Reported by Theme Park Tourist – By Amanda Kondolojy, Tuesday, October 11, 2016 05:42
Walt Disney World has had a crazy 2016, not only with the opening of new rides, restaurants and shops all around the resort, but also the closing of the Main Street Electrical Parade, lackluster summer attendance, and the surprise appearance of Hurricane Matthew.
However, even though we’re heading into the home stretch of this insane year, there are a lot more things that we are expecting to happen at Walt Disney World over the course of the next 11 weeks, including new attraction openings, as well as some major milestones we feel like we have been waiting forever for!
1. The Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular finally opens at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Just last month we reported that Disney’s Animal Kingdom park operations had taken over putting the finishing touches on Rivers of Light, which suggested that whatever technical issues that were responsible for the delay in the opening of this attraction had finally been solved. And in another good sign for fans impatiently waiting for this show to open, in the weeks since this exciting development was revealed, extensive float, lighting and sound tests have been going on both after hours and during regular park operation in preparation for this attraction’s opening.
As you might expect, Disney is still being a little bit cautious when it comes to announcing a firm opening date for this new show (especially considering their last-minute delay back in spring 2016), but now that we know that this show is basically fully operational, there’s no way that Disney will until 2017 to debut this show, especially since next year will see the opening of Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Rivers of Light definitely needs to be open by then.
We should know more about Rivers of Light’s opening very soon, as it looks like wait is finally almost over for this much-anticipated show, which is one of the most ambitious nighttime spectaculars ever created for a Disney park, anywhere. Insiders are suggesting that plans for VIP showings as well as soft openings are coming together right now, and some very lucky guests may be among the first to see this new show in the next few weeks as Disney gets this show ready for a technical rehearsal period said to kick off in the near future.
2. Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land break ground at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Though it seems like we’ve been waiting all year for this development, it looks like Disney is finally ready to break ground on the two big long-term projects happening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land. Over the past few weeks, demolition on the various walled off areas of Disney’s Hollywood Studios has really ramped up (you can see some pictures here), with the most noticeable changes being that of the former Streets of America area, as well as the facades that used to hide the Studio Backlot Tour, are now almost completely gone.
With the land finally cleared to make way for both of these projects, an official groundbreaking is expected to happen in the next few weeks. We don’t know if Disney will have another extensive ceremony (like they did for Pandora: The World of Avatar, which featured some truly massive shovels), with the D23: Destination D event around the corner, we wouldn’t be surprised if something official takes place in the next few weeks.
3. PizzeRizzo welcomes its first guests
If you’ve been to the Muppet Courtyard area at Disney’s Hollywood Studios recently you probably have already seen construction progress moving along rather quickly on PizzeRizzo, the new Muppets-themed quick service restaurant at this park. Given the current state of exterior construction, it seems all but certain that this new dining location will welcome its first guests sometime in the next few weeks before the holiday season officially kicks off next month.
As you might imagine (considering the name) PizzeRizzo will basically have the same cuisine as the former Pizza Planet restaurant, with personal pan pizzas headlining the menu at this reimagined eatery. Though the food will essentially be the same, the dining room will be getting an overhaul, with many fun Muppets additions throughout the venue (which you can read about here).
4. Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration debuts as part of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
This year’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (which kicks off this year on November X) is getting an upgrade in the form of a brand new castle forecourt show. Entitled Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration, this new entertainment offering is being developed by the team that created the Hocus Pocus Villains Spelltacular last year for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, which is definitely a good sign. In this new show, Mickey and his pals invite some of their friends over for an unforgettable Christmas party filled with music, dancing, and of course plenty of Christmastime cheer.
Confirmed characters that will be making an appearance in this new show include the fab five (plus Daisy) as well as Peter Pan, Alice, the White Rabbit, Woody, Jessie, Snow White, Dopey, Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket. Just like the previous Celebrate the Season Christmas show, Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration will feature medleys of delightful holiday songs both classic and contemporary that guests will be able to sing along to. However, this new show will feature some enhancements that weren’t present in its predecessor, including projection, increased pyrotechnics, and other impressive special effects.
Though we are almost at the finish of what has most definitely been a wild year at Walt Disney World, it looks like 2016 isn’t quite done yet, with two new shows, a restaurant, and the official start of work on two big projects on the docket before this year finally draws to a close. Are you excited for any of these upcoming projects at Walt Disney World?
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