Awaken Summer 2016 at Disney World Kicks off Memorial Day Weekend

Jungle book photo

Awaken Summer at the Walt Disney World Resort kicks off this Memorial Day Weekend with an incredible lineup of new attractions and experiences across all four theme parks. The fun begins Friday evening when Animal Kingdom comes to life at night giving guests the opportunity to experience popular attractions, restaurants and new entertainment under the moonlight until 11pm. The limited-time engagement “Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” premieres at Discover River on Saturday night with 2 shows daily at 9:00pm and 10:30pm.

June 17th will be a big day throughout the parks when “Soarin’ Around the World”, “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” and the new “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks show all make their debut.  Last, but certainly not least, the brand new Frozen Ever After attraction and Royal Sommerhus meet & greet with Anna and Elsa will both open to guests in the Norway Pavilion of Epcot on June 21st.

Below are 22 reasons why Summer 2016 is going to be an epic season at Disney world.  Plus, as an added bonus, save up to 30% on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels with the Awaken Summer offer. Valid for stays most nights June 12-Aug. 25, 2016 when booked by June 10, 2016.


Disney’s Animal Kingdom

For the first time in its 18-year history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will debut new day-into-nighttime experiences that celebrate the magic of nature, starting Friday, May 27.

  • The park’s iconic Tree of Life will awaken each night amid a lively celebration of Discovery Island music and dance. Through stunning visuals, animal spirits appear and enchanted fireflies reveal stories of wonder as the tree morphs to showcase the magic of nature.
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris transitions to a new nighttime adventure in the extended orange glow of a setting sun. For the first time, hyenas and African wild dogs join the safari trail creature feature.
  • Discovery River becomes the stage for music and pageantry in a limited-engagement show inspired by Disney’s hit live-action film The Jungle Book. Premiering May 28, The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic is a live show filled with music and special effects that celebrates the new film and the classic songs, now infused with an Indian influence.
  • Hungry adventurers can have lunch or dinner at the new Tiffins signature restaurant on Discovery Island beginning May 27. Guests seated in the restaurant’s travel-themed dining rooms or on the waterfront patio can sip libations and savor dishes featuring African, Asian and South American flavors.
  • Across the park, guests can experience wondrous new nighttime experiences and entertainment celebrating marvels in nature and enjoy long-time favorites such as Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, Kali River Rapids and more – in a whole new light.

Epcot

Anna, Elsa and other beloved characters from the blockbuster film, “Frozen,” will give the summer season a warm hug at Epcot beginning June 21. Meanwhile “Turtle Talk with Crush” makes fun waves and Soarin’ Around the World takes guests to new heights starting June 17.

  • Anna, Elsa and their “Frozen” friends will welcome guests aboard the new Frozen Ever After boat ride that sails into a “Frozen” world at the Norway Pavilion starting June 21. Passengers on their way to Arendelle’s Winter in Summer Celebration for Queen Elsa visit the ice palace and hear beloved film tunes plus new lyrics by Oscar-winning “Let It Go” songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.
  • Also at the Norway Pavilion, Anna and Elsa will greet guests in the new Royal Sommerhus, modeled after a traditional Norwegian cabin beginning June 17.
  • In Future World, guests will celebrate the U.S. debut of the expanded Soarin’ Around the World attraction at The Land Pavilion on June 17. Now with a third Epcot theater, plus new digital screens and projection systems, the enhanced attraction takes guests on an exhilarating “flight” above spectacular global landscapes and man-made wonders.
  • Guests can now find new additions at “Turtle Talk with Crush” with characters from Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory”. When Crush the sea turtle swims up to the “Human Tank” at Epcot, he’ll be joined by Dory and some of her new friends that guests will get to know better when “Finding Dory” swims into theaters on June 17, 2016.

Magic Kingdom

Classic Disney characters will join contemporary animated film stars beginning June 17 in a new extravaganza on the grand Cinderella Castle stage, and Magic Kingdom guests can experience a new dining adventure.

  • For the first time, Tiana of “Princess and the Frog,” and Rapunzel of “Tangled,” co-star with Anna and Elsa of “Frozen,” and a host of favorite Disney characters in the new Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire. Performed on the grandest stage in the kingdom, the star-studded tale of friendship presents Mickey Mouse and his troupe of Merry Makers – Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy – who invite 10 new friends from different animated worlds to join the celebration. This “timeless fairytale” of a show combines grand dance, fireworks and stunts with memorable music, an original song and special effects.
  • Disney Parks will welcome Elena of Avalor, Disney’s first princess inspired by diverse Latin cultures. Elena of Avalor will appear at Walt Disney World Resort later this summer and at Disneyland Resort in the fall, following her television debut in a new animated series this summer on Disney Channel.
  • Next door to the legendary Jungle Cruise, guests can enjoy the bold flavors of “World Famous Jungle Cuisine” served by the wisecracking crew of the new Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen. It’s the first Disney full-service restaurant themed after a specific park attraction.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

In the galactic wake of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, new Star-Wars-themed experiences shift into light speed.

  • The next generation of Star Wars-themed fireworks shows, “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular,” will premiere June 17 with new themed fireworks, lasers, special effects and video projections of iconic characters and scenes from the complete saga, all set to the unforgettable score of the film series.
  • The live stage show “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” debuted April 4, celebrating iconic moments from the Star Wars saga with live vignettes featuring popular characters such as BB-8, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Darth Maul.
  • First Order Stormtroopers led by Captain Phasma march from Star Wars Launch Bay to the park’s Center Stage, adding menace to the entertainment. Star Wars Launch Bay showcases large-scale artifacts and encounters with characters including Kylo Ren. The re-imagined Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple experience also features new characters. And at Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, guests buckle up for an enhanced high-speed journey with new Star Wars: The Force Awakens characters and a visit to Jakku.

Disney Springs and Water Parks Make a Splash

Inspired by Florida’s waterfront towns and natural beauty, Disney Springs is a charming district filled with unique retailers and restaurants from award-winning chefs. Throughout the summer, new stores and restaurants will open as Disney Springs more than doubles the number of retail, dining and other venues for guests.

  • As Disney Springs continues to expand and diversify its dining, shopping and entertainment, more exciting high-profile tenants are coming onboard, including Anthropologie, Under Armour, kate spade new york, Sephora and Lucky Brand, among others. Other new shops opening in 2016 include Zara, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, UNIQLO and PANDORA.
  • More than 30 new tenants will be coming to Disney Springs this summer, including retail shops and dining venues.
  • Home to world-class dining, Disney Springs is shaping up to be a culinary dream. With its chic style and Pan-Asian flavors, Morimoto Asia offers just a taste of what’s to come as more new eateries are gearing up to open in the coming year, including Tablas Frontera by Chef Rick Bayless; Homecoming – Florida Kitchen and Shine Bar by Chef Art Smith; STK Orlando, a modern steakhouse with the ambience of a sleek lounge; Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a modern-day “pizza joint” with artisanal pies; and the reimagined, Planet Hollywood Observatory with new outdoor terrace and live entertainment.
  • Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless and Chef Art Smith join master Chef Masaharu Morimoto in a growing collection of James Beard Award winning chefs at Disney Springs.
  • At Cirque du Soleil’s “La Nouba,” the new B-Boys hip-hop, breakdancing threesome showcases a rare mix of rhythm, strength and “how-did-they-do-that?” moves. As part of the show’s ongoing evolution, the masterful Aerial Bamboo act joins recent additions of madcap clowns and a breathtaking rolla bolla juggling act.

Meanwhile, Disney’s Water Parks ramp up with playful spirits and summer fun faster than Olaf can beg for warm hugs.

  • At Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Olaf from Disney’s animated hit “Frozen,” will be living his “In Summer” dream as he and Kristoff host The “Frozen Games” of friendly, fun competitions that begin May 27 and run through Aug. 21.
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park castaways can splash down on a sandy summer beach with a cold ale and savory snack after a wild slide on Crush ‘n’ Gusher water coaster.

Contact lbourget@mickeytravels.com or visit my Facebook page here to start planning your summer vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort. Be sure to ask how you can save money on your stay with the Awaken Summer offer and remember all of my planning services are 100% FREE! 

Please note: some posts may contain affiliate links which means our team could earn money if you purchase products from our site

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