New Stuff

23 Walt Disney World Things To Be Happy About In 2023

Who cares about New Year resolutions! What new (or returning) Disney things are YOU most excited about this year? Here are 23 options.

No. 1 TRON Lightcycle/Run

Opening in the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland on April 4, TRON will be one of the fastest coasters at any Disney theme park in the world. Are you ready to enter the grid?

No. 2 Disney100

Wait? Hasn’t WDW been celebrating a 50th birthday for the last year and a half? Well, yes. The Magic Kingdom turned 50 in 2021 and that party continues.

But Disney100 is a whole new celebration. It commemorates the centennial anniversary of the whole Disney Company, which was started by Walt AND Roy Disney in 1923.

No. 3 Free Parking 

For guests staying at Disney Resort hotels, self-parking is back to being complimentary. No more nightly fees for families who road-trip-it to Disney or rent a car at the airport.

No. 4 Figment

Figment (EPCOT’s signature character that no one ever sees) is getting his own meet-and-greet by the end of 2023.

No. 5 Journey of Water

Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, is an immersive exploration trail that will be located in EPCOT’s World Nature section of the park. Relax and be “edu-tained” about the journey of water and the cycle it travels on earth.

No. 6 Hatbox Ghost

Hatbox Ghost briefly lived inside Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion in 1969 but was removed because his ghostly talent of having his head disappear and then reappear inside of a hatbox never really worked. Fast forward to 2015. An Imagineer finally figured out a fix and the legendary ghost was reinstalled. NOW, the Magic Kingdom is getting its own Hatbox ghost sometime this year.

No. 7 Happily Ever After

It’s back. For fans who loved the Magic Kingdom’s 2017-2021 Happily Ever After nighttime show, you’re in luck. It’s coming back on April 3 with projections reaching all the way down Main Street U.S.A.

No. 8 Walt Disney World Railroad

Walt’s beloved train has been parked at the station for years, and NOT because of COVID. Construction of the new TRON rollercoaster in Tomorrowland made it impossible for the train to complete its loop around the park. But finally, after a 4-year hiatus, the Walt Disney World Railroad is rehabbed and back in operation with a new narration. 

No. 9 Kona Cafe

Kona Cafe is one of Walt Disney World’s most underrated places to eat, especially for breakfast. The restaurant went through a redo last year and is now open for business and more beautiful than ever. But don’t worry, the Tonga Toast recipe is just a delicious as always and you can still order a French press of 100% Kona Coffee.

No. 10 Destination D23

D23, the official Disney Fan Club, returns to the Contemporary Resort on Sept. 8-10 to celebrate the company’s 100th and tease us about what’s to come in the future. If you’ve ever considered joining D23, do it now so you can take part in the gathering.

No. 11 World Celebration

I don’t know if I’m excited to see what the finished World Celebration project at EPCOT looks like or I just want to see EPCOT again without all the construction walls. But whatever the motivation, 2023 should be the year fans get a better view at EPCOT.

No. 12 Fantasmic!

Hollywood Studios’ popular nighttime show is back with some new bits. The dramatic evening extravaganza with characters and fireworks runs nightly. Plan to wait if you desire a great seat, or invest heavily in a Fantasmic! Dining Package.

No. 13 Summer House on the Lake

If eating is a favorite part of your WDW experience, then keep Summer House on the Lake in your sites. The new Disney Springs restaurant known for its “punny” cocktails (like the Shiso Fine) and California cuisine (avocado toast and more) will be a fitting addition to Disney Springs.

No. 14 Being Back To Normal

COVID is still a thing, but now it seems to have joined the ranks of “colds picked up in crowded places” (along with hand, foot and mouth disease, strep throat and the flu). Crowd levels inside the parks are back to pre-pandemic levels and most closed attractions have either reopened or have been permanently shuttered to make way for something else.

No. 15 Roundup Rodeo BBQ

Hollywood Studios’ first sit-down restaurant in Toy Story Land is coming this spring. Roundup Rodeo BBQ was built by Andy with a Wild West theme. Comfort foods, BBQ, and miniature desserts will be on the menu. The restaurant is being designed with the assistance of the Pixar Animation Studios and will include much for the eye to see. (Don’t forget to look up at the full comic strip on the ceiling.)

No. 16 Dining Promo Card

Guests traveling to Disney this summer may be eligible for the new Dining Promo Card, essentially a gift card to cover food expenses at any Disney restaurant. So far, it looks like the gift card is for guests staying at a Disney World Resort between June 25-September 14 and how much is placed on the gift card depends upon the luxury level of the hotel and the length of stay. Just imagine booking a five day vacation and getting a $500 gift card to eat anywhere at Disney. Now that’s a promo that seems worthwhile!

No. 17 The End of the 50th 

The Magic Kingdom’s celebration of its 50th birthday, which started on Oct. 1, 2021, will now end on March 31, 2023. You still have a few months to join in on the 18th-month-long party and buy that Ear-idescent swag!

No. 18 2023 Releases

Movie releases happen nationwide, but it is kind of special to be at the Disney Springs theater on opening day. Here are a few big Disney movies coming out in 2023. Will one of them hit theaters during your vacation? Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (Feb. 17); Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5); The Little Mermaid live-action (May 26); Elemental (June 16); Indian Jones 5 (June 30); The Marvels (July 28); The Haunted Mansion (Aug. 11); and Wish (Nov. 23).

No. 19 Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Speaking of Guardians of the Galaxy, yes, Cosmic Rewind opened last summer, but if you haven’t had the chance to save the galaxy with the guardians crew, 2023 is the year to do it. Getting a spot in the virtual queue or ponying-up the money to jump to the head of the line is pretty easy to do!

No. 21 Hey Disney

Disney Resort hotel guests will be getting the option of having a virtual assistant sometime this year. Hey Disney can wake you with a message from Mickey Mouse, order you more towels, tell stories, and hopefully give you upcoming park information and weather updates.

No. 21 The Rays

For a short time this winter and spring, the Tampa Bay Rays will be in Spring Training at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The team will even play one game at The Stadium before shifting to Tampa. The Rays needed to use the space this year because their normal spring training site was damaged extensively during Hurricane Ian.

No. 22 The Cake Bake Shop

There’s no such thing as too many bakeries at Walt Disney World. The Cake Bake Shop by Gwendolyn Rogers is set to open on the BoardWalk this year.

No. 23 2023 Merchandise

Each year has its own stock of merchandise, but 2023 has a little bit more. In addition to the 2023 Dated Collection, this year Disney will offer a Disney100 Platinum Celebration Collection, a 50th Grand Finale Collection, and a Lunar New Year (Year of the Rabbit) Collection.

And that’s a wrap! Thanks for joining us on this quest to list all that is new and reopening this year. To keep up with the newest stuff and opening dates all year round, check our What’s New page.

Thanks for Popping In!

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