Every year new and amazing things come to the Disney universe. Whether it’s in the parks, on the Disney Cruise ships, or in the realm of Disney entertainment. This year is no different. Follow along as we look back at the Disney Year in Review.
Walt Disney World
January 13 – Epcot Festival of Arts premieres for the first time at Walt Disney World featuring displays of works of art, entertainment and food.
February 16 -Disney filed permits for a proposed gondola system which will transport guests between Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s new Riviera Resort (which was announced later in the year at D23 Expo).
February 17 – Rivers of Light Nighttime Spectacular opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
March 2 – Miss Adventure Falls opened at Typhoon Lagoon.
March 3 – The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival kicked off at Walt Disney World.
April 14 – Disney’s Hollywood Studios hosted the first Star Wars: Galactic Nights hard ticket event.
May 26 – The Music of Pixar Live! stage show premiered at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
May 27 – Pandora – The World of Avatar opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with two attractions, Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey, and a restaurant, Satu’li Canteen.
July 1 – Disney announced they will remove the bride auction scene from Pirates of the Caribbean ride prompting fans to create the #SaveTheRedHead online protest.
July 3 – DisneyQuest at Disney Springs closes after 19 years to make way for the NBA Experience.
July 17 – A new dessert party, Frozen Ever After Dessert Party, began at Epcot in the World Showcase Plaza East.
August 20 – The 3 o’clock parade is no more. Festival of Fantasy permanently moved to 2:00pm prompting the age old questions to become, “What time is the 3 o’clock parade now that’s it’s 2 o’clock?”
September 10 – Hurricane Irma strikes shutting down the parks for two days. The storm only caused cosmetic damage to the parks. However, Irma was part of a 1-2-3 punch of Cat 5 hurricanes which effected Disney Cruise itineraries for months.
October 1 – Epcot marked it’s 35th anniversary with an epic in-park celebration.
October 10 – 12 – Walt Disney World hosted Wheel of Fortune for taping three weeks worth of shows of which one already aired the week of November 13. The final two weeks will air February 12, 2018 and April 30, 2018.
October 15 – Walt Disney World began allowing dogs at select resort hotels: Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation and the Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.
October 30 – runDisney released their line-up of races for late 2018 and 2019.
November 3 – 7 – The Disney Christmas television specials taped in the theme parks of Walt Disney World.
November 10 – The dates for the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival were announced. The festival will take place February 28 – May 28, 2018.
November 16 – Due to new TSA procedures at Orlando International Airport MCO), Disney’s Magical Express will now depart for the airport four hours prior to your scheduled departure.
January 11 – Disneyland Resort announced a new MaxPass service which allows guests unlimited downloads of PhotoPass images and convenient mobile booking of Disney FASTPASS return times.
March 10 – Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival began.
May 26 – Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT opened in the attraction which formerly housed Tower of Terror.
October 25 – It was announced a new resort is coming to Disneyland Resort’s Downtown Disney District. The new 700-room resort, reminiscent of Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Resort, will feature a monorail platform. It is expected to open in 2021.
Disney Cruise Line
May 17 -The Disney Fantasy debuted several new spaces for guests including two new areas for youth: Star Wars: Command Post and Marvel Super Hero Academy in the Oceaneers Club, a new ice cream shop called Sweet on You and a Tiffany & Co. shop.
October 3 – The Disney Dream was damaged when it hit the pier in Nassau, Bahamas.
Video Contains Foul Language
November 6 – A Beauty and the Beast stage show premiered on the Disney Dream.
Disney Entertainment & Movies
January 9 – Zootopia won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film
February 26 – Disney had a great night at the Oscars with Zootopia winning for Best Animated Feature, The Jungle Book winning for Best Visual Effects and Piper winning for Best Animated Short.
March 17 – Beauty and the Beast premieres. Through it’s run it grossed over $500 million domestically and $1.26 billion internationally making it the highest grossing film of 2017.
May 5 – The first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie of 2017, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, premiered.
May 15 – Hackers reportedly gained access to a copy of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and threatened to release the move bit-by-bit until Disney paid them a ransom in bitcoins. Disney said, “Thanks but no thanks”.
May 26 – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales premiered.
April 29 – The Radio Disney Music Awards taped in Los Angeles. It aired on several broadcast stations the next night.
July 7 – The next movie in Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spiderman: Homecoming, premiered.
July 21 – Descendants 2, the newest Disney Channel Original Movie premiere on the Disney Channel.
November 3 – The third movie of the year from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor: Ragnarok, premiered.
November 22 – Coco, a Disney animated feature, premiered.
November 20 – Singer and actor Jordan Fisher won season 25 of Dancing With the Stars.
December 20 – The Walt Disney Company announced they will purchase the entertainment production components of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion.
December 15 – In no surprise to anyone Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres to the biggest opening weekend of 2017 with $395,627,411.
December 27 – Buena Vista Pictures, the movie studio which encompasses Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars movies, had another record breaking year. Releasing just eight new movies Beauty and the Beast ($504mm), Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 ($389mm), Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($368mm), Thor: Ragnarok ($309mm), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales ($172mm), Coco ($161mm), Cars 2 ($151mm) and Born in China ($13) and enjoying residual box office from 2016 with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ($124mm), Moana ($42mm) and Doctor Strange ($3mm), the studio topped $2.2 billion domestically and $5.48 billion worldwide. By way of contrast, it took Warner Brothers 20 movies to gross $2.0 billion.
The Walt Disney Company News
July 27 – The world of Disney took a huge hit in the heart when Disney legend Marty Sklar passed away. Mr. Sklar was one of the few remaining ties directly to Walt Disney himself. After graduating from UCLA, he went to work full-time for Disney where he stayed for an impressive 54 years. Sklar started in WED Enterprises which later became Walt Disney Imagineering. Later he became the creative leader of Imagineering where he led the development of Disney theme parks and attractions for the next three decades.
The bi-annual D23 Expo featured so many heart palpitating announcements it’s a wonder attendees made it out alive. Here are some of the big ones:
- The new Star Wars Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a name. It will be called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
- And that isn’t all for Star Wars news: An immersive Star Wars resort is coming to the area near where Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is being built.
- Toy Story Land will open in the summer of 2019.
- Universe of Energy at Epcot will be sunsetting to make way for a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction.
- A Ratatouille attraction is coming to the France pavilion at Epcot.
- The highly popular TRON Lightcycle Power Run from Disneyland Tokyo will be coming to Magic Kingdom Park in the area between Space Mountain and Tomorrowland Speedway.
- Pixar Pier, a new immersive experience, will be coming to Disney California Adventure in 2018.
- Disney previously announced that two new ships were going to be added to the Disney Cruise Line fleet. However, that number jumped to three at D23. The new ships will take their maiden voyages in 2021, 2022 and 2023.
- Disney’s Riviera Resort, the 15th DVC property, will be built in the area near Epcot and will be a stop on the new gondola system.
2017 was definitely a year to remember in Disney history. However, 2018 is also shaping up to be another banner year. As they say, the best is yet to come.
Sue Nowicki is an alumna of the 2014/15 Disney Parks Moms Panel. She splits her time between planning her next Walt Disney World vacation and running a travel volleyball club where she fills the roles of secretary, navigator, head cheerleader, treasurer, athletic trainer and team psychologist. You can follow her on Twitter @MQPodcast.