More magic, more thrills: Here's what's coming to Walt Disney World in 2023

2023 is going to be one magical year for Disney!

Walt Disney World announced on Wednesday all the new experiences coming to the parks this year!

New character greetings

Let's face it: nothing makes a photo op more magical than hugging one of your favorite Disney characters! Well, just in time for the 25th Anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Moana will greet guests on Discovery Island for the first time starting April 22! 

A long-time fan favorite, EPCOT's iconic purple dragon Figment will be available for hugs and high-fives at the Imagination! pavilion later this summer. 

Disney Parks Blog

Finally, starting this fall, guests can meet Mirabel from "Encanto" at the Fairytale Garden at Magic Kingdom, which Disney says will be "transformed with whimsical décor inspired by la Familia Madrigal."

EPCOT Transformation

EPCOT has been undergoing a multi-year transformation and Disney is happy to announce that it will all be completed later this year with some exciting, can't-miss additions!

A self-guided exploration trail called Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana will debut this fall in World Nature. According to Disney, the trail will take guests through the natural water cycle – from the skies to oceans and all the way back again. 

Disney Parks Blog

Disney Parks Blog

"Just like Moana, you’re encouraged to become a protector and friend to our natural resources," Disney Parks Blog reports. 

In the World Celebration neighborhood of EPCOT, CommuniCore Hall will be the center of festival programming throughout the park. New renderings released by Disney show the colorful building will be home to a new character greeting location called Mickey & Friends where you'll be able to meet the iconic mouse and some of his best pals.

CommuniCore Hall will open later this year. But wait, there's more!

New nighttime spectacular

This year marks a monumental milestone for The Walt Disney Company: 100 years of making magic. The company was started on October 16, 1923 and to celebrate, EPCOT will host the Disney100 celebration – with even more magic in store. 

EPCOT will host the Disney100 celebration at Walt Disney World Resort to commemorate this monumental milestone later this year. As well as all the new attractions and experiences I’ve mentioned, there will be even more magic.

"Enjoy all-new experiences as we celebrate this momentous anniversary and the culmination of the EPCOT transformation – from meeting Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in their platinum attire to snapping a selfie with a platinum sculpture of the one who started it all and watching Spaceship Earth illuminate the evenings with a special lighting design," Disney Parks Blog reports.

Disney Parks Blog

In addition, a new nighttime spectacular will debut at EPCOT later this year. A dazzling display of fireworks will light up the night sky over the World Showcase Lagoon with lasers, lights and featuring an original composition along with select songs from the Disney songbook. 

New restaurant at Disney Springs

Coming in late 2023, Summer House on the Lake will open at Disney Springs featuring a breezy, beach house vibe and a California-inspired menu with pizza and pasta to fresh salads and sandwiches. 

Disney Parks Blog

Disney Parks Blog

An array of wine, beer, and handcrafted cocktails will be available, including the restaurant’s exclusive Summer House Rosé. And don't forget to save room for dessert: a dessert-focused market called The Cookie Jar will be serving up freshly baked cookies and house-made pastries.

TRON Lightcycle / Run

The new ride officially launches on April 4 at Magic Kingdom as one of the fastest coasters at any Disney park. 

As you race across The Grid as a member of Team Blue, you'll compete against a fierce group of Programs known as Team Orange. 

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

"This coaster is unique because you’re leaning forward as if you’re actually on a lightcycle like you saw in the movie, which I absolutely love because it makes you feel faster," says Audren Hauser of WDW Imagineering.

To get you geared up to Enter the Grid, new racing-inspired apparel will be available for purchase, along with collectible pins,  toys and light-up accessories inspired by the TRON films and the attraction.