2015 is a distant memory now. Onward and upward into 2016. Nearly every year for the foreseeable future will bring a noteworthy addition to the Orlando theme parks. Here are some good reasons to be excited to visit in 2016.
#5 Disney Springs expands
The transformation from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs wasn't an easy or a short one but the long nightmare is soon to be over. 2015 saw great additions like The Hangar Bar, Morimoto Asia and the Ganachery.
2016 will see the opening of the Town Center area of the expansion. It will bring with it loads of new shops like Pandora, Lilly Pulitzer, Edison, Sprinkles, Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza and many more. 2016 will be a great time to check out Disney Springs as most of the walls will be down and plenty of new storefronts will be open for business.
#4 Frozen Ever After: Escape to Arendelle
There are many who immediately dismiss Frozen now as the franchise has met critical mass. There are also many who loathe the fictional setting of Arendelle entering the sacred World Showcase. This attraction will forever be incredible divisive. Because I'm not able to change the wheels already in motion I choose to accept this and look forward to a new dark ride and better yet, a new ride in Epcot.
The juggernaut success of the film means Disney is not afraid to pull out this stops for this ride. I'm expecting a world class dark ride that should delight fans and haters alike.
#3 Soarin' Around the World
Soarin' is going down for a six month long refurb to bring the ride into a new age. I love Soarin' but the film was really showing its age and detracting from the ride experience. Those little scratches on a screen that huge were more than noticeable. The new digital projectors should breathe new life into this fan favorite.
On top of the new projectors is an entirely new film. This summer you'll be soarin' out of California and around the world to see some incredible new locations.
#2 Skull Island: Reign of Kong
Universal has something massive coming this year and it's not more Harry Potter. King Kong is returning to Universal Orlando in a big way with Skull Island: Reign of Kong. The mini-land inside Islands of Adventure will feature only one ride but it is sure to be a doozy.
The attraction will feature a huge ride vehicle, indoor and outdoor portions, and plenty of screen and practical effects. This should be another Universal attraction to set a new bar in the industry.
#1 Rivers of Light
The thing I get most excited thinking about experiencing this year is Rivers of Light, the new nighttime show at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Rivers of Light seems to be something very unique and different from the shows at the other three parks.
Animal Kingdom is a very underrated park but 2016 may change that perception slightly. With Rivers of Light and a new night safari coming this year, guests will be encouraged to stay longer and enjoy the intricate nature of the park.