This weekend was the D23 2019 Expo. D23 is a membership club for Disney fans and they have an expo every other year at which Disney announces future plans for the company. Part of this expo always involves major announcements for the Disney parks and this year did not disappoint.
Below are the major announcements from this year. Most of these do not have many details yet but we are excited to see how they play out!
Epcot Logo and concept art– Epcot was the focus of a majority of the announcements which includes a logo change for the park. The entire park is getting a major overhaul in the coming years.
New Neighborhoods: Epcot currently consists of Future World and World Showcase. Moving forward, there will be 4 neighborhoods: World Celebration, World Discovery, World Nature, World Showcase.
World Celebration– this will be the central spine of Epcot, still anchored by Spaceship Earth. Spaceship Earth will soon close for an extended refurbishment where new scenes will be added to the beginning scenes currently there. Not a lot of details are out yet about the dates or specifics but expect this to go down within the next 6 months or so for a likely multi-year refurbishment.
Upon exiting Spaceship Earth, guests will be greeted by a 3-story structure unlike any currently in Epcot. There will be a plaza level with a statue of Walt Disney, the second level will be the expo level dedicated to the multiple festivals at Epcot throughout the year. A park will sit on the 3rd level offering new vantage points for the new Epcot fireworks show, called HarmoniUS (which will follow the temporary show, Epcot Forever replacing Illuminations at the end of September). In 2020, following the limited-time run of “Epcot Forever,” the new “HarmonioUS” will debut as the largest nighttime spectacular ever created for a Disney park. It will celebrate how the music of Disney inspires people the world over, carrying you away harmoniously on a stream of familiar Disney tunes reinterpreted by a diverse group of artists from around the globe. “HarmonioUS” will feature massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics, lasers and more.
World Nature: This neighborhood “is dedicated to understanding and preserving the beauty, awe and balance of the natural world.” It will encompass The Land and The Seas Pavilion (and maybe the Imagination pavilion on the same side of the park though no mention was made about this pavilion with Figment and Pixar Short Films). Innoventions West closes soon and will be replaced by Moana: The Journey of Water. From Disney- Journey of Water, Inspired by “Moana” will be the first experience inspired by the hit Walt Disney Animation Studios film. This lush exploration trail will invite you to meet and play with magical, living water. The water will have a life of its own – just like Moana’s friend, the ocean – and you’ll learn about the importance of the natural water cycle.
World Discovery: This neighborhood will showcase “stories about science, technology and intergalactic adventure come to life.” This will encompass Test Track, Mission Space, and the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Here is what Disney says about this new ride: Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will be the first “other-world” showcase pavilion at Epcot. The adventure starts in the “Galaxarium,” a planetarium-like exhibition that explores the similarities and mysteries of the formation of Earth’s galaxy and Xandar. You will be invited to learn more about the treasures Xandar has to share – until the moment when the Guardians of the Galaxy arrive, and adventures across the cosmos ensue. The attraction will feature a new innovation from Walt Disney Imagineering – a storytelling coaster that rotates 360 degrees to focus your attention on the action, including the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster.
Space 220- the name of the new space-themed restaurant adjacent to Mission Space was announced. This restaurant is also part of theWorld Discovery neighborhood and will be opening this winter.
Play Pavilion: This was previously announced but new concept art was released and this pavilion was said to open by the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World in 2021. Information about this pavilion: The PLAY! pavilion will open in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World. In this digital metropolis, you’ll discover an interactive city bursting with games, activities and experiences that connect you with friends, family and beloved Disney characters – both real and virtual – like never before. As part of this new pavilion, you’ll have the chance to help legendary fashion icon Edna Mode on her quest to rid the world of uninspired style, or make a splash competing in a water-balloon fight hosted by Huey, Dewey, Louie and Webby.
World Showcase: The big announcement here was for a Mary Poppins themed attraction to be located in the United Kingdom Pavilion. Here’s what Disney says about the new attraction: The United Kingdom pavilion will welcome the first attraction inspired by Mary Poppins. You will step in time down Cherry Tree Lane past Admiral Boom’s house, then enter Number 17, home of the Banks family, where your adventure will begin.
In addition to the new Mary Poppins ride, World showcase is getting the new Ratatouille ride, a Beauty and the Beast sing-a-long and new restaurant in France, and new movies in Canada and China.
A few non-Epcot related announcements:
Star Wars Galactic Cruiser- Halcyon- Disney released the name and concept art for the new Star Wars hotel being built outside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Guests will check in for a 2-night adventure. This experience will be similar to a cruise ship experience in which all guests check in and out at the same time. Once on board Halcyon, guests will be a part of a one-of-a-kind immersive experience with character interactions, story elements, and stop at the planet of Batuu.
Avenger’s Campus– the previously announced Marvel super hero land has a name- Avenger’s Campus. This land is taking the place of A Bug’s Land in California Adventure and is also coming to Disney’s Studios Park at Disneyland Paris. There will be a Spider Man ride, Ant-Man microbrewery, and Avengers Studios with a brand-new E-ticket attraction. This is a multi-year project with no announced opening dates.
Magic Happens: A new daytime parade is coming to Disneyland in spring of 2020 with all new floats, costumes, and musical score. Moana and Coco, and other Disney favorites will be featured in this parade.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway– These attractions have been announced for awhile but new concept art and information was released. Disney’s Hollywood Studios version is expected to open in early 2020 and Disneyland’s version in 2022. From Disney-
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway puts you inside the wacky and unpredictable world of Disney Channel’s Emmy® Award-winning “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts! Once you step into the cartoon world of Mickey and Minnie, you’ll board a train with Goofy as the engineer. Then, one magical moment after the next leads you to a zany, out-of-control adventure filled with surprising twists and turns.
With an original story and lovable theme song, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway uses state-of-the-art technologies and dazzling visual effects to transform the cartoon world into an incredible and immersive multidimensional experience.
Disney Wish- Moving on to Disney Cruise line, the 5th ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet now has a name. The Disney Wish will set sail in January 2022 and Rapunzel will be featured on the stern.
Lighthouse Point– A new island destination was announced on the island of Eleuretha. Construction is slated to begin after Disney works out details with the government of the Bahamas to make sure the tropical destination serves to protect and preserve the environment while also being filled with Disney magic. Construction could begin in 2020 with completion in 2022 or 2023.