ORLANDO, Fla. (WFLA) – School days will soon be a memory here in the Tampa Bay area, and summer plans are in the works. For many families, that means a visit to the Walt Disney World Resort. As we anxiously await the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at the end of August, there are lots of other new and new-to-you things to do at Walt Disney World before we start exploring that land far, far away.
New Nighttime Views
The skies over Walt Disney World light up this summer with new shows and a farewell to a long-running classic.
- Wonderful World of Animation – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Walt Disney World’s newest projection show brings the Chinese Theater alive as it celebrates 90 years of Disney/Pixar animation. Keep an eye out for tributes to your favorite Disney classics.
- Rivers of Light: We Are One – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
Beginning May 24, the beautiful Rivers of Light show adds a new dimension to its floating tale of the circle of life. Along with the latern-filled boats and gorgeous giant flower floats, you’ll be treated to depictions of Disneynature animals and images of iconic moments from Disney films.
- IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth – Epcot
The nighttime spectacular that ushered Epcot into the new millennium takes a bow on September 30 this year, one day shy of its 20th anniversary. Its temporary replacement, Epcot Forever, begins October 1. If you love IllumiNations, be sure to head over and see it one last time this summer.
After Dark Water Park
One of the best ways to cool off on a hot Florida summer day is to dive into a refreshing water park, and Disney sports two of them. For water-soaked fun when the sun goes down, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon hosts H20 Glow Nights most Thursday and Saturday nights from May 30 to August 24. There’s a DJ dance party, meet-and-greets with pals from Toy Story, and a special area just for the grownups.
H20 Glow Nights require separate admission, and you’ll save a little money if you purchase your tickets in advance. They’re $59 each plus tax for adults and $54 for children ages 3-9 before the event, and $69 plus tax for adults and $64 for children if purchased the same day.
“New-to-You” Attractions and Experiences
Walt Disney World introduced some new rides and attractions that have been around a few months now but you may not have seen yet. Check these out and see if they need to go on your family’s must-do list.
- Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Disney Junior Dance Party! – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Meet Fancy Nancy – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Donald’s Dino Bash – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
- Hakuna Matata Dance Party – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
- Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party – Magic Kingdom Park
- Meet Mickey and Minnie at Town Square Theater – Magic Kingdom Park (one of the few places to meet them together!)
Wonderful World of Animation
Kathy Karalekas is a Panelist on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, an online forum where guests can have their Disney vacation planning questions answered by a group of everyday moms and dads who are seasoned Disney travelers. Kathy is also a contributing writer for the Tampa Bay Moms Blog and a frequent visitor to Walt Disney World with her husband and 9-year-old son.