New Experiences & Magical Summer Fun at Walt Disney World (Media Event Highlights)

By Brian Saeger

April 24th, 2016


As the summer is approaching towards the Central Florida area in the Walt Disney World Parks, a sense of awakening of summer fun is in your distinctive future. In case you missed earlier this week, Disney released information on new attractions and nightlife entertainment that is coming very soon if you’re visiting or a local in Orlando. Here’s a breakdown of the some of the highlights and things you to awake your summer at the Walt Disney World Parks from the media event coverage.


Disney Springs

The recently new name change from Downtown Disney towards Disney Springs is a whole new area for shopping, dining and a live entertainment district is coming very soon this summer. Disney Springs has a whole backstory of a town from a background of settlers, from the 1920s-1930s in fitting the whole vibe and theming of shops, dining, and live entertainment. Soon guests will able to experience a phase of shops opening in the town center, from some high named retailers like Sephora, Under Armour, Kate Spade, Volcom, Lacoste and many more coming soon with it. Most of these shops will begin starting May 15th, while the Town Center shops will be opening in phases by July 1st, according to the Disney Parks Blog.


(Image Courtesy © Orlando Sentinel)



From Frozen, Soarin’ Around The World, Turtle Talk With Crush, this park will have it all coming this summer, preferably one of my favorite parks at Walt Disney World over at Epcot. Guests who are fan of Frozen or not and can’t seem to let it go, they can experience a new attraction at the Norway Pavilion and can hop on a boat ride through Arendelle and meet the Frozen gang of Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff and many others in the ride. The boat ride, according towards Inside the Magic that: “It’s also worth noting that the runestones in the middle of the Royal Sommerhaus area are ripped straight from the Maelstrom ride, as a tip of the hat to Disney’s history. The entire area (and ride) will also be taking place AFTER the events of the movie, with peace returned to the land, and Elsa in control of her powers.” The Royal Summerhaus will be a character meet and greet spot for Anna & Elsa to meet guests, where currently they are at The Royal Princess Hall in the Magic Kingdom. No set release date for when “Frozen Ever After” will be opened up yet.


(Image Courtesy © Disney)

    According towards base tower you’re clear for lift off! Pack your bags and get ready to embark on a global journey across the world. Soarin’ fans, will soon be able to around the world of opening in both Walt Disney World and Disney’s California Adventure starting June 17th. Soarin’ Over California originated in Disney’s California Adventure in the Grizzly Run Airfield, before its migration towards Epcot where it’s located in the Land Pavilion. The Soarin’ Around The World overhaul in Epcot will receive a third theater and highly detailed visuals of 4K/1080p definition; currently Soarin’ in California Adventure has those visuals but no additional theater. Sadly the old aromas and smells won’t be returning back for the new update for new interactive smells will be added. Yes I know Redwood Forest and orange field fans, I’m going to miss those too. Potential soft openings for next month in May.

(Image Courtesy © Disney)

Preview of Soarin’ Around The World

   Dudes and Dudettes grab your shells, over at The Living Seas “Turtle Talk With Crush” will be also adding this summer of a whole new refurbished show with the brand new characters. Beginning early-May from the upcoming Disney Pixar’s “Finding Dory” Hank, Dory and rest of her friends will be swimming around with your host Crush as he talks, jokes and interacts with guests with along the new cast line up. Finding Dory will be swimming into theaters around June 17th, 2016.  1442233_orig

(Image Courtesy © Disney Pixar)

Animal Kingdom

The wild fun and experiences is soon to change coming this Memorial Day Weekend at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with brand new night time fun activities for guests that are visiting in the parks. First off starting May 27th, new park hours will officially go into affect by extending the park till 11pm. This is a first for Animal Kingdom since it officially opened up on Earth Day in 1998, where generally Animal Kingdom feels like a half day park but that will soon to change next month. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is getting a massive overhaul  starting in May, here are several things that guests can expect to see. this another breakdown of what is going to happen.

Kilimanjaro Safari After Dark

Hop inside an African caravan and strap on those night vision googles, when the sun goes down guests will now able to do a night time safari version of the popular attraction of the Kilimanjaro Safari. Special effects lighting will now be implemented allowing guests to see different African wildlife behaviors during the evening hours. In addition of two new animals are being added to the safari, African Hyenas and African Wild Dogs. 0414ZU_1141TA-640x420

 (Image Courtesy © Inside The Magic)

Tiffin’s Waterfront Restaurant

Brand new offerings are soon to come from this restaurant by Discovery River in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, dishes and cuisines will be inspired from all around the world.“Tiffin” is an Indian English word for a midday meal. Main entrees including a berbere-spiced lamb chop with Mustard Greens, Lentil Stew and Mint Chutney (Africa); Berkshire Pork Tenderloin with Huitlacoche Tamale, Hominy Succotash and Red Mole Sauce (South America), according to the Disney Parks Blog. Whose already hungry already reading this?!


(Image Courtesy © Disney)

The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic

   The rumored show finally came into confirmation earlier this week as this show is going to be the limited-time night show, holding guests over till the debut of the delayed “Rivers of Light” some point in Mid to Late May, confirmed by the Disney Parks Blog. This show will contain brand new music and special effects inspired by the hit live-action film “The Jungle Book”. 1

(Image Courtesy © Disney)

Rivers of Light

The highly anticipated new nighttime show was first announced last year at Disney’s D23 Expo, a brand new technological and special effects show for guests to be drawn in towards the beauty aspects and wonder of nature and natural light. The show has been in production 3-4 years now and it was unfortunately postponed due to technical difficulties. It was supposed to debut this past Friday, on the birthday of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This is Animal Kingdom’s first night time showing since the park first opened up its doors in 1998.

Two storytellers will be your hosts as they guide the “Rivers of Light”. Boats will cast out from the shore featuring all natural lighting of lanterns, with all natural lighting of lanterns, with the engagement of dance, and the background of water projections of animal spirits above the cosmos, that some cultures believed they pass through from one world to the next that creates the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). The Northern Lights is simply a beauty and creation of nature, and personally one of my favorite wonders of the cosmos. Walt Disney Imagineering is using never before footage from the “Disneynature” series and in collaboration with film composer, Don L. Harper and award winning master designer, Michael Curry. I was among of many looking forward seeing this show opening this summer but, “Rivers of Light” is soon be announced.

Rivers of Light Media Preview (Attractions Magazine)


(Image Courtesy © Disney Parks Blog)


The Tree of Life: Awakening

Combine nature and a sprinkle of pixie dust, (no wait firefly dust) as a map projection on the iconic focal point of the Tree of Life will engage and drawn guests into more nighttime activities. An awakening is bound to happen as fireflies are being use similar how the Magic Kingdom’s “Wishes” uses pixie dust for its show. The Tree of Life will be showing off beautiful and colorful nighttime stories nightly. Some of the projections during the media preview reminded me of scenes and silhouettes of “Bambi” and “The Lion King” for the map projections on the Tree of Life.


(Image Courtesy © Inside The Magic)

Tree of Life: Awakening Media Preview (Attractions Magazine)

Harambe Wildlife Parti & Discovery Island Carnivale 

    Two unique are about to commence once the sun goes down and the beat of the drums and dance fill the nighttime. The Wildlife Parti at the Harambe Village where guests can dance along with different entertainers and local street musicians to the beat of African vibe music. Guests can also part take in exotic cusisine and creations in the marketplace of Harambe. The Carnivale party is similar to the Harambe Parti as guests can also dance along in the spirit of the Discovery Island Community with entertainers of different costumes, slit walkers and different culinary cuisines too. This is sounding like a melting pot of fun for a whole evening once Disney’s Animal Kingdom nighttime hours begin in May.

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(Images Courtesy © Disney & SaveAtWDW)

Your Favorite Attractions At Nighttime at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

   Soon your also going to have new experiences on current rides, ride Kali River Rapids through the cover of darkness and getting drenched around every corner you turn. Experience Expedition Everest with the gorgeous back lighting of various bright colors shining on the mountain while you face the dangerous Yeti, the guardian of the Himalayan Mountains. Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama will be opened up late into the evening. Personally, Expedition Everest was the first coaster attraction I ever rode on and attended, when it opened up and still makes me come back for more.

Hollywood Studios

One of the most talked about parks on the property would have to be Disney’s Hollywood Studios due to the amount of closures and areas of the park being walled off. With the final performance of the Osborne Lights last year, its a big lost towards vacationers and locals during the holidays. We knew at some point with the departure of the Osborne Lights that these attractions were going close down for good (Honey! I Shrunk The Kids Play Area, Lights, Motors, Action!, Streets of America etc.) So far we know that the two biggest projects coming towards Hollywood Studios, announced last year at the D23 Expo, are the Star Wars Expansion and Toy Story Land, with an addition of a third track being added towards Toy Story Mania! New details have surfaced recently for both new lands


Toy Story Land will make you feel like you are the size of a toy and lets you explore Andy’s backyard which is full of toys and games he has brought for everyone to play with. This land is similar to the toy story land in Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland, guests will also encounter and meet everyone’s favorite space ranger, Buzz Lightyear and the wildest cowboy of the Wild West, Woody along rest of the gang. Details were also shown of the Slinky Dog Dash Coaster that were relieved by Senior Vice President of Walt Disney Imagineering, Kathy Magnum of a backstory that Andy has set up a Mega Coaster Play Kit and combined it with his other favorite toys.

The second attraction that will be for guests to experience is the Alien Swirling Saucers. The green little aliens from Pizza Planet will let you fly around in your own toy rocket vehicle while aliens fly around in the space saucers and try to get you with “The Claaawwww!!” “Oooooohhh!!”. If you can’t wait any longer, coming this Memorial Day weekend the third addition track for Toy Story Mania! is set to open, allowing for more guests to able to experience this 3D shooter type of attraction.

“I sense an awakening in the force”, guess that means the presence for a new expansion based on Star Wars. New images for previously known attractions, including the previously shown the Millennium Falcon ride and a Cantina where guests can out and interact with aliens. Scott Towbridge of WDI, the head of project quoted during the media days for Star Wars fans that, “There’s so much more to see and do at this remote outpost. There’s this great otherworldly street market right behind a unique collection of characters, aliens and droids. Here there are shops, you can sample the local food and try these really cool and unique drinks. That’s actually one of the things I’m most excited about bringing Star Wars off of the screen and into the real world, and that’s that we can bring all these immersive stories to life using all of our senses.”.

And if it was up to me I wouldn’t mind hanging out in the Cantina Bar with Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes, the iconic Cantina Band. And possibly getting a chance to run into Luke, Han, Chewie and Obi wan if I’m lucky enough. Grab your lightsaber and Jedi robes, the new media preview also showed off the new Star Wars fireworks “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” behind will debut later on this summer and will replace the current Star Wars fireworks ” A Symphony In The Sky”. It will also include dialog from the blockbuster film The Force Awakens. 

Slinky Dog Concept Art Video

New Star Wars Land Footage (Inside The Magic)


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(Image Courtesy © Disney/Lucasfilm)

   This summer is going to be massive and some “Oh Boy” magic fun with all these new attractions and experiences coming towards the Walt Disney World Parks. No official date is yet to be confirmed for the highly anticipated Star Wars Land but be sure to stay put and watch Skywalking Adventure, and your source for anything that is Disney goodness magic! There’s been an awakening…and the Disney guests have surely felt it for these new things to come for the parks. Comment down below about what park and attractions you’re most excited and highly anticipated for? For me it is defiantly going to be Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot.




2 thoughts on “New Experiences & Magical Summer Fun at Walt Disney World (Media Event Highlights)

  1. Brian,
    I love your enthusiasm, but please get someone to proof read your posts before you publish them. You’re butchering the English language my friend.


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