So you’ve been to Walt Disney World before?  Think you have no reason to go back for a visit?  Think again! There are so many new things to do at Walt Disney World in 2016, you will be planning a trip after reading what’s below.  From new rides, entertainment, restaurants and more, Walt Disney World is always evolving, constantly improving, and making it a new experience for its guests.

New Things to Do at Walt Disney World in 2016

Tree of Life Awakenings at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Photo Credit: Rebecca Darling Texas Travelingmom

16 New Things to Do at Walt Disney World in 2016

We happen to visit Walt Disney World a lot – six times in the last three years! And while many of my friends shake their heads at me when they hear I am heading off to Orlando for the week, I know that each and every visit is a different experience.  Walt Disney World is constantly adding new and exciting attractions and features to keep their guests coming back.

As a whole, the Walt Disney World Resort has enough activities to keep a family entertained for a good week or two. But to keep up with entertainment trends, they know they have to offer new and exciting, cutting-edge entertainment, rides, and other attractions. And Walt Disney World has done just that in 2016!  Here are the 16 new things that we found to do in Walt Disney World in 2016.

16 New Things to Do at Walt Disney World in 2016: Magic Kingdom

Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire

This summer on the Cinderella Castle stage at Magic Kingdom Park, Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire will debut, featuring songs and characters from Disney’s contemporary classics “Princess and the Frog,” “Tangled” and “Frozen.” This fun new show ends with a grand dance with magical fireworks, It will be presented multiple times daily.

New Things to do at Walt Disney World in 2016

Jungle Navigation Co., LTD. Skipper Canteen at Disney’s Magic Kingdom Photo Credit: Rebecca Darling Texas Travelingmom

Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen

Earlier this year, the Magic Kingdom’s newest restaurant, Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen opened in Adventureland. Based off the fun theme and experiences of the Jungle Cruise ride, this restaurant offers a diverse menu with Asian, South American, and African influenced meals. This is a table service restaurant.

TravelingMom Tip: Make reservations for this new restaurant and ask to sit at the butterfly table. 

Meet Disney’s Newest Princess: Princess Elena

Princess Elena of Avalor will be introduced this summer following her debut on the Disney Channel. Princess Elena is the first princess to be inspired by diverse Latin cultures and she will be welcomed to Walt Disney World in August.

16 New Things to Do at Walt Disney World in 2016: Epcot

New Things to do at Walt Disney World in 2016

Frozen Ever After Rendering Photo Credit: Disney

Frozen Ever After at Epcot

Coming in the summer of 2016, guests can experience the kingdom of Arendelle, home to Queen Elsa and Princess Anna. Frozen Ever After is modeled after the hit movie Frozen and celebrates a “Summer Snow Day.” After the fun ride, guest can meet both at the Royal Sommerhus, Queen Elsa and Princess Anna’s new permanent home at Walt Disney World resort.

New Things to do at Walt Disney World in 2016

Soarin’ Around the World Rendering Photo Credit: Disney

Soarin’ Around The World

A much-needed facelift has come to one of Epcot’s most popular rides.  Soarin’ Around the World opens June 17 and will feature a new flight, not just over California, but over the whole world.  Guests will still have the full-sensory experience with sounds and smells.  Also, a third bay and interactive queue has been added to the attraction.

New Things to do at Walt Disney World in 2016

“Turtle Talk with Crush” at Epcot Photo Credit: Disney

Finding Dory Added to Turtle Talk with Crush

Turtle Talk with Crush in Epcot’s The Seas will add new characters from Disney Pixar’s “Finding Dory” this summer. Guests will be able to meet Destiny the whale shark, Bailey the beluga whale and Hank the “septopus.” This adds a whole new element to this delightful show.

You can learn more about Epcot’s new attractions and upcoming events here.

16 New Things to Do at Walt Disney World in 2016: Hollywood Studios

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular

With the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Disney’s Hollywood Studios debuted a new fireworks show – Symphony in the Stars – set to the iconic John Williams score of the seven Star Wars movies. This amazing show gets an upgrade this summer:

Through these state-of-the-art special effects that project onto the nearby Chinese Theatre and other surrounding buildings, guests will gaze at the twin suns of Tatooine, push through a field of battle droids, navigate through an asteroid field, soar down the trench of the Death Star and deliver the final blow to destroy Starkiller Base. The show, which will unfold through a series of acts, will be punctuated by a tower of fire as well as powerful spotlight beams that create lightsabers in the sky.

New Things to Do at Walt Disney World in 2016

A Galaxy Far, Far Away Stage Show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Photo Credit: Rebecca Darling, Texas Traveling mom

Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away

At multiple times throughout the day, guests can experience a new live stage show that celebrates iconic moments from the Star Wars saga. Live Star Wars characters, such as Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Darth Vader and Darth Maul make guest appearances throughout the show.

TravelingMom Tip: If you position yourself behind the Center Stage area near The Great Movie Ride, you can see the procession of characters from the show immediately following the show.

New Things to do at Walt Disney World in 2016

Meet Kylo Ren at Star Wars Launch Bay at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Photo Credit: Rebecca Darling Texas Travelingmom

Meet Kylo Ren at Star Wars: Launch Bay Experience

Since its debut in December 2015, Star Wars: Launch Bay has become a popular place to meet iconic characters from the films, play interactive Star Wars games, see memorabilia from the films, and shop for one-of-a-kind Star Wars gear. We recently visited and enjoyed our time meeting Chewbacca, Kylo Ren, and trading fun stuff with the Jawas in the Cantina.  Find out more here.

TravelingMom Tip: If you have a Chase Visa card, you can have an exclusive photo experience with Kylo Ren from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Launch Bay.  Speak to a Disney Cast Member (Disney’s name for employees) for the exact location. 

Third Track added to Toy Story Mania

One of Hollywood Studio’s most popular attractions, Toy Story Mania, is opening a third track on Memorial Day weekend. That will sure help with the lines!

16 New Things to Do at Walt Disney World in 2016: Animal Kingdom

Rivers of Light

Walt Disney World’s most anticipated new event of the summer is the opening of Animal Kingdom at night, and at the center of that is the new Rivers of Light show.  This new water, laser and projection show will celebrate the magic of animals, humans and the natural world with a blend of performers, floating lanterns and theatrical animal imagery. It is still in production and a debut date has not been announced beyond “summer 2016.”

We got a mini sneak preview during a recent visit:

New Things to do at Walt Disney World in 2016

Kilimanjaro Safaris at Night at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Photo Credit: Disney

Kilimanjaro Safaris at Night

Starting Memorial Day weekend, when Animal Kingdom’s evening hours start, guests can take a ride on the ever-popular Kilimanjaro Safaris.  This nighttime experience is very different from the daytime version, as you are introduced to the various sounds the safari animals make.  Also, many of the animals were much more active during the nighttime, which was especially exciting.

TravelingMom Tip: Sit on the left side of the safari vehicle to have the best views of the animals. 

New Things to do at Walt Disney World in 2016

Tiffins Signature Restaurant Rendering Photo Credit: Disney

Tiffins Signature Restaurant

Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s newest signature eatery, Tiffins, opens this summer.  Tiffins is open for both lunch and dinner and has waterfront views from both indoor and outdoor seating areas. “Tiffin” is an Indian English word meaning midday meal or type of container used to carry food while traveling.

Tree of Life Awakenings

Every evening, the iconic Tree of Life in the center of Animal Kingdom “awakens” with a spectacular projection show.  If you are a fan of Magic Kingdom’s projection show, “Celebrate the Magic,” you are sure to like this one. Here’s a sneak peek:

16 New Things to Do at Walt Disney World in 2016: Disney Springs

New Things to do at Walt Disney World in 2016

Aerial Bamboo on the La Nouba stage at Disney Springs (Courtesy of Cirque du Soliel)

New Acts Added to La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil

This spring, La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil is introducing two new acts: B-Boy and Aerial Bamboo. B-Boying is a physically demanding form of dance, in which performers execute acrobatic break dancing-type tricks and moves, including flips and spins, to music.

Aerial Bamboo involves a pole-shaped apparatus suspended from the ceiling, with attached loops used for a variety of tricks and stunts. Originally, the pole was made of bamboo, giving the craft its name, but is now made of stainless steel. The act requires extreme trust; for most of the performance, Ekaterina is held only by Alexander – his arms, his feet and even his teeth – as he himself hangs by his feet or arms high above the stage.

16 New Things to Do at Walt Disney World in 2016: FastPass+ Enhancements

As of April 2016, Disney made some much needed enhancements to FastPass+ :

  • It’s now possible to choose individual FastPass+ experiences and times rather than make all selections for the same day at the same time.
  • You can select up to three experiences in advance, but you also can book fewer than three selections, if you prefer.
  • One you use your first three FastPass+ selections, you can make another FastPass+ selection via the MyDisneyExperience mobile app or at the FastPass+ kiosks located throughout the parks. Once you have used the fourth FastPass+, you can select another, and so on.

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16 New Things to Do at Walt Disney World in 2016