From Roller Coasters to Shows: Blockbuster Movies Inspire Disney Summer of 2018

From Roller Coasters to Shows: Blockbuster Movies Inspire Disney Summer of 2018

The Walt Disney Co. is no stranger to creating special worlds we want to experience in all their magic. This summer, three beloved, award-winning movies, “Toy Story,” “The Incredibles” and “Up,” transform into magical experiences at several Disney parks and properties.

The world has changed since The Walt Disney Co. released its first feature film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1937. Since then, The Walt Disney Co. acquired Pixar Animation Studios, followed by the purchase of Marvel and, finally, Lucasfilm and its “Star Wars” franchise.

Disney Pixar

Walt Disney World Fun

While they may have settled into a suburban existence in “The Incredibles,” back in 2004, Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Frozone and crew will be venturing out this summer at The Incredible Tomorrowland Expo at Magic Kingdom Park. High points include a “Super Party Time” dance party on the Rocket Tower Stage and the opportunity to interact with Super Hero costume designer, Edna Mode. And for those who have a difficult time parting from their favorite Incredible characters, they won’t have to wait long for a reunion. This summer, they’ll be in everyone’s backyard, on the big screen when “Incredibles 2” opens in theaters June 15.

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, all you have to do is look up and discover exotic bird species from around the globe in UP! A Great Bird Adventure, a show inspired by the movie. “Up” was the first Pixar film originally presented in 3D, and the first Pixar film to win an Oscar in the Best Original Score category. Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell stars along with his furry sidekick, Dug. This colorful spectacle is sure to take fans to new heights.

Also at Animal Kingdom, and impossible to miss, is Pandora, the world of Avatar. Fly on the back of a mountain banshee on a 3D ride for a unique point of view of this distant world. But the floating mountains and bioluminescent plants are just as captivating.

Classic Disney characters will also be joining the fun this summer. Donald Duck and his pals, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack and Chip ‘n Dale take over Dinoland, U.S.A for Donald’s Dino-Bash! a dinosaur-themed party.

Disney Hollywood Studios joins in the Disney Pixar magic with the highly anticipated Toy Story Land opening June 30 to the delight of little buckaroos and parents alike. This first feature-length fully computer animated film was also the first animated film in Oscar history to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay. Who can forget Tom Hanks as loveable cowboy, Woody? “Toy Story” fans will view Andy’s backyard from his toy pals’ points of view as they shrink down and join in the fun. Fun features include the Slinky Dog Dash, a roller coaster Andy built from his Mega Coaster play kit, and the Alien Swirling Saucers, a galactic play set. Toy Story Mania! a guest-favorite 4D Shootin’ game, has expanded for more balloon popping with darts and throwing baseballs to break plates.

For a heroic time, head over to Epcot where Marvel Super Heroes have taken over the America Gardens Theatre. The highest-grossing Super Hero film of 2014, “Guardians of the Galaxy” received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects including Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Disney-goers will now be able to see those effects up close. Experience a journey through the cosmos at this awesome concert series featuring hits from Mixtapes 1 and 2, from the movies’ soundtracks. “Guardians of the Galaxy” Star-Lord and Gamora, will make an appearance alongside an alien band. The out-of-this-world show runs through Aug. 19.

Disney Pixar

Storm Troopers Inundate Disney Springs

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” was the first Star Wars film produced after Disney purchased Lucasfilm. It quickly became the highest-grossing installment in the franchise, receiving five Academy Awards including Best Special Visual Effects. This summer Disney lets fans experience the feeling of those special effects in a new hyper-reality experience.

“It’s unlike anything else our guests have ever experienced…pushing the boundaries of location-based virtual reality,” Lisa Mendillo, influencer communications manager at Walt Disney World says. “Guests, disguised as Stormtroopers, are transported into the Star Wars universe and put into the middle of the action via the magic of this hyper-reality experience that combines interactive sets, real-time effects and amazing technology.”


After they’ve battled the Galactic Empire, visitors can view “Incredibles 2” and grab a bite to eat at one of the new restaurants and bars in Disney Springs. The Edison, a lavish, multilevel, themed restaurant is family-friendly until 10 p.m. at which time it turns in to an adults-only venue. The theme is “industrial gothic” and offers patrons cozy couches or standard tables, along with three bars to choose from. Wine Bar George, the only Master-Sommelier-led wine bar in Florida, managed by Master Sommelier George Millotes, serves up shareable small plates accompanied by more than 100 wine selections. What a great way to unwind amid the aromas and tastes of an estate-style wine bar.

Pixar Pier Opens at Disneyland

Disneyland has created some of its own magic this summer. Excitement is ramping up at Pixar Pier, opening June 23 at Disney California Adventure Park. Pixar Pier will feature four whimsical neighborhoods depicting beloved Pixar stories.

“While Paradise Pier has always had thematic placemaking along the lines of a California seaside boardwalk, Pixar Pier adds an entire new layer of Disney and Pixar storytelling to this area,” says Mendillo. “Not only will all the attractions have Pixar themes, but everything from the background music, food and beverage and merchandise locations will represent Pixar stories and characters.”

Disney Pixar

The California Screamin’ Coaster has been re-imagined into the Incredicoaster, with a new theme based on—you guessed it— “The Incredibles.” As the first Pixar film to win two Oscars: Best Animated Film and Best Sound Editing, The Incredibles are used to shaking things up.

“The story will be entirely new, as will the music, show scenes and effects,” Mendillo explains. “Guests will accompany the Parr family as they race to catch up with baby Jack-Jack, who has discovered some new powers of his own.”

A new Incredibles float, featuring Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone is set to role in the Paint the Night parade.

Disney/Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

Coming Soon to a Galaxy Near You

Never content to be at light speed, more attractions are in the works at both Disney World and Disneyland for 2019. Construction is zooming along for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge which will debut at Disneyland Resort, followed by its opening at Walt Disney World Resort. Guests will join smugglers and rogue traders on the planet Batuu, a remote outpost on the galaxy’s edge, avoiding the expanding reach of the First Order.

And believe it or not, though Mickey Mouse received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1978, this Disney icon has never had a ride attraction. That will change next year when Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Step through the movie screen and experience what it’s like to be in a Mickey Mouse Cartoon Short. Mickey’s pal Goofy will also come along for the ride.

And just in time for the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort, in 2021, work has already begun in Future World at Epcot for a new attraction based on Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

“This one-of-a-kind family attraction will be one of the longest enclosed roller coasters in the world,” Mendillo says. “It will feature a unique story being created by Walt Disney Imagineering and include a new, innovative ride system that’s guaranteed to ‘wow’ guests.”

With so many blockbuster movie-inspired attractions in the works this year and next, it’s an exciting time to visit Disney as they take their magic to infinity and beyond.

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Heather Dorsey

Heather Dorsey is a contributing writer for Here & Beyond who doesn’t have a bucket list because she doesn’t want to let travel opportunities pass her by. She prides herself on asking “when?” if friends are looking for a travel partner. Some all-time favorite destinations include New Zealand, Amsterdam, Roatán, Québec, the BWCA and Paris. Locally, she enjoys exploring state parks, golfing and farmers’ markets. She holds a BS degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she double-majored in in consumer communications and psychology. She has a writing, sales, marketing and social media background. (And two cool teenagers).