Disney's Awaken Summer Promises New Experiences Across All Parks

New Shows, Rides, and More Coming to Walt Disney World Orlando

Tree of Life Awake at Night
Photo Courtesy of WDW and © David Roark, photographer

This is an exciting time to be a Disney fan! An amazing lineup of new shows and attractions will debut this summer across all the Orlando Disney parks, promising something for everyone to enjoy.

Magic Kingdom:

Magic Kingdom is always adding something new and fresh for guests to enjoy, such as the super popular Mine Train roller coaster. This year will not disappoint.

Princesses Rapunzel of "Tangled" and Tiana of "Princess and the Frog" will appear on the grand stage in front of Cinderella Castle, joining co-stars Anna and Elsa and other classic Disney characters. The new Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire is a star-studded tale of friendship presented by Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald, Goofy, and Daisy during which the troupe of Merry Makers invite 10 new friends from different animated worlds to join them.

Also at Magic Kingdom, guests will welcome Elena of Avalor, Disney's first Latin princess. Elena of Avalor will appear later this summer, following her television debut in a new animated series on Disney Channel.

Animal Kingdom:

If you think Animal Kingdom is a stunningly beautiful park during the day, just wait until you see it at night!

Animal Kingdom is introducing some amazing nighttime experiences for park guests. These will be the first nighttime activities in the park's 18 year-history.

The iconic Tree Of Life awakens with a flurry of fireflies and colorful animation. Each evening, the Tree of Life will "awaken" as the park's animal spirits are brought to life by magical fireflies, revealing stories of enchantment and wonder. Also, songs from the new hit movie "The Jungle Book" promise to come to life on Discovery River.

Also debuting at Animal Kingdom this summer, park guests can experience Kilimanjaro Safaris at night under the orange glow of a setting sun, while having the opportunity to see hyenas and African wild dogs for the first time at the park. These night safaris should prove to be a very different experience from the usual day safaris, as different animals are awake and active at different hours.


The new attraction from the top animated film of all time will finally be opening at Epcot's Norway pavilion. Guests of all ages will love the music-filled attraction, the new Frozen Ever After boat ride. Passengers will make their way to Arendelle's Winter in Summer Celebration, visit the ice palace, and hear beloved tunes from the movie. If you love Elsa and Anna as much as the rest of this, make sure you check out this ride next time you’re at the park.

The popular ride Soarin' is also getting a makeover, and guests will enjoy the debut of the Soarin' Around the World attraction at The Land pavilion. With a third Epcot theater, plus new digital screens and projection systems, the updated attraction takes riders on an exhilarating flight above new global landscapes and other wonders.

Disney's Hollywood Studios:

Star Wars fans will love the new awe-inspiring fireworks and projection spectacular at Disney's Hollywood Studios. There's also a new, live stage show celebrating iconic moments from the Star Wars saga and featuring popular characters, including Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, Darth Maul, and Chewbacca. The show, called "Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far, Away," takes place several times every day at the Center Stage near The Great Movie Ride.

Also at Hollywood Studios, there's some exciting new things happening at Toy Story Land. Find yourself shrunk to the size of a toy to explore Andy's Backyard with all your favorite characters, and then check out the two new attractions planned for the area: Slinky Dog Dash, a family coaster that Andy built in his backyard using his Mega Coaster Play Kit, and Alien Swirling Saucers, a ride that has you rotating around toy planets while "The Claw" looms ominously above you.

Beginning May 6, guests to Hollywood Studios will also have an opportunity for an advance look at clips from Disney's upcoming movie, "Alice Through the Looking Glass." The movie is scheduled for theater release on May 27, 2016 in 3D.

Disney Springs:

There's so much happening at Disney Springs, it's hard to keep track. New shopping destinations and celebrity chef restaurants are opening in Disney Springs' four distinct neighborhoods, making it a destination the entire family can enjoy. If you haven't visited Disney Springs since its transformation, now is the time to go. Make lasting memories while enjoying world-class food and shopping in The Landing, Marketplace, West Side, and Town Center, all without the need for theme park admission.

Some of the most recent additions include exciting updates to Cirque du Soleil's "La Nouba," such as a new B-Boys breakdancing threesome and a breathtaking Aerial Bamboo act, and the retail openings of Anthropologie, Under Armour, Sephora, Zara, kate spade new york, PANDORA, Lucky Brand, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, UNIQLO and more. New restaurants include the delicious Morimoto Asia, Tablas Frontera by Chef Rick Bayless, Homecoming – Florida Kitchen and Shine Bar, and STK Orlando.

Disney Water Parks:

Disney didn't forget about its water parks when making updates for the new season. At Disney's Blizzard Beach, Olaf from "Frozen," will be living his "In Summer" dream as he and pal Kristoff host The "Frozen" Games of fun and friendly competitions. And guests at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon can splash down on a sandy beach with a cold ale after a thrilling slide down the Crush 'n' Gusher water coaster.

Do keep in mind that Disney’s water parks tend to fill up quickly during the hottest months in Central Florida, so you’ll want to arrive early to ensure you’re admitted. Buy your tickets online in advance, and don’t worry about parking fees. It is free to park at Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.

Future Updates:

Stay tuned for future updates on Orlando’s Disney Parks and Resorts. The innovative company strives to keep things exciting for locals and visitors, and new rides and attractions are being added all the time.

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