Star Wars Storm Troopers marching with Captain Phasm

18 Reasons to Visit Disney World in 2018

There’s always something exciting going on in Disney World, but this year marks some amazing new attractions including – including the planned opening of Toy Story land – plus so much more.

Let’s take a look at the top 18 reasons to visit Disney World in 2018!

1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars Launch Bay, which opened in 2015, was created with the purpose of showing off Star Wars memorabilia and previewing new and upcoming Star Wars movies.

This year, Star Wars Launch Bay will display props and models from the latest Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi. In time, you can also expect to see models from the stand alone film, Solo: A Star Wars Story, which will be released on March 25th, 2018.

2. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire

The VOID has opened in Disney Springs. This hyper-reality experience has been open for less than a month, but its already proven to be quite popular and will continue to delight guests this year. In teams of four, The VOID will transport you to the world of Star Wars where you’ll be able to walk around freely and untethered. You’ll encounter stormtroopers and recover Imperial Intelligence necessary for the survival of the Resistance.

Star Wars is marching into Disney's Hollywood Studios in a big way!
Star Wars is marching into Disney’s Hollywood Studios in a big way!

3. Star Tours – The Adventures Continue

Star Tours opened in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1989, just a few years after the original trilogy and about a decade before the Star Wars revival in the prequel trilogy.

The amazing thing about Star Tours is that it’s adapted over the years with new ride sequences. Star Tours – The Adventures Continue now offers two new destinations like the site of an epic battle in The Last Jedi and the remote outpost Batuu – the planet that will be portrayed in Galaxy’s Edge.

4. 25th Anniversary of runDisney

In 1994, the first Walt Disney World Marathon was held with only 5,588 runners. The organization became known as Disney Endurance Series and later runDisney. Since then, more races have been added including a 5k, a 10k, and several themed races like Race for the Taste, which takes place during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, the Goofy Race, Kids’ races, the Disney Minnie Marathon, and the Princess Half Marathon. Other locations have been added as well like Disneyland and a Castaway Cay Challenge for guests aboard the Disney Cruise Line.

January 3rd to 7th marks the anniversary during which a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon, and a full marathon were run.

5. International Festival of the Arts Expands

Epcot held its first festival, the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, in 1994. The next year, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival debuted, and the Epcot International Festival of the Arts had its first annual event in 2017.

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts returns for the second year with an expanded schedule.
The Epcot International Festival of the Arts returns for the second year with an expanded schedule.

Last year, the festival was held only on the weekends. This year, the Festival of the arts, which celebrates visual, culinary, and performing arts, will run everyday from January 12th through February 19th. There will be seminars and workshops on drawing, photography, and the art of making topiaries. As with other festivals, there will be incredible food and Disney on Broadway performances.

6. Disney After Hours returns

Last year was also the first Disney After Hours event. After Hours returns this year for select dates in January, February, and March. This event is similar to the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in that it is a hard-ticket event with limited admission. This means shorter lines for some of the most popular attractions including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, and more.

Ticket holders can enter the park as early as 7pm, in time to enjoy the Happily Ever After fireworks. Regular guests will leave once the park closes, but After Hours guests can stay as late as midnight. The best part is you don’t have to be a guest at one of the Disney resort hotels to take advantage of the After Hours event like is required for Extra Magic Hours.

7. New Dining at Disney Springs

Disney Springs has been under construction for several years now, and one of the biggest changes is the massive influx of new restaurants. This year, Disney Springs will add eight new restaurants!

  1. The Edison
  2. Maria and Enzo’s Ristorante
  3. Enzo’s Hideaway
  4. Pizza Ponte
  5. Terralina Crafted Italian
  6. Wine Bar George
  7. Jaleo
  8. Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill

Expect to see these restaurants open throughout the year, and stay tuned for updates including menus and opening dates!

8. 25th Anniversary of Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

As mentioned above, it’s been 25 years since the first Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.  This year, it expands to 90 days! It includes everything you’ve come to expect from the festival including topiaries shaped like Disney characters, 15 outdoor kitchens, garden tours, and Garden Rocks music series. It also adds new kids’ activities like the Egg-Stravaganza hunt.

The Flower and Garden Festival just feels like Spring!
The Flower and Garden Festival just feels like Spring!

9. 20th Anniversary of Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom has been dedicated to helping make the lives of animals better and educating the public about various species and conservation. This year, Animal Kingdom will celebrate it’s 20th anniversary on Earth Day, April 22nd. Disney hasn’t announced any details yet, but you can be sure that Disney will celebrate in some way.

What’s more, Pandora: The Land of Avatar, opened just last year. If you haven’t had a chance to visit yet, you really should check it out this year!

10. UP-inspired Bird Show

Also at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this year, a new bird show will replace the long-running Flights of Wonder, and it will have an UP theme. The show will still feature a variety of birds, but the new theme will involve Senior Wilderness Explorer, Russel, and his friend Dug as they discover the bird species. The show will still take place in the Caravan Theater in Anandapur Village and will debut this Spring.

11. The Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival

Raglan Road was a mainstay in Downtown Disney, and it survived the transition to Disney Springs. It’s no surprise because this Irish-themed restaurant is a hit all year round. When St. Patrick’s Day comes around, this restaurant really comes to life! On March 17th, you can experience authentic Irish food along with live music, Irish dancing, and camaraderie.

12. Toy Story Land

This is a big one:  The long awaited Toy Story land will open this summer!

It seems that this land has taken a backseat to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge especially considering that Disney still hasn’t announced an official name – maybe it will be simply “Toy Story Land.”

Regardless, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will become a hub for excitement this year! The Slinky Dog Dash family coaster, Alien Swirling Saucers, and Woody’s Lunchbox are sure to delight park-goers.

13. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort Enhancements

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is a moderate resort hotel with a tropical theme. The hotel opened in 1988 offering six pools, several beaches, an arcade, several playgrounds, boat rentals, jogging trails, volleyball courts, and bike rentals.

Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort is already beautiful, but the enhancements will make for a really nice moderate resort.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is already beautiful, but the enhancements will make for a really nice moderate resort.

In 2017, Disney filed plans for renovations to the resort, which included demolition of the Barbados and Martinique sections of the resort on which the next Disney Vacation Club Resort, the Disney Riviera Resort, will be built as separate from the Caribbean Beach Resort. Enhancements to the resort will include a transformation of the lobby, an expansion of the Centertown Market, and the addition of a new Caribbean-inspired restaurant and pool bar.

14. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party has been a popular fall event for several years. It’s the only time when all members of the family, regardless their age, can dress up in costume. Guests of this hard ticket event can trick or treat on Main Street USA, see a Hocus Pocus stage show, meet and greet some unique characters, and party the night away.

15. Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

The 24th annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival will return with many guest favorites including the global marketplaces, the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, guest chef appearances, culinary demonstrations, beverage seminars, and more. While there’s nothing special being added to this festival this year, if you’ve never experienced it, it’s a great way to welcome fall. It really is a fun event!

16. Christmas Events Return

Another really great party is the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom. This party starts shortly after the Halloween party ends and runs through Christmastime.

Epcot has also made an official Holiday festival called the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays – making some festival or another run almost year-round at this park.

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Flurry of Fun Celebration returns in 2018 with Sunset Season Greetings complete with falling snow, Christmas lights, and stories from Disney Characters. Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!, a fireworks spectacular, will also return this year along with a Dessert Party.

Echo Lake will again be decorated with amazing décor, and even Dinosaur Gertie will get into the holiday spirit. Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine will return again, as will Santa Claus.

17. ESPN Wide World of Sports Expansion

ESPN Wide World of Sports will expand this year to make space for even more sporting events.
ESPN Wide World of Sports will expand this year to make space for even more sporting events.

ESPN Wide World Of Sports has already expanded in recent years to accommodate, especially, the cheering and dance competitions, but they will open an 8,000 seat multi-use entertainment venue this year with six regular basketball course, six regulation volleyball courts, or concerts. It can also be adapted to host up to four cheer and dance competition areas as well as a warm-up space plus areas for judges and officials, concessions, and a box office.

18. Galaxy’s Edge Updates

Construction is well underway for new attractions like one featuring the Millennium Falcon.  This year, Disney will likely announce updates including an official opening date for this land which will allow guests to visit a remote trading port on the edge of wild space. Star Wars characters will meet and greet guests, and you’ll be in the middle of the action like you’ve never experienced before.  Maybe we will even learn some more about the previously announced Star Wars themed hotel?

Will you visit Disney World in 2018?