What’s New at Walt Disney World in 2020? Everything to Know before you Go!

What’s New at Walt Disney World in 2020? Everything to Know before you Go!

What’s New at Walt Disney World in 2020? New rides, restaurants, shows and services are arriving throughout the parks in preparation for the 50th anniversary in 2021. With all the changes that have happened and those soon coming, here’s everything you’ll need to know before you go! This post contains information about the Disney Parks Pass Reservation system which is required for entry into the parks. And when you can book your 2021 Disney Vacation Package.

everything new coming to walt disney world in 2020

Walt Disney World Changes coming for the 50th Anniversary in 2021. Disney changes in Disney Parks

What to know before you go to Walt Disney World

Check out all the Walt Disney World Know Before Go tips here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/experience-updates/. This is the most comprehensive lineup of everything that will affect your vacation. From being required to wear face masks in public places to limiting your vacation to one park pass per day. Check out the Experience Updates page for every single detail. 

Walt Disney World COVID 19 Operations

We’ve done a round up of all the most important Disney COVID related items in our Disney COVID FAQ section on the blog. Here’s the breakdown of what you need to know. 

Disney Park Pass Reservation System

The New Disney Park Pass Reservation System is set to ready soon. Priority reservations are in place for people with existing packages, annual passholders, DVC members and guests with tickets. A resort reservation does not guarantee park entry. Guests must have a valid ticket and park reservation to enter the park. You can grab tickets to Walt Disney World for 2020 now. 

You know we love Disney’s attempt at cutting edge website and app technology. As a result, we’re praying that recent snafu’s with the My Disney Experience app and website, both which crash a lot, plus the nightmare that was the Rise of the Resistance Virtual Boarding Pass system, has taught some lessons to the probably underpaid Disney IT department. As always be sure to head to the official Walt Disney World Disney Park Pass Reservation page for every detail you will need in 2020. Park Pass Reservations are required until September 26, 2021. 

When Can you Book your 2021 Disney Vacation Package?

Now! Both 2020 and 2021 Disney Vacations are available for booking. So check the Disney Website for your preferred resort, and ticket availability. We have no idea what crowds will look like in the current health climate, but Disney Maximum Capacity rules are still in force. 

Is Disney World doing anything special for Fall 2020?

Check out our Walt Disney World Fall 2020 post for all the details on what you can do on your next visit. and if you’re eager to try all the New Fall Snacks at Disney, then there are a TON of brand fall and Halloween treats showing up in the parks starting September 15th, 2020. Read the post for the full list of all the Disney Snacks for Fall and Halloween at Disney in 2020. 

all the plans for cinderellas 70th anniversary at walt disney world in 2020

Everything New at Magic Kingdom 2020

Magic Kingdom is in full swing with the Tron ride construction, so everything else is taking a back ( or rather side-car) seat. But, here is everything happening so far. Grab the Disney vacation planner touring plan for Magic Kingdom.

Tomorrowland Re-Imagining 

The sign in Tomorrowland has already changed. With a lighter more futuristic scheme, Tomorrowland has already welcomed a brand new patterned wall at Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor, and the new geometric Purple Wall. We additionally saw a brand new white terrace arrive at at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe early in 2019 to match the TRON Lightcycle theme which will be taking over that part of the park. 

Cinderella’s Castle is Turning Pink for the Anniversary

We don’t know if this change is temporary, but Cinderella’s castle has turned rose gold pink. Commemorating Cinderella’s 70th and just in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th. This project is completed.

Under Construction at Magic Kingdom 

  • Jungle Cruise- extensive refurbishments in 2020
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad- extensive refurbishments in 2020
  • Tomorrowland Speedway will have intermittent closings due to Tron construction
  • Wreck it Ralph Attraction to replace Stitch’s Great Escape by 2022. Permits have been filed. 
  • PeopleMover Refurbishments including new areas and scenes within the ride
  • TRON Lightcycle roller coaster is started, completion in 2021 is estimated in Tomorrowland

epcot world showcase disney

Everything New at Epcot 2020

In honor of 40th Anniversary in 2022 Epcot is getting a major overhaul with an emphasis on greenery and connection across spaces. The front part of the park, including Club Cool and Starbucks will be relocated. We will hopefully also have the Regal Eagle BBQ smoke house at the America pavilion in full swing before 2019 is out, replacing Liberty Inn. Here are some of the things changing in 2020 to prepare for the anniversary both of Walt Disney World in 2021 and Epcot the year after. But check out our complete Epcot 2022 post for details. Grab our EPCOT planner to get started organizing.

Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue

The American Adventure Pavilion has gotten a brand new restaurant! Replacing Liberty Inn, best known for it’s burgers and fries, the Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue is OPEN in Epcot’s World Showcase. Bringing with it an offering of American Craft Beers and a variety of Barbecue. We loved this restaurants, be sure to read the full review. It is also hope to one of the Halloween Disney Snacks for 2020. 

Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue is a fast-casual restaurant located at EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Here, guests will enjoy classic American backyard barbecue and home-style craft brews. (Kent Phillips, Photographer) C/O wdwnews.com

regal eagle smokehouse at epcot american pavilion bbq at epcot

Awesome Planet | The Land 

A New Movie, Awesome Planet, arrives at The Land Pavilion replacing Circle of Life. You can find this on the second floor of The Land building, and will be an excellent respite from the heat and rain.

Interactive PLAY! Pavilion *Opening Late 2020 MAYBE

Interactive PLAY! Pavilion will take over the Wonders of Life Building in Future World. Previously used as the festival center, this new  experience includes character meet and greets and interactive exhibits for the whole family. Consider this your one stop shop for the most Disney characters you’ll see in one place. *The Interactive PLAY! Pavilion has been under construction since the parks reopened and seems to moving at lightening speed. We anticipate, depending on Disney Park crowd levels, that it may open late 2020 in time for the holiday season rush. If a rush doesn’t happen, it may be delayed until 2021. No official opening date has been announced. 

Harmonious Nighttime Show *Opening Late 2020

A new Epcot Nighttime Spectacular called Harmonious arrives in 2020 honoring music around the globe and replacing the interim show Epcot Forever ( which debuted Oct 1 2019). Shows are currently suspended due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Construction on Harmonius has been active so we are expecting some announcement soon of it’s arrival. No official opening date has been announced. 

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure in Epcot France Open Summer 2020

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure | France Opening Late 2020*

This new dark ride will be like the Disneyland Paris version, where guests are driven around a  very large kitchen amidst all sorts of catastrophes one might find if you were a rat, like Remy. *Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is planned for a late 2020 opening after the closing delays which pushed back it’s original opening of “Summer 2020.” No official opening date has been announced. 

Le Creperie de Paris | France Opening Late 2020*

A new French Creperie set to open in the courtyard of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. This quick serve location will be overseen by Chef Jérôme Bocuse, who oversees both Monsieur Paul and Chefs de France. *Le Creperie de Paris will most likely open in tandem with Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. No official opening date has been announced. 

Beauty and the Beast Sing Along | France

There is a New Beauty and the Beast Sing Along in Epcot. This 15 minute film in Epcot France allows you to follow along in song to this twist on Beauty and the Beast. LeFou helps add a little comedy to the story. 

Wondrous China 360 | China

A new Chinese film to replace old film Reflections of Earth in China/ Epcot. This is a seamless 360 circle-vision film set to arrive just in time for Festival of the Arts in 2020. 

Canada Far and Wide 360 | Canada

New Canada 360 to premiere with Festival of the Arts in 2020 replacing the Martin Short O’Canada film. We are soooo excited for this as Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara take the reigns of sharing their beloved Canada. Think of this as a pretty informational video. Unfortunately, there is no hilarity a la Martin Short in redo. 

Space 220 Restaurant | Future World *Opening Late 2020 MAYBE

As part of World Discovery the Space 220 Restaurant offers out of this world dining with outer space views that help guests feel as if they are on a spaceship sailing through the galaxy. And will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. *We’ve been holding our breath on this one since it’s originally planned 2019 opening, the was delayed until April, and then the parks closed. Further bad news came when we learned additional staff for the Patina Group, who oversee this restaurant, are furloughed through December 2020. That said, this is a BIG MAYBE! We anticipate it may manifest around the holiday months as Disney sees the need to draw people to the parks, but this could easily be delayed until 2021 as well. No official opening date has been announced. 

Disney Ducktales World Showcase Adventure Game *Coming Late 2020

Replacing the beloved interactive game, Agent P’s Showcase, this new Ducktales themed game will call for all sorts of interaction as you help hunt down treasures throughout World Showcase. Just like the Star Wars Interactive game, this one will be available on the Play Disney Parks App. *This is a game that was announced but hasn’t had much movement. Stay tuned to see if this one shows up in the parks before 2020 is over. No official arrival date has been announced. 

Under Construction at Epcot

Africa Animal Kingdom Photo Spot Harambe Market

Everything New at Animal Kingdom 2020

Nothing. Except of course the new snacks that are finally popping up in Animal Kingdom. There is A RUMORED expansion of Pandora has been announced in preparation for the additional Pandora movies that Disney plans to release in the next few years. No word yet on when construction will start, but Pandora is still seeing 3 hour waits for Flight of passage, so an additional ride could be in the future to help disperse those crowds ( rumored). In the meantime grab the Epcot planner for touring plans and checklists!As of right now the popularity of Pandora has Animal Kingdom busy enough, so no new construction plans are underway at this time for 2020.

Christmas at Animal Kingdom

2019 saw a brand new marionette style animal interaction at Animal Kingdom. Complete with gorgeous creatures to add more magic to the holiday season. Such a hit so far, we imagine this element along with all of the New Things for Christmas at Walt Disney World will continue in future years.

After Hours at Animal Kingdom

New to the After Hours lineup, Animal Kingdom is the cheapest evening experience so far. Offering treats in the park, nighttime shows, and evening Kilimanjaro rides across the Savanna. Check out this late night experience if you’re looking to get out of the heat of the daytime in Florida. After Hours Events have been suspended due to the Covid pandemic.

Feathered Friends in Flight | Animal Kingdom

In an ongoing dispute between Disney and the Actors union, a brand new show has replaced Up! A Great Bird Adventure. This new show may be temporary, but for right now includes education and a bird show! A great way to take a break and learn something at Animal Kingdom.

No Longer available at Animal Kingdom

  • UP! A Great Bird Adventure
  • Rivers of Light
  • Primeval Whirl

hollywood studios 30th anniversary

Everything New at Hollywood Studios 2020

Rise of the Resistance over in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge has opened with a virtual queue only accessible once you enter the park. Make sure you know how the boarding pass virtual queue system at Walt Disney World works. And grab our Hollywood Studios planner to get started planning your Disney Vacation!

The Disney Society Orchestra and Friends

Replacing Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, the Disney Society Orchestra has taken up the mantle at this open air theater in Hollywood Studios. This is a new show featuring a six-piece band playing familiar Disney songs from everyone’s favorite Disney movies. Given the success of the concert series at EPCOT, the addition of this new attraction is no surprise. Especially as many of the films represented in Hollywood Studios such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Muppets, and Toy Story come with amazing soundtracks. We love that this new attraction also has the possibility of changing the score every now and then.

Star Wars Offerings 

The March of the Stormtroopers may or may not continue with the opening of Galaxy’s Edge, as all Stormtroopers may be needed on hand on planet Batuu. We will see the switch of the Kylo Ren meet and greet to Darth Vader at Star Wars Launch Bay. No doubt scaring all small children with some heavy breathing, we’re interested to see how Darth Vader interacts with the guests here.

Rise of the Resistance Boarding Pass System

If you plan on getting a spot in line for the Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios, then read up on all the tips and tricks on HOW to get a boarding pass. You cannot just walk up and get one. And fast passes are not available for Rise. So be prepared and read the post before you go.

rise of the resistance at star wars galaxys edge

Mickey Shorts Theater | March 2020

Nestled near Olaf’s Frozen Sing A Long this new theater will show Mickey shorts and offer respite from the heat and rain. Check out our Mickey Shorts Theater review and everything you need to watch before checking out this new Hollywood Studios attraction. 

Mickey Shorts Theater at Hollywood Studios
Mickey Shorts Theater at Disney's Hollywood Studios

mickey and minnie's runaway railway

Mickey's Runaway Railway

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway | March 4, 2020

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be the first Mickey attraction in Walt Disney World and the imagineers are pulling out all the stops! Check out our entire post on Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway;  open now.

mickey and minnies hollywood studios ride

Woody’s Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant|  Toy Story Land *Coming Late 2020

Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant in Toy Story Land is planned as the new Table Service, indoor, restaurant in Andy’s Backyard.  Expect a complete Wilderness Playset here as a new addition to Andy’s backyard toys. We are thrilled to have an air conditioned sit down restaurant in Toy Story Land, so cannot wait for this one! * Construction has been moving along on Toy Story Land’s newest restaurant. Rumored to arrive late 2020, No official opening date has been announced. 


Everthing New at Disney Springs  2020

Cirque du Soleil Show | April 17, 2020 

Drawn to life is the new Cirque du Soleil show featuring the story of a young girl inspired by art. This acrobatic show is an homage to Disney Animation complete with a new beautiful score and all new elements of the show. Shows are currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gideon’s Bakehouse

Gideon’s bakehouse is taking over a new location in Disney Springs and offer cookies, cake slices and specialty coffees. 

Everglazed Donuts and Cold Drew

Adding another coffee place to the mix, the newest place to arrive late 2020 is all about donuts and cold brew! Happiness is glazed daily!

Walt Disney World 2020 Events Park Wide

runDisney has new artwork for races in 2020 and a whole lineup of races for 2020. Be sure to check out the lineup and register in advance! Because these sell out quickly.

New things coming to Disney Resorts in 2020

Disney Resorts have all been slowly undergoing refurbishments, with most recently the Disney Rivera Resort opening Dec. 16 2019 and the Coronado Springs Gran Destino Tower Refurbishment. The Grand Floridian is also undergoing some major changes and with the arrival of Enchanted Rose; The Beauty and Beast inspired Bar and Lounge and there are still more changes to come.

  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Villas is CLOSED until Summer 2021 for Moana enhanced room refurbishments. 
  • Refurbishments begin at Saratoga Springs
  • Citricos at The Grand Floridian will become Victoria and Albert’s Bistro, may complete by end of 2021. As part of the Grand Floridian re-imagining. Citricos will close in 2020 as part of the Resort Changes Coming to the Grand Floridian. 

Under Construction

  • Star Wars Hotel Galactic Starcruiser Immersion Experience.
  • Disney’s Lakeside Resort, Reflections, is under construction disrupting some Fort Wilderness offerings. May be delayed or halted. 
  • The Cove: The 3rd property to join Swan and Dolphin on Disney Boardwalk is planned and set to complete. 

New Disney Services in 2020

  • Park to Park Bussing Begins
  • Bus Fleet now includes usb charging stations on seats inside bus
  • Disney Genie App set to debut to help make planning a  vacation easy peasy. A new up-charged Fastpass option is set to launch within the app at the same time. 
  • Park Pass Reservation System

The Busiest Times to Visit Walt Disney World in 2020

Check out our main post on the best days to visit each park, no matter when your vacation this year. For reference here is the years activities announced so far. Keep in mind that the 2021 50th Anniversary Celebrations for Walt Disney World will most likely start late fall in 2020. 

January 8– 12, 2020: runDisney Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
January 17 – 20, 2020: Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend 
February 13 – 18, 2020: Valentine’s Day/President’s Day Weekend
February 20 – 23, 2020: runDisney Princess Half Marathon 
February 23- 29, 2020: Mardi Gras Week
March 4- June 1, 2020: Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 
March 10 – 31, 2020: Spring Break
April 10 – 13, 2020: Easter
April 16th – April 19th, 2020: Star Wars Rival Run Weekend- CANCELLED
May 1-3, 2020. Dapper Day- CANCELLED
May 22 – 25, 2020: Memorial Day Weekend
H20 Glow Nights Begins- CANCELLED
July 1- 6, 2020: Fourth of July Week
July 15: A Taste of EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival 
August 2020: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Begins- CANCELLED
September 4-7, 2020:  Labor Day Weekend
October 9 – 12, 2020:  Columbus Day Weekend
November 5 -9, 2020:  Wine and Dine Half Marathon NOW VIRTUAL 
November 22 – 28, 2020: Thanksgiving Week
November 2020: Epcot International Festival of Holidays
December 20 – 30, 2020: Christmas Weeks

Planning for Walt Disney World in 2021?

We have written and are keeping an up to date post on all the changes coming to Walt Disney World for 2021. But here’s a few other posts that may be super helpful if you’re postponing your Disney Vacation until 2021. 

We hope that no matter your future Disney plans that you stay healthy and safe! 

Everything coming to Walt Disney World in 2020. New restaurants, rides and shows. Everything we know so far. Post UPDATED regularly! #polkadotpixies #Disney2020 #Waltdisneyworld #disneyvacations

Co-Founder and Director at Polka Dot Pixie Co LLC | Website | + posts

Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.

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