Editor’s Note: While things have changed with Walt Disney World due to COVID, this piece on Walt Disney World’s newest attractions should give you a window into some of what to expect on your next trip, whether it is this year or sometime in the future. The post was originally written in February 2020.
In the last 12 months, Disney World has seen a lot of changes. A new land with new rides is open. A new mode of transportation that connects hotels, Epcot and Hollywood Studios. And a re-imagined ride has reopened its doors. And one park is being re-imagined with lots and lots of construction. If you are planning a trip to Disney World anytime soon, there are a lot of new things to see and do and this is a trend that will only continue as Disney World plans to celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2021.
Let’s check out the latest updates from the last 12 months.
Okay, you can’t do a Disney World update and not talk about Galaxy’s Edge, which is also open at Disneyland in California. This 14-acre land expansion is some of Disney’s Imagineer’s finest work. You walk through the tunnel into a land that lives and breathes Star Wars. Everything, even the water bottles, popcorn, food, scenery, and rides have you feeling like you just walked into a Star Wars episode. The cast members greet you with sayings like Bright Suns, refreshers, rising moon, just to name a few as they speak their native language of Batuuese, which luckily is similar to English with minor changes, you can learn more about here.
The food is also out of this world and takes you to another planet. You can get overnight oats, but they include tropical fruit and something like boba. The Ronto wraps at Ronto Roaster bring me back to my deployment to Afghanistan with a twist. You can grab breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Docking Bay 7. Or if you are lucky you can snag a reservation for Oga’s Cantina serving non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks along with a tasty jello surprise is the only way I can think to describe Oga’s Obsession and other small snacks. You won’t find a full meal at Oga’s and most of the seating is standing room only. But it is a must-do if you are lucky enough to get a reservation. Reservations at Disney World are made 180 days in advance.
Lastly, we can’t forget to talk about the two new rides that are both open within the land. The first ride is the Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run. This is a cross between Star Tours (which is still open in Hollywood Studios) and a video game. Each member of the crew of six has a job to help meet your mission. The three jobs are pilots, gunners, and engineers. Based on how your team performs leads to points or you can forget about the points and enjoy the ride.
The second ride is the newest and is a 20-minute immersion into the Star Wars experience. When the ride was over my only disappointment was that it was already over. From the moment you get your mission brief you feel like you are part of the resistance and the cast members play their roles well. Getting a seat on this highly anticipated ride isn’t difficult, but requires you to arrive at the park before rope drop. If you are staying at Disney World Resort buses start running an hour before park opening and you are able to get into the park with plenty of time to be ready. You can read more about tips and tricks on getting a boarding pass here.
Wow, that was a lot, but it is just one of the new additions to Disney World. The second new addition is the opening of the Disney Skyliner. The Disney Skyliner connects Epcot to Hollywood Studios and also connects to these Disney World hotels, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach Resort, Riviera Resort, and Art of Animation. In our past trips, we rarely used the Park Hoping option available in the Mickey Salutes Disney Tickets. But the Skyliner made it fun and easy to jump from park to park. Another update to mention about park hoping is that the monorail no longer requires you to go through park security when you make the jump from the Magic Kingdom to Epcot making this transportation option even more desirable.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
The last new addition to Disney World is the reimagining of the Great Movie Ride which has been rethemed to give Mickey his first attraction. Mickey and Minnie’s runaway railway is a dark ride using a new technology known as 2 and ½ D (3D without glasses) giving depth to the 2D environment. Opening March 4th this is going to be another great addition to Disney Hollywood’s Studio. And unlike Rise of Resistance, Fast Passes are available for this new ride.
What new experience are you most excited about at Disney World? Have you planned your next Disney World vacation or are you waiting until 2021 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Magic Kingdom?