5 New Changes Coming to Disney World

With the senior Disney trip less than a month away, here are 5 changes coming to the iconic amusement park. The trip is from February 23rd to the 28th, so some of these changes will not affect the outcome of the trip but are still exciting.

#1: Splash Mountain Closing

Having been open for 31 years in Disney World, Frontierlands Splash Mountain was officially closed down on January 23rd for some epic new retheming. The previous southern animatronic theme is based on the 1946 movie Song of the South. I’ve never spoken to anyone who’s seen this movie, and for good reason. The movie has themes of racism with an extremely negative portrayal of African Americans and plantation life and is not available for viewing on Disney+. The new retheming will be based on the 2009 movie, The Princess And The Frog, which also happens to be the last princess movie done in 2D style with hand-drawn frames. The ride is set to be centered around the bayou where most of the film takes place and where the charismatic alligator character, Louis, is introduced. The ride is also set to include New Orleans mardi gras theming and hopefully include some of the movie’s amazing songs.

#2: Rockin Roller Coaster

Unfortunately, one of the best rides in Disney World’s Hollywood Studios is closing only 3 days before the senior trip. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is closing on February 20th but only for refurbishment and is expected not to be closed for long, hopefully opening back up in the summer. There were rumors on TikTok that the ride was being rethemed to Queen but those rumors are false, and Aerosmith will remain the soundtrack for this ride that goes 57 miles per hour in under 5 seconds. As for the senior trip, there are other Hollywood Studios rides to enjoy, such as Tower of Terror and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

#3: Tron Lightcycle Run Opening Coming

Finally, on April 4th of this year, after almost 4 years of being under construction, the Tron Lightcycle ride will be opened in Disney World. This ride is inspired by the 1982 Disney movie about a digital world where its creator, Kevin Flynn, played by Jeff Bridges, gets trapped in. This movie was revolutionary for its time being one of the first movies made with mostly CGI. At one point in the movie, Flynn has to race with the light cycles on what is called the grid, a large part of “land” in the Tron system. The light cycles are almost like advanced motorcycles and when you run through the light trail of the opposing racer it means game over. The ride will be centered around you, the rider joining the blue team to face off against the red team, the team of evil programs who want to erase you from the grid. As for the location of this ride, it will be in Magic Kingdom in Tomorrowland and will be in relative distance from Space Mountain.

#4: New CEO Taking Over

In November 2022, it was announced that Bob Iger would be returning as the multi-million dollar company’s CEO, for a second time. He will be replacing Bob Chapek who was CEO for 2 years. Iger previously held the CEO position from 2005 to 2020. Iger has been called “a valuable asset to Disney” for expanding the business name and upholding the Disney legacy that Walt and his brother Roy would have wanted (World of Walt). While Iger was CEO, he grew the company’s stock worth and he collected other companies like Lucasfilm and Marvel, which gave Disney more of an advantage in the entertainment industry. While Chapek was CEO Disney experienced many financial losses, so Iger is hoping to return to restore the company to what it once was before the 2020 year.

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#5: Disney After-Hours Returning

After having to be halted in 2020, after hours will be returning to the parks. The after hours is a great way for older Disney enthusiasts to enjoy the park without the crowds of children, packed lines, and hot weather as nights do tend to be chillier. The Disney After Hours events will be happening in Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, but tickets are sold separately from regular day tickets. The prices vary from day to day and with the park and the event isn’t happening every night. Although not every ride is open at the parks, most of the good ones are still open in Magic Kingdom like Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion. There is also the perk of inclusive food such as free Mickey ice cream bars and popcorn. The fewer crowds and wait time plus free food seems worth it for a roughly $150 ticket give or take.