Last updated: 11:33 AM ET, Tue March 17 2015

Avatar and Star Wars Attractions Highlight Huge Changes Coming to Disney World

Destination & Tourism | Donald Wood | March 17, 2015

Avatar and Star Wars Attractions Highlight Huge Changes Coming to Disney World

There are few places on earth that are as synonymous with happiness as Walt Disney World, but the company is looking to make major upgrades to its chain of parks and facilities over the next several years.

Competition from Universal Orlando has forced Disney to invest heavily in its own product, and the result will be several noticeable changes. Thanks to a list compiled by Amanda Kondolojy of, the current long-term plans should have visitors very excited.

One of the most exciting additions to the complex will be to Disney’s Animal Kingdom when the company builds Pandora - The World of Avatar. The new area will feature an extensive forest and river system that mirrors the one seen in the Avatar movies, and it is scheduled to be opened to the public in 2017.

A huge topic of discussion over the last two years has been the addition of Star Wars Land to the Disney complex, but there have been several delays along the way. While it could be several years before the Star Wars-themed park is open to the public, according to Kondolojy, the company is supposed to make a formal announcement about future plans in 2015.

While adding new attractions is a major focus for the company, going back to the well on previous ideas can have a nostalgia factor. The return of Disney's Polynesian Village Resort could have that effect on travelers, but major upgrades to the facilities will make it a popular destination when it re-opens late this year.

Epcot is one of the biggest attractions under the Disney umbrella and it too will be undergoing changes. Not only will the facilities for the “Soarin'” attraction feature new movies and even the possibility of another theater, there are also plans to add a boat ride based on the movie Frozen to the Norway Pavilion.

Another exciting development is the likely changes to the hours of operation for Animal Kingdom. As a primarily day-centric theme park, the addition of night shows and attractions should allow for visitors to enjoy the park for even longer.

One of the most underrated changes to the Disney theme parks will be the addition of Toy Story Playland. The facilities have been successful in Paris and Hong Kong, and the company will reportedly be adding a similar experience in the Florida parks, per Kondolojy.

For the veteran travelers who have visited Disney World many times in the past, or for the family who will be going for the first time over the next few years, the news about several major upgrades should build anticipation.

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