Y’all it is getting down to crunch time. With less than a month until I move down to Florida, it is perfect timing for all the Disney news! For those that don’t know, this last weekend was the D23 Expo. The expo is home to all kinds of news concerning all things Disney. Since the expo only occurs every other year, the news that comes out of this expo is monumental. This news could be about animation, ABC television, video games, Lucas Films, Marvel, etc. Literally anything owned by The Walt Disney Company. But let’s be real. I am really caring about all the news coming out about the Disney Parks! (I mean, a Disney park is going to be my home for almost 5 months. I better care what is going on there.) So let’s dive into the biggest Disney Parks and Resorts news coming out of the D23 Expo:
Star Wars Land Has Finally Been Named
The official name of the Star Wars themed area coming to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland will be called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Honestly, I am doubting that people will call it by this proper name. However, this is the beginning of revealing details of the land! The land will be considered a planet in the Star Wars universe that has not been involved in any of the movies. I believe this unique planet concept is going to be vital in keeping the land relevant as the story expands. Just like how the land of Pandora is set multiple years after all the movies, this land will be an experience all its own instead of a recreation of a film. Major points to Disney!
With the name reveal, other large details have been released. They have announced the inclusion of two attractions: one involving the Millennium Falcon and another involving the First Order. As far as I can tell, there has been concept art revealed but not much else concerning the attractions.
The land will also be extremely immersive. So much so that your performance on some attractions may even affect other interactions in the land. Multiple Star Wars characters will make appearances, including BB-8, Chewbacca, members of the First Order, etc. And there will in fact be a Star Wars Cantina!
A Star Wars Hotel is Coming to Walt Disney World
Might as well continue on the Star Wars train. Recently, there had been some surveys circulating Walt Disney World about an immersive Star Wars hotel experience. Most people believed that either this would never happen or that it would be far in the future. Well, those surveys must have been extremely positive because Disney Parks has announced that a Star Wars Hotel is coming to Walt Disney World!
I will be very intrigued to see how this goes. This will be the first resort created as a fully immersive experience with what Disney is calling their “360 vacation” concept.
Tron Roller Coaster is Headed to Tommorowland in Magic Kingdom
Okay, I promise I am done with Star Wars. Onto Tron! Honestly, I wasn’t in love with this movie. I know there are some people that love it but I can’t make myself. However, I have always envied the Tron Coaster built in Disney’s international parks. The story isn’t up my alley but the technology used is very impressive.
Originally, people thought that this coaster would replace Tomorrowland Speedway but the Speedway has lived to see another day! Instead, the Tron Coaster will be built near Space Mountain. Personally, I enjoy that the Speedway is still there but I am shocked that it has survived this far. With the addition of such a new and technologically advanced attraction, I think we should keep an eye out for other additions to Tomorrowland.
There is a lot coming for EPCOT. EPCOT has been fairly stagnant for a little while, so most saw a lot of the changes coming once the D23 Expo came around. (It totally didn’t help that most people could see the patents and building permits being filed in the area.) The big news includes: Ratatouille coming to the France pavilion, Guardians of the Galaxy replacing Ellen’s Energy Adventure, and other Future World news.
I am not shocked by Ratatouille as IPs were introduced in the World Showcase with Frozen. I am content, however, that they are not taking anything out of the pavilion to create this attraction. Instead, they are building it into the area behind the France pavilion.
Once again, I am not shocked about the inclusion of Guardians of the Galaxy in Future World. This had been one of the largest rumors circulating in the past year. With the success of the Guardians Galaxy franchise and the success of their attraction in DCA, I have high hopes for this attraction. They have tried to explain the attraction’s inclusion in EPCOT by saying that Peter Quill once visited EPCOT while he was on Earth. If they can establish that retro vibe that is associated with EPCOT, I will be happy.
The Great Movie Ride is Being Replaced by a Mickey Attraction
This is the saddest news coming out of the D23 Expo. I personally love The Great Movie Ride and will be very sad to see it go. (You better bet that I will be visiting it before its impending closing date.) However, it will be interesting to see Mickey’s first attraction built in the parks. The animation will be the new style that is seen on television shows, not the classic style seen in the past.
The Great Movie Ride will be closing on August 13th, making Disney’s Hollywood Studios the only park without any attraction from opening day.
Minnie Vans Created Almost Like a Disney Uber
The transportation and logistics nerd inside me saw this one coming. It had been too long of a period of time that Disney had been sacrificing potential revenue to Uber. Now, there will be “Minnie Vans” that will provide transportation from resorts for a fee.
Marvel Land Announced for Disneyland Resort
Once again, I am not shocked by this announcement. Disney has been hinting at the potential of a Marvel Land with the little easter eggs found in the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction in DCA. Also, Disneyland is able to create a Marvel area without the legal troubles Walt Disney World would have.
It is supposed to be an immersive land similar to the Star Wars land planned. They have not hinted towards any specific date or any specific attractions.
Paradise Pier is Now Pixar Pier
And so the reimagining of Disney’s California Adventure continues! The existing pier will take on a new look with the inclusion of all of Pixar’s franchises. Permanent changes to this park will even include building new areas to include Pixar. There will even be a parade switch with Pixar Play coming to Disneyland and Paint the Night coming to DCA.
New Theater Coming to Main Street
This new theater venue is inspired by the Willis Wood theater in 1920s Kansas City and will be home to large stage shows. I would hope that these shows will still keep the Main Street feel instead of a contemporary, modern feel. Also, they have not announced what this theater is taking the place of. Will this be the end of Tony’s Town Square?
Toy Story Land Has an Opening Date… Kinda
With all the Star Wars expansion, Toy Story Land has taken a back seat in most people’s minds. However, there is now an opening date! Well, an opening year. Toy Story Land has been announced to open in Summer 2018. While the construction has been going on for a long while, this opening date is new information. They have also already announced attractions including a Slinky Dog coaster and a Alien Swirling Saucers ride.
And yet with all this D23 Expo news, Stitch’s Great Escape has survived yet another year.
(All photographs credited to Inside the Magic)