Despite the unpredictable and unprecedented year we had amid the ongoing pandemic, 2020 brought us some great and positive additions to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Here are my top seven favorite things that debuted at the Disney World theme parks — Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom — Disney Springs, and the Disney Resorts this year.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway debuted at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on March 4, 2020. As a huge fan of The Great Movie Ride, I went into this new experience with very high expectations. I love the new Mickey Mouse cartoons. I love the fact that this is the very first attraction featuring Mickey Mouse himself. However, The Great Movie Ride was one of my all-time favorite attractions, and going into my first ride aboard Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway I had a lot of thoughts already.
With all of this being said, the latest attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios completely blew my mind. I loved the fully immersive experience, the trackless aspect of the ride, the colors, the details, the storyline — all of it was just extraordinary. I laughed, I cried, I was completely blown away and my expectations were exceeded. And now, this is one of my favorite attractions at the theme park. Definitely a highlight of 2020!
Gideon’s Bakehouse recently opened at Disney Springs and it’s safe to say Guests were eager to get their hands on a cookie. In fact, Guests have waited over three hours just to try some of their delicious treats!
Table Service To Go
Mobile Order has been in place for quite some time now at quick-service dining locations on Walt Disney World property, but Disney is now allowing Guests to utilize Mobile Order for some of their favorite table service restaurants, meaning you can get that famous bread service from Sanaa without needing a reservation.
Personally, I love this addition and hope Disney World keeps it around for years to come.
Shows at World Showcase
The new Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along opened to Guests on January 17, 2020, at EPCOT and it was a great addition to World Showcase! Seeing more attractions incorporated into this section of the theme park is great to see as this means more Guests will linger around and soak in the atmosphere and incredible details of World Showcase.
Additionally, the new show Awesome Planet debuted with an on-screen exploration of the world we live on and showcases the beauty and diversity of our Earth.
Contactless Security Screening
The new contactless security system, which has been implemented at Disney Springs and all four Disney World theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom — shows that Disney is truly looking toward the future. Not only does this new system allow Guests to not have to remove their bags, but also it helps alleviate time while standing in lines at security. Plus, the contactless security is ideal for operating theme parks in the pandemic era. I say this is definitely a positive 2020 addition!
Magic Kingdom Walkway
The long-awaited walkway connecting Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa to Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort officially opened in 2020, making it easier for Guests to get to the theme park. This is similar to the walkway that has been in place from Disney’s Contemporary Resort to Magic Kingdom.
Personally, I love seeing yet another option to get to the theme park from Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa!
Regal Eagle Smokehouse
And lastly, the grand opening of the highly anticipated quick-service location, Regal Eagle Smokehouse, happened earlier this year! This mouthwatering barbecue in the American Adventure pavilion at EPCOT is perfect for the all-American meal. Here are just some of the highlights currently offered at Regal Eagle Smokehouse:
- Sliced Texas Beef Brisket Sandwich: with house-made spicy “mop sauce” is served on garlic toast.
- South Carolina Smoked Sausage Sandwich: with tangy mustard sauce and caramelized onions.
- Kansas City Smoked Chicken
- Memphis Dry-Rub Pork Ribs
- North Carolina Chopped Smoked Pork Butt: served individually or as a platter for tasting.
If you want to visit Walt Disney World Resort on your next vacation, but need help planning, then don’t hesitate to reach out to our friends over at Academy Travel. Click here to get your free travel quote today, and to get started planning that next magical Disney vacation.
What was your favorite thing to debut at Disney World in 2020? Let us know in the comments below.
Editor’s Note: The opinions reflected in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Inside the Magic as a whole.