Walt Disney World in 2016
By Dave Shute
NEW RIDES AT DISNEY WORLD IN 2016
The opening of the redo of Epcot’s Maelstrom as a Frozen ride (“Frozen ever After”) is targeted for early 2016.
Waits for the new Frozen ride will be really long, especially during the period Soarin is closed for refurb.
Rivers of Light—the new evening spectacular at the Animal Kingdom along Discovery River between the Tree of Life and Expedition Everest—is in construction, and is expected to open in 2016, the current guess being after Easter.
“Avatar Land” (more formally, “Pandora — The Word of AVATAR”) at the Animal Kingdom is in construction in the former Camp Minnie Mickey, and currently has an opening target of early 2017
An announcement about more Star Wars and Toy Story in Disney’s Hollywood Studios came out in August 2015.
In the park, for 2016 there’s some new Star Wars meets and greets, an update to the Star Tours ride, and new evening fireworks that flow to the movie’s soundtrack. (It’s unclear whether these fireworks are meant as a permanent or temporary addition to the park.)
The new Star Wars and Toy Story rides won’t be open for years…
DISNEY SPRINGS AND THE DISNEY RESORTS IN 2016
Most of the Disney Springs reconstruction of Downtown Disney will be complete in 2016. The transformation is pretty profound, making parking much easier, and adding some really great restaurants to the mix.
I’m not seeing much profound change on the resort front for 2016, although there is a potentially distracting refurb happening at the Wilderness Lodge, and a major re-do of the Fort Wilderness Cabins should be complete by Easter.
DISNEY WORLD CROWDS IN 2016
Presidents Day, February 15 in 2016, is as early as it can be, meaning fewer good January and early February dates, and more good late February dates. Crowds for this week actually begin the Thursday before, and in 2016 Mardi Gras–which some southern school districts have off as a single or multi-day holiday–is Tuesday the week before. The combination makes me see the week beginning 2/6 as worse than this part of February usually is.
Easter in 2016 is early, on March 27. As a result of the overlap between March breaks and Easter breaks, March other than the first week will be even more of a zoo than usual, but most of April—after the 3rd—will be great.
While this is not a crowd point, El Nino may increase the tornado threats in late winter and early spring. See this.
Summer crowds will continue to be rough, as more and more South Americans take advantage of their winter breaks to come to Disney World and join the hordes of US families on summer breaks.
Or maybe not–South American recessions, currency troubles, and the draw of vacation dollars into the Olympics in Brazil may make for less South American visitation, and a better summer than I am predicting…
There was much comic panic in the fall of 2015 over high standby waits in the afternoons at rides that shifted from no FASTPASS in prior years to FastPass+. You should keep this in mind if you plan to visit in the fall of 2016, you plan to not use FastPass+, and you plan to ride only standby only during the busiest times of the day. A good plan, however, that avoids this silliness will result in great fall visits.
Thanksgiving, November 24, is earlier in 2016 than it has been recently, giving more good late November dates but fewer good early November ones.
Christmas is on a Sunday in 2016.
- Many, many school districts that take long holiday breaks will begin their breaks on Monday December 19, so holiday crowds at Disney World will begin to roll in on December 16th—a few days earlier than we’ve seen the last couple of years with mid-week Christmases.
- Districts that take shorter breaks will be off something like Friday the 23rd through Monday the 2nd. This means that the week between Christmas and New Years—always the worst of the year at Walt Disney World—will be an especially crazy mess in 2016.
DISNEY WORLD PRICES IN 2016
Disney World resort hotel prices largely follow their usual patterns in 2016, with a couple of twists–prices overall have gone up a fair amount, and there are fewer low-priced weeks over the course of the year.
Current Disney World ticket prices are here. They could go up any day, and likely will increase before the end of February 2016. Buying them now will let you avoid this future price increase.
DISNEY WORLD DEALS IN 2016
The Disney Armed Forces Salute has been extended into late December 2016.
Room rate deals for 2016 have been out for a while. You can always find up to date details on the major Disney World deals here.