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10 new attractions and things to do coming to Disney World in 2023

Jan. 03, 2023
13 min read
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The last several years at Walt Disney World have been very exciting and fast-paced when it came to new attractions and offerings.

From the opening of Toy Story Land (2018), Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge (2019) and Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway (2020) at Disney's Hollywood Studios; the launch of the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel experience (2022), Remy's Ratatouille Adventure (2021) and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (2022) at Epcot; the opening of the Riviera Resort on the new Skyliner route (2019) and even the park's 18-month long 50th-anniversary celebration, there hasn't been a dull moment at Disney World in the last five or six years.

However, 2023 will likely mark the beginning of at least a temporary change in the pace of major new openings at Disney World.

This is due to a "pandemic pause" in new projects and the cancellation or scaleback of some already in motion. Because of this, there will inevitably be a few years without as many new rides, restaurants and other major new additions as we've grown accustomed to the last few years. Even if Disney ramped things back up again tomorrow, due to the length of time it takes to get projects of that scale from greenlight to completion, there will be a slowdown.

Additionally, we are just about to the end of the pipeline of projects that started before the pandemic and were just completed a bit later than planned.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Pixie dust is still alive, however, and there are a few more of those pre-pandemic-era projects up Mickey's sleeve. This means 2023 will see some major Disney World offerings (finally) debut. There will also be smaller additions to the list of offerings, such as meet-and-greets and shows.

Strap in for another year of new things to see, do, eat and watch with these 10 new attractions coming to Walt Disney World in 2023.

Related: Disney relaxes some fees and pandemic-era restrictions

Tron Lightcyle Run

This is it. After several years of anticipation and delays, Disney has announced that April 4, 2023, will mark the grand opening of the Magic Kingdom's first new ride since 2014: Tron Lightcycle Run.

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Tron Lightcycle Run in Tomorrowland will be one of the fastest rides at Disney World. Guests will sit on their own Lightcycle and race through eight Energy Gates. There has been a Tron Lightcycle Run in Shanghai Disneyland since that park opened in 2016, which is said to hit speeds around 60 miles per hour.

Cast member, Disney Vacation Club member and annual passholder previews will begin before the April 4 opening.

DISNEY

If history is an indicator when Tron opens, it will utilize a virtual queue and a paid individual Lightning Lane. This could potentially mean that this is approximately when Epcot's Guardians of the Galaxy attraction ceases to use a virtual queue and becomes accessible via an old-fashioned standby line.

Woody's Roundup Rodeo BBQ

Another Disney World offering that has been delayed more than once but is now said to open in spring 2023 is Woody's Roundup Rodeo BBQ, inside Hollywood Studio's Toy Story Land.

Adorned with the theme of Andy's toys, this sit-down restaurant will join the popular counter-service restaurant in Toy Story Land to add to the list of dining options with "family-style barbecue-inspired comfort foods."

Related: Top tips for visiting Walt Disney World

Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana

Epcot has been on a multi-year transformation that is now nearing completion. While the new marquee rides (Remy and Guardians) have already opened, a remaining key component of this park's overhaul, the Journey of Water, will open in late 2023.

TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

The Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, is not a ride, but it is a themed walk-through area in the park's World Nature neighborhood. This trail will not only offer guests a chance to learn about water and its history and role on this planet, but Disney says that you'll get a chance to interact with the water, which, as you may recall from Moana, has a "mind of its own."

New Epcot nighttime show and continued transformation

It's not just about water and Moana inside Epcot in 2023; the World Celebration neighborhood is also rumored to be coming later in 2023. This will include the opening of Communicore Hall and Communicore Plaza, which will become a new home for festivals and can be used as a new central gathering spot.

Also, in late 2023, Disney says Epcot will launch a new yet-to-be-named nighttime show. This will replace Harmonious, which debuted in the fall of 2021 as part of Disney's 50th-anniversary celebration and will end on April 3.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

This also means that the controversial barges that were used for Harmonious will be saying farewell to their home in the middle of the World Showcase Lagoon.

Happily Ever After returns

Disney World's other nighttime show that debuted as part of the 50th anniversary, the Magic Kingdom's Enchantment, will also take its final bow on April 2, 2023, as that 18-month celebration concludes.

In its place, the fan-favorite fireworks show, Happily Ever After, will return on April 3, 2023, with what Disney describes as some "updates." Don't expect very many dry eyes around the castle's steps as the narrator's voice kicks the show off with the line, "And they all lived happily ever after."

DISNEY

Figment meet-and-greet

This may seem small, and it is, but the little purple dragon, Figment, illicits outsized responses from some Disney guests. From sold-out popcorn buckets in his likeness to an entire ride featuring Figment that has devoted fans (self-included) despite its somewhat aging approach to imaginative storytelling, Figment is undeniably popular.

As was first announced at Disney's D23 conference in fall 2022, Figment will make his way to Epcot for character meet-and-greets for the first time in many years at some point in 2023.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Hatbox Ghost

Much like Figment has his legion of loyalists, so does the Haunted Mansion. And out west at the Disneyland version of Haunted Mansion, there's been a popular character within the ride that Disney World had yet to receive ... until 2023.

DISNEY

This year, the Hatbox Ghost will appear at Disney World's Haunted Mansion. No word yet on if this will fill the ride's quota for 1,000 happy haunts, or if another will depart, keeping the count steady at 999 with room for one more ...

Related: Which is better: Disneyland vs. Disney World

Walt Disney World Railroad

Enough about enhancements, shows and characters; let's talk about something you can climb aboard and ride. For the first time since 2018, you can again climb aboard the 100-year-old steam train and take a trip around the Magic Kingdom on the Walt Disney World Railroad.

COURTNEY KIEFER/DISNEY

This opening-day attraction reopened after four years at the very end of 2022 with a new narration as guests make their way through the different lands of the Magic Kingdom.

Room renovations at multiple popular Disney World hotels

From the Polynesian Village to the Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge and well beyond, Disney World has been very busy waving its magic wand at several resort hotels and giving many of them extensive makeovers. This renovation schedule will stay busy in 2023, with properties such as All-Star Sports, the Grand Floridian and at least some rooms at Caribbean Beach next up for a fresh look.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

While some DVC rooms and new studios at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa were given a beautiful, fresh look in 2022, other parts of the hotel and its rooms will be beneficiaries of some renovations this year.

It's not just the deluxe resorts getting attention. Disney announced that the pirate-themed rooms at the Caribbean Beach moderate resort will transform into a new Little Mermaid-inspired look with muted Caribbean tones and nods to life under the sea. These rooms in the Trinidad section of the large resort will sleep five with a queen bed, a pulldown queen Murphy bed and a pulldown single sleeper.

DISNEY

While All-Star Movies and All-Star Music have been renovated in recent years, the third in the trio of value resorts, All-Star Sports, had been waiting its turn. But now renovations are underway for the All-Star Sports rooms, lobby and more, which we expect to have a similar feel to the other All-Star properties, albeit with a sporty twist.

Related: These are the best hotels at Disney World

Summer House on the Lake

We can't leave Disney Springs off this list entirely, especially since it is getting a new restaurant in 2023, Summer House on the Lake. This restaurant has outposts in Chicago and Maryland, but it's California-inspired with salads, pizzas, tacos and more.

While an exact date has not been announced, based on a look at construction this will likely open in the latter half of 2023 and will be located on the western side of Disney Springs near the AMC movie theater.

Related: Best restaurants at Disney World

What to expect when visiting Disney World in 2023

So far, 2023 is shaping up to look a lot like 2022 at Walt Disney World. With the recent return of Bob Iger as Disney's CEO and some (wishful) reading between the lines of things he has said, there is some hope of some simplification and relaxed restrictions in Disney World at some point in 2023, though for now, that remains a wish a heart makes.

As things stand right now, many pandemic-era operational procedures are still in place. For example, you cannot park hop until 2 p.m. and need a Park Pass reservation for the first park you wish to visit.

Genie+, the paid app-based FastPass replacement that enables you to access the shorter Lightning Lanes.Genie+ is now variably priced with rates that have varied from $15 to $29 per day at Disney World. In fact, we've now seen the first sell-out of Genie+ for the day at Disneyland.

KENT PHILLIPS/DISNEY

The price to visit Disney World now varies based on the park you want to visit, with Animal Kingdom as the lowest-priced park and Magic Kingdom as the highest price.

In broader Orlando news for 2023, the high-speed Brightline train should connect the city to South Florida later in the year, and the near-Disney Evermore Resort development (which includes a new Conrad hotel) has a planned summer 2023 debut.

While most Disney World restaurants, shows, hotels and more have reopened after the 2020 closure, some of the rules and complexities that were introduced that same year remain. If 2023 will be your first Disney World trip in a few years, this means you need to do some research in advance of your arrival to Main Street U.S.A.

Related: What to pack for a Disney World trip

Peeking ahead to Disney World in 2024

If you are deciding whether to make the trip to Disney World in 2023 vs. waiting until 2024, here's a little peek into the slightly more distant future.

Splash Mountain, as we know it in Frontierland, will close for good in January 2023 to make room for the much-anticipated The Princess and the Frog retheme the attraction will undergo. That reimagined attraction is currently scheduled to debut in late 2024 as Tiana's Bayou Adventure.

DISNEY

At Animal Kingdom, the Dinoland area is already undergoing some changes and construction and it is possible that the area will be rethemed into Zootopia or Moana, though details are still light, and that transformation could slip beyond 2024.

And while not specifically Disney World related, if you like to combine a theme park trip with a sailing on the newest Disney Cruise Line ship out of Port Canaveral, Disney Treasure is now under construction in Germany and is currently expected to join the fleet in 2024. This is the same year that construction on Disney's second island in the Bahamas, Lighthouse Point, should be completed.

Bottom line

Big additions are coming to Disney World in 2023, most notably the spring opening of Tron at the Magic Kingdom. But beyond what we already know, the hope is that 2023 is the year Disney guests will learn of some big future developments coming to the parks.

In 2022 Disney publicly discussed some "big ideas" it was thinking about, including a potential land "beyond Big Thunder Mountain" at the Magic Kingdom, which could feature Encanto or Coco theme. Even a potential villain-themed area has been said out loud, though none of those would be for 2023 or likely even 2024 at this point.

DISNEY

However, with the 2020 pandemic closure well in the rearview and Universal Orlando's new Epic Universe theme park on track for a 2025 opening, we look forward in 2023 to not only enjoying what's new at Disney World this year but perhaps learning what is to come in the years beyond.

Featured image by DISNEY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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  • Annual Fee is $250.
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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees