Here's Everything New Opening at Disney World This Year

As the pandemic stops impacting park operations so severely, new rides and attractions are popping up.

Topiaries of the Encanto movie characters in front of the Epcot ball at Disney World.
Courtesy of Walt Disney World
Courtesy of Walt Disney World

Changes are always happening in Disney World, one of the few places in Florida with a decent public transportation system. Some of those changes are smaller, like room renovations at the many on-site hotels. Some are huge, like the closure of Splash Mountain earlier this year (but it's under construction to transform into a new Princess and The Frog ride, slated to open in 2024). But at Disney, all change brings a little bit more magic.

Here's what's new at Walt Disney World in Orlando so far this year:

The Tron Lightcycle Run just opened on April 4 in Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom. You can get in a virtual queue for the ride through the My Disney Experience app, because this ride won't have a traditional standby line. While not an ultra new feature itself, this still feels a bit like space technology to me, who last visited the park when Prince Harry was still doing military service. Thrillist got a sneak peek of the ride:

Also new at Magic Kingdom is the return of the "Happily Ever After" night show, which began its run after the end of the 50th anniversary show on April 2. While the Happily Ever show is a fan favorite, there will still be new features and updates to experience, according to The Points Guy. Over at the Haunted Mansion ride, the HatBox Ghost will be visible for the first time at Disney World. The ghost previously only haunted Disneyland over in California.

At Disney's Hollywood Studios, the Roundup Rodeo BBQ opened back in March 2023. The restaurant is in Toy Story Land and features a fixed price menu, with meals costing $45 for adults and $25 for kids.

Finally, over at Epcot a new nighttime show will soon be replacing "Harmonious," which was the park's show during the 50th anniversary celebrations that began back in 2021. The new show doesn’t have a name or release date, but construction on the new offering can be seen in the park. While it's not a ride, the new Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana experience is also slated to open in Epcot later this year.

Until July 5, you'll also be able to explore the International Flower & Garden Festival in the park, which features dozens of Disney character topiaries. World Celebration Land, a new area of Epcot, will also be opening later in 2023. And finally, the last thing we know about coming to the park this year is small in the grand scheme of things, but will be a big deal for fans. A Figment meet and greet is also coming to Epcot later this year.

Even bigger openings are expected to be announced for 2024, so keep your eyes on this space for more updates to come.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.