NEWS: Major News from the D23 Event on Returning & Future Experiences Coming to Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Parks & Beyond

This weekend Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro shared a lot of fantastic updates on future experiences coming to Disney Parks, especially Walt Disney World during his Connections: A Look at the Future of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products presentation. There were a lot of announcements and we’ve got them all below.


1 – Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Opening Date Update

We’ve known that the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind coaster would open in 2022, and now we’ve been given a better understanding of when in 2022. While no specific date was announced, the new attraction will open in summer 2022. This thrilling new family-friendly coaster matches the “grandosity” and fun of the blockbuster “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, featuring those lovable cosmic misfits – Rocket, Groot, Drax, Gamora and Star-Lord. The attraction is another major milestone in the ongoing transformation of EPCOT and debuts as part of the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary celebration.

Credit: Disney

2 – Fantasmic! to (finally) Return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

While nighttime spectaculars have returned to Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has not offered a major nighttime spectacular since March 2020, when the parks shut down because of the pandemic.  That’s changing in 2022, when Fantasmic! returns to the park. When it returns, the show will incorporate an all-new sequence featuring life performers, stunts, special effects, and more!

3 – Update on Finding Nemo: The Musical at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

A few months ago, Disney confirmed that Finding Nemo: The Musical would be reimagined and would be returning to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Disney announced the new show called, “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!” will be set in the timeline of the movie “Finding Dory.” Disney Cast Member Shawn Slater shares a description of the new show below:

When you take a seat in the theater, you’ll find yourself at the Marine Life Institute. As the show begins, we catch up with the fish from Dr. P. Sherman’s office in “Finding Nemo,” who have made their way across the ocean to California. They tell the story of Nemo and how they all got there, incorporating many of the beloved songs and production numbers from the original show. The team is hard at work getting “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!” ready to open in 2022

4 – Festival of Fantasy Parade to Return to Magic Kingdom

Many guests have really missed a full daytime parade at Magic Kingdom. The Festival of Fantasy parade has been missing at Magic Kingdom since March 2020. Thankfully, Disney has announced the parade will return in “early 2022!”


5 – Name Revealed for New Quick-Service Restaurant at EPCOT

The Electric Umbrella was a very popular quick-service restaurant at EPCOT at the heart of the park. It closed in 2019, when construction began in the area. Disney has announced that a new quick-service Connections Café and Eatery, debuting in the World Celebration neighborhood of EPCOT as part of the park’s ongoing transformation.

Connections Café and Eatery coming to EPCOT. Credit: Disney

6 – Daytime Stage Show To Return to Magic Kingdom

Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire, the stage show at the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage, has also been absent at Magic Kingdom since March 2020. Disney announced the show will return but with a new title and new opening and new finale with a 50th-anniversary theme. “Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire” will still have scenes from the previous version of the show, but will feature Mickey and his friends in their EARidescent outfits. It will also include an all-new, original song entitled “Where the Magic Feels Like Home.” The show is set to begin in “early 2022.”

7 – Look at “Real” Lightsaber Coming to Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser

Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro gave a special sneak peek of lightsaber training in Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, where Guests will feel the Force as you train like a Jedi. Check out the video below.


Josh also shared that Walt Disney World Resort will welcome Make-A-Wish children and their families as some of the very first Guests to experience a Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser voyage. How cool is that?

8 – New Character Cavalcade Coming to Magic Kingdom

Since its reopening in July 2020, character cavalcades have been the primary way guests have been able to see and interact with their favorite Disney characters. Even with the announcement that the Festival of Fantasy parade is coming back, and with some characters offering “individual time” with guests, Disney has confirmed that cavalcades will continue to be part of park entertainment into the future. A new cavalcade is coming to Magic Kingdom “later this winter,” and will feature “the most characters of any cavalcade to date,” including Nick and Judy from “Zootopia,” Baloo and King Louie from “The Jungle Book,” José Carioca and Panchito from “The Three Caballeros,” Miguel from “Coco,” plus Merida, Moana, The Incredibles, and so many more!

9 – MagicBand+ Coming to Disneyland Resort in 2022

This will mark the first time MagicBand+ will be available at Disneyland Resort to enhance the Guest experience with hands-free convenience as it unlocks unique moments of magic for Disneyland Resort Guests. Some of the features of MagicBand+ will vary between Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort and more details will be shared in the months ahead.


10 – Live Entertainment Returning to Disneyland in 2022

“World of Color” and “Fantasmic!” are returning to the Disneyland Resort next year, along with the “Main Street Electrical Parade,” which will return in time to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

11 – Two Stage Shows Revealed for the Disney Wish

When the newest ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, the Disney Wish, sets sail for the first time this summer, families will discover a new world created especially for them. The Disney Wish will premiere two new stage shows in the Walt Disney Theatre, including “Disney The Little Mermaid,” an original Broadway-style reimagining of the Walt Disney Animation Studios classic with a modern and innovative take on a young woman learning the power of her voice. The show will feature dazzling special effects, innovative theatrical design, artistic choreography, and a reimagined script and score that will surprise and delight Guests of all ages. “Disney Seas the Adventure” will follow Goofy as he discovers his own inner captain with the help of Captain Minnie and an all-star cast of Disney and Pixar characters.

Credit: Disney

12 – Update Shared on Dreamer’s Point

As part of the historic transformation of EPCOT, teams have been reimagining the front of the park and the entry experience for Guests. In the future, there will be a new location near Spaceship Earth called Dreamers Point with a spectacular view of the park and a new statue of Walt Disney! Disney Imagineers are now working to bring this new statue to life.

13 – More Updates at DisneyLand Resort

More is happening at Disneyland Resort! The next evolution of Downtown Disney District is being planned with work starting in January 2022. The multi-year project to reimagine Downtown Disney District will include an even broader collection of shopping, dining and entertainment experiences.

Imagineers are hard at work infusing the Disneyland Hotel with elements that bring Disney storytelling to life, all inspired by characters and stories from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ classic films. There will be a newly-designed pool and recreation area, along with a variety of room types and the ability to explore the magic steps away at the Disneyland Resort.

At Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland Park, Imagineers are working to reimagine the land with some all-new experiences for families and young children that will feature new play experiences, as well as open, grassy spaces to enjoy in 2023!

For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.


Chad & Cindy Nykamp

After years of multiple Walt Disney World vacations, Cindy and Chad's dream of living in Orlando came true in 2010. After friends and family made them their go-to-people for Walt Disney World advice, Cindy and Chad launched DisneyLists.com in August 2015 to share their knowledge and love of Disney. Chad and Cindy have been Disney World Annual Passholders for years, DVC members, together have raced more than 70 runDisney races, and particularly love cruising on the Disney Cruise Line. Chad and Cindy also regularly represent DisneyLists.com at Walt Disney World media events. While attending these events, they get an insiders view of all the new things that have come to Walt Disney World. These experiences have helped them gain knowledge and expertise they happily pass on to their followers. They still can't believe how lucky they are to have such an amazing opportunity and will continue to share Disney with anyone who will listen!
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