Walt Disney World to Get Makeover as 50th Anniversary Approaches

The new Disney's Hollywood Studios show opens next year. // Photo by Maureen Cody Stone

Walt Disney Imagineering executives, clearly gratified with the fulfillment of their work on Toy Story Land this summer, took the opportunity of the June 30 opening of their new attractions to announce other new and updated development plans leading up to the 2021 celebration of Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary. Tops on the list is the continuing 25-acre transformation of Disney’s Hollywood Studios that began with the 11-acre Toy Story Land and will see its culmination with the 14-acre Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, scheduled to open in late fall 2019.

According to George Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort, the opening of the two lands is a “trifecta” combination with last year’s new Pandora – the World of Avatar in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. He called this is the most significant growth of Walt Disney World in 20 years. Other Disney development is also in progress.

A new announcement is Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, a live show experience starring characters from the Pixar Animation Cars movie series. The attraction will open in 2019 near the Hollywood Studios Rock ‘n Roller Coaster.

In the fall of 2018 the new Disney Junior Dance Party will premiere at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The high energy music party will include character appearances from Disney Junior TV Shows, including “Doc McStuffins,” “The Lion Guard” and “Mickey and the Road Racers.”

The new Play Disney Parks app launched
June 30. // Photo by Maureen Cody Stone

As previously announced, Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is on track for its fall 2019 opening. Main attractions will include the epic adventure putting guests in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance, and the second experience of stepping aboard the Millennium Falcon to pilot and steer the space ship through space and fire its laser canons. A Disney Star Wars-themed hotel will also be opening near Disney’s Hollywood Studios in tandem with the new attractions,  offering an immersive Star Wars guest experience.

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will open in 2019 as the first Walt Disney World ride dedicated to the famed characters. New technology on the ride will put guests in the middle of their own Disney Channel Mickey Mouse cartoon, where anything can happen.

The first play areas for the new Play Disney Parks mobile app, launched in Toy Story Land on June 30, include Peter Pan’s Flight in Fantasyland and Space Mountain in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom, in addition to Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. More play areas in Walt Disney World will follow, and the app is free to download from the Apple Store and Google Play. There is also a Disney playlist from Apple Music.

The colorful new Minnie Van Service is available throughout Walt Disney World as an on-demand transportation service accessible through the Lyft app. Guests downloading the Lyft app can select the Minnie Van Service option, confirm their current location, enter their Disney destination, tap “Request,” and receive a response identifying the vehicle number and its map location as the service heads to your spot.

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