12 Amazing New Additions Coming to U.S. Disney Parks
One of the most difficult parts of being a Disney fan is keeping up with all of the changes. After the parks remained static for several years in the wake of Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s opening, corporate strategists chose to slam down on the gas pedal in recent years. Now, Disney seems to add something new and exciting each and every month, sometimes every week! Of course, some of the projects are bigger than others. Here’s a checklist of 12 of the most important new additions coming to Disney’s American parks between now and the start of 2020.
Millennium Falcon Ride
I know that some of you will quit reading the moment that you’ve learned everything about Star Wars Land, so I might as well lean into it. Let’s start with the themed land, which you’ll get to visit at Disneyland next summer and Disney’s Hollywood Studios later in the fall of 2019.
The primary attraction anchoring this themed land is the Millennium Falcon ride, which will allow guests to live out what is a lifelong fantasy for some. They’ll get to pilot Han Solo’s ship. It sounds like a lot of work, too. To add the richest possible details to the attraction, Disney has built 200 action buttons and knobs into the architecture, giving riders a wealth of opportunities to impact the ride experience.
First Order Ride
The other ride at Star Wars Land has largely been shrouded in mystery. The only details we’ve learned about the ride experience suggest that riders will choose between fighting for The Order or The Resistance.
Since the entirety of the themed land is immersive, riders will presumably get dinged a few points if they choose the other side from their Star Wars profile. Conversely, a member of The Resistance who sticks it to The Order will get rewarded at the end of the dark ride for a job well done.
Star Wars Cantina and Dinner Club Restaurant
These are two different eating areas, but I’m lumping them in together since the premise is the same. You’re visiting Black Spire Outpost at Galaxy’s Edge, the last stop before the uncharted territories of deep space…and you’re hungry.
You’ll have two different meal options, one of which was made famous in the Holy Trilogy. Disney will bring the Cantina scene to life by creating a restaurant based on the premise here. The dinner club is presumably the upscale Table Service option, and it WILL have live entertainment. Despite the Star Wars tie-in, the premise actually makes me think of this scene from The Fifth Element.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
I previously wrote about the new rides coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Two of them are obviously open now, the Toy Story Land offerings. While the Star Wars Land attractions generate more media attention, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is a huuuuuge deal in its own right.
It’s the first true Disney ride featuring the most famous of all Disney characters, Mickey & Minnie Mouse. When it opens, this will become the equivalent of Spaceship Earth at Epcot, the attraction that everyone stops and rides soon after entering the park.
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
The Cars franchise has spawned three films in the main series plus several spinoffs. It’s also generated more than $10 billion in merchandising revenue, making it one of the most profitable ventures in movie history. Starting early in 2019, Hollywood Studios will feature a new show starring the cast of Cars.
It will even include Cruz Ramirez from the latest film along with old favorites Mater and Lightning McQueen. The park already features several terrific live shows, and this one will quickly become popular with young children in particular.
This new transportation option at Walt Disney World will carry guests into the sky. Yes, it’s a kind of gondola system that will alleviate Orlando’s traffic problems by taking guests off the ground and into the clouds above. It’s a wonderful idea that could fundamentally change the way that people attend theme parks. You can read more about it here.
Details of this one are still a bit murky. What we know for certain is that Disney announced at D-23 that they’re adding a companion restaurant to Mission: Space. This new Table Service establishment will have a space theme, including a giant digital display that will show images of Earth from outer space.
Beyond that, the only thing that even qualifies as a rumor is that Imagineers are having a hard time keeping the restaurant quiet due to exterior circumstances. Still, the belief is that the space restaurant will open over the next 15 months.
New Restaurant at Japan Pavilion
A restaurant that will be opening sooner is the third offering at the Japan Pavilion. Already a culinary star of the World Showcase, it’s introducing another restaurant, one that will apparently have the flavors of Teppan Edo without the Teppanyaki show aspects. Mitsukoshi, the operators of the wondrous store beneath Teppan Edo, will also run this restaurant. It’s apparently an upscale Signature Dining experience rather than another Table Service meal, an understandable decision since the Japan Pavilion already has two of those.
China Pavilion Circle-Vision Movie
The China Pavilion at the World Showcase has hosted a Circle-Vision 360° movie since its inception. The original film, Wonders of China, played from October of 1982 through March of 2003. Its replacement, Reflections of China, debuted two months later and has been a mainstay ever since then. Well, a third version is coming someday soon.
MickeyBlog warned you several months ago that Disney might be making a change at Epcot. We recently confirmed that IllumiNations will end its storied run either just short of or right at its 20th anniversary. The new show is expected to arrive very soon after the closure of the current version of IllumiNations. The fall of 2019 is when we’re most likely to see the debut of the newest nighttime fireworks display at Walt Disney World. If it’s anywhere near as good as Happily Ever After, we’re in great shape.
Jessie’s Critter Carousel
Disney California Adventure’s most important update has already occurred. The opening of Pixar Pier single-handedly increased the relevance of Disney’s least successful American theme park. More changes are afoot, too. They’re modest ones for now, though. At some point over the next fifteen months, two attractions will debut, although both of them are modifications of old rides. Well, one is for sure. We’re still awaiting word on the other.
What we know for sure is that King Triton’s Carousel of the Sea is no more. The nautically themed carousel shut down after more than 17 years of operation to make way for a new version. Jessie’s Critter Carousel will have Toy Story theming centered around everyone’s favorite cowgirl, Jessie! Here’s what the Disney Parks Blog has to say about the updates.
Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind
As you know, A Bug’s Land is no more at Disney California Adventure (DCA). One of the victims of its demise was Flik, one of the beloved critters from A Bug’s Life. Disney is picking the bones of Flik (wait, do bugs have bones?) and turning it into a new attraction based on Inside Out.
What Disney’s doing here is a bit odd. They’re taking the ride apparatusfrom Flik’s Flyers and moving it to the space previously occupied by the failed Maliboomer attraction. There, it will become a third ride called Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind. Disney fans are taking a lot on faith here that Imagineers can convert two mediocre-to-disappointing attractions into a great one. Inside Out the movie deserves nothing but the finest of themed rides. On the plus side, the film will get its own section at DCA, Inside Out Headquarters, which should open at some point in 2019.
Folks, the next 15 months are going to be massive for Disney, and I’d say that even without the arrival of Star Wars Land. It’s like the ridiculous dessert (think: Kitchen Sink) on top of the fabulous entrée. It’s good time to be thinking about becoming an annual passholder if you’re not already one.