Disney’s ultimate fan event, D23 Expo is in full swing, and as expected Disney used the occasion to unveil future plans for Disney World and other Disney parks and resorts around the world. We come to expect big announcements and lots of news from D23 events, but this year marks not only a record number of BIG announcements, but a new level of construction not seen since the massive expansions of the Eisner era. Below is a summary of the plethora of announcements so far out of Disney. More details will follow in the coming days as released.
1 – Toy Story Land to Open Summer of 2018
Today, Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts announced that the land will open next summer! In 2018, you’ll find yourself shrunk to the size of a toy to explore the world of Andy’s backyard with your favorite Toy Story characters, including Woody and Buzz. And Toy Story Land will feature two new themed attractions. 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. Alien Swirling Saucers will also be a new attraction at Toy Story Land. It’s designed as a toy play set that Andy got from Pizza Planet, inspired by the first “Toy Story” film. Aliens are flying around in their toy flying saucers and trying to capture your rocket toy vehicle with “The Claw.”
2 – Star Wars Land Name & Additional Details Announced
Fans were elated to hear their Star Wars stories will come to life in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the newly announced name for the Star Wars-themed lands. Chapek shared exciting new details and a glimpse inside the two anchor attractions, including one that puts guests right in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance where guests will feel like they are inside a hangar bay on a Star Destroyer. Guests will also have the chance to fly the Millennium Falcon, where each guest is critical to the mission’s success. Chapek also revealed many characters that guests will meet, including BB-8, Chewbacca, Rex and Kylo Ren. Representing the largest single-themed land expansion at 14 acres each, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open in 2019, with the first land debuting at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, then at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando.
Read more details about this announcement by clicking here.
3 –Two New Attractions Coming to Epcot
Looking ahead to the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, there are grand plans to complete the transformation that started with the debut of New Fantasyland in 2014. Chapek announced exciting plans across Epcot to realize the original vision of the park while making it more timeless and relevant than ever before. Patterned after the number one family attraction at Disneyland Paris, Ratatouille will be added in an all-new space in the France pavilion at World Showcase. Epcot will also see the addition of a brand-new E-ticket attraction based on the rockin’ and action-packed world of Guardians of the Galaxy, the next step in how guests can encounter these characters at Walt Disney World Resort.
Read more details on this announcement by clicking here.
Note: The Guardians of the Galaxy attraction will replace the current Universe of Energy attraction, which will close Aug. 13, 2017.
4 – New Restaurant Coming to Epcot
Adjacent to Mission: Space will be a new restaurant that will invite guests to travel high above the earth for an unforgettable dining experience.
5 – New Star Wars Themed Resort Announced
To the delight of fans, Chapek confirmed ambitious plans to create the most experiential concept ever in an immersive Star Wars-themed hotel at Walt Disney World Resort. Dedicated entirely to the galaxy of Star Wars, it will be a one-of-a-kind experience where a luxury resort meets a multi-day adventure in a galaxy far, far away.
6 – New Live Entertainment Theater Being Added to Main Street USA
A new live entertainment theater coming to Main Street, U.S.A., based on the iconic Willis Theater in 1920s Kansas City, will bring world-class entertainment to the world’s most popular park. It looks like the new theater will be built in what is currently backstage areas between Main Street U.S.A. and Tomorrowland.
7 – Tron Light Cycle Rollercoaster Confirmed for Magic Kingdom
Last week we reported a rumor about a Tron-themed attraction coming to Magic Kingdom. Chapek also announced that the highest rated attraction at Shanghai Disneyland is coming to Walt Disney World Resort. A thrilling, Tron-themed attraction will be added in a new area near Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom. We’re glad to see that while rumored to be replacing the Tomorrowland Speedway, concept art shows the Speedway adjacent to the new ride. It appears that the Speedway will not be removed for the new attraction.
8 – First Ever Mickey Themed Ride Coming to Hollywood Studios
The first-ever Mickey-themed ride-through attraction, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, will come to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. With a new original story and lovable attraction theme song, this new state-of-the-art ride-through attraction will take guests on a journey inside the wacky and unpredictable world of Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-winning “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts using new technologies that transform the flat cartoon world into an incredible dimensional experience. This attraction will replace the Great Movie Ride. In order to begin to prepare the new home of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway at the Chinese Theatre in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Aug. 13, 2017 will be the final day of operation for The Great Movie Ride presented by Turner Classic Movies.
Read more details on this announcement by clicking here.
9 – Mission Space Getting New Mission
In Future World, a new Green Mission at Mission: SPACE will take guests on a stunning tour around the Earth, and an updated Orange Mission will make the trip to Mars even more spectacular.
10 – Disney Announces New DVC Resort
Chapek also announced the proposed 15th Disney Vacation Club property, Disney Riviera Resort, coming to Walt Disney World Resort near Epcot.
11 – New “Minnie Van” Transportation Service
Completing the immersion so guests never have to leave the story while on a Disney vacation, Chapek announced plans that will make getting around Walt Disney World Resort even more fun. An all-new Minnie Van service will provide a point-to-point transportation service in a way that only Disney can do, giving guests an even more seamless resort vacation from start to finish.
12 – Skyliner Gondola Transportation System Announced
Additionally, a whole new transportation system called Disney Skyliner will give guests a birds-eye view of Walt Disney World Resort. This brand-new system will connect Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century and Caribbean Beach resorts, as well as the proposed new Disney Riviera Resort, with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot.
13 – Disney Cruise Line Adding Three New Ships
Chapek surprised the crowd by announcing that Disney Cruise Line will add one more ship in its expansion to take family cruise vacations to a whole new level. Joining the other two new ships that were announced just last year, all three ships will be powered by one of the cleanest-burning fuels available, liquefied natural gas. When all three ships are completed by 2023, Disney Cruise Line will have nearly doubled the size of the fleet.
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