Walt Disney World Update: TRON Food, New Meet & Greets, Epcot Additions & More

To most of us, March 15th seems like a trivial date. Of course, there’s the Ides of March. 3/15 does have a nice roundness to it. The Godfather premiered in 1972 on March 15th and it’s the birthday of Ruth Bader Ginsberg as well as the bassists of The Grateful Dead and Blink-182. Thanks Google! But to Walt Disney World, March 15th, 2023 is the date where they release so many updates! In this post, we’ll cover all of the news and add in some of our own commentary.

We’ll start with food because that’s where all things should begin.

Energy Bites Debuting in Magic Kingdom with TRON Lightcycle Run

The first bit of bite sized news comes in the form of a new snack kiosk debuting near TRON Lightcycle Run. This spot will be called Energy Bites and aims to offer food inspired by the futuristic setting around it. The dishes include:

  • Chocolate Cake Doughnut Holes topped with Mocha Sauce
  • Joffrey’s Cold Brew Coffee topped with Mocha Sauce
  • Digital Dumplings – Buffalo Chicken
  • Digital Dumplings – Beef & Broccoli
  • Strawberry IceOform
  • Watermelon Refresher

The first two items are pretty self explanatory so let’s move to the dumplings. Being close to TRON means that we have to call them Digital Dumplings but, as best as I can tell, there is absolutely nothing digital about this dish. They do sound good though, especially the Beef & Broccoli! A Buffalo Chicken Dumpling is risky but I’m interested in trying it out. These are good additions.

The final two options are both on the sweet side. The Strawberry IceOform is made up of strawberry ice cream mochi, graham crackers, and cheesecake foam. That sounds pretty tasty! The Watermelon Refresher is a frozen drink with watermelon, yuzu and ginger. While drinks aren’t always a Walt Disney World specialty, this sounds nice on a hot day.

Over the top names aside, Energy Bites is intriguing! Magic Kingdom is desperately in need of better food options and I’m hopeful this can deliver. While I doubt the kiosk is elaborate enough to make that scene drastically better, it’s a start. I’m glad this isn’t just generic theme park food and they’re offering some ambitious items.

New Characters in Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom

Just in time for the 25th Anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Moana will greet fellow voyagers on Discovery Island for the first time, starting April 22. 

Later this summer, guests will get the chance to hug long-time EPCOT icon Figment at the Imagination! pavilion.

And this fall, Mirabel from Disney Animation’s Academy Award-winning film “Encanto” will greet guests in the Fairytale Garden at Magic Kingdom, which will be transformed with whimsical décor inspired by la Familia Madrigal.

This fall, Mirabel from the Walt Disney Animation Studios hit film “Encanto” will greet guests in the Fairytale Garden at Magic Kingdom, which will be transformed with whimsical décor inspired by La Familia Madrigal.

This is all great news, with three beloved characters being properly placed within different parks. Figment is the most buzzworthy character for park fans, as the dragon hasn’t met guests for a very long time. As always, the hope is that Figment will be popular enough to inspire real change at the Imagination Pavilion.

It is pretty odd that Mirabel isn’t meeting guests until autumn and they’re announcing this in March. What’s the hold up? I’d love to read into this more but we’ve got other things to cover that are actually informative and not just baseless conjecture.

Disney100 and Openings at Epcot

Epcot continues transforming and now there’s a bit more news on opening dates and changes to the park.

Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, will debut this fall in World Nature. This self-guided exploration trail will take guests through the natural water cycle – from the skies to oceans and all the way back again.

CommuniCore Hall coming to EPCOT

When CommuniCore Hall opens in World Celebration later this year, it will be the center of festival programming throughout the park. Guests will also find a new character greeting location called Mickey & Friends. You’ll be able to meet Mickey Mouse and some of his best pals in this colorful space.

CommuniCore Hall will also be the home of a dynamic exhibition space that will transform with each festival throughout the year, as you can see here in one possibility imagined for EPCOT International Festival of the Arts. Playing with light, shapes and reflections, the architecture of this building was designed by Walt Disney Imagineering to celebrate the legacy of EPCOT and the original CommuniCore buildings.

CommuniCore Hall coming to EPCOT

I don’t have much to add here. Journey of Water has been a long time coming but I am excited to experience it. I enjoy walkthrough attractions and it should fit organically into that section of Epcot. As for the rest of the news, I was largely concentrated on the concept art and… Well, I don’t think it looks very good. Judging things off of concept art is a dangerous game though so I’ll reserve judgment while being slightly worried about the central spine of the park.

Epcot will also be the home of the Disney100 celebration at WDW. Guests can enjoy all-new experiences to celebrate the anniversary and the culmination of the EPCOT transformation – from meeting Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in their platinum attire to snapping a selfie with a platinum sculpture of the one who started it all and watching Spaceship Earth illuminate the evenings with a special lighting design.

A new nighttime spectacular will debut at EPCOT later this year

Plus, a new nighttime spectacular will debut at EPCOT later this year, inviting everyone to gather around World Showcase Lagoon for a show that will unite us through commonalities of the heart in a dazzling display of fireworks, lasers, music and light. Featuring an original composition along with select songs from the Disney songbook, this new spectacular will remind us that we’re more alike than different, connecting our hearts together as one.

The Disney100 celebration at Epcot likely won’t be anything substantial but may include some nice meet & greets. The real news here is our first piece of concept art for the new Epcot nighttime spectacular. Let’s be honest, there isn’t much to gather from that. I do think the description straddles the line between Harmonious and Illuminations. As a lover of Illuminations, I hope the new show is closer to that than the former. More than anything, I just hope it’ll be a nice encapsulation of the spirit of Epcot.

Summer House on the Lake Restaurant Opening at Disney Springs

I included this piece of news for one reason only. It’s called Summer House on the Lake? And it’s a restaurant? I’m sure it will be good and everything but come on. A vacation rental named that? Sure. A cozy bed and breakfast? Alright. A teen comedy about a girl who meets her first love, only to have her heart broken as she returns to her Massachusetts home for the new school year? Absolutely. But a restaurant? Since I’ve unjustly ripped this name apart, the following paragraph is a blurb about what the restaurant will offer. If you’re reading this, Summer House on the Lake creators, I’d love to try the restaurant and I’m sure you’re wonderful people!

Guests will be able to enjoy a California-inspired menu featuring simple, sustainable ingredients – from pizza and pasta to fresh salads and sandwiches. Plus, you can savor the restaurant’s exclusive Summer House Rosé along with a selection of wine, beer, handcrafted cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks. Just imagine sipping your favorite drink on one of three expansive outdoor patios with a lake view. Those of us with a sweet tooth will be delighted to hear about The Cookie Jar, a dessert-focused market within this space serving up freshly baked cookies and house-made pastries.

Disney Visa Cardmember Discount on WDW Hotel Rooms

The final piece of news is that there’s a very good discount going at Walt Disney World right now for Disney Visa cardholders. Up to 35% off is offered on select rooms from May until early September. Here are the details!

AKL lobby night

This offer is valid when you book using your Disney Visa Card for stays most nights:

  • May 14 to June 24, 2023
  • July 5 to August 19, 2023
  • August 27 to September 7, 2023

Up to 35% off at:

  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Up to 30% off at:

  • The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – Family Suites
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter

Up to 25% off at:

  • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – Standard Rooms
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Up to 15% off at the Campsites at Fort Wilderness.

Up to 10% off at:

  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

You can check out the offer here!


What do you think of all of this news? Let me know any questions or thoughts you have down below in the comments! Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Check out our planning guide hereIf you enjoy what you’re reading on Wandering in Disney please subscribe to the blog and like our Facebook page. You can find both of those on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!

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