New Rides at Disney World – What’s Coming in 2023 and Beyond
What are the new rides at Disney World? Walt Disney World is always growing and improving each year which means we can expect something new at the parks constantly. Whether it is a brand new attraction, a park celebration or improved areas there is always something new at Walt Disney World.
This year at Walt Disney World brings a highly anticipated new attraction along with the opening of other projects that have been in the works the past few years.
Keep reading for new rides at Disney World in 2023.
New Rides at Disney World
Before we dive into all the details of what is opening at Walt Disney World in 2023, let’s first look at the calendar of new Walt Disney World additions. These are all the dates we have now for what is new at Walt Disney World in 2023.
New at Disney 2023
- Magic Kingdom Park’s TRON Lightcycle Run opened April 4th in Magic Kingdom.
- Happily Ever After fireworks and EPCOT Forever returned to Walt Disney World April 3rd.
- Roundup Rodeo BBQ opened in Toy Story Land in March.
No Specific Date
- Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana is set to open in Fall 2023.
- Figment meet and greet coming to EPCOT in 2023.
- Hatbox Ghost Coming to Haunted Mansion in 2023.
- EPCOT Disney100 Nighttime Spectacular in 2023.
- EPCOT Construction to finish in 2023.
- Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opening in 2024- Splash Mountain replacement.
- Expansions Teased for Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.
Keep reading for specific details about new rides at Disney World!
New Rides at Disney World- TRON Lightcycle/Run
One of the most anticipated Magic Kingdom new rides at Disney World this year is the TRON Lightcycle/Run which opened in Magic Kingdom on April 4th 2023. This new attraction has been in the works at Walt Disney World for years and guests are eager to experience this new attraction this year!
TRON is NOT using a standby line and is only accessible using a virtual queue or paid Lightning Lane access. You can read more in our TRON virtual queue guide on how to experience this new attraction.
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Happily Ever Fireworks Return to Magic Kingdom
While not one of the new rides at Disney World, nighttime spectaculars are just as worthy of fanfare and excitement. Arguably one of the best fireworks shows at Walt Disney World, Happily Ever After, has returned to Magic Kingdom on April 4th 2023. Happily Ever After was replaced by Enchantment, a show created for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary which ended its run in March 2023.
Many guests are thrilled to see Happily Ever After return and the return of the fireworks show is highly anticipated for 2023. Find out how to get the best fireworks spot in our Walt Disney World fireworks guide.
EPCOT Forever Returns
Harmonious, a nighttime spectacular at EPCOT, ended its limited run for Walt Disney World. It has now been replaced (temporarily!) by EPCOT Forever. Harmonious was created for the Walt Disney World 50th celebration which came to an end March 2023.
EPCOT Forever is a celebration of Epcot’s musical history and a celebration of the 40 year legacy of Epcot featuring fireworks, music, lighting, lasers, and special effects kites. Some of the music in the show comes directly from infamous attractions in Epcot like Journey Into Imagination, Spaceship Earth, and Soarin’.
New EPCOT Disney100 Nighttime Spectacular 2023
Walt Disney World is developing a brand new nighttime spectacular in honor of Disney’s 100th anniversary celebration that will debut in 2023. No more details have been released quite yet but it’s likely we’ll see this come later in 2023 as EPCOT Forever has already been announced as replacing Harmonious after it ends its run in April 2023.
New Rides at Disney World- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
EPCOT is a must see park since it also is home to one of the best new rides at Disney World. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is the newest attraction at EPCOT and it’s a must see for your visit. See what all the hype is about in our Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind tips and strategy guide.
New Toy Story Land Restaurant
A new restaurant is now open in Toy Story Land! Roundup Rodeo BBQ in Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios opened in Marc 2023. The story goes that Andy built this new restaurant to be a rodeo arena made out of his favorite games and play sets. Guests will feel like they’ve been shrunk down to the size of a toy themselves.
See our full review of the new Roundup Rodeo BBQ in our guide!
New Rides at Disney World- Moana Journey of Water
Another experience that’s new at Disney is the Moana themed experience coming to EPCOT in Fall 2023. Moana’s Journey of Water is in the new World Nature Neighborhood in EPCOT (more about EPCOT construction updates further down in the article!) not far from Spaceship Earth. Journey of Water will seek to immerse guests in a lush environment focused around the cycle of water as guests interact and play with water.
The eye catching part of this experience is the 16 foot tall Te Fiti that you will encounter in this new Moana experience. Disney World construction updates early on were able to easily spot the top of Te Fiti from the monorail due to its sheer size! Read about the fully story in our Moana’s Journey of Water guide.
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Splash Mountain Retheme
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is the new ride theme for Splash Mountain inspired by “The Princess and the Frog”. Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World is now closed and the process of this major retheme has already begun. The story of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will begin after the film ends and focus on a musical adventure to prepare for Princess Tiana and Louis’s first Mardi Gras performance.
There is no official opening date announced yet to add to our new rides at Disney World list. All we know now is this attraction will open in 2024.
You can read more about the details of the closing and construction of the Splash Mountain retheme here and details on the new attraction in our Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Princess and the Frog attraction article.
New Figment Meet and Greet
A Figment meet and greet first took place back in 1983 and he will be returning to EPCOT sometime in 2023. If you don’t know who Figment is (how dare you!) he’s the small purple dragon that is in some ways the mascot of EPCOT. You can ride his attraction at the Imagination pavilion at EPCOT. I am so excited to see Figment return in this classic meet and greet.
No specific date has been announced other than he will return “sometime in 2023” so stay tuned!
HatBox Ghost Coming to Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion
The popular Hatbox Ghost, which is only featured in the Disneyland Haunted Mansion, is going to be added to the Magic Kingdom Haunted Mansion sometime in 2023. This is such a no brainer for an addition to one of the most popular attractions in both theme parks. A specific date has not been announced.
EPCOT Construction Updates & Redesign
EPCOT’s large redesign of the previous “Future World” is hopefully coming to a close in 2023 as this is the rough timeline Disney has given for when the construction at EPCOT will be complete. This large redesign has split the previous Future World into three different World neighborhoods.
Where Future World once stood, three new neighborhoods have been created: World Celebration, World Discovery and World Nature. And of course, the original World Showcase remains unchanged by this project as the main focus as been a facelift of the previous Future World area of EPCOT.
If you’ve been to EPCOT in the past few years, you’ve likely noticed the sea of construction walls on this side of the park. Recently a new pathway was opened to allow easier access from World Showcase down the center of the area leading to the popular Creations Shop and Connections Cafe. So for now, you don’t have to circle completely around the front of the park to reach one end or the other.
We will keep readers posted of all Disney construction updates as we hope to see this EPCOT construction come to an end in 2023. Keep reading for the full breakdown on EPCOT’s transformation and what Disney has been building behind the walls!
In the new World Celebration area of Epcot is where the classic Spaceship Earth remains the park’s icon. But the new additions to World Celebration include a move towards more open space plus a new outdoor music stage. This area is being completely transformed and Disney has provided an abundance of concept art to give us an idea of what this area (which has had plans changed around a few times during the construction!) will look like.
World Celebration will feature a hub divided into different gardens with their own identities that’ll change along with the festivals offered at EPCOT throughout the year.
At night the gardens will light up and be enjoyed year round with different nighttime experiences that will change with the seasons.
Also new to the World Celebration area will be the new CommuniCore Hall and CommuniCore Plaza, a multi-use facility and outdoor event space. The CommuniCore Plaza will be a place to host musical performances that can extend into the gardens to host small and large scale concerts.
CommuniCore Hall will be an exhibition and gallery space that can be flexible to hosting a variety of experiences like art, live music and food for the various festivals offered at EPCOT throughout the year. Next to this hall will also be a new Mickey & Friends location for character meet and greets. This is a large expansion highly focused on creating more space to expand and enjoy the popular EPCOT festivals which is a good use of this space, in my opinion!
You can see this new facility in the upper-right side of the image above and the design as it was inspired by the aesthetic of Spaceship Earth.
The World Discovery neighborhood is where the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind attraction is which opened in 2022 to rave reviews. This area also includes Test Track and Spaceship Earth plus the NEW Space 220 Restaurant. You can see what the hype is about in this new Space immersive style restaurant in our Space 220 restaurant review.
One of the most highly anticipated new attractions Journey of Water, Inspired by “Moana” will be located in the new World Nature neighborhood. This first-ever experience inspired by the film will let guests interact with magical, living water in a beautiful and inspiring setting. The other attractions considered part of World Nature include the entire Imagination, Land and Seas pavilion which are home to Soarin’, Journey Into Imagination with Figment, Living with the Land, and The Seas with Nemo & Friends.
Walt Disney Statue Coming to EPCOT
The new “Walt the Dreamer” statue was revealed at the 2022 D23 Expo and will be placed in the area of World Celebration called Dreamers Point. This statue will be the focus of a new entry point into EPCOT in 2023.
DuckTales World Showcase Adventure
Disney’s DuckTales World Showcase Adventure is available now at EPCOT!
This experience was originally announced in 2019 and described as using the Disney Parks app to take guests on a trip around World Showcase to discover exotic destinations, mysteries along with a few, thieves, villains and supernatural guardians of artifacts. Guests can join Scrooge McDuck, Donald, nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, Launchpad and Webby in search of priceless treasure around the World Showcase.
Big Thunder Mountain Expansion Teased
A potential expansion behind Big Thunder Mountain was teased at the 2022 D23 Expo which began with the question, “Do you ever wonder what’s behind Big Thunder Mountain?” In the D23 presentation, Imagineers and Disney Animation took viewers on a imagination journey (Sorry, Figment wasn’t part of this one!) and discussed the possibilities that this space in Magic Kingdom could hold. Three clear land options were discussed such as a Villain’s land, an area focused on Encanto, and the World of the Dead from Coco.
The visual (shown above) features all three of these concepts together to help us imagine what could be beyond Big Thunder Mountain. While nothing has been officially confirmed, there is clearly an expansion coming in the future to Magic Kingdom. Read more about the presentation in our Big Thunder Mountain Expansion article with coverage from D23.
Zootopia & Moana Coming to Animal Kingdom?
During the 2022 D23 Expo, Chairman of Disney Parks Josh D’Maro began a conversation about a “what if” concept art on what it would look like if a Zootopia and Moana themed land replaced Dinoland in Animal Kingdom. Imagineers call this initial process of brainstorming and concept creation Blue Sky. D’Maro did make a point of stating these weren’t just daydreams but serious concept conversations taking place with their team.
There has been no official confirmation regarding this potential upheaval to Dinoland, but it’s likely we’re going to see some changes in the future to Animal Kingdom. Dinoland has been in need of some major TLC for awhile now and with the 2021 closure of Primeval Wheel this seems like a reality we can expect. Read more about the presentation at D23 in our Moana & Zootopia in Animal Kingdom guide.
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