As 2017 comes to a close, we look back at some of the greatest moments in Disney Parks this year. From new restaurants and attractions, to festivals and more, 2017 added so much to the Disney Parks we love. So, in no particular order, here are the seven (yeah,…. seven) best things from 2017 (in our opinions, of course).
Be sure to read more about each of them by clicking their titles.
Mission: Breakout had many fans upset when news broke that DCA’s Tower of Terror would be gone for good, but after the attraction opened in May, many people’s opinions quickly changed. Not only is Guardians of the Galaxy a worthy replacement for Tower of Terror, but it might even be a superior one. Either way, it’s a welcomed new attraction that takes Disney’s unique drop tower ride and adds a ton of charm the way only Disney knows how.
What’s not to love about Geyser Point Grill and Bar? This new restaurant offers fantastic food and drink options, breathtaking views of Bay Lake, and a cozy outdoor environment that will surely please guests. With solid menu prices and being just a boat ride away from Magic Kingdom, Geyser Point has quickly become one of our favorite spots on property.
After a lengthy bit of downtime, the Disneyland Railroad reopened this summer with new and enhanced scenes that have been a hit with guests. Both the Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas were restored to their original glory, with each scene looking fresh and having the added benefit of some new aesthetic touches. This seminal attraction has been preserved to inspire and entertain new generations of guests, while the new area north of the Rivers of America is a beautiful new vista.
When people heard that Wishes was going to end at Magic Kingdom, there was a lot of concern, and rightfully so. However, Happily Ever After debuted in May and won the hearts of Disney fans from all corners of the world. With its outstanding soundtrack, impressive new technologies, unrelenting usage of pyrotechnics, and thoughtful use of beloved Disney IPs, Happily Ever After is perhaps the new greatest Disney fireworks show to date.
It took nearly seven years from the time it was announced, but in 2017 Pandora – The World of Avatar finally opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. After all the years it took, the money invested, and confusion among fans, was Pandora worth it? The answer is a resounding yes! Pandora proves that with the proper resources, attention, and passion, Disney can still create something so unfamiliar and amazing that they further raise the bar for what a theme park can and should be. The World of Avatar is absolutely stunning, and houses a phenomenal restaurant, an incredibly lifelike Audio-Animatronic, and one of the most groundbreaking attractions ever conceived. Thanks to Pandora, 2017 has been the biggest year yet in theme park innovation.
At the D23 Expo in July Disney announced that for the first time, Disney California Adventure would be celebrating the Halloween season in a big way. Not only did the park do a wonderful job with the project, but they’ve created what is being seen as one of the most memorable Halloween celebrations ever in a theme park. Just look at Cars Land’s Haul-O-Ween celebration, never mind the new decorations on Buena Vista Street and the Monsters After Dark overlay of Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s reason enough to make the trip out to Disneyland Resort.
2017 started out strong with the inaugural year of the International Festival of the Arts at Epcot. The festival sets itself apart from the long running Flower and Garden and Food and Wine festivals by offering some of the best entertainment, food, and exhibits we’ve seen yet at an Epcot festival. While not quite perfect, the Festival of the Arts is a welcomed addition to Epcot, and we can’t wait to see it evolve over the coming years.
As you can see, 2017 has been quite a great year for Disney Parks fans. With so many new and thoughtful changes, 2017 ends with the promise of a stronger and better Disney experience for all guests for years to come.