It may have been a media event for the new TRON Lightcycle / Run attraction coming to Magic Kingdom, but Walt Disney World used the opportunity to drop a lot more news about upcoming additions and events coming in 2023.
New and Returning Character Greetings – All Year
New and returning character experiences are sure to thrill guests of all ages.
Beginning April 22, Moana will greet fellow voyagers on Discovery Island at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.
First announced at D23 Expo 2022, fans of Figment will get the chance to hug the long-time EPCOT icon at the Imagination! pavilion beginning late summer. Yes, you read that right…HUG! And who doesn’t want to hug Figment, right?
Also at EPCOT, Mickey Mouse and friends will also have a new home at Communicore Hall opening later this year.
And, at Magic Kingdom Park this fall, Mirabel from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ hit film “Encanto” will greet guests in Fairytale Garden surrounded by whimsical décor inspired by La Familia Madrigal.
These new experiences follow the return of several Magic Kingdom character experiences including Pete’s Silly Sideshow, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Ariel in her underwater grotto and the return of character dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table.
New Nighttime Spectaculars at Magic Kingdom Park and EPCOT – April 3
As previously announced, fan-favorite nighttime spectacular “Happily Ever After” Presented by Pandora Jewelry returns to light up the night sky over Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park beginning April 3.
New this year, the nightly fireworks show will fully immerse guests in heartfelt Disney stories as brand-new projections extend down Main Street U.S.A., adding even more magic to this unforgettable spectacle.
“EPCOT Forever” also returns to World Showcase Lagoon starting April 3, until a completely new show debuts later in the year. Featuring stirring renditions of memorable EPCOT music, the show sparks fond memories from the park’s rich history.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park 25th Anniversary – April 22
2023 marks a special milestone as Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park celebrates its 25th anniversary. There will be anniversary merchandise and food & beverage options.
No word on what special activities Disney has planned, but the anniversary also falls on Earth Day 2023, which is also a big event for the park.
And as I said above, Moana comes to the park on April 22, too.
EPCOT Transformation Continues – Late 2023
This fall will bring even more exciting experiences as part of the multi-year transformation of EPCOT.
Guests will be able to explore the wonders of water when Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana opens. This fun interactive outdoor trail offers a chance to play and interact with water as it travels from the sky to the oceans and back again. Along the way, guests learn about the importance of water and discover its playful personality – just as Moana did on her heroic voyage.
Fall will also see completion of the new World Celebration neighborhood. As the hub of the park, it will feature different gardens that change with the seasons.
It will also be home to the new Communicore Plaza and the new Communicore Hall, the latter offering a place to meet Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.
World Celebration will also anchor the park’s renowned festivals. Plus it is where guests will discover Dreamers Point, an inspiring overlook showcasing a statue of Walt Disney called “Walt the Dreamer.”
Later this year, Guests will be treated to the debut of an all-new EPCOT nighttime spectacular. A dazzling display of music, pyrotechnics, lasers and lighting, Disney says the show will feature an original composition and selections from the Disney songbook – “all woven together to remind us that we are more alike than different.”
Disney100 Celebration – Late 2023
Later this year, Walt Disney World Resort will join the global celebration of The Walt Disney Company’s 100th Anniversary honoring 10 decades of creativity and innovation. Look for more details to come, as EPCOT prepares to host this unforgettable celebration at Walt Disney World.
Disney Dining Options – Throughout the Year
As previously announced, Andy’s backyard is preparing to welcome more toys at Roundup Rodeo BBQ opening March 23 in Toy Story Land.
Serving barbecue-inspired comfort foods, including plant-based options, this one-of-a-kind dining experience is the first “Toy Story” table-service restaurant in the world.
A collaboration between Walt Disney Imagineering, Disney Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney World Food & Beverage, Roundup Rodeo BBQ will bring more toy-sized, tasty fun to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
On April 1, 2023, Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will welcome guests to an exciting new dining experience.
This signature-dining restaurant – renowned for its panoramic views of Seven Seas Lagoon – will introduce a new interior along with a refreshed menu offering a perfect balance of updated classics and new culinary delights. Guests can look forward to the return of house specialties such as lobster bisque and new dishes like Blackened Redfish and tasty plant-based options.
So much to look forward to still to come in 2023. What are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!