New ‘Star Wars’ Stage Show Premieres April 4; ‘Rivers of Light’ Set for Earth Day Opening and Finding Dory Swims into Epcot this Summer
An unbeatable lineup of blockbuster attractions will debut at Walt Disney World Resort this year starting with the April 4 launch of a new live stage show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. On Earth Day, April 22, a sweeping immersive, animal-themed theatrical production, “Rivers of Light,” will premiere as the first-ever nightly show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
An epic array of shows and attractions will continue to open throughout summer, creating exciting new guest experiences across all Disney theme parks and entertainment venues. A new Magic Kingdom castle show will bring favorite characters from “Tangled” and “Princess and the Frog” for the first time to the grandest stage in Walt Disney World. Stars of the runaway Disney hit, “Frozen,” will take a bow in multiple Disney parks, and the first Frozen-themed attraction will sail into guests’ hearts at Epcot. Even more Star Wars-themed original entertainment, nighttime Animal Kingdom experiences and Disney Springs openings will set the stage for endless summertime fun.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
The magic of nature after dark takes center stage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom when the all-new Rivers Of Light waterside show premieres April 22, Earth Day — marking the Walt Disney World theme park’s thrilling transformation from a day-into-nighttime experience.
- “Rivers of Light,” an immersive nighttime extravaganza blending performers, floating lanterns, special effects and stunning theatrical imagery projected upon giant water screens, will premiere in a new Discovery River waterside theater.
- The park’s iconic Tree of Life will awaken each night amid a lively celebration of Discovery Island music and dance. Through stunning visuals, animal spirits appear and enchanted fireflies reveal stories of wonder as the tree morphs to showcase the magic of nature.
- Kilimanjaro Safaris transitions to a new nighttime adventure. Each evening, the popular Kilimanjaro Safaris daytime experience is artfully bathed in the look of sunset with special lighting allowing guests to explore and enjoy this attraction well into the night.
- For the first time, hyenas and African wild dogs join the safari trail creature feature.
- Hungry adventurers can have lunch or dinner at the new Tiffins signature restaurant, opening later this summer on Discovery Island. Guests seated in the restaurant’s travel-themed dining rooms or on the waterfront patio can sip libations and savor dishes featuring African, Asian and South American flavors.
- Across the park, guests can experience long-time favorites such as Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, and Kali River Rapids with more time to enjoy them into the night.
Anna, Elsa and other beloved characters from the blockbuster film, “Frozen,” will give the summer season a warm hug at Epcot and several other Disney parks. Meanwhile “Turtle Talk with Crush” makes fun waves and Soarin’ takes guests to new heights.
- Step into the kingdom of Arendelle with Anna, Elsa and their co-stars as they welcome guests aboard the new Frozen Ever After boat ride at the Norway pavilion, featuring the most advanced Audio-Animatronics to date. Passengers will celebrate a “Summer Snow Day,” visit the ice palace, and hear beloved film tunes plus new lyrics by Oscar-winning “Let It Go” songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson.
- Also at Norway pavilion, Anna and Elsa will greet guests in the new Royal Sommerhus, modeled after a traditional Norwegian cabin.
- In Future World, guests will celebrate the U.S. debut of the new Soarin’ Around the World attraction at The Land pavilion this summer. Now with a third Epcot theater, plus new digital screens and projection systems, the expanded attraction takes guests on an exhilarating “flight” above spectacular global landscapes and man-made wonders.
- Guests will also find new additions at “Turtle Talk with Crush” beginning in early-May with characters from Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory.” When Crush the sea turtle swims up to the “Human Tank” at Epcot, he’ll be joined by Dory and some of her new friends that guests will get to know when “Finding Dory” swims into theaters on June 17, 2016.
Classic Disney characters will join contemporary animated film stars this June in a new extravaganza on the grand Cinderella Castle stage; and Magic Kingdom guests can experience a new dining adventure.
- For the first time, modern Disney characters Tiana of “Princess and the Frog,” and Rapunzel of “Tangled,” co-star with Anna and Elsa of “Frozen,” and a host of classic characters in the new Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire. Performed on the grandest stage in the kingdom, the star-studded tale of friendship presents Mickey Mouse and his troupe of Merry Makers — Minnie Mouse, Donald, Daisy and Goofy – who invite 10 new friends from different animated worlds to join the celebration. This “timeless fairytale” of a show combines grand dance, fireworks and stunts with memorable music, an original song and special effects.
- Next door to the legendary Jungle Cruise, guests can enjoy the bold flavors of “World Famous Jungle Cuisine” served by the wisecracking crew of the new Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen. It’s the first Disney full-service restaurant themed after a specific park attraction.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
In the galactic wake of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, new Star-Wars-themed experiences shift into light speed.
- The next generation of Star Wars-themed fireworks shows, “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular,” will premiere this summer with new themed fireworks, lasers, special effects and video projections of characters and scenes from the complete saga, all set to the iconic score of the film series.
- The live stage show “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” will debut April 4, celebrating iconic moments from the Star Wars saga with live vignettes featuring popular characters such as BB-8, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Darth Maul.
- The March of the First Order Stormtrooper procession led by Captain Phasma from the Star Wars Launch Bay to the park’s Center Stage adds menace to the entertainment. The just-opened Star Wars Launch Bay showcases large-scale artifacts and encounters with characters including Kylo Ren. The re-imagined Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple experience also features new characters. And at Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, guests buckle up for an enhanced high-speed journey with new Force Awakens characters and a visit to Jakku.
- In the park’s Hyperion Theater, the Royal Historians of Arendelle host a jolly sing-along tale of their “Frozen” kingdom with special appearances by Anna, Elsa and Kristoff. And at Celebrity Spotlight, guests can meet Olaf and give him a warm hug.
Disney Springs and Water Parks Make a Splash
Disney guests will spend their first summer at Disney Springs as it continues its transformation. The charming waterfront town, comprising The Landing, Marketplace and West Side, expands to debut its fourth neighborhood, Town Center, adding more shops, restaurants and architectural detail than ever.
- New high-profile tenants are coming onboard at Disney Springs, including Anthropologie, Under Armour, kate spade, Sephora and Lucky Brand, among others. Other new shops opening in 2016 include: Zara, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, UNIQLO, PANDORA, UGG, L’Occitane en Provence and Edward Beiner.
- A total of 32 new tenants will be coming to Disney Springs this summer, including 29 retail shops and three new dining venues.
- Morimoto Asia recently celebrated its grand opening and more new eateries are firing up the scene in 2016 including the upscale STK steakhouse with the only rooftop dining in Disney Springs; The Edison, a lavish, “industrial Gothic”-style restaurant, bar and nighttime destination; Sprinkles, the world’s first cupcake bakery; Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a modern-day “pizza joint” with artisanal pies; and the reimagined, star-themed Planet Hollywood with new outdoor terrace and live entertainment.
- Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless and renowned Chef Wolfgang Puck join master Chef Masaharu Morimoto in a growing collection of James Beard Award winning chefs at Disney Springs.
- At Cirque du Soleil’s “La Nouba,” the new B-Boys hip-hop, breakdancing threesome showcase a rare mix of rhythm, strength and “how-did-they-do-that?” moves. As part of the show’s ongoing evolution, the masterful Aerial Bamboo act joins recent additions of madcap clowns and a breathtaking rolla bolla juggling act.
Meanwhile, Disney’s Water Parks will ramp up with playful spirits and summer fun faster than Olaf can beg for warm hugs.
- At Blizzard Beach, Olaf from Disney’s animated hit “Frozen,” will be living his “In Summer” dream as he and Kristoff host The Frozen Games at Blizzard Beach of friendly, fun competitions.
- Typhoon Lagoon castaways can splash down on a sandy summer beach with a cold ale and savory snack after a wild slide on Crush ‘n’ Gusher water coaster.
Disney guests will have a blockbuster summer wherever they play, dine, relax or celebrate at Walt Disney World theme parks, entertainment venues and resort hotels.