Over the past few days, Disney has revealed their plans for the coming summer season to the blogging elite. Awaken Summer as they are calling it not only refers to new Star Wars offerings at Hollywood Studios but new additions all around the resort. While most of these announcements might sound familiar, mostly because we knew almost everything that is on the way and some new attractions still haven’t been given firm opening dates, let's try to break down what you can expect to awaken this summer.
Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire has been narrowed down to June from its original summer slot. The stage show replaces Dream Along with Mickey on the Magic Kingdom's castle stage once it is finished its refurbishment. The show will feature new characters, songs, and costumes.
A Disney Junior star will be making their meet and greet debut at the Magic Kingdom. Elena of Avalor is Disney's first Latin princess. Her series will debut this summer and you can begin meeting her this August.
Over at Epcot, Soarin' will return on June 17th. The attraction has been down to allow the theater to convert to a crisp digital projection and introduce the new film that will debut first in Shanghai Disneyland as Soarin' Over the Horizon. At Disneyland and Walt Disney World the ride will be known as Soarin' Around the World.
Finding Dory characters will be introduced to the tank at Turtle Talk With Crush starting in early May.
Although there is still scaffolding up in the Norway pavilion, Disney has set a June opening date for Frozen Ever After. The ride that replaced Maelstrom is still somewhat of a question mark but I'm sure that will not dissuade the huge lines sure to form to meet the Arendelle sisters.
Disney's Animal Kingdom took a pretty large blow when it was announced that Rivers of Light will not be making its April 22nd debut. Thankfully there are plenty of other nighttime offers to keep you in the park well after sunset.
In the absence of Rivers of Light, another show will play on Discovery River. “The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” is a limited time engagement for this summer, based on the live-action film. The show will add an Indian influence to the classic songs. If received well, I don't think they will be rushing Rivers of Light along any time soon.
The Tree of Life will awaken with a new projection show that will illuminate the animal spirits as they come to life. Early reactions have been very positive for this one.
All the attractions will take on a new feel in the dark. Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids will be available to ride after it gets dark. Kilimanjaro Safaris will be transformed with new animals on the savannah and an eternal sunset.
Nighttime parties will take over Harambe and Discovery Island with music, food, dancing and entertainers. The new additions to Animal Kingdom including their latest restaurant, Tiffins, will start Memorial Day weekend.
Over at Disney's ugly ducking park, Hollywood Studios, Star Wars has already started to expand out of the Launch Bay with Captain Phasma's Stormtrooper procession and live stage show. Starting this June "Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular" will light up the park with fireworks, pyrotechnics, and video projections.
The lack of solid dates for most of the new offerings could prove problematic to most vacation planners. If you are visiting in late summer or fall you should be treated to a host of new experiences. Let me know what you're most excited for in the comments below.