What's Coming Next at Walt Disney World

March 15, 2023, 10:00 PM · Let's recap all the news from this week's "All the Disney Thrills" press event at the Walt Disney World Resort, including opening dates for Disney new TRON roller coaster and Toy Story BBQ restaurant.

Roundup Rodeo BBQ, a new table-service, fixed-price, family-style restaurant, will open in Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios on March 23.

On April 3, the Happily Ever After fireworks show returns to the Magic Kingdom, this time with Cinderella Castle's projections extending down Main Street USA.

Epcot Forever also returns the same evening.

On April 4, TRON Lightcycle Run, Disney's new Vekoma family coaster, will open in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom.

On April 22 - the 25th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom - Moana will begin greeting guests in Discovery Island.

Coming This Summer

Here's more meet-and-greet news: Figment will return to meet guests in the Imagination pavilion at EPCOT, starting sometime this summer.

In addition, Disney will install the "Tiana’s Foods" water tower at the site of the former Splash Mountain, which is now undergoing its transformation into Tiana's Bayou Adventure, a "The Princess and the Frog" makeover of the flume ride that will open sometime in 2024.

Tiana's Bayou Adventure construction
View this week of construction on Tiana's Bayou Adventure, where the new water tower will be installed next to the former Chickapin Hill.

Coming This Fall

The Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana walkthrough attraction will debut in EPCOT's World Nature.

Mirabel from Encanto will greet guests in the Fairytale Garden at Magic Kingdom, "which will be transformed with whimsical décor inspired by la Familia Madrigal," according to Disney.

Later This Year

EPCOT will host the Disney100 celebration at Walt Disney World Resort, following the kickoff of the company-wide celebration at Disneyland in January.

In other EPCOT news, CommuniCore Hall will open in World Celebration, featuring the new Mickey & Friends character location.

CommuniCore Hall
Concept art courtesy Disney

Mickey & Friends

And EPCOT will be getting a new nighttime spectacular on the World Showcase lagoon, replacing Epcot Forever, which will return April 3 after Harmonious closes.

New nighttime spectacular at Epcot
Concept art courtesy Disney

"This special show - through music pyrotechnics, lasers and lighting - reflects the commonality in all of us," Show Director Tom Vazzana said. "You can be you. I can be me, and we could all be together in this one beautiful show."

Finally, a new California-inspired restaurant - Summer House on the Lake - will open in Disney Springs later this year, including The Cookie Jar, a "dessert-focused market" serving freshly baked cookies and pastries.

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Replies (7)

March 16, 2023 at 1:03 AM

Does 2025 have anything officially in store? I'm worried that Disney World is slowing down their construction and will become stingy with new attractions. They've had a good run recently with Pandora 2017, the DHS additions in the immediate pre-covid years, Ratatouille 2021, Cosmic Rewind 2022, Tron 2023. Tiana's is coming 2024. But what after that and how long the wait? They had that really vague presentation from D23 but hopefully more concrete news comes soon.

Regardless, if you havent been to WDW in a while, lot of new good stuff in store for you.

March 16, 2023 at 6:00 AM

I suspect that Disney's announcements for 2025 and beyond will start coming at the Destination D23 event this fall.

March 16, 2023 at 8:22 AM

Has Disney indicated what will be housed inside of Communicore Hall? They love showing all those concept drawings, but all I can glean from those is that it looks like some type of futuristic art exhibit. Will there be attractions or activities to do in Communicore, or does the opening just represent the elimination of the construction walls that have cordoned off the central spine of FutureWorld?

Does it concern anyone else that the new EPCOT show that's supposed to open @6 months from now doesn't even have a name yet? Call me skeptical, but it feels like this is being thrown together on the cheap just to advertise something new for the park when the primary construction work is completed. Disney usually titles their nighttime spectaculars long before they debut (along with giving some overarching theme for the show), yet Disney has been really hush hush regarding this show.

Will Figment be meeting guests alongside Dreamfinder, or will he be a giant, person-in-a-suit character? I think it's smart for Disney to exploit the surging popularity in EPCOT's original character, but he needs to be presented correctly so as to not undermine what made the character so popular in the first place. If they don't want to use puppetry, I could totally see Disney using their new miniature digital character technology (Tinkerbell) for a meet and greet with Figment, or at least a robotic miniature like what they did with Starlord and Baby Groot. I could give or take Dreamfinder, but please let it be anything but giant human-sized plush!!

March 16, 2023 at 8:26 AM

My silly guess for the new EPCOT show? IllumiNations - ONE.

And I agree, wholeheartedly, on Figment.

March 16, 2023 at 10:34 PM

Disney will be compelled to make some sort of announcement soon to counter Epic Universe’s 2025 opening.

March 17, 2023 at 12:05 PM

@Russel, I think Disney mentioned Figment will be huggable, so I'm assuming he'll be a traditional character costume. I agree though, a puppet or the new animatronic would both be awesome.

March 22, 2023 at 3:36 PM

I shudder to think how they're butchering my beloved Splash Mountain...

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