Look, I never truly need a reason to visit Walt Disney World. Ever. But I do love planning for my next vacation knowing there are new things to check out. Then there’s visiting because I adore something in the parks so much that I’m compelled to go. So, I started looking into what’s new in the parks, what’s coming back, and what you have to check out this year. From a brand new land to resort upgrades and milestone anniversaries, here’s 18 magical reasons to visit Disney World in 2018.
1. These Are the Jedi Props You’re Looking For
A new display of The Last Jedi Props & Models at Star Wars Launch Bay in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. has already been added. While you don’t need to love the movie to check them out, you may fall in love with the attention to detail each piece has. On display are Kylo Ren’s Tie Silencer, a First Order Fleet Gunner Helmet, and Kylo’s Light Saber, too. In addition to the new props, there’s plenty of other pieces from earlier movies.
2. There’s No Need to Get Hyper. Or Is There?
Labeled a multisensory experience, Disney Springs has added Secrets of the Empire Hyper-Reality Experience by ILMxLAB and The VOID. Located in The Marketplace area of Disney Springs near Earl of Sandwich, teams of four help to ensure The Rebellion’s survival. Secrets of the Empire is already open and tickets may be purchased online for around $30 each.
This experience is for ages 10 years and up.
3. Double the Star Tours Fun
Two new destinations are now offered for Star Tours – The Adventure Continues. Located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the recent additions include Crait from The Last Jedi and Batuu, a sneak peak that park guests will see more of when Stars Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens next year.
4. Expand Your Art Knowledge – and Maybe Your Waistline
Love art and food? Then you’ll need to visit Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts. In its second year from January 12- February 19, 2018, you’ll have opportunities to take drawing classes, animation workshops, and performances from Disney on Broadway. Hit the Food Studios for a taste of world-class cuisine.
5. After Hour Fun
If you’re a night owl you’ll love the fact that WDW is bringing back Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom. For $119/tax per person, you’ll have three hours to hop on 25 attractions and meet and greet popular Disney characters will little to no wait. Tickets for the after-hour events may be purchased online or
Also included in the fun are complimentary snacks and drinks including popcorn and ice cream.
Right now dates for Disney After Hours are the following:
- January 19, 26, and 30
- February 8 and 15
- March 1 and 8
6. New Restaurants Are Springing Up
Head to WDW in 2018 and you’ll be able to dine at eight new Disney Springs restaurants throughout the year.
Disney Springs Restaurants Opening early 2018:
- The Edison
- Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante
- Enzo’s Hideaway
- Pizza Ponte
Disney Springs Restaurants Opening Later in 2018:
- Terralina Crafted Italian
- Wine Bar George
- Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill
7. Flower & Garden Festival Silver Anniversary
Running from February 18-May 28, 2018, The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary! Along with character topiaries, garden tours, and an Easter Egg Hunt, there’s plenty of delicious food at 15 outdoor-style kitchens. You can schedule special garden tours and watch popular bands from decades past in Garden Rocks Concert Series.
8. Look Up. Look Way Up.
Coming this spring (dates TBD), a salute to the popular Disney Pixar movie “Up” will debut. Featuring Dug and Russell, they’ll take guests on a journey around the world. When it opens, head to the Caravan Theater in Anandapur Village in Asia.
9. Because Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day
Featuring live dance performances and music, hit Raglan Road at Disney Springs for all-things fun on March 17, 2018. We’ve been on a non-holiday and it’s super fun, but on St. Pat’s it’s a true party.
10. Has Animal Kingdom Really Been Open that Long?
Celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2018, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will celebrate its special day on April 22nd. Details have yet to be announced, but I’ll update this post when they are.
11. There’s No Misfit Toys in this Land
The hottest park ticket of the summer is one for Hollywood Studios and Toy Story Land! Two new park attractions, Slinky Dog Dash (a family coaster) and Alien Swirling Saucers will be the FastPass+ selections to nail down – and will take some of the heat off Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom.
12. Let’s Get Tropical!
We stayed at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort last spring and realized it was in need of a good makeover. Upgrades and enhancements will include a larger Centertown Market and a pool bar and restaurant.
13. Boo to you. And You.
One of the main reasons we road trip to Disney World in October is for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party fun. There’s plenty of trick-or-treating opps, elusive character meet and greets, a parade, “Happy HalloWishes” fireworks – and it’s the perfect excuse to dress up in costume.
14. Raise a Glass (of Wine!) to Fall
It’s official: The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is coming back in 2018. Always bigger and better every year, the festival will feature the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, food Marketplaces for small plates, seminars, and guest chefs.
15. Expand Your Sports Knowledge
With the date still under cover, ESPN Wide World of Sports is expanding this year. A multi-use sports and entertainment venue will seat over 8,000 people. Capable of hosting six basketball and volleyball courts and four competition areas for cheer and dance events.
16. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Holiday Fun
With the announcement of the return of both Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Epcot International Festival of the holidays, I’m already waiting for dates to lock down a visit. Hollywood Studios’ Flurry of Fun is a great way to see snow in Orlando in December.
17. Disney Springs Free Holiday Fun
Disney Springs will be offering free holiday fun this year – and we LOVE saving money! Previous year’s have included a Christmas Tree Trail and a drone sky show.
18. Rumors for 2018
It’s always fun to guess what Disney World will be doing next and rumors about this year are already flying. While some of them have already come true (a paid FastPass+ option for guests staying in Concierge Level of specific Deluxe Disney World Resorts), I’ve heard talk of the Monorail ending its run. Another big one is Gran Fiesta tour at Mexico Pavilion in Epcot being taken over by “Coco”.