What's New at Disney Parks for Summer

What's New at Disney Parks for Summer

A look at what Disney lovers can anticipate this summer at Disneyland and Walt Disney World By: Samantha Davis-Friedman
The Rivers of Light musical experience will open in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. // © 2016 Walt Disney World
The Rivers of Light musical experience will open in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. // © 2016 Walt Disney World

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The Details

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The announcement of Star Wars Lands at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., and Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., has many fans of the films and parks excited. But they don’t have to wait until 2017 to experience new and exciting changes at the parks. Here’s a glance at what Disney lovers can anticipate this summer.

In Cars Land, Disneyland California Adventure recently debuted Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters. Park guests hop onboard miniature Italian roadsters that move across a trackless “dance floor” to upbeat music. Beginning this May, guests at the park can also hear a different tune when the Hyperion Theater debuts an all-new musical featuring the characters from the Disney blockbuster “Frozen.” Frozen - Live at the Hyperion will immerse audiences in the story of Anna and Elsa with special effects, production numbers and even a few surprises, such as snow — both onstage and over guests.

“We know that for many in the audience, adults and children alike, this production will be a first or rare theatergoing experience,” said Dana Harrel, creative entertainment executive for Walt Disney Imagineering. “Our goal is to take all audiences — those that know the film and those new to these characters — on the exciting and touching adventure with Anna and Elsa.”

California Adventure’s popular Soarin’ Over California will be replaced this summer by Soarin’ Around the World, a global version of the attraction. Using all-new digital screens and projection systems, Soarin’ Around the World will take guests on a journey over some of the world’s most unique landscapes, such as Utah’s Monument Valley and the Great Wall of China.

“We know what park guests have come to expect from this attraction,” said Bob Chapek, chairman for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. “So we’ve put a lot of work into its evolution.”

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Guests visiting Epcot at Walt Disney World will also be able to experience Soarin’ Around the World this summer — but that’s not all the resort has in store.

In Epcot’s Norway Pavilion, guests who board the new Frozen Ever After boat ride will visit Elsa’s ice palace and hear songs from the movie, including new lyrics by the Oscar-winning “Let It Go” songwriters.

Additionally, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will come alive after dark with new nighttime experiences.

“Disney’s Animal Kingdom is such a majestic and beautiful park,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “Bringing it to life like never before makes nighttime at Disney’s Animal Kingdom a can’t-miss experience for Walt Disney World guests this summer.”

The new entertainment includes Rivers of Light, an illuminating musical experience culminating in a finale with animal images soaring into the night sky. The theme park’s iconic Tree of Life will also undergo a transformation throughout the evening as animal spirits are brought to life by magical fireflies.

Additionally, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has added several “Star Wars”-themed experiences to satisfy parkgoers until Star Wars Land opens next year. Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular is a new fireworks show featuring lasers, special effects and video projections of characters and scenes from the complete film saga, all set to John Williams’ iconic score. The live stage show Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away celebrates memorable moments from the films, with live vignettes featuring BB-8, Chewbacca and Kylo Ren.

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