Lonely Planet Writer

What’s new to do in Disney parks in 2019?

Visiting Disney World or Disneyland soon? Whether you’re a veteran or it’s your first time wearing Mouse ears, there are some incredible new attractions opening in Disney in 2019 and we’ve rounded up all the new highlights from to get excited about on your Disney vacation in 2019.

The new Star Wars land will be on a planet new to fans. Photo by Disney/Lucasfilm

Star Wars: Galaxy Edge is probably one of the most long-awaited attractions in recent memory and promises to be something theme park fans have never seen before. Opening in the autumn at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there will be two major new rides. The first called Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run will see you pilot the famous spaceship through hyperspace. The second, Rise of the Resistance, puts you right in the middle of a battle between the Resistance and the First Order.

Attention to detail promises to be legendary in the new land, which will be an exotic outpost on the Planet Batuu, described as the “Outer Rim’s most mysterious planet”. There’ll be street markets, a cantina (with alcohol!), droids and plenty of strange aliens to meet while there and the whole experience will soundtracked by exclusive music created by Star Wars composer John Williams.

As well as the land, a complementary hotel is also hoped to open sometime in 2019. It wants to be a completely different accommodation experience than anything Disney has created before. Calling itself a “360 vacation concept”, it promises to fully immerse guests in the story and while there, you’ll be a citizen of the galaxy and even have the clothing to match.

The Year of the Mouse

2019 is Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday so the Magic Kingdom is hosting Mickey and Minnie’s Surprise Celebration from 18 January through to the end of September. As part of this, there will be a Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party several times a day. All the classic characters will be there to encourage guests to dance away to remixes of classic songs from the Mickey Mouse Club.

Mickey and Minnie don new outfits bursting with color to commemorate 90 years of magic. Photo by Disney

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will open at Disney Hollywood Studios in 2019. Believe it or not, it will the very first ride fully Mickey Mouse-themed and promises to transform the classic short films into an incredible real-world experience. True to form, there will also be limited-edition mouse merchandise on sale throughout the year at the parks, as well as special Minnie and Mickey-themed treats for foodies.

After making its debut in June 2018, Pixar Pier will continue to expand with the opening of two new rides. The Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind will be a spinner ride in a brand new neighbourhood dedicated to the film. Elsewhere in the Pier, the Toy Story Boardwalk continues to grow with the addition of Jessie’s Critter Carousel.

Joy and Sadness have already made an appearance at the Disney Parks. Photo by Rob Sparacio/Disneyland Resort

Walt Disney World Resort will also be boasting a new means of transportation from fall 2019. The long-awaited Disney Skyliner is a new gondola system that will connect Hollywood Studios and Epcot to four resorts; Art of Animation Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort, Pop Century Resort and the upcoming Riviera Resort. As well as providing a serene means of travelling around the park, you’ll also be treated to great views, including a spectacular birds-eye viewpoint of Epcot’s World Showcase.

New shows at Disney Parks in 2019

May 2019 will see the debut of a new night show at Hollywood Studios. ‘Wonderful World of Animation’ is designed to bring guests through the last 90 years of Disney animation history using cinematic projection technology. There will even be a special segment dedicated to some iconic villains.

The new nighttime show will be a treat for animation fans. Photo by Disney

Lightning McQueen Racing Academy is also coming to Disney Hollywood Studios for any fans of Cars. Here Lightning will demonstrate to Cars fans exactly what it takes to become a champion racer with his new state-of-the-art racing simulator. Opens early 2019.

Animal Kingdom will be hosting a Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party on Discovery Island. Featuring Timon and Rafiki, it will celebrate the Lion King’s 25th anniversary (and probably build some hype for the new live-action version that’s on the way).

Disney’s newest hotel. Photo by Disney

A new hotel called Disney Riviera Resort will also open near Epcot in 2019. It will have a very central location and a rooftop restaurant which should give guests great views of the nighttime spectaculars at both Epcot and Hollywood Studios. It’s expected be open by the fall.

What’s new at Disney Cruises?

If you can’t make it to the theme park and would like your Disney experience to be on the water, you’ll also have a lot more choice in 2019 with new destinations for Disney Cruises. Among the highlights are its first round-trip from Rome and a ten-day river cruise down the Seine, taking in Paris and Normandy.