What’s Coming to Disney World This Week
This week, Walt Disney World turns 50 years old. Disney officials would never allow this milestone to pass without acknowledgment.
As such, the parks will spend the next 18 months celebrating Disney’s 50th (and 51st!) anniversary.
Plenty of changes are in the offing. So, let’s talk about everything coming to Walt Disney World this week.
Imagineers will unveil three new forms of daily/nightly entertainment on October 1st.
The first is Disney Enchantment, which will replace the suddenly closed forever Happily Ever After… at Magic Kingdom. So, we’re getting new fireworks this week.
Disney promises that this show will include digital projections on the buildings of Main Street, U.S.A., an irresistible proposition.
We’ve known about this new show for the longest of the three. Disney announced it early when EPCOT chose to end the storied run of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.
Harmonious took a while to put together, as demonstrated by the fact that a temporary show, EPCOT Forever, has ended the night recently.
Harmonious promises an unprecedented visual display. Its barges have resided at World Showcase Lagoon for a while, and they are stunning to behold.
The third show isn’t an end-of-evening fireworks display. Unfortunately, Disney’s Animal Kingdom still isn’t staying open that late.
As such, Disney has created a daytime offering at Discovery River Amphitheater, the former home of Rivers of Light.
The story will involve characters from The Lion King, A Bug’s Life, and Finding Nemo. They appear on oversized props and kites.
These kites will fly above Discovery River, adding a magical element to afternoons at the park.
Disney Beacons of Magic
Speaking of magical elements, all four Disney theme park landmarks will receive some plussing during the 50th-anniversary celebration.
At Magic Kingdom, Pixie Dust will add a sparkle to Cinderella Castle, and the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will have flittering fireflies.
Meanwhile, EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth has added reflective panels to create a stardust effect. The lighting reflections on display here will blow your mind.
Finally, the Hollywood Tower Hotel will display projection effects that are somehow better than the ones we’ve grown to love during the holiday season.
Disney promises that these EARidescent additions will dazzle guests over the next 18 months. As far as we know, only Spaceship Earth’s addition is permanent, though.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
Park officials had planned for three new attractions to debut in time for the anniversary event.
Sadly, the pandemic forced the delay of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Tron Lightcyle Power Run. So, we’re down two roller coasters for the time being.
We shouldn’t obsess over the negatives, though. Those two rides will join Walt Disney World’s lineup by 2023.
What we get for now is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. This EPCOT attraction anchors the new France pavilion expansion alongside La Crêperie de Paris.
Disneyland Paris has hosted a Ratatouille ride for several years, and it’s legitimately the most popular thing at either park.
So, fans have clamored for an American version, which we finally get in a matter of days.
Disney has indicated that Ratatouille will employ a virtual queue, at least for a while. As for the ride, it looks like this:
As for the restaurant, it’s got crepes. What more could you want?
Early Theme Park Entry
Disney surprised park guests by moving up the timeline for Early Theme Park Entry.
DVC members will receive this amenity every time they stay at an official Disney resort. It allows park entry 30 minutes before the official opening time.
So, when a theme park opens at 9 a.m., DVC members who use their points can enter at 8:30 a.m.
This extra time gives you a better chance at riding attractions like Slinky Dog Dash, Test Track, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Avatar Flight of Passage before the park officially opens.
Disney even threw in a surprise bonus this week. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance has joined the lineup.
When you visit Disney, you can and should sprint walk very quickly to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to ride it.
The Wave… of American Flavors has closed forever. Fans at Disney’s Contemporary Resort knew/feared this day was coming. Sadly, it did.
In place of The Wave, the Contemporary has constructed a new restaurant called Steakhouse 71.
The name pays tribute to the opening date of Walt Disney World in 1971. And if it sounds familiar, that’s because the Disneyland Hotel operated Steakhouse 55 until the pandemic.
As for the menu, it’s, well, lots of steaks.
For carnivores like me, that’s a good thing. However, for the more refined palates of Wave fans, it’s a step down in cuisine.
Please note that there are plant-based dishes as well.
Miscellany – pianist, Main Street Confectionary, Fab50 statues
You’ll notice three other things when you visit Walt Disney World in October.
First, the pianist is returning at Casey’s Corner after an extended absence.
Also, Main Street Confectionary will reopen on September 29th. Your favorite sweets shop closed for renovations in March.
Finally, you’ll see 50 different golden character statues across the four theme parks.
Disney calls them the Fab 50, and all of them are already in place. So, grab your phone and take lots of pictures! These statues will leave forever in March of 2023.