Out with the old and in with the new — and nowhere is that more true than at Disney parks across the country.
This year will bring new rides, entertainment and interaction with characters from your favorite movies and nostalgia from trips past. From fresh Star Wars experiences and Epcot’s artistic renaissance to some stunning never-before-seen attractions at both parks, here’s everything debuting at Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts over 2017:
Star Wars Guided Tour
Walt Disney World’s first-ever Star Wars Guided Tour will debut at the top of the year, featuring seven hours of character interactions, insider experiences, and themed dining for wannabe Jedis and Darth Vader obsessives. Day guests to Disney’s Hollywood Studios will also witness new additions to the park’s robust lineup of Star Wars entertainment with AWR Troopers from the new Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Epcot International Festival of the Arts
Epcot International Festival of the Arts will debut for six weekends starting January 13 at Walt Disney World, highlighting works by famed Disney artists, live Broadway-style theater performances, and eye-popping culinary creations.
Main Street Electrical Parade
The long-adored Main Street Electrical Parade, which ended its 45-year run at Walt Disney World earlier this year, will have a limited-time engagement at Disneyland Resort, which began on January 20.
Magic Band 2
MagicBand 2, the forthcoming redesign to Walt Disney World’s all-in-one wristband-key, will be rolled out throughout early 2017.
Rivers of Light Unveiling
The long-overdue unveiling of Rivers of Light, the lively evening entertainment at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World, will arrive in early 2017 after nearly a year of delays.
Planet Hollywood Reopening at Disney Springs
Planet Hollywood will be reopening at Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs with an observatory theme, massive domed video wall, and burgers and sandwiches designed by Guy Fieri. Paddlefish, a steak and seafood-focused restaurant taking over the iconic paddleboat that previously held Fulton’s Crab House, is set to open around the same time as well. Later on in the year, the revamped downtown district will welcome the first East Coast location of The Edison, an art and architecture-inspired nightclub in Downtown Los Angeles.
The Polite Pig Restaurant Opening
The Polite Pig, a new outpost from James Beard Award-winning Orlando restaurateurs James and Julie Petrakis, will open at Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs in the spring.
Miss Adventure Falls Ride
Miss Adventure Falls, Disney’s longest-ever ride at either of its water parks, will also debut at Typhoon Lagoon in Florida this spring.
New Additions at the Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World
With the new name for its Disney Vacation Club wing—Boulder Ridge Villas—already realized, a large portion of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World will complete its overhaul, adding a freshly redesigned pool and mining-themed water tower. Expect Geyser Point Bar & Grill restaurant to open around February, with the resort unveiling its unique waterside Copper Creek Villas & Cabins later in the year.
Memorial Day Weekend
Pandora — The World of Avatar Opening
Pandora — The World of Avatar will unveil itself at Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World on May 27th, 2017, when the wait for its state-of-the-art bioluminescent forest and unparalleled ride technology on two new attractions will finally be over.
Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! Opening
Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! will open at Disney California Adventure open at Disney California Adventure on the same exact day, May 27, 2017. It is an impressively short turn-around, considering The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror just closed on January 2, 2017.
Hall of Presidents Re-opening
The Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom will re-open after a six-month hiatus with a new audio-animatronic of America’s 45th president, Donald Trump.
The biannual D23 Expo isn’t just a fan convention with celebrity panels, award ceremonies and sneak previews—it’s where Disney reveals its biggest plans and newest attractions. (Both Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land were announced at the last D23 Expo in 2015.) Expect something big by way of Disney Parks, and of course, stay tuned to Travel + Leisure in mid-July for up-to-the-minute details.
Disneyland Railroad, Rivers of America, and Fantasmic! Return to Disneyland
After being closed temporarily for Star Wars Land construction, Disneyland Railroad, a redesigned Rivers of America with its waterfront attractions, and evening show Fantasmic! will return to Disneyland in the middle of 2017.
Upgrades Coming to Epcot
When Epcot celebrates its 35th anniversary on October 1, 2017, something special will be happening—even if it’s currently a surprise. Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek promised of updates and upgrades coming to Epcot at D23’s Destination D fan conference in November, emphasizing a dedication to becoming more relevant, family-focused, timeless and "more Disney," leaving much to the imagination.
Wine Bar George Opens at Walt Disney World
Master Sommelier George Miliotes, who was a member of the opening team of Disney’s Contemporary Resort at California Grill, will provide over 100 different pours at Wine Bar George when it opens at Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs in fall of next year.
New Footage in Star Tours
Expect new footage and scenes from Episode VIII to make its way into Star Tours at Disneyland and Walt Disney World when the latest Star Wars film debuts in theaters in December. It’s not just for 2017, either—Star Tours will continue to feature refreshed scenes from forthcoming movies in the future, allowing the ride to provide new experiences for years on end.