Things will be heating up at Walt Disney World over the next few months as Disney’s Awaken Summer gets into full swing offering an array of new experiences across the four theme parks and Disney Springs. From new culinary delights, rides, shows, street parties and fireworks displays, there’s something to appeal to Disney visitors both old and new.  To help you plan your time at the parks, here’s our run-down of 7 Disney must-do’s for the Summer ahead.

1) Soarin Over the World –  This much loved Epcot attraction returns from its hiatus bigger and better than ever.  The updated version of Soarin is due to open on June 17th and will take visitors on a hang-gliding  journey over some of the world’s most breathtaking vistas.  The addition of a third viewing theater also means more guests can be accommodated per hour.

2) Discovery Island Carnivale and Harambe Wildlife Party – Starting on Memorial Day weekend Disney’s Animal Kingdom will remain open until 11pm providing visitors with the opportunity to dance the night away with not one but two evening celebrations. Discovery Island Carnivale will feature music, food,  and performances (including stilt walkers) in this celebration of nature. Harambe Market will also come alive each evening with the Harambe Wildlife Party featuring African inspired cuisine, music and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

3) Frozen Ever After – Anna and Elsa fans both young and old will be able to visit their favorite friends from the blockbuster film when Disney’s Frozen ride opens its doors to visitors in the Norway Pavilion starting this June.  Frozen Ever After will transport guests to Queen Elsa’s “Winter in the Summer” celebration visiting key scenes from the movie including the troll valley and Queen Elsa’s Ice Palace.   Visitors to the new Frozen themed attraction can also meet Anna and Elsa in their new Royal Sommerhaus greeting location adjacent to the ride.

4) Symphony In the Stars – A treat for Star Wars fans, Hollywood Studios upgrades their spectacular evening fireworks event with even more Star Wars themed touches. This new galactic spectacular will use projections along with pyrotechnics to transform Grauman’s Chinese Theater and neighboring buildings into Star Wars landmarks including the twin suns of Tatooine and the trench of the Death Star. It is also rumored that fire towers will be erected which when combined with spotlights will create giant lighsabers in the night sky. The fireworks will continue to be set to Jim Williams’ epic Star Wars orchestrations and will also feature new music from The Force Awakens.  An official start date has not yet been announced so watch this space.

5)Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire – The Magic Kingdom will debut this new all-singing, all-dancing afternoon show  starting in June.  With Cinderella’s Castle as its backdrop, Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire hosted by Mickey Mouse will feature much lived Disney characters including Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen, Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Anna, Elsa and even Olaf in a this celebration of friendship. Promising to be one of Magic Kingdom’s Summer highlights the production will showcase, amazing costumes, spectacular choreography and unforgettable musical numbers.

6) Dynamite Dining at Disney Springs –  With the expansion of Disney Springs comes a wide range of new culinary offerings.  Visitors this Summer will be able to enjoy fine dining with the opening of Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming- Florida Kitchen and Shine Bar, Chef Rick Bayless’ Tablas Frontera and STK, a modern steak house and lounge featuring its own in-house DJ. Downtown Disney favorites, Fulton’s and Planet Hollywood will re-open after extensive renovations and visitors can also choose from a range of fast food options including Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, Disney’s D-Luxe Burger, and three new Disney kiosks including Aristocrepes, The Daily Poutine, and B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Company.  Those with a sweet tooth will not want to miss Amorette’s Patisserie featuring a range of Disney inspired pastries and cakes and Sprinkles, complete with a self-service cupcake ATM.  All of these new offerings combine to make Disney Springs the dining destination of the Summer.

7) Kilimanjaro Safaris After Dark – This popular Animal Kingdom headline attraction will extend its hours starting in May to accommodate even more wildlife adventurers. With special lighting simulating the glow of a sunset, Kiliminjaro Safaris After Dark will provide guests with a unique opportunity to witness the nighttime behavior of the animals, hear their calls and discover new species including African wild dogs and hyenas.

Though its future may be slightly uncertain, it is also worth noting that Animal Kingdom’s nighttime extravaganza Rivers of Light is also slated to open this Summer.  Postponed from its Spring opening, this evening show promises glowing lanterns, animal spirits, magical fireflies and dancing fountains in an nighttime display that mixes music, color, earthly elements and even a recreation of the Aurora Borealis in an homage to the Earth itself.  With no news on an official opening date, Disney has temporarily replaced Rivers of Light with “Jungle Book Alive With Magic”  which builds on the popularity of the recently re-imagined Jungle Book and will feature much loved songs from the original animated feature.

Are you heading to the parks this Summer?  As an agent with MickeyTravels, I can help you plan a getaway jam-packed with all of Disney’s new summer offerings.  My concierge-style service means I’ll be on hand to help with everything from booking reservations, scheduling Fastpasses, securing dining options, to sharing tips and tricks to make your holiday a breeze. All of this is at no extra cost to you! Drop me an email at, via Facebook or toll free at 1.800.801.4025 for further details. 



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