Theme-parks preview 2019: A look beyond Disney’s ‘Star Wars’ land
  • Wednesday, February 20, 2019
  • 76°

Travel

Theme-parks preview 2019: A look beyond Disney’s ‘Star Wars’ land

  • WALT DISNEY CO. / TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

    Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is scheduled to open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the fall of 2019.

  • WALT DISNEY CO. / TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

    The new NBA Experience is set to open at Disney Springs in summer 2019. This one-of-a-kind destination – developed by Walt Disney Imagineering in collaboration with the NBA – will feature hands-on activities that immerse guests into the world of professional basketball.

  • WALT DISNEY CO. / TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

    Little green aliens from the “Toy Story” films pilot toy rocket ships in the Alien Swirling Saucers attraction that will be part of the new Toy Story Land opening June 30, 2018, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

ADVERTISING

When Disney announced plans for a “Star Wars” land, didn’t the opening seem far, far away? Well, surprise, 2019 is already upon us and we can expect to see “Star Wars”: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla., by fall (after a debut in California’s Disneyland Park this summer). But many more new attractions are coming to Florida’s theme parks in the next 12 months. Here’s a quick roundup — perhaps a cheat sheet for your next cocktail party — of what to expect and when.

Firm official opening dates are scarce at this point, let’s go in chronological order of sorts, using the date range/season provided by the parks and educated guesses.

MOVE IT! SHAKE IT! MOUSEKEDANCE IT! STREET PARTY

>> Where: Magic Kingdom

>> What: A tribute to Mickey and Minnie, with floats featuring additional Disney characters (Clarabelle Cow alert). A new song called “It’s a Good Time” is incorporated.

>> When: Daily (started Friday)

>> Why you should care: Disney’s first couple recently turned 90, and visitors will be able to see them together during a “surprise celebration” that includes special merchandise and food.

PIXAR AVENUE

>> Where: Disney’s Hollywood Studios

>> What: “The Incredibles” experience features a new meet-up place for Mr. Incredible, ElastiGirl, Frozone and Edna Mode characters.

>> When: Daily (started Friday)

>> Why you should care: Because it uses the area that previously was a dead end in front of “Toy Story” Mania.

>> Why you should care: In addition, a door inside the nearby Walt Disney Present area will lead to a visit with “Monsters, Inc.” characters Mike and Sully.

LIGHTNING MCQUEEN’S RACING ACADEMY

>> Where: Disney’s Hollywood Studios

>> What: Visitors will experience the world of characters seen in the Disney-Pixar film “Cars.” This will be a live-theater show inside the Sunset Showcase building near Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster — as opposed to the sprawling Cars Land attraction at Disney California Adventure.

>> When: Spring 2019

>> Why you should care: Well, you said you wanted more to do at Hollywood Studios.

WONDERFUL WORLD OF ANIMATION

>> Where: Disney’s Hollywood Studios

>> What: A nighttime spectacular based on 90 years of Disney animation.

>> When: Starting May 1, in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the theme park.

>> Why you should care: Few details are available, but official news releases about the attraction include phrases such as “cinematic,” “state of the art projection technology” and, as required by law, “magical.”

SESAME STREET

>> Where: SeaWorld Orlando

>> What: A re-creation and enhancement of the “Sesame Street” set will be flanked by six kiddie rides in an area that’s replacing Shamu’s Happy Harbor. We’ll see Big Bird’s nest and a daily parade.

>> When: Spring 2019

>> Why you should care: Let’s embrace the idea of an immersive SeaWorld experience that doesn’t get us soaked.

CARECARE KURL

>> Where: Aquatica, SeaWorld’s water park

>> What: The name of this elevated, two-passenger raft ride means wave in Maori. It’s going in near the park’s Cutback Cove wave pool.

>> When: Spring 2019

>> Why you should care: Aquatica is adding a slide without subtracting another slide.

LEGO MOVIE WORLD

>> Where: Legoland Florida

>> What: A land featuring three rides, including Master of Flight (and Emmet’s invention, the Triple Decker Flying Couch), Unikitty’s Disco Drop and Battle of Bricksburg, an interactive water attraction.

>> When: Spring 2019

>> Why you should care: You’ll get to eat at a place called Taco Everyday.

TIGRIS

>> Where: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

>> What: It’s a looping, twisting roller coaster designed to top 60 mph. The ride, going up on the former site of the Tidal Wave attraction, is touted as “Florida’s tallest launch coaster.”

>> When: Spring 2019

>> Why you should care: Tigris could be considered an appetizer course for another as-of-yet-unidentified thrill ride set for the Gwazi area of the park in 2020.

RAFIKI’S PLANET WATCH

>> Where: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

>> What: Back in September, Rafiki’s Planet Watch was DOA, but within days, that tune changed — Planet Watch still closed, but is scheduled to reopen in the spring.

>> When: Reawakening in spring 2019

>> Why you should care: Those of you freaked out by the absence of a petting zoo can continue breathing.

NBA EXPERIENCE

>> Where: West Side section of Disney Springs, where DisneyQuest used to stand.

>> What: Hands-on, basketball-themed activities, including one with an oversized slingshot and others that are more high-tech.

>> When: Summer 2019

>> Why you should care: It’s another way to burn off energy without shopping.

EPCOT FOREVER

>> Where: Epcot, above World Showcase Lagoon

>> What: The replacement for the long-running “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” show — which is said to wrap in the summer of 2019 — will feature music from Epcot past and present.

>> When: It’s a stopgap “limited-edition” show that runs until yet another show debuts there in 2020.

>> Why you should care: You didn’t really want that American Adventure “Golden Dreams” song out of your head anyway.

ENDLESS SUMMER RESORT

>> Where: International Drive and Universal Boulevard, also known as the former site of Wet ‘n’ Wild water park.

>> What: Universal’s building boom continues with a hotel complex divided into two buildings, Dockside Inn and Surfside Inn, the latter of which will be the first to open.

>> When: In phases, starting in summer of 2019

>> Why you should care: It’s Universal’s first foray into the other side of Interstate 4.

DISNEY SKYLINER

>> Where: Select spots above Walt Disney World

>> What: A gondola-style transportation system will stretch between Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot and some Disney resorts, including Pop Century, Art of Animation and Caribbean Beach plus Disney Riviera, a Disney Vacation Club property.

>> When: Fall 2019

>> Why you should care: Who doesn’t like options? This may be most suited for Disney’s hotel guests, but the views that include backstage glimpses, parking lots and (we’d guess) stalled traffic are intriguing.

MICKEY & MINNIE’S RUNAWAY RAILWAY

>> Where: Disney’s Hollywood Studios

>> What: A dark ride involving a pair of picnicking mice and Goofy as a train engineer. What could go wrong? The attraction is under construction inside the Chinese Theater, former home of the Great Movie Ride.

>> When: Fall 2019

>> Why you should care: Shockingly, this will be the first Mickey-driven ride in any Disney park anywhere.

POTTER COASTER

>> Where: Universal’s Islands of Adventure

>> What: The ride — there’s no name announced yet — will feature characters from the world created by “Harry Potter” mastermind J.K. Rowling. It’s currently under construction on the former site of the Dragon Challenge thrill ride.

>> When: So far, Universal has only said 2019.

>> Why you should care: It’s another Potter theme-park sequel.

Comments (0)
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Scroll Up