So much good stuff is coming to Walt Disney World! I am excited to share the new attractions opening soon at my favorite park – Epcot. We had the opportunity to take a sneak peak at some of the amazing things coming to the parks at Disney World’s recent Awaken Summer media preview event. Here’s a round-up of all the cool changes coming to Epcot in 2016.
Built in 1982, Epcot was the second of four parks to open at Walt Disney World and features two distinct areas – Future World and World Showcase. Both sections offer rides, attractions, dining and entertainment. But like any theme park that’s been around for as long as Epcot has, updates are needed to keep it fresh and relevant. Disney is doing just that with these three major overhauls launching this year, plus some great seasonal events.
1. Soarin’ Around the World
Epcot’s popular Soarin’ ride is going global. Renamed “Soarin’ Around the World,” the attraction will feature a new film which takes guests out of California (the ride’s original locale) and transports them across the world. Guests will fly over international landmarks including the Great Wall of China and the Sydney Opera House in Australia.
In addition to the new film, the updated ride will include a digital projection system, advanced sound and visual effects, and new smells, too! A third theater is also being added for increased ride capacity – meaning shorter wait times. Good news for anyone who has ever had to wait in long lines with kids.
Prior to its refurbishment, Soarin’ was the same as the Soarin’ Over California ride at Disney’s California Adventure (DCA) theme park in Anaheim, California. It was an opening day attraction at DCA in 2001. As a result of its popularity, Soarin’ opened at Epcot in 2005. (More good news – both the Florida and California versions are receiving the Around the World update!)
Soarin Around the World is set to open in Epcot on June 17.
2. Frozen Ever After
Frozen Ever After, a new ride based on Disney’s animated film “Frozen,” will make its debut at Epcot’s Norway Pavilion in the World Showcase this summer. Frozen Ever After replaces the former Maelstrom ride.
The boat ride will take guests through familiar scenes from the animated movie, including Arendelle, Troll Valley, Elsa’s Ice Palace and the ice-blue world of the North Mountain. Guests will be transported to the Winter in Summer Celebration where Queen Elsa creates a special day for the kingdom.
As we often see on Disneyland and Disney World rides (think Pirates of the Caribbean, Monster’s Inc. and Toy Story Mania) we’re told that all of the original cast came back to voice the new attraction, and the musical team even altered lyrics for some of the songs, making them specific and special to this ride!
Anyone who has been to Epcot in the past year or so has noticed the construction going on in the Norway Pavilion. The expansion and redesign will make the area look more like a rural Norwegian village. Guests will also be able to meet Anna and Elsa. After disembarking the boat ride, guests meet the royal sisters in their new Royal Sommerhus greeting location. Inspired by a Norwegian countryside cabin, Anna and Elsa have opened their summer home for visitors.
3. Finding Dory
Beginning in May, characters from the new film “Finding Dory” will debut at the park’s Turtle Talk With Crush attraction. The interactive show can be found in The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion in Future World.
Some of the new characters you can expect to spot include Destiny the whale shark, Bailey the beluga whale and Hank the “septopus” (that’s a seven-legged octopus). Also joining the show will be Crush’s son Squirt, Nemo and Marlin.
For those who have never experienced it, Turtle Talk With Crush lets kids interact and ask questions to Crush, the turtle from “Finding Nemo.” Since you never know where the conversation will go, every show is different!
The new Disney Pixar movie “Finding Dory” swims into theaters on June 17.
4. Seasonal Events
Also coming up in 2016 and every year – some pretty unique and amazing special events at Epcot:
• Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival – Happening now through May 15.
• Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – September 14 through November 14.
• Holidays Around the World – November 25 through December 30.
Healthy Tip for This Destination
Did you know Epcot’s World Showcase is 1.2 miles long? Walk the loop around the Lagoon as you nibble on snacks from around the globe and burn off some of those yummy calories!