Last week was the D23 Expo and there were so many exciting announcements that it is hard to know where to begin! Let’s start with the things with the most immediate impact. Sadly, we have to report two attractions that are closing very soon. The Universe of Energy in Epcot and the Great Movie Ride in Hollywood Studios will both be closed as of August 13, 2017. While it is always hard to say goodbye to attractions that we have loved for a long time, we will be rewarded with many brand new experiences coming over the next few years! The Guardians of the Galaxy will be taking over the pavilion where Universe of Energy is now with a brand new attraction that Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman, Bob Chapek, promises will be “rockin’ and action-packed”. The World Showcase will also be getting a new ride inspired by Pixar’s “Ratatouille”. This attraction will be similar to the one in Paris and will allow guests to shrink to the size of Remy and race around Gusteau’s. These two attractions are expected to be open by the 50th anniversary celebration in 2021. Epcot will also be adding a completely new dining experience that is out of this world! A new restaurant will be opening adjacent to Mission: Space that will let diners eat while enjoying an amazing view from outer space. This should be a great new addition to Future World, which currently has mostly quick service venues.
Hollywood Studios will continue to be a very transitional park for the next couple of years as they finish Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land, which it was announced will officially be called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The surprise announcement last week was the reveal of an upcoming attraction called Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which will be replacing the Great Movie Ride. This ride will be based on the new Mickey shorts currently on the Disney Channel and will give guests the chance to really step into their animated world. An opening date has not yet been announced for this ride.
Toy Story Land will allow guests to feel like they have shrunk to the size of a toy and are exploring Andy’s backyard. There will be two new rides: Slinky Dog Dash will be a family roller coaster and the Alien Swirling Saucers will have the Pizza Planet aliens trying to capture your rocket vehicle with “The Claw” while you spin and weave to escape them. This new area is scheduled to open in summer of 2018.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is still expected to open at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 2019 and a scale model of the new land was revealed. This land promises to be extremely immersive. There will be two major attractions as well as shops and dining. One attraction will let you ride a Star Destroyer and assist in the battle between the First Order and the Resistance. The other attraction will let you help fly the Millennium Falcon on a mission, either by piloting, shooting blasters, or preparing for hyperspace. You will work as a team to complete the mission, but be careful because the word on the street is that a failed mission could make you the target of a bounty hunter later on!
Magic Kingdom is looking forward to two new additions as well. Tomorrowland will be adding their own version of the popular Tron Lightcycle Power Run from Shanghai. Fans of the Tomorrowland Speedway will be happy to hear that they are not closing that attraction down, as was rumored. The new ride will be in between the Speedway and Space Mountain and will be open in time for the 50th anniversary in 2021. A new stage theater will also be built on Main Street based on the Willis Wood theater popular in Kansas City in the 1920’s. With the great success of shows like Frozen: Live at the Hyperion in Disneyland, they wanted to have a similar venue to give guests in Walt Disney World the chance to enjoy that level of entertainment as well.
Disneyland Resort will also be seeing some changes and new additions. Paradise Pier will be renamed Pixar Pier and will offer many more character experiences and possibly an upcoming new attraction. Disneyland will be getting a new fireworks show and a Pixar themed parade while Paint the Night will be coming back to California Adventure.
There was big news in the resort world as well! Fans of Star Wars will be thrilled to hear that they will soon be able to have the opportunity to stay at a fully-immersive Star Wars resort! While an opening date was not given, Disney execs stated that this resort “will put you onto a starship complete with characters, stories and adventures…it is unlike anything that exists today….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.” If you love the idea of this kind of fully-immersive experience, they also announced that Disneyland Resort would be getting its own immersive Super Hero experience featuring characters from Guardians of the Galaxy, the Avengers, Spiderman, and more. Also, the 15th DVC resort is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019. It will be called Disney’s Riviera Resort and is expected to be connected to the new gondola system. It will also offer rooftop dining with views of both the Epcot and Hollywood Studios fireworks! Guests of Disneyland Paris will soon be able to see the Hotel New York transformed with “the Art of Marvel” which will showcase the world of Super Heroes including Iron Man, the Avengers, Spiderman, and more.
Just in case new attractions, restaurants, and resorts weren’t enough, there were big announcements for new ways to get around Walt Disney World as well! A new system of gondolas called the Disney Skyliner will connect guests at the Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach Resort and Pop Century Resorts, as well as other locations, to both the International Gateway entrance of Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Also, a new point to point transportation system will allow Walt Disney World guests to take Minnie-themed vans to anywhere on property, for a fee of course.
Last, but not least, for those who prefer adventures of the nautical variety, Disney Cruise Line announced that they will be adding THREE new ships to their fleet, one each year from 2021-2023!! The new ships are expected to be slightly larger than the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream and will each offer unique experiences for their passengers. These three ships will double the current capacity for Disney Cruise Line!
It looks like there will be something for everyone to look forward to over the next few years! What are YOU most looking forward to?!
For information or questions you may have about your next Magical vacation please contact me or your personal Magic Vacations Planner (MVP).