Find out everything new coming to Walt Disney World this year


The coming months will bring exciting changes and new additions to Walt Disney World Resort. Here’s what to know before you plan a trip to visit the mouse.

There are changes afoot at Walt Disney World Resort (WDW), from brand new nighttime spectaculars to the opening of an entirely new land: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. In the coming months, WDW will also say goodbye to some iconic attractions and welcome back events park-goers love, like the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

“There is so much to see and do at Walt Disney World this spring and summer,” Katie Winn Quinn, a marketing manager for WDW, told Culturess. “Across Walt Disney World, it’s a great time to visit.”

With changes on the way, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about what to check out at each Walt Disney World location. If you’re planning a visit to the resort in the coming months, we’ve got you covered with this comprehensive list of all things new and magical at WDW.

Mickey and Minnie’s Surprise Celebration. Photo: Disney

Magic Kingdom Park

A new nighttime event comes to Magic Kingdom this summer, featuring Disney villains we love to hate, like Jafar and Malificent. From June and August, guests can buy tickets to Disney Villains After Hours, a special event that will occur on 10 select nights. (Note: the event is a separate purchase from standard park tickets.)

“During that event, we’ll premier a special new stage show – “Villains Unite the Night” – with some of your very favorite villains,” said Winn Quinn.

The event will include themed food and beverage offerings as well, like the “Not-So-Poison Apple Cupcake,” a Snow-White-themed desert that first made its appearance at the 2018 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Evil enthusiasts can also shop villain-themed merchandise.

“And, just like any of our Disney After Hours events, we’ll have more than 20 Magic Kingdom attractions open, so you can expect shorter wait times on things like Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain,” Winn Quinn added.

In addition to Disney Villains After Hours, guests can still pose for a photo with Mickey and Minnie Mouse in their birthday finery as a part of Mickey and Minnie’s Surprise Celebration – a sweet celebration of everyone’s favorite mice and their 90th birthdays.

“And, you also get to dance with them both at the Move it! Shake it! MousekeDance it! Street Party,” Winn Quinn said. “It’s so much fun for the whole family and will last through September 30th.”

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. Photo: Disney/Harrison Cooney


“Now is absolutely the time to go experience Illuminations: Reflections of Earth before the show takes its final bow on September 30th after more than 20 years,” said Winn Quinn of the soon-to-be-gone nighttime spectacular. “This amazing nighttime spectacular of lasers, lights and pyrotechnics will be coming to a close to make way for a new offering, so you’ll want to come out and see it one last time this summer.”

Epcot also offers the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival , an event brimming with beautiful flowers, themed activities and exciting food and beverage offerings, through June 3. And, rejoice, wine-lovers: On August 29, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is back, and runs for a record 87 days, ending on November 23. So, you’ll have plenty of time to sip Cabernet while standing in line for a photo with Pluto.

Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party. Photo: Disney

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom there are no worries, because it’s all about celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Lion King. At the Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party, guests can dance with iconic characters like Timon and Rafiki. Starting Memorial Day weekend, the Tree of Life will tell a new story when the sun goes down.

“It’s a new story that tells of Simba’s journey with beautiful artistic imagery and a musical score inspired by the film,” Winn Quinn explained. “It’s absolutely breathtaking and will run from Memorial Day weekend through September 30”

Also starting on Memorial Day weekend is “Rivers of Light: We are One” – a new chapter in Animal Kingdom’s nighttime spectacular. Winn Quinn says the show will combine new footage from Disney animation and Disney Nature and will focus on how humans and animals are deeply connected.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Photo: Disney Parks

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Perhaps the most anticipated upcoming addition to WDW is Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, an entirely new land that will open on August 29. While exploring the planet of Batuu, guests will interact with interplanetary travelers, sample cuisines from around the Star Wars galaxy and get an opportunity to pilot the Millennium Falcon.

Hollywood Studios also launched a new nighttime spectacular on May 1: Wonderful World of Animation. The show uses fireworks, pyrotechnics and projected animated sequences to tell a touching story of the history of Disney animation. (Don’t miss the sweet audio quote from Walt Disney himself at the end of the show.)

Hollywood Studios also celebrates its 30th anniversary this summer, so be on the lookout for exclusive treats and merchandise celebrating this milestone.

“There is so much happening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios,” said Winn Quinn, “from Toy Story Land to amazing new shows this summer, there are lots of new things coming on the horizon.”

Disney Springs

On August 12, the NBA Experience opens at WDW’s shopping, entertainment and retail area, Disney Springs. Guests will be able to fully immerse themselves in the NBA, from dribbling a basketball to checking out player stats.

“This is really bringing together the Disney magic and the thrill of the NBA,” said Winn Quinn. “It’s an entertainment destination like you’ve never seen before – you’ll get to step into a modern-day basketball arena and enjoy over 13 immersive, hands-on experiences.”

Other magical happenings

“Even at our Disney resort hotels, there’s something new,” said Winn Quinn. “We’ve got the Gran Destino Tower opening at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort this July, and atop that 15-story tower is an amazing new table service restaurant – Toledo Tapas Steak and Seafood – which will offer beautiful views of the Walt Disney World resort.”

The Disney Skyliner – a sky gondola system – will also open later this year, transporting guests between Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and four WDW resort hotels.

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WDW’s spring and summer events disappear at the end of September to make way for Halloween and Christmas festivities.