Walt Disney World Announces New Thrills Coming in 2023

Walt Disney World will add plenty of exciting new activities, amenities, and attractions throughout the rest of 2023. Park officials just announced a new roadmap for the “New Disney Thrills” initiative. Here’s everything Disney Vacation Club members can expect at the parks this year!

Disney Focuses on Thrills

Tron Lightcycle / Run opens at Magic Kingdom on April 4th. You may recall the extensive marketing push for Magic Kingdom’s last roller coaster, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Something similar is already underway with Tron, which embraces merchandising in a new way.

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Donald Duck all showed off their Tron-based outfits during a recent media event. Disney is selling these and has used celebrity/Disney superfan JoJo Siwa to display the fashion. Meanwhile, guests can turn themselves into Tron users for $90. The Tron Identity Program allows you to customize your own Tron action figure. So, this is Tron’s answer to the Droid Depot. 

As for the ride, well, there’s a reason why the new marketing campaign is called New Disney Thrills. Here’s a Go Pro first-person perspective of the new coaster:


The other big news involves Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. While the attraction won’t open until 2024, Imagineers should finish construction of the water tower this summer. 

Even better, Disney has added a lovely touch fit for a Disney Princess! The water tower will have a tiara on top as its crown jewel!

EPCOT Completes Its Multi-Year Transformation

Before the pandemic, EPCOT underwent a comprehensive reimagining to modernize it for guests. While some of the changes, like the Spaceship Earth reboot, fell by the wayside, Imagineers still somehow managed to reinvent the front half of the park.

The former Future World area now consists of World Celebration, World Discovery, and World Nature. 

The final touch we’re all awaiting is Journey of Water | Inspired by Moana. This new water feature will open during the fall of 2023. Disney describes the experience as a “self-guided exploration trail.” It demonstrates the water cycle “from the skies to oceans and all the way back again.”

In tandem with this attraction, EPCOT will host the Disney100 celebration at Walt Disney World. During Disney100, EPCOT adds a limited-time lighting design for Spaceship Earth. 

You’ll find a more permanent offering at CommuniCore Hall. This place will become the home base for all EPCOT festivals. It’ll also host a character greeting with Mickey Mouse, who will wear a platinum outfit during Disney100. Disney calls the interaction itself Mickey & Friends. So, you should expect several members of the Sensational Six to appear sporadically. 

The final touch at EPCOT will happen at night. A new nighttime spectacular will replace Harmonious. Disney promises it “will unite us through commonalities of the heart in a dazzling display of fireworks, lasers, music, and light.” This show will include a new song as well. 

New Character Greetings 

During the pandemic, a casting shortage caused Disney to reduce the number of character interactions. Even after character hugging returned, Disney refused to go overboard with its offerings.

Thankfully, management has reconsidered. Character greetings require little money to operate while providing unforgettable memories for guests. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has already introduced new interactions with The Incredibles, Powerline Max, and Chip & Dale.

On April 22nd, Moana joins the fun as a character greeting at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Moana has proven to be one of the most popular movies not just on Disney+ but across all streaming services. So, this appearance should prove popular.

Similarly, Disney had previously announced the return of a Figment character greeting at EPCOT this summer, which is something guests will adore. Still, these two aren’t the most significant updates.

Mirabel from Encanto is coming to Magic Kingdom this fall! The lead character from Disney’s latest animated blockbuster will hold court at the Fairytale Garden, which Imagineers will decorate “with whimsical décor inspired by la Familia Madrigal.”  

Other New Thrills 

In addition to Moana, Animal Kingdom will offer other new thrills this year. The park turns 25 on Earth Day, so Disney will offer exclusive food and merchandise as part of the celebration. As a bonus, some rare characters will appear occasionally at the park. 

At Disney Springs, Summer House on the Lake remains on pace to open in 2023. Disney describes the upcoming restaurant as possessing a “breezy, beach house vibe.” More importantly, when you dine here, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of Lake Buena Vista. 

Summer House on the Lake will also feature The Cookie Jar. It’s “a dessert-focused market” at the restaurant. You’ll also find an exclusive wine brand here, Summer House Rosé. 

When this place opens, it’ll immediately join favorites like The Boathouse at the top of the Disney Springs food chain. So, it’s a different kind of new thrill. Once it opens you can be sure you don’t miss out by setting your dining reservation finder alert with Unlocked Magic

Disney posted this video to summarize all the excitement yet to come in 2023!

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