Some of the biggest announcements in the Disney universe have come from the D23 Expo, and this year was certainly no exception. We’ve listened to all the announcements and read up on all the news, so we can bring you the top 14 biggest news coming to the Walt Disney Parks & Resorts!
Announcement #1: Guardians of the Galaxy will be joined by more super heroes at Disney California Adventure. We don’t have a lot of details, but what we do know is that Spider-Man and the Avengers will join Guardians of the Galaxy in what will be an immersive Super Hero universe at the park. With Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT establishing itself as a bona fide hit, the new additions will surely bring more action and adventure to an already exciting world.
Announcement #2: Disney Cruise Line is adding more ships to its fleet. Disney Cruise Line fans got three times the good news with the announcement that DCL is planning to build three new ships – with scheduled completion dates in 2021, 2022, and 2023. The ships are being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany, and will be powered by clean-burning liquefied natural gas. The ships will have approximately 1,250 staterooms – slightly bigger than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. We will have to stay turned for other details, like ship names and itineraries.
Announcement #3: Pixar will bring more whimsy and magic to Disney California Adventure Park with the new Pixar Pier. Launching in 2018, Paradise Pier will be transformed to Pixar Pier – an area where characters from beloved Pixar movies such as The Incredibles, Inside Out, and Toy Story will provide new experiences for guests. And to welcome Pixar Pier with a bang, Disneyland will hold a limited time celebration called Pixar Fest! featuring a brand new fireworks show and the return of Pixar Play Parade. Paint the Night will also return to Disney California Adventure Park – with a potentially “Buzzy” new float joining the parade.
Announcement #4: Toy Story Land is opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Summer 2018. We’ve known about the construction for some time now, but the D23 Expo brought some additional details of what Toy Story Land will showcase. With two new rides called Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers, fan favorite Toy Story Mania will have some serious competition. According to the Disney Parks Blog, Slinky Dog Dash “will be a family coaster attraction where you’ll zip, dodge and dash around many turns and drops that Andy has created to really make Slinky and his coils stretch to his limits,” while Alien Swirling Saucers has aliens “flying around in their toy flying saucers and trying to capture your rocket toy vehicle with ‘The Claw.'”
Announcement #5: A brand new theater is coming to Walt Disney World. Right at the heart of Main Street U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom, a new theater inspired by Kansas City’s Willis Wood Theater will provide new and amazing entertainment for guests. Why the Willis Wood Theater? Well, this is where Walt Disney lived after he left Marceline. As many Disney fans know, there are so many little gems all along Main Street U.S.A. that are a testament to the life of Walt Disney, so this is the perfect addition.
Announcement #6: The rumored Disney sky gondola rides will definitely be a thing. There has been speculation for some time now that Disney was going to build aerial gondolas as another method of transportation across the parks and resorts. Disney put all speculation to rest with the announcement of the Disney Skyliner, a transportation system that will connect Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century, and Caribbean Beach Resort with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot. While only deluxe resorts have historically had multiple modes of transportation to the parks, the Disney Skyliner changes all of that and will surely make these resorts more popular with guests.
Announcement #7: Disney unveils a new point-to-point transportation system. With some guests undoubtedly turning to Uber to get to other resorts, parks and Disney destinations, Disney has decided to roll out a similar transportation service. These Minnie vehicles – whose decoration is inspired by our favorite female Mouse – will take you anywhere you want to go throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. This should make transportation for advanced dining reservations and other events more convenient for guests!
Announcement #8: A new Star Wars-themed resort will open at Walt Disney World. And not just any type of resort – this experiential resort is part of the new Disney 360 vacation concept. According to the Disney Parks Blog, here’s how Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, described the resort: “It’s unlike anything that exists today. From the second you arrive, you will become a part of a Star Wars story! You’ll immediately become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with characters, stories, and adventures that unfold all around you. It is 100% immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day, and it will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits.” The prospect of this is truly mind-boggling, and I can’t wait to hear more!
Announcement #9: Disney’s Hotel New York at Disneyland Paris will get a Marvel-inspired makeover. Disney’s Hotel New York will be reimagined into Disney’s Hotel New York – the Art of Marvel. With inspiration from Iron Man, The Avengers, and Spider Man (and that’s just for starters!) this hotel will undoubtedly bring a new sense of adventure and action to all its guests!
Announcement #10: Epcot will have a brand new dining experience that is out of this world! We all know that Epcot is the place to go for some truly amazing dining experiences. Want to eat while watching divers, turtles and other aquatic wildlife? Then book a reservation at Coral Reef. Feel like experiencing a new culinary perspective? You have multiple choices around the world. Get ready to add yet another experience to the list – with the upcoming launch of a restaurant located next to Mission: SPACE – where you can dine in the stars from space. The new restaurant is going to be operated by the Patina Restaurant Group, who also owns Tutto Italia, Via Napoli, and Morimoto Asia. With that kind of pedigree, I can’t wait to sample all the new eats at this restaurant!
Announcement #11: Shanghai Disney’s most popular attraction will make its way to Walt Disney World in Orlando. The highest-rated ride in Shanghai Disney, Tron, will make its home right next to Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom. According to the Disney Parks Blog, “the TRON Lightcycle Power Run attraction at Shanghai Disneyland is a coaster-style attraction where riders board a train of two-wheeled Lightcycles. It offers access to the energy, lights, and excitement of TRON’s high-tech universe and is one of the most thrilling adventures at any Disney park.” Tron is set to open in 2021, just in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary.
Announcement #12: Epcot is getting some brand new attractions in 2021, too! With all the talk about Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Tron at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot is also sharing in the festivities by announcing not one, but two new rides. Located in Future World, a Guardians of the Galaxy-inspired attraction will debut and will feature all the action, fun, and music we have come to love from the Guardian of the Galaxy films. This new attraction will replace Universe of Energy, which will close on August 13 of this year. Next, over in the France Pavilion, a new attraction inspired by Pixar’s Ratatouille will debut. This is similar to “Ratatouille: The Adventure” attraction at the Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris, where guests shrink to Remy’s size as they dash and scurry across the kitchen in a fun adventure.
Announcement #13: Another new attraction, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, is replacing The Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Welp. This is something that Disney fans are pretty split about. On one hand, the premise of the new ride is pretty interesting – you step through a movie screen to join Mickey and the gang as they navigate through the fun world of a cartoon short. Disney Imagineers are also calling this experience “2 1/2 D” where no glasses are required, but will nevertheless turn a “flat” cartoon into a multi-dimensional showcase. On the other hand, we have to say goodbye to The Great Movie Ride. I mean, I still get scared whenever I see Sigourney Weaver hiding from aliens. And the ending montage always gives me goose bumps. Just like the Universe of Energy, The Great Movie Ride will have its final run on August 13th of this year.
Announcement #14: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to Debut in 2019! We now know more about the Star Wars land that will debut at Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 2019! Named Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, guests will have a chance to visit a remote trading port on the edge of wild space and where adventure and action is sure to be in store. There are two major attractions planned – the first is designed to make you feel like you’re on a Star Destroyer, and the other will give you a chance to – gasp! – fly the Millenium Falcon. And here’s what I think is the most exciting part – Disney is once again blowing our minds with how immersive this will be. According to the Disney Parks Blog, your performance in the Millenium Falcon ride has effects even after you leave the ride: “perform with skill and you may earn extra galactic credits, while bringing the ship back banged up could put you on the list of a bounty hunter. End up on Harkos’s list and you may face a problem if you show up at the local cantina!” Of course, there will also be plenty of opportunities to see and interact with Star Wars characters we know and love, like BB-8, Chewbacca, and more. If the success of Pandora: The World of AVATAR is any indication, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be, well, freakin’ amazing.
So there you have it – all the announcements from the D23 Expo. Is there a particular announcement you are looking forward to the most, or are you like me – having some trouble figuring out which announcement to be more excited about? It’s just too much Disney goodness in one day! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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