Earmarked Travel Agency
Specializing in Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney Vacations and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

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