If you haven’t been to Walt Disney World in recent years, you’ll probably be surprised to see all of the new rides and attractions. There have been so many updates and changes in the past five years, with many changes on the horizon. The coming months at Walt Disney World look to be very exciting.
Here’s an overview of the latest changes. As new attractions, these are extremely popular and the lines can be long. There are ways you can save time in line, however.
Disney has introduced a new program, Genie+, and Individual Lightning Lane. These are paid upgrades but they will let you bypass the standby lane and hopefully have a shorter wait time. Not every attraction offers Genie+, but the best rides and the newest attractions generally do. If you love Disney World rides, I’d recommend purchasing Genie+, especially for a shorter Walt Disney World vacation.
The newest ride, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, currently doesn’t offer a standby line. Instead, you can utilize the virtual queue option at no cost. Otherwise, an individual lightning lane can be purchased separately.
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New Rides at Disney World (9 Newly Opened and Upcoming Attractions)
This adorable outdoor rollercoaster is located in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s based on the Toy Story slinky toy, with some great theming throughout the ride.
While it is a roller coaster, Slinky Dog Dash has a minimum height requirement of 38 inches. It’s less of a thrill ride than the other roller coasters at Walt Disney World but still has some thrills.
Slinky Dog Dash is very popular because it’s kid-friendly, thrilling, and still somewhat new. Because of that, I’d recommend utilizing the Disney Genie+ system if at all possible. Otherwise, you may want to arrive early in the morning to get in the queue before it gets too long.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
When Galaxy’s Edge originally opened, only Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run was ready. Shortly thereafter, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened to much fanfare. Both Star Wars fans and ride enthusiasts were excited about the innovative experience that went beyond any ride most people had ever seen.
Rise of the Resistance is a walk-through ride, a dark ride, and a motion simulator ride – all at once. It’s one of the longest rides and is a completely immersive experience. Because of this, it’s very popular. There’s also another version of this ride at Disneyland.
While Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance originally launched with a virtual queue, it has now moved to an individual lightning lane attraction. To bypass the standby line, you’ll need to purchase the individual lightning lane. The best time to do this is first thing in the morning because they can sell out.
Minnie and Mickey’s Runaway Railway
The very popular Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios closed to make way for Minnie and Mickey’s Runaway Railway. Surprisingly, this is the first ride that features Mickey and friends at any Disney park. It opened in March 2020, and in 2023, it will also open in Toontown at Disneyland.
Minnie and Mickey’s Runaway Railway is great for all ages – there is no height restriction. It features cartoons based on the new Mickey Mouse shorts, so it will likely appeal to young kids. It offers a lightning lane through Genie+.
Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run opened with the introduction of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. In this ride, you’ll board the Millenium Falcon where you’ll be given one of three roles – a gunner, an engineer, or a pilot. Whether you succeed in your mission to pilot the ship will be determined!
Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run offers a single-rider line. With six people per vehicle, there are often openings for a single rider. It has a height restriction of 38 inches and offers a lightning lane with Genie + reservation.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
One of the newest rides at EPCOT is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, located in the France pavilion in the World Showcase. This trackless ride “shrinks” you down to Remy’s size as he tries to dash around a Parisian kitchen avoiding obstacles in his quest to make the perfect ratatouille.
The 4D element of the ride, plus the movements, may make you a bit motion sick if you are prone to it. Otherwise, there are no height restrictions for this ride. It is popular, but you can avoid the long lines by getting a lightning lane reservation as part of Genie+.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
The newest ride at EPCOT is also the most exciting. Located at World Discovery (once part of Future World), Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is a completely different ride than the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction in Disneyland. It’s such a unique experience. The EPCOT ride is a fully enclosed, indoor coaster, offering a reverse launch and 360 spins. It’s such a unique ride experience and offers thrills previously unseen at EPCOT.
Because this is such a popular new attraction, it’s not included in the regular Genie+ offerings and doesn’t have a standby line. If you want to ride, you’ll have two options. You can either choose to purchase the individual lightning lane, or can enter a virtual queue through the My Disney Experience app. If you really want to ride, I’d recommend skipping the long wait by purchasing the individual lightning lane early in the day because they do sell out.
You’ll have to be at least 42 inches to ride. It’s not a scary ride but is thrilling, so younger kids may be afraid to ride.
In addition to these attractions that have recently opened, there are some new additions that are coming soon. Some of these were originally announced as part of the 50th-anniversary celebration while others were announced at the latest D23 Expo (where you generally hear the latest news).
One of the most popular rides outside of Walt Disney World is TRON Lightcycle Run, a fully-enclosed motorbike rollercoaster. It is currently being built at the Magic Kingdom, near Space Mountain, and is scheduled to open next year in Spring 2023 (the opening date was rescheduled from the original 50th anniversary celebration launch date). It’s been extremely popular and well-received since opening at Shanghai Disneyland, so I’m eager to experience it at Walt Disney World.
Although this isn’t an entirely new ride, it is a reimagining of a classic ride. In the coming years, Splash Mountain’s Song of the South theme will be completely redone. This reinvented attraction, based on the Walt Disney Animation Studio’s movie the Princess and the Frog, will be called Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
The new attraction is scheduled to open at Walt Disney World in 2024, but the closing date for Splash Mountain has yet to be announced. It’s expected that it will be closing in 2023, however.
Journey of Water Inspired by Moana
This new attraction, based on the film Moana, isn’t a ride. Instead, it’s a self-guided walk-through area where you can explore the wonders of water. It will be located in the World Nature section of EPCOT (which was part of the original Future World).
There are lots of other new things coming to the Walt Disney World theme parks. These include a new restaurant – the Roundup Rodeo BBQ at Toy Story Land (adding to the dining options at Disney’s Hollywood Studios), a new nighttime spectacular at EPCOT replacing Harmonious, and the introduction of the Hat Box ghost in the Haunted Mansion.