Tiana's Bayou Adventure Sign and big drop - image by Dani Meyering

Awesome New Rides, Attractions, and MORE at Walt Disney World

It’s an exciting time at Walt Disney World with so many new rides, new experiences, and more openings for your family to experience! So, let’s dive in and explore all that’s new at Walt Disney World’s theme parks and resorts.

New for Summer 2024

With summer here there are already some new exciting experiences at Disney.

  • NEW RIDE at Magic Kingdom: Tiana’s Bayou Adventure June 28, 2024: Splash Mountain has made way for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure in 2024. This completely revamped attraction “digs a little deeper” into Tiana’s story after the events of the Walt Disney Animation Studios film “The Princess and the Frog.”
  • NEW CommuniCORE Hall & Plaza: This newest area of EPCOT was just unveiled where you can sample Festival Favorite foods, enjoy some air conditioning, new restrooms, a new stage for live shows, and even the NEW Mickey & Friends meet and greet area!
  • NEW SHOW at EPCOT “¡Celebración Encanto!” for the summer: From June 10-Sept. 6 a new summer sing-along featuring the beloved songs and story of “Encanto” is in development now. This new limited-time show, “¡Celebración Encanto!” runs several times throughout the day and you’ll also spot Mirabel and Bruno on the newly opened CommuniCore Plaza stage.
  • THE LION KING ANNIVERSARY at Animal Kingdom: The 30th anniversary of “The Lion King” animated film will prowl throughout the entire park from June 10 through Sept. 6. At Rafiki’s Planet Watch you can meet Timon and Rafiki. More anniversary celebrations will be announced soon.
  • NEW FREE SHOW “Disney Dreams That Soar” at Disney Springs: performing nightly May 24 through Sept. 2 for free at Disney Springs. This new drone show is visually stunning!

Special Drone Show at Disney Springs

Experience a magical display in the sky! “Disney Dreams That Soar” is a new drone show now at Disney Springs for the summer! It runs nightly from May 24 through Sept. 2, at 9:00 p.m. and 10:45 p.m.! Get ready with tips and what to expect.

“This spectacular new show is a mix of art and science. There are little moments that people should have a keen eye for, it’s like an amazing short film and you can try to tally up all the different Disney characters that appear – ones that can fly or have a dream of flying.”
– Disney Live Entertainment Executive Creative Director Tom Vazzana

Peter Pan drone display, during testing in France of the new nighttime show coming to Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Sylvain Beche, photographer)
Peter Pan drone display (Sylvain Beche, photographer)

Exciting Things to Come in the Future at Walt Disney World

There are some awesome new rides, attractions, and experiences in the works at Walt Disney World as we look into the future. Some big announcements were made at the D23 Convention, and Disney Parks continues to share more info on a regular basis. With summer here there are already some new exciting experiences at Disney.

COMING SOON to Magic Kingdom:

  • NEW ACT: Country Bear Jamboree: Country Music fans will be excited to visit the new Country Bear Musical Jamboree which will feature country music versions of Disney classics. This show is being put together with the talent of legendary Nashville musicians. Opening July 17, 2024!
  • NEW TAVERN: Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge: A first-of-its-kind Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge is coming to Magic Kingdom! At the D23 Expo it was hinted that the beloved barker bird that used to reside at the ride’s entrance will be part of the experience. More details will be added as they become available.
  • RIDE EXPANSION: Big Thunder Mountain: And a HUGE announcement from the D23 Expo – Characters and experiences from the movies “Coco” and “Encanto” are potentially coming to Frontierland in Magic Kingdom. And a concept that was first rumored among Disney fans decades ago, a Villian mountain-type experience may also come to life. The Disney Villians will have their own area as part of this expansion of Frontierland and Big Thunder Mountain area. No dates or confirmed construction for these potential projects have been announced. Disney executives shared concept art with D23 Expo attendees in September 2022. Then in September 2023 Bruce Vaughn of Disney Imagineering stated it could be the “biggest thing we’ve done in Magic Kingdom.”

COMING SOON to EPCOT:

  • REVAMPED RIDE: Test Track at EPCOT will be reimagined with the help of Chevrolet

COMING SOON to Hollywood Studios:

  • NEW SHOW: “The Little Mermaid – A Musical Adventure” will debut in the Animation Courtyard in  Fall 2024. You can expect new set pieces, incredible special effects, and your favorite songs from the original animated film.

COMING SOON to Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 

  • NEW REGION: Walt Disney Imagineering is planning to reimagine Dinoland U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom into a new land – inspired by a region sometimes referred to as “tropical Americas.”
  • NEW SHOW: Also at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a new Zootopia-inspired show will come to the Tree of Life. This new show is replacing “It’s Tough to Be a Bug.”

Related: The Coolest Things to Do at Disney World that are NOT at the parks

What’s NEW at Walt Disney World

While there are a ton of awesome new things to do at Walt Disney World on the horizon, this last year has been a big one with the debut of two new rides, new attractions, and even a new place to snap an unforgettable photo…

Walt the Dreamer statue in the new World Celebrations Gardens at EPCOT.
Walt the Dreamer statue in the new World Celebrations Gardens at EPCOT.

NEW “Walt the Dreamer” Statue and NEW World Celebration Gardens at EPCOT

We will start where it all began…with the man himself, Walt Disney. On December 5, 2023, what would have been Walt’s 125th birthday, the new “Walt the Dreamer” bronze statue was unveiled in the new World Celebration Gardens area of the park which opened on the same day.

This statue pays tribute to Walt later in his life when he was imagining ideas for the Florida Project and what ultimately became EPCOT. It’s pretty incredible to think of what has grown from this original idea, especially as the park undergoes the biggest transformation in its history.

Among the planned transformations is the NEW World Celebrations Gardens area of the park which also serves as a place of respite during the day with seating nooks and tables. And at night, it’s a spectacular sight to see as it lights up from the ground up.

New lights at Celebration Gardens at EPCOT
New lights inspired by EPCOT’s five-ring logo at World Celebration Gardens. Photo by Laura Byrne.

 

Long-time fans of Epcot will appreciate the touches here that pay tribute to the park’s early days. “At the heart of the park, we’ve got a brand new location that is inspired by the five-ring logo of Epcot. But what’s really unique and one detail I love is we’re bringing this illuminated pavement detail so at night you’re actually getting the effect, and this is actually inspired by something that lived at Epcot before,” said Zach Riddley, Portfolio Executive, New Experience Development with Walt Disney Imagineering.

NEW Fireworks Show at EPCOT

“Luminous: The Symphony of Us” debuted at EPCOT on December 5, 2023.  This Disney expert guide to Luminous (EPCOT’s Fireworks) will help you with the best viewing spots. And, there’s a guide to Viewing Fireworks Outside the Parks that will help you find a good spot if you wish to see the show without a theme park ticket.

NEW Journey of Water – Inspired by Moana

Journey of Water – Inspired by Moana opened on October 16, 2023. The World Nature section of the park, formerly known as Future World West, near The Seas with Nemo and Friends is home to this new playful attraction.

Journey of Water features a 16-foot tall statue of Te Fiti, the Mother Island in the movie Moana. We’re sharing the things we love about Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana here.

NEW Ride at EPCOT: Guardians Of The Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Guardians of the Galaxy ride at EPCOT.
Guardians of the Galaxy ride at EPCOT.

EPCOT keeps getting better. The NEW Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind ride is receiving lots of hype. We talked with Kevin Doxey, Show Set Designer at Walt Disney Imagineering, during the ride’s media preview. “The overall experience, especially in the Phase Chamber [the preshow area before the ride], when I was working on it and thinking about it, the kids are going to think they’ve been teleported to space.”

For details on how to experience this new ride, check out our Parent’s Guide to Guardians of the Galaxy.

NEW Characters to Meet at EPCOT: Moana, Figment, Asha

Fans are now able to meet the beloved character, Figment, at EPCOT. This adorable purple dragon has been a part of EPCOT since 1982! Also, Moana herself arrived in World Nature on October 16, 2023, and started greeting guests in her own dedicated space near Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana in EPCOT.

The female character Asha from the new Disney Animated Film “Wish” debuted at EPCOT, near the start of World Showcase. Her schedule currently shows through June 30, 2024.

Other NEW favorite additions at EPCOT:

In the last couple of years, EPCOT unveiled the expansion of the France pavilion to include a NEW ride, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

There are new places to eat at Walt Disney World and EPCOT including Connections Eatery near the main entrance of the park and the Space 220 restaurant, where you board a space elevator and journey 220 miles above Earth for an out-of-this-world dining experience. There’s also a new restaurant at the Japan pavilion: Shiki-Sai.

You can book dining reservations via the My Disney Experience app.

Space 220 dining room at EPCOT.
Space 220 dining room at EPCOT.

What’s New at Magic Kingdom

There are some exciting new additions at Magic Kingdom too, including the much-anticipated thrill ride, TRON Lightcycle.

NEW Ride: TRON Lightcycle / Run:

The FASTEST coaster at Walt Disney World officially arrived on April 4, 2023. Our team got to step into The Grid early.

We spoke with Missy Renard, Creative Director at Walt Disney Imagineering during our preview before the ride opened to the public. “I’ve taken my 12-year-old on it, she absolutely loves it. People from all age groups love it. We recently had a 74-year-old guest ride it, so it spans all age groups – as long as the height requirement is met” explained Missy.

Guests aboard TRON Lightcycle Run at Magic Kingdom
Guests aboard TRON Lightcycle Run at Magic Kingdom

Besides being super fast it is a multi-sensory experience. So what will your kids think of it? And what do parents need to know about Disney’s new TRON coaster?

For details on how to experience this new ride, check out our Parent’s Guide to TRON Lightcycle / Run.

NEW Characters at Magic Kingdom:

Hooray – character meet and greet experiences are available across Walt Disney World, including most character dining locations too. We’ve got Tips and Tricks for the Best Disney Character Dining, including what to do if you can’t get a reservation, and other kid-friendly alternatives.

  • Mirabel from Encanto Debuts at Magic Kingdom: Fans of the hit movie “Encanto” have been waiting on a miracle in hopes more experiences featuring the new characters they love would begin appearing at Walt Disney World. Mirabel is currently greeting guests daily in the Fairytale Garden area of Magic Kingdom. You can also spot her in the “Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade” along with Bruno and other adventurous Disney characters like Miguel from “Coco,” Nick and Judy from “Zootopia,” Max, Goof, Moana and more.
Mirabel at Magic Kingdom
Mirabel at Fairytale Garden at Magic Kingdom. Photo by Mariah Wild for Walt Diseny World.
  • NEW GHOSTLY CHARACTER: The Hatbox Ghost Debuts at The Haunted MansionThe Hatbox Ghost, a beloved character in the original version of Haunted Mansion at Disneyland in California has now officially debuted at The Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World!
Awesome New Rides, Attractions, and MORE at Walt Disney World

Hatbox Ghost at The Haunted Mansion ride at Magic Kingdom.

What’s NEW at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios has undergone some major transformations over the last few years with the addition of Toy Story Land and the much-anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. And the new things to do at Hollywood Studios keep on coming…

  • NEW Star Wars Characters: The beloved character and star of her own Disney+ series, Asohka Tano joined the Star Tours attraction as of Friday, April 5, 2024, as well as new environments from the latest additions to the Star Wars universe.
  • NEW: Live-action Ariel at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: You can now meet the live-action version of “The Little Mermaid.” Her location is inside Walt Disney Presents – a great museum-like attraction that is a must-do for any Disney fan. Be sure to check the calendar.
Ariel From “The Little Mermaid” Live-Action Story Arrives at Disney
Photo by Abigail Nilsson

If you enjoy learning how to “theme park like a local” you’ll enjoy Orlando-Parenting.com. Our group of Orlando local parents will keep you up to date on Orlando things to do with kids.