Disney World has always offered more than just its rides, shows, attractions, parades, and restaurants.

The four theme parks, to varying extents, offer things to do and look at that one could call extra touches of magic.

You might see birds soaring over your head at Animal Kingdom or get engrossed in playing the digital add-on games at Hollywood Studios’ “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.” People of all ages look for “Hidden Mickeys” at all four Florida parks, and many visitors have a favorite park feature that’s not always among the biggest, newest rides.

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At Epcot, visitors of all ages were always delighted by the park’s “jumping water” feature. These were small fountains where streams of water would jump from hole to hole. On a hot day, younger kids (and maybe some older ones) might get in the way of the water to cool off while others simply enjoyed the simple but captivating show.

Now, Disney’s second Florida theme park will cap its major renovation by introducing “Journey of Water, Inspired By Moana,” a new experience that incorporates that famous jumping-water feature.

The water attraction is a walk-through area, not a ride you wait in line for. Image source: Walt Disney Image source: Walt Disney

Epcot adds a Moana-themed water feature

Disney World has not set an opening day for its new Moana-inspired attraction, but it did use the words “opening soon” on its public relations website.

The new walk-through attraction incorporates the old “jumping water” technology, but instead of simply having its as an oddity, it’s now part of a themed area.

“‘Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana’ will welcome adventurers in Epcot soon. Guests can explore a serene walking trail that entertains, inspires, and educates as they engage with water in magical ways like Moana did with the ocean,” the company says on its website.

The arrival in the new World Nature neighborhood of Epcot is “dedicated to understanding and preserving the beauty, awe, and balance of the natural world. It includes ‘The Land’ and ‘The Seas with Nemo & Friends’ pavilions, as well as ‘Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana,'” according to the company.

World Nature also offers the “Awesome Planet” film at The Land pavilion, which “showcases the beauty, diversity and dynamic story of Earth.”

Universal Studios closes its kiddie rides

While Universal Studios is building its third Florida theme park, Epic Universe, it’s also making some pretty big changes at its original park. Universal Studios Florida’s KidZone has seen classic pieces of the park closed for good.

Fievel’s Playland, the Woody Woodpecker family roller coaster, and the Curious George wet and dry play areas have all been permanently closed.

“The ‘E.T. Adventure,’ ‘Animal Actors on Location!,’ ‘SpongeBob StorePants’ — including meet and greets with SpongeBob SquarePants and friends and the ‘KidZone Pizza Company’ will remain open, Theme Park Insider shared.

Those closures, while sad for the adults who remember Woody Woodpecker and Fievel, are believed to enable the theme park to add a new “land” devoted to its DreamWorks characters.

“Confidential sources claim that the [Woody Woodpecker] coaster will be remade into a Trolls-themed attraction and that the Curious George play areas would be remade into a Kung Fu Panda attraction. Fievel’s Playland is suspected to be rethemed with Shrek and friends in mind,” Theme Park Tourist reported.

Universal Studios has not confirmed these changes. It has generally become the policy of both Disney and Universal owner Comcast (CMCSA) – Get Free Report not to confirm major opening dates until they get close, so people don’t put off planned vacations to wait for new rides to open.

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This story was originally published September 2, 2023, 8:30 AM.