LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – From a toy-inspired land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to a milestone year for Disney’s Animal Kingdom to exciting additions at Disney Springs to an encore year for an Epcot festival, there’s plenty in store for guests to Walt Disney World Resort – and beyond – in 2018.
Here’s a look around:
Toy Story Land Comes to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
In summer 2018 Disney unwraps a joyful, toy-full surprise for its guests with the opening of the all-new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Stepping into their favorite Pixar blockbuster films, guests will feel like they’ve shrunk to the size of a toy as they play in Andy’s backyard with their favorite Toy Story pals, including Woody and Buzz. Using toys like building blocks, plastic buckets and shovels and game board pieces, Andy has designed the perfect setting for this land. This new 11-acre play space will include two new attractions and one expanded favorite:
- Inspired by the playful dachshund spinoff of Slinky, the American toy classic, Slinky Dog Dash will be a family-style coaster that will send riders dipping, dodging and dashing around turns and drops that Andy has created to stretch Slinky and his coils to the max.
- Bathed in music, lighting and sound effects, Alien Swirling Saucers is designed as a play set that Andy got from Pizza Planet, inspired by the first “Toy Story” film. Famous little green aliens from the movie are flying around in their toy flying saucers and trying to capture your rocket toy vehicle with “The Claw.”
- A third track has recently been added to the hugely popular Toy Story Mania!, which invites guests to take aim at 3D objects in a variety of whimsical, fast-paced games.
When it’s time for refreshment, Woody’s Lunch Box will be a new quick-service window serving tasty meals and old-fashioned soda floats. Walt Disney World Resort will collaborate with Mini Babybel to bring Woody’s Lunch Box to life.
New Dining and Entertainment at Disney Springs
Eight new dining concepts debut at Disney Springs in 2018, joining the stellar line-up of award-winning restaurants at this one-of-a-kind retail, dining and entertainment complex:
Opening this winter, The Edison is a lavish “Industrial Gothic” restaurant, bar and nighttime destination that will feature live entertainment, including cabaret. Adjacent to The Edison guests will enjoy a trio of modern Italian restaurant and bar concepts. Maria& Enzo’s will be an open and airy Italian trattoria featuring family-friendly dishes inspired by Sicily. Enzo’s Hideaway will pour Prohibition-era cocktails at its Tunnel Bar and offer hearty Roman dishes. Pizza Ponte will be the perfect place for a quick bite, with pastries, pizza, Italian sandwiches and espresso on the menu.
Chicago-based Levy Restaurants introduces Terralina Crafted Italian with James Beard award winner and “Top Chef Master” Chef Tony Mantuano. The new restaurant will feature dishes inspired by Mantuano’s adventures in Italy.
In spring 2018, Master Sommelier George Miliotes will bring his expertise to Disney Springs with Wine Bar George. With more than 100 wine selections by the bottle and glass, Miliotes will serve up wine education along with shareable plates, cheese and charcuterie.
Other openings slated for 2018 at Disney Springs include Jaleo, a Spanish concept by world-renowned Chef Jose Andres’ ThinkFoodGroup, and Wolfgang Puck Bar& Grill, a modern concept inspired by laid-back California dining.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Celebrates 20 Years
Majestic in its grandeur and showcasing the magic of nature with inhabitants that roam, run, crawl, fly, slither and swim; Disney’s Animal Kingdom will mark its 20th anniversary in 2018.
The vast, 500-acre park is Disney’s largest, providing a grand stage for the celebration of the world of animals and their natural habitats. Live creatures from mite-sized to mammoth call Disney’s Animal Kingdom home. Lush landscaping, Broadway-quality live shows, conservation themes and rides, attractions and adventures for all ages complete the scene.
As the park continued to evolve, it added a distant moon in 2017. Pandora–The World of Avatar transports guests to a mystical world of floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and breathtaking new experiences. Inspired by the blockbuster motion picture, AVATAR, the new land invites guests to explore a glowing landscape, encounter a larger-than-life Na’vi shaman and soar on the back of a fearsome banshee.
And debuting just in time for the park’s 20th anniversary is a new show featuring Russell and Dug from Disney•Pixar’s film “UP” This new experience will offer guests the chance to see Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his furry friend Dug as they discover species of birds from around the world in their newest adventure at the Caravan Theater in Anandapur Village. There will be “UP” close encounters each day with amazing winged creatures.
An Expanded Festival of the Arts at Epcot
Returning to Epcot for a second year, the expanded Epcot International Festival of the Arts will celebrate all things art – performing, visual and culinary – from January 12 to February 19 – with festivities running seven days a week and Disney on Broadway performing each weekend (Fridays through Mondays) throughout the festival.
Guests can kick off 2018 with world-class cuisine, remarkable visual art and an extraordinary lineup of live entertainment. Festival highlights:
- Seminars and workshops from top Disney, local and nationally-renowned artists including classes on drawing animation, photography and the art of making topiaries
- More than a half a dozen specially-created food studios offering a wealth of “artistic” culinary delights
- A host of performing artists that build on the already stellar lineup of authentic Epcot performers
- An encore performance of the Disney on Broadway series featuring Disney on Broadway stars singing favorite songs from award-winning Broadway shows.
Another returning favorite is Disney on Broadway dining packages, where guests can pair a meal at one of the participating Epcot restaurants with priority seating for the Disney on Broadway concert series.
For more information on the festival visit www.disneyworld.com/ArtfulEpcot or call 407-WDW-DINE (3463).
New Multi-Use Venue at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
ESPN Wide World of Sports will open a new multi-use sports and entertainment venue in 2018. It will seat more than 8,000 guests and have the ability to host six regulation basketball courts, six regulation volleyball courts or concert configurations. For cheer and dance events, it will accommodate performance and warm-up space and include a flexible design for one large competition space that can be set up for as many as four competition areas. Additional areas can be tailored for warm-up and practice, along with areas for judges and officials. There will be concessions throughout the building, and additional box office and entry to the complex.