Here’s Everything Else Opening at Walt Disney World This Year
The holidays are over, and winter has come. I know that none of us likes to think that way, but it’s true. That’s okay, though! A New Year means new experiences at Walt Disney World!
We already covered all the attractions coming to the parks. Today, we’ll discuss the other stuff.
Here is everything else opening at Walt Disney World this year.
The Cake Bake Shop by Gwendolyn Rogers
You may not be familiar with Gwendolyn Rogers. If not, I’d encourage you to read her story.
To summarize, Rogers moved back to Indiana when she was in her late-40s. In the process, she left behind her career in California.
With no other job prospects, Rogers lived out one of her dreams by opening a bakery. The process proved arduous and required two years of preparation.
However, the bakery succeeded immediately. In fact, the space proved too small. So, she expanded…and has kept expanding.
Now, the baker will bring her wares to Disney’s BoardWalk when she opens The Cake Bake Shop in the former ESPN Club location.
Notably, this restaurant won’t serve baked goods exclusively. Instead, Disney will host a Table Service restaurant here in addition to the bakery.
You may recall that ESPN Club covered a large space inside. So, you should expect this new restaurant to be huge.
EPCOT Forever and A New EPCOT Nighttime Presentation
Disney finally acknowledged the obvious a few weeks ago. The company admitted that Harmonious just wasn’t working. And nobody disagreed.
From its inception, Harmonious faced questions about its construction.
Mainly, the barges blocked the formerly gorgeous view at World Showcase Lagoon. Fans frequently shared other complaints as well.
Frankly, Walt Disney World has suffered through a run of bad luck with its nighttime presentations.
A barge sunk before Rivers of Light was due to open, delaying the project by more than a year. It seems like everything has been downhill since then.
So, Disney has gone back to the drawing board. When the 50th-anniversary celebration ends at Walt Disney World, Harmonious will close permanently, too.
Afterward, park officials will bring back EPCOT Forever for a time as Imagineers prepare the next thing, the permanent EPCOT nighttime presentation.
Yes, I realize that’s what Disney had intended Harmonious to be, but it just didn’t work out. As such, Disney will start anew in 2023.
On the plus side, you can watch at least two different EPCOT fireworks shows this year, possibly even three!
The Figment Meet and Greet
Fifteen years ago, EPCOT guests wouldn’t have blinked at the thought of meeting Figment.
Disney hosted a Figment character greeting from 2005 through 2008. Also, the company broke out the character for D23 events.
Alas, we haven’t visited Figment’s Place in 15 years now. Disney permanently closed the character greeting and never looked back…until now.
Later this year, EPCOT will bring back the character interaction with one of its most beloved characters.
After all, why should you stand in line for eight hours for a popcorn bucket when you can meet the real thing much faster?
To a larger point, when was the last time you watched a dragon hug a child? That’s gonna be a sight to behold!
Casual Disney fans tend to forget about the Marriott resorts near EPCOT.
When you’re hungry, you should remember, though. Several eateries at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort have earned acclaim.
For starters, you’ll find Todd English’s bluezoo and Shula’s Steak House here.
In 2023, the twin hotels will introduce a new restaurant, Rosa Mexicano.
Management is replacing Fresh Mediterranean Market with the first Florida location of this New York franchise.
How good is this restaurant? Well, you’ll find another one at the Lincoln Center in New York City, so…pretty good.
Summer House on the Lake
Disney Springs doesn’t have quite as much going on right now compared to Downtown Disney. And we know the reason why.
Park strategists already overhauled Disney Springs a few years ago. It’s mostly a completed project by now. Meanwhile, Downtown Disney has only just begun.
Still, Disney Springs still includes a few spots that could use an upgrade.
One such project is Summer House on the Lake, which will be the third location of this restaurant concept.
You’ll find Summer House Santa Monica in Chicago, Illinois, and Bethesda, Maryland. Yes, I realize that the name is confusing.
However, the restaurateurs call the place “Santa Monica” to reinforce that it serves California cuisine. Summer House on the Lake will do the same when it debuts.
Rodeo Roundup BBQ
Disney has declared this place the “first Toy Story Table Service restaurant” in the world.
For Disney fans, this eatery has been coming for a looooong time. Early designs for Toy Story Land called for a restaurant in this space.
Alas, budget cuts eliminated the need for a second restaurant at the time.
Now that Toy Story Land has grown so popular, Disney has acknowledged the obvious. Woody’s Lunch Box simply cannot meet the demand for this area.
So, management has constructed a new Table Service barbecue restaurant that will open in a matter of months.
Disney has promised a menu of “barbecue-inspired comfort foods served family-style, with platters of house-smoked meats, a roundup of sides and some miniature sweet surprises.”
Meanwhile, the restaurant’s interior hints at a combination of the attraction line queues for Slinky Dog Dash and Toy Story Mania! Expect to love it!
The World Celebration Neighborhood
A few years ago, Disney promised the moon and the stars when it announced a reimagining of Future World at EPCOT.
Sadly, the pandemic ruined those plans, although Disney had already started cutting corners before then anyway.
We lost some of the planned projects while Disney was still showing the EPCOT Experience.
Yes, that video includes an attraction that will never open and a Spaceship Earth reboot that may or may not happen now.
Still, Disney has accomplished many of its goals in dividing Future World into three themed lands.
One of them, World Celebration, will reportedly finish in 2023. It’s the themed land you visit when you enter through the main gate.
You step inside the park, and you’re there! Also, it’s nearly done.
The recent openings of Connections Café/Eatery and the return of Club Cool signified two of the remaining hurdles to clear.
Now, we’re awaiting CommuniCore Hall and Plaza, EPCOT Gardens, and Dreamers Point to complete the project. Those should be ready by the end of the year.
The World Nature Neighborhood
Similarly, current projections call for World Nature to finish in 2023 as well.
You know the primary attraction here. Journey of Water | Inspired by Moana still needs several more months of prep work.
However, those of you reading MickeyBlog regularly know that Disney has made excellent progress. You can even see Te Fiti now!
Once Disney finishes that, World Nature Neighborhood will only need a few more small touches. So, this one’s closer to completion than World Celebration.
After Disney has done both, the new EPCOT redesign will be totally finished!
Sadly, we’re lacking precise dates on almost all this stuff, but you can tell that 2023 at Walt Disney World is shaping up to be an epic year!
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