Only one week into the new year, and 2014 is already looking like it’s going to be a great one for Disney World fans. Want a sneak peek into what is coming this year? From things I know are coming to things I think I know to pure speculation, here are my 14 Previews and Predictions for Walt Disney World in 2014.

Definitely Happening

1) Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Opens, New Fantasyland is Complete.

Disney has already announced that the family friendly coaster will be opening sometime in 2014. While New Fantasyland has been open since late 2012, this will mark the completion of Magic Kingdom’s largest ever expansion. I’ve been a fan of the work that Imagineering has done with New Fantasyland, but the land has never quite felt complete with the giant construction site in the middle. Having tracked the progress of this for awhile, I cannot wait to experience the coaster for myself. No date has been announced, but if I were to throw out a wild guess, it would be sometime in early summer.


2) Spice Road Table adds another dining option to Epcot’s World Showcase.

The new restaurant promises to add Mediterranean small plates and waterfront dining to Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion. Spice Road Table will offer an amazing view for IllumiNations. Be sure to check it out when it opens, early 2014.

3) Festival of Fantasy will parade afternoons through Magic Kingdom.

The daytime parade will feature floats from Tangled, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, and more. This parade, which replaces the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade, is designed by Imagineer Steve Davison, who is best known for his work on Disney California Adventure’s World of Color, Disneyland’s Soundsational Parade, and Disneyland Paris’ Dreams! Spectacular. With Davison’s track record, this parade is sure to be a hit.

4) MyMagic+ and Fastpass+ will exit beta and premiere for all guests.

Disney’s next generation initiative to streamline the park visiting experience and provide functionality like booking Fastpass reservations ahead of your trip will finally and officially debut. MyMagic+ has been in testing for the last few months, and guests have had mixed reactions. This definitely changes the Disney World experience. Sometimes it’s better, and sometimes it’s worse. I will have many more thoughts to share on this in the next few weeks.

Probably/Maybe Happening

5) Paper Fastpass tickets are going away for good.

During the MyMagic+ test, guests with Magic Bands could also use their ticket with a barcode to access paper Fastpass tickets in addition to their Fastpass+ reservations. However, cast members informed me that this is only happening during the test phase. Disney will almost definitely phase out paper Fastpass tickets this year, which will probably lead to many complaints at guest relations. We are still in a transition period, and it’s unclear when Disney will turn off all the legacy Fastpass machines. Fastpass+ is the future for Disney World.

6) Captain EO moonwalks out of Epcot for a second time.

This rumor had been going around a lot in 2013, and it makes enough sense to be true. The return of Captain EO was always intended to be a limited run, and the encore screenings have been around for almost 4 years. 2014 should be the year we say goodbye to Hooter.

7) Journey Into Imagination with Figment sees a major refurbishment.

Another bit of Imagination Pavilion news. This rumor was going around with the Captain EO closure rumors. Combine that with Tony Baxter’s hints at D23 that we might see something more from Dreamfinder and Figment, and hopefully Journey Into Imagination will get a bit more than a coat of fresh paint this year.

Educated Hunches and Wild Guesses

8) Star Wars Land announced for Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The Star Wars themed land was rumored to get the greenlight and also be cancelled in 2013. So which one is it? My money is that the light is as green as Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber in Return of the Jedi. Disney is keenly aware that Star Wars is one of the only properties that could take the wind out of the sails of the Boy Wizard at Universal. I buy the story that the development of Episode VII is what is holding up an announcement of Star Wars Land, not the ballooning budget of MyMagic+.

9) A DCA-style reboot is announced for Hollywood Studios.

When Hollywood Studios opened, it had a clear vision: to invite guests to go behind the scenes on an active movie studio. The Studios portion of Hollywood Studios haven’t been active for years, and the park is left with a lack of a clear identity. Star Wars Land at DHS would be a step in the right direction, but my guess is that Disney will announce a re-theme of the park to be dedicated to the diverse studios that Disney has: Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Disney Animation. They’ll rename the park the Disney Studios, and increase the focus on transporting guests to the worlds created by those three studios, rather than relying on peeks behind the scenes.

10) Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom gets new free cards.

Ok, this one is definitely a wild guess. The game is almost two years old, and outside of 10 cards that could only be bought in blind packs and 4 cards for holiday parties, the main set of free cards remains at 60. An expansion of cards could bring some added life to the game.

11) Disney Infinity 2 is announced for next gen consoles, has tighter integration with MyMagic+.

Disney Infinity has been a major money maker for Disney, and with the release of Xbox One and Playstation 4, Disney should be looking to capitalize on the new consoles and an audience hungry for games. Since Disney Infinity comes with an RFID reader, they’ve already put an Easter Egg for Disney World guests who have put their magic band on the Infinity base. It unlocks a dragon level. That’s neat, but there is a ton more they could do with that technology. My prediction? Doing things on your Disney World vacation will unlock items inside Disney Infinity. Wouldn’t it be cool if you beat Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and unlocked Merlin’s wand? What if you unlocked Space Mountain for riding on Space Mountain? There are a ton of possibilities opened with MyMagic+, and I think Disney will start to put those ideas in motion this year.

12) No new major details on Avatar at Animal Kingdom will be revealed.

2017 is a long way away. We might get some more artwork, or images of groundbreaking once construction begins. However, I think Disney will save the major details for D23, which will take place in August 2015.

Extreme Longshots

13) Pandas announced for Animal Kingdom.

With Shanghai Disneyland on the horizon, Disney has a relationship with the Chinese government. Pandas would be a huge boost for Animal Kingdom. With everything else going on at Animal Kingdom, this seems like a long-shot.

14) Disney get the theme park rights for Marvel in the southeast.

Also file this under “wouldn’t it be nice.” Even though Universal has the theme park rights for Marvel right now for the foreseeable future, Disney wants this enough that it is going to happen someday. I’m hoping sooner rather than later. If my guess about Hollywood Studios turning into the Disney Studios, a Marvel themed land would be the perfect addition a few years down the road.

Do you have any predictions or wild guesses for 2014 at Disney World? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook, or email me at [email protected].


James
James

James is a lifelong Disney Parks fan. While at the parks, he loves finding new details, learning more about Disney World history, and taking pictures. His favorite WDW attractions include Spaceship Earth, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.
James is a filmmaker and writer based in Los Angeles.

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