All the Thrills Coming to Walt Disney World Resort in 2023

by | Mar 15, 2023 | Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, Disney's Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World News, WDW Blog

Wondering what exciting updates and new experiences await throughout the rest of the year? We’ve got a look at everything that’s still to come across Disney World. 

We turned into the 2023 Walt Disney World News Download during the #AllTheDisneyThrills event to learn more about what’s coming to the theme parks, resorts, and beyond for the rest of this year. Here’s what you can look forward to!

TRON Lightcycle / Run Opens at Magic Kingdom Park

TRON Lightcycle / Run

Photo courtesy of Disney

The grand opening of the newest attraction at the Magic Kingdom is almost here! TRON Lightcycle / Run will welcome Guests to The Grid starting April 4, 2023

This highly-anticipated coaster expands the footprint of Tomorrowland within the Magic Kingdom and introduces an entirely new level of thrill for this Walt Disney World Theme Park. With thrilling high speeds, a high-tech lens that includes unique experiences like on-ride photo and video from multiple angles, and so much more, it’s a can’t-miss coaster you have to try on your next visit.

For a look at what’s in store, check out our experience riding TRON Lightcycle / Run here! Plus, there’s a whole new collection of incredible TRON merch available in Tomorrowland to celebrate the attraction. You can take a peek at the customizable and illuminating items here.

New Dining Options Will Open Across Walt Disney World

Roundup Rodeo BBQ

Photo courtesy of Disney

Foodies, you’re going to have so many new restaurants to try! There’s a host of new dining options coming, and you’ll be able to try delicious foods and experience immersive restaurants in the theme parks, at Disney Springs, and across the resorts.

One of the most exciting new openings is Roundup Rodeo BBQ, which will open March 23, 2023 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Located in Toy Story Land, this incredible new restaurant offers a family-style barbecue menu that’s both filling and oh-so-fun. You’ll dine in Andy’s backyard like you’re one of the toys yourself, surrounded by oversized landmarks. It’s like looking through the eyes of Andy’s toys! Take a look at the delicious menu that awaits at Roundup Rodeo BBQ here.

In addition to this new restaurant, Walt Disney World will welcome the return of Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa on April 1, 2023. Featuring coastal cuisine paired with a waterfront location, it’s a must-visit if you’re looking for a meal with an incredible view.

Over at Disney Springs, the all-new restaurant Summer House on the Lake will introduce a menu filled with California-inspired food that utilizes fresh regional ingredients. 

You also won’t want to miss a chance to try the new Cake Bake Shop by Gwendolyn Rogers at Disney’s BoardWalk, a French-inspired restaurant that feels like you’re stepping into a fairytale.

Character Encounters Are Back and More Magical Than Ever

Mirabel Character Encounter at Magic Kingdom

Photo courtesy of Disney

Now that Walt Disney World Resort is back in full swing, character encounters are back, too – which means you can once again meet and greet your favorite Disney faces! Fan favorites like Pete’s Silly Sideshow and Enchanted Tales with Belle are back, and a slew of new character experiences are coming to the theme parks in the months ahead.

For example, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Moana will appear and greet guests within the park! Over at Magic Kingdom Park, Mirabel will make her first appearance. And at EPCOT, Guests will be able to meet Mickey and friends at an all-new meet and greet in Communicore Hall. 

There’s one more surprise awaiting at EPCOT: Figment! That’s right, you’ll be able to experience a meet and greet with the dragon himself in a brand-new character experience that brings Figment to the Imagination! Pavilion later this summer.

Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Moana at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Photo courtesy of Disney

This year, Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom theme park is celebrating a big milestone: the 25th anniversary of its opening! Since 1998, this park has welcomed Guests and introduced them to the magic of nature through storytelling. 2023 will bring a number of special opportunities to honor this anniversary, including a collection of wild new merch and an array of new cupcakes, snacks, and other food items you can catch in the park.

Plus, don’t miss your chance to celebrate Animal Kingdom’s milestone anniversary with WDW Magazine! We’ll be diving into the history of this incredible theme park in an upcoming issue, with in-depth stories that’ll take you behind the scenes of the 25-year history (and offer a peek at what’s to come!). Get your copy here!

New and Returning Nighttime Spectaculars Light Up the Skies

Happily Ever After returns to Magic Kingdom

Photo courtesy of Disney

On April 3, 2023 two nighttime spectaculars will illuminate Walt Disney World Resort. Fans will have the chance to experience two old favorites returning for limited-time encores: Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom Park and EPCOT Forever at EPCOT.

Happily Ever After is back to light up the skies above Cinderella Castle, and this fan-favorite show has been freshly updated to captivate audiences in entirely new ways! While the castle is the star of the spectacular, you’ll also want to make sure to experience the new immersive projections that extend down Main Street, U.S.A. to bring increasingly more of the park into the experience.

At EPCOT, the waters of World Showcase Lagoon will come to life with EPCOT Forever once again. This impressive show combines lighting, lasers, water, and pyrotechnics as Guests explore Disney stories and take a look at the past, present, and future of EPCOT itself.

EPCOT’s Transformation Continues

EPCOT Communicore Hall

Photo courtesy of Disney

This fall, Guests will have a chance to see increasingly more of the multi-year transformation of EPCOT come to life! Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana will open later this year, welcoming Guests of all ages into a fun and interactive outdoor trail. Here, you’ll be able to play with water and learn about its life cycle – and, of course, you won’t want to miss the incredible appearance of Te Fiti!

Additionally, Guests will also be able to see the new World Celebration neighborhood in its final form this fall. As the central hub of EPCOT, it’ll be home to gardens that change each season, introducing a new way to welcome visitors into the park. Here, you’ll also find the new Communicore Plaza and Communicore Hall (which is where the Mickey and friends meet and greet will take place!), along with Dreamers Point, an inspiring overlook that showcases a statue of Walt Disney called “Walt the Dreamer.”

The Disney100 Celebration Comes to Walt Disney World Resort

New EPCOT Nighttime Spectacular

Photo courtesy of Disney

If you’ve been eagerly awaiting news about the Disney100 Celebration, good news: It’s here, and the party is headed to EPCOT! EPCOT will be the home of the Disney100 Celebration at Disney World, representing the past, present, and future of both the resort and all of its magic.

As the host theme park, EPCOT will be the spot to visit if you’re hoping to join in the celebration and explore different Disney100 events, experiences, and more. And there’s one more thrilling addition coming to EPCOT later in 2023: the debut of an all-new nighttime spectacular! Though we’re still waiting for an official name, Disney notes that the spectacular will include a dazzling display of music, pyrotechnics, lasers, and lighting, plus an original new song woven together with selections of Disney songs you already know and love. Stay tuned for more news on how the celebration will unfold here!

Thanks to Disney for hosting us on a 2-night #AllTheDisneyThrills Media Event where we were able to conduct interviews, learn about exciting updates at Walt Disney World, stay at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and experience several dining and attraction offerings. #AllTheDisneyThrills 

Posts by Heather Adams

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Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
epcot-clothing_creations-shop_chiu

Authored by
Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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