A new year means a whole new world of Walt Disney World experiences, magic and fun. And oh boy, from long-awaited attraction openings and re-imaginings to all-new Disney character meet-and-greets to the return of much-loved entertainment offerings and events, and so much more, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2023!
So, if you’re heading to The Most Magical Place on Earth in the new year, put on your Mickey Ears and get out your Disney vacation to-do lists as we break down the top 23 things to do at Disney World in 2023.
23 Best Things to Do at Disney World in 2023
Whether you want to experience new Walt Disney World attractions and entertainment, welcome back returning favorites or say “good-bye” to outgoing classics before they’re gone for good, 2023 is the year to make it happen. Here’s everything you should put on your travel to-do list for Disney World 2023.
1. Celebrate Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary
With the 18-month-long anniversary party coming to an end on March 31, 2023, The World’s Most Magical Celebration is reaching its last hurrah. However, for folks visiting Walt Disney World during the beginning of 2023, there are still a few months left to celebrate the Central Florida resort’s 50th anniversary before it’s too late. Get in on the magic with extra-special entertainment, limited-time dishes and drinks, exclusive merchandise and more.
2. Race Across the Grid on TRON Lightcycle / Run
It’s almost time to upload yourself to the Grid, jump on a Lightcyle and duke it out with fierce opponents in an epic battle for survival. Opening Spring 2023 at Magic Kingdom in Tomorrowland, TRON Lightcycle / Run is a thrilling roller coaster inspired by the computerized world of TRON: Legacy. The coaster first appeared to great acclaim at Shanghai Disneyland and is set to be one of the fastest coasters at any of the Disney Parks worldwide.
3. Splash Down Splash Mountain One Last Time
While one Magic Kingdom attraction is soon to welcome its very first guests over in Tomorrowland, on the opposite side of the park in Frontierland, another well-loved favorite is closing its doors to make way for an all-new theme and storyline. The last log of Splash Mountain is set to depart on January 23, 2023, meaning that you only have a few short weeks for one final ride into the briar patch before the attraction is reimagined into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which is currently scheduled to debut in 2024. So, take advantage and say your goodbyes while you still can.
4. Leave the Craziness of the Disney Parks Behind with a Little Resort Hopping
Whether you’re hoping to escape the hustle and bustle of the theme parks, see a new side of the Disney magic or save some cash and take advantage of one of the (gasp!) free things to do at Disney World, resort hopping is the way to go. Not only are the Disney World hotels less busy than the parks, but the restaurants are delicious, many bars shake up tasty drinks and a great atmosphere, and the design and theming are every bit as detailed as what you’ll find inside the parks.
5. Watch Sorcerer Mickey Battle an Army of Disney Villains in Fantasmic!
As of November 3, 2022, Fantasmic!, is back at Disney’s Hollywood Studios after more than two years on hiatus. Making its glorious post-pandemic return, the nighttime spectacular is back and better than ever and features all-new sequences and character appearances by Aladdin, Moana, Mulan, Elsa and more. Typically two showings are offered each night, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly. Refer to the My Disney Experience app for the evening’s showtimes.
6. Go to One of Mickey’s Holiday Parties at Magic Kingdom
While Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party were stripped-down versions of their usual selves during the height of the pandemic, the seasonal soirees were back to everything we know and love in 2022 and will continue their comeback in 2023. Though an added cost to your regular park admission, these separately ticketed events are a great way to enjoy the best that Magic Kingdom has to offer, along with special entertainment, menu items, character appearances and more. Buy your tickets for Mickey’s Halloween and Christmas parties early, as nights tend to fill up fast.
7. See How Disney Makes Magic on a Backstage Tour
It’s hard to see all the hard work and incredible details that go into bringing Disney magic to life when you’re blinded by all the pixie dust. Learn about everything that goes on behind the scenes to make the magic a reality with a backstage tour. After being temporarily suspended due to COVID-19, many of these off-stage adventures are finally welcoming guests once more. Feel like a Disney VIP as you explore the utilidors beneath Magic Kingdom, tour the Epcot greenhouses, go on a guided safari and more.
8. Eat Somewhere New
As tempting as it is to go back to the same restaurants at Disney World again and again or to stick to the most popular picks of the bunch (we’re talking about you, Chef Mickey’s and ‘Ohana), you end up missing out on some hidden gems. So, hop on the Disney Skyliner or set sail on a water taxi and sample some of the more underrated restaurants Disney World has to offer. Treat yourself to that indulgent meal at Victoria & Albert’s that you’ve always dreamed of. Or, try something completely new and go to Roundup Rodeo BBQ in Toy Story Land once it opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Spring 2023.
9. Rocket Through Space on Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Blast off for adventure as you hurtle through outer space and jam out to an awesome soundtrack alongside some of the MCU’s most popular superheroes on Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Located in World Discovery at Epcot, this 360-degree, fully enclosed coaster is the only Marvel attraction at Disney World and a must for MCU fans and adrenaline junkies of all ages. Originally opened in May 2022, the Guardians of the Galaxy coaster is still incredibly popular, so be prepared to join a virtual queue if you want to ride.
10. End Your Magic Kingdom Day with the Happily Ever After Fireworks
There’s something about a day at Magic Kingdom that makes you want to reach out and find your happily ever after. Well, starting sometime in 2023, you can, thanks to the much-anticipated return of the Happily Ever After fireworks. While the nighttime spectacular won’t be exactly the same as it was when it first closed on September 29, 2021, we can’t wait to see whatever updates they have in store.
11. Do a Disney Character Meet-and-Greet
No matter when we go or which Disney theme park we’re visiting, one of our favorite things to do is Disney character meet-and-greets. There’s just something magical about seeing some of your most well-loved characters to life. Along with classics like Mickey Mouse and his pals and the Disney Princesses, you can also meet a few brand-new characters in 2023, such as the Hatbox Ghost from the Haunted Mansion and Figment, everyone’s favorite purple dragon.
12. Discover the Wonders of Water at Epcot’s Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana
Water is one of the most precious elements on Earth, nourishing us every day and night and helping Moana along her journey to save the Heart of Te Fiti. Learn all about this valuable resource, as well as its playful nature, in Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, a self-guided walking path opening at Epcot in World Nature in late 2023.
13. Give Your Little One a Royal Makeover from Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
After being closed throughout most of the pandemic, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, the most magical salon in all of Walt Disney World, is once again offering regal makeovers at Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom. Though on the spendy side, ringing in at $100 to $200 or more for princess-inspired transformations for children between the ages of 3 and 12, these enchanting pampering sessions are sure to make your little one feel like royalty.
14. Enjoy a Stay at One of the Disney World Hotels
While it isn’t always the cheapest option, staying at one of the Disney World hotels can take your vacation to a whole new magical level. From the immersive theming to unique activities like painting classes and fun runs to other valuable perks like complimentary transportation and delicious on-site restaurants, hotels at Disney World offer the perfect mix of amenities and Disney magic. Go for one of the more affordable value or moderate resorts or splurge on a stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Walt Disney World’s flagship deluxe hotel, which is set to get a much-deserved update to its lobby.
15. Dine with Disney Characters
As much as we love character meet-and-greets, they can be a significant time commitment depending on which and how many characters you want to see. Character dining, on the other hand, brings a handful of Disney characters right to your table. So, you can save time by meeting Disney characters while doing something you already do at least three times a day. Eat!
Best of all, while many character meals have already made their return, others that have yet to come back, such as the ever-popular Cinderella’s Royal Table, will finally welcome characters back once more in 2023. Disney character meals tend to book up fast, so be sure to reserve a table early if there’s one on your list.
16. Climb Aboard the Walt Disney World Railroad
All aboard! Closed for a long four years to accommodate the construction of TRON Lightcycle / Run, the Walt Disney World Railroad is finally chugging its way around Magic Kingdom once more. Pay tribute to Walt Disney’s love of locomotives and enjoy a leisurely tour around the park on this hop-on-hop-off, steam-powered attraction.
17. Shrink to the Size of a Mouse on Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
Ever wished you could experience Paris through the eyes of Remy, the little chef from Ratatouille? Well, now you can! Opened in the France Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase on October 1, 2021, after first appearing at Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is one of the newest attractions at Disney World. The immersive dark ride sends you scurrying through Chef Gusteau’s famed Parisian restaurant, all from a ride vehicle shaped like a rat, making for a charming caper for kids and adults alike.
18. Enjoy Food & Fun at an Epcot Festival
Without a doubt, one of the best things to do at Epcot is one of the park’s seasonal festivals. With themed food booths and seasonally inspired activities, entertainment and décor, there’s something for everyone. Plan your visit for when your favorite festival is happening, or try to experience all four. Dates for the 2023 Epcot festivals include:
- Festival of the Arts – January 13 to February 20, 2023
- Flower & Garden Festival – March 2 to July 4, 2023
- Food & Wine Festival – July 15 to November 20, 2023
- Festival of the Holidays – November 24 to December 30, 2023
19. Take a Stroll Down Disney’s BoardWalk
Though not as popular as Walt Disney World’s larger, flashier entertainment district, Disney Springs, Disney’s BoardWalk brings the charm with its nostalgic waterfront setting, delicious dining and lighthearted nightlife. While you’re there, be sure to stop by one of the BoardWalk’s many restaurants, including a few newcomers. Along with BoardWalk Deli, which debuted in 2022, you can also try new-in-2023 eateries like Carousel Coffee and The Cake Bake Shop. Or, for all the resort hoppers out there, pop into the lobby of Disney’s BoardWalk Inn to check out the updated lobby.
20. Stay Up Late for Disney After Hours
One of the biggest draws of Mickey’s Halloween and Christmas parties is getting to explore the park after most of the guests have left, meaning shorter lines, fewer people photobombing your pictures and more time to do your favorite things. Fortunately, you don’t need to wait for a party to hang out in a park after dark. Disney After Hours events offer many of the same perks, including short wait times and complimentary snacks. Disney After Hours events take place on select nights in 2023 at:
- Magic Kingdom Disney After Dark – January 9, 2023 to March 27, 2023
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios Disney After Dark – January 4, 2023 to April 19, 2023
21. Say “Good-Bye” to Harmonious & “Hello” to a New Epcot Nighttime Spectacular
At Epcot, it’s out with the new and in with the newer as we wave good-bye to the park’s Harmonious fireworks and welcome a brand-new nighttime spectacular in honor of Disney’s 100th anniversary. We don’t know too much about Harmonious’ replacement yet other than its anticipated late-2023 debut. So, be sure to enjoy Harmonious while it’s still around.
22. Treat Yourself at Disney Springs
No trip to Walt Disney World is complete without a visit to Disney Springs. Chockful of decadent dining options and equally indulgent shopping, this gorgeous entertainment district rises to the occasion of Disney Springs’ tagline, “happily whatever you’re after.” Stop by for a sophisticated scoop from Salt & Straw, a round of bowling at Splitsville Luxury Lanes or a meal of fresh American favorites from Summer House on the Lake, an all-new restaurant opening in 2023.
23. Get in the Festive Spirit with a Holiday Visit
There’s no time more magical for a Walt Disney World vacation than during the winter holidays. The theme parks, hotels and Disney Springs are decked with elaborate Christmas decorations. Restaurants dish up limited-time menu items filled with festive flavors, as well as entire holiday feasts. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year to go to Disney World.
Well, that wraps up our list of the 23 best things to do at Disney World in 2023. What are you excited to do at Walt Disney World in the new year? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how to save some cash for your trip with our discount Disney World tickets.