The long-awaited Star Wars Land is finally opening — and that’s not all.

By Carlye Wisel
December 23, 2018
Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

2019 is going to be a massive year for Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts, reshaping both parks as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens in California this summer and Florida in late fall. The 14-acre experience will bring lightsabers, rebel spies, cantina sips and two immersive "Star Wars" attractions to the parks, not to mention every bit of merchandise you’ve been dreaming of scooping up since first seeing Luke Skywalker and Han Solo on film.

Despite the trading outpost’s premiere being the most anticipated event of 2019, Disney has plenty more to offer up throughout the coming year. The next twelve months will bring Mickey Mouse's first-ever ride, never-before-seen entertainment, new restaurants and even a couple of new hotels to the Florida resort. There are even new ways to interact with beloved characters like Edna Mode and Mike Wazowski, cheers to Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday at a daily party and a new way to get to Epcot in a sky-high gondola that’s like a ride of its own.

With new celebrations coast-to-coast, loads of fresh meet-and-greets and three new nighttime shows, there’s going to be so much going on next year at the Mouse House that you won’t want to miss out on. Read on to discover the two new theme park lands, seven never-before-seen rides and near-dozen experiences that will kick off in 2019:

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

The long anticipated "Star Wars"-themed land, debuting on both coasts, will finally invite its first lightsaber-yielding Jedis on hallowed ground for the first time next year. Disneyland’s 14-acre land will open first, in the summer, while Walt Disney World’s will debut the second half of 2019. Each will bring with it two attractions — one in the Millennium Falcon and another on a quintessential Death Star — themed shopping, character interactions and a cantina bar, set to be Disneyland’s first.

Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration

Starting mid-January 2019, visitors to Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Florida can meet the couple in birthday costumes, visit a fun-filled pit-stop on Main Street, U.S.A. and meet Mickey’s trusted pal Pluto in Fantasyland’s Storybook Circus. A new Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party! will also enliven the area by Cinderella Castle each afternoon with character-led celebration of dancing and music, including new renditions of classic Mickey Mouse Club tunes.

Epcot Forever

Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, the long-running nighttime show at Epcot, will take its final bow in fall 2019, but before its replacement debuts in 2020, an evening fireworks spectacle featuring vintage music, effects and “special effects kites” — which one can only assume are drones — will honor the Florida park’s storied history.

Pixar Meet-And-Greets

The Incredibles will take over Pixar Place — previously home to Toy Story Mania!’s entrance — with character meet-and-greets and some fashion critique courtesy of everyone’s favorite designer, Edna Mode, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida. Snap photos with Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, FroZone and yes, Edna Mode during Municiberg celebrations starting mid-January 2019, and stop by Walt Disney Presents nearby to meet Mike and Sulley from "Monsters, Inc."

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

When it opens in Fall 2019, the first-ever Mickey Mouse ride will bring the whimsy and creative styling of Disney Channel’s popular new Mickey Mouse cartoons to life in a flagship attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. Expect eye-popping visuals throughout a zany adventure with Goofy, Donald and Daisy in tow.

A Lion King Celebration

Characters from "The Lion King" will spill out into the streets of Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World with the Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party, honoring the film’s 25th anniversary starting early 2019.

Disney’s Coronado Springs Hotel Expansion

The hotel’s new Gran Destino Tower will bring modern charm and an elegant entrance lobby to the Mexico and Spain-influenced resort when it opens at Walt Disney World in July 2019. Along with the 545 new guest rooms and 50 suites outfitted with upscale amenities, the 15-story tower will bring two new dining locations to the resort upon its debut: Three Bridges Bar & Grill, a waterfront eatery with scenic views and rooftop restaurant Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood.

Mickey’s Mix Magic

This new nighttime display will brings lasers, projections, lights and music celebrating the main mouse himself to Disneyland Park starting Jan. 18, 2019. Mickey will also appear in his own float at the start of Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, returning to the California theme park after a year-long hiatus.

New Experiences at Disney Springs

Jaleo, a Spanish restaurant helmed by famed chef José Andres, will soon open its sixth global location while City Works Eatery & Pour House, a beer-focused bar & restaurant offering 80 beers on tap and a slew of oversized TVs ready for keeping up with your home team, is slated to open summer 2019. The long-anticipated NBA Experience at Disney Springs, also set to debut next summer, will bring basketball-centric dining, shopping and competitive gaming to Walt Disney World’s downtown district.

Disney’s Skyliner

If you’re one to get excited about a trip on the Monorail, 2019 is going to be a banner year. The Disney Skyliner Gondola system, opening fall of next year, will connect four Walt Disney World resort hotels to the Florida theme parks, providing stunning overhead views, character-themed gondolas and convenient transportation between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the World Showcase side of Epcot.

Pixar Pier Attractions

Following Pixar Pier’s opening at Disney California Adventure this past summer, its final two rides will debut, completing the animation-themed land’s transformation. Jessie’s Critter Carousel and Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind will bring even more familiar Pixar characters to the waterfront expanse as well as breathe new light into previous park attractions.

Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will receive a taste of Cars Land at long last with a brand new show, helmed by the famed speed racer. Using high-tech screens and familiar faces from Radiator Springs, the new offering will bring the Pixar trilogy to life, as well as offer a meet-and-greet with Cruz Ramirez on site.

Wonderful World of Animation

As if there wasn’t enough to look forward to at Disney’s Hollywood Studios next year, the cinematic park will also debut a new nighttime show chronicling Mickey Mouse throughout the ages and a near-century of Disney animation. The projection-packed performance, which is likely to brim with Disney nostalgia, will debut in May 2019.

Disney’s Riviera Resort

Though details are still slim, the Mediterranean-inspired Walt Disney World hotel set to open in fall 2019 will be a new Disney Vacation Club property offering views of nightly fireworks, artistic touches culled from Walt Disney’s travels and transportation via Disney’s Skyliner gondolas.

Epcot’s space-themed restaurant

The immersive, futuristic eatery first announced at Disney’s D23 Expo 2017 is likely to open next year, bringing a glimpse of the stars from one’s table to the technology centric park.

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