Big News From D23 2017
Every two years Disney holds the D23 Exposition. It is an opportunity for Disney fans to get together and share their love of all things Disney. It is also a stage to make big announcements about what is coming soon to the Disney empire. The announcements cover everything from the parks to upcoming movies. This year, perhaps more than any other so far, there was great news for Disney fans but especially for Disney parks fans. If you are a Disney parks fan here are the big news from D23 2017!
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
First let’s take a look at the news for Walt Disney World
Unless you live in a galaxy far, far away you probably already knew that Bob Iger announced that Disney was adding a Star Wars themed land to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland in California. He made that announcement at D23 2015. While we have had an idea about the attractions for this new lands we did not know when they would be opening or what the new land would be called. We now know both! The new lands open in 2019 and will be called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Galaxy’s Edge will feature two new rides, dining and an immersive atmosphere. But that was not the only Star Wars news from D23. Learn more about Galaxy’s Edge here.
Here is a first look at the new land…
Stars Resort Hotel
Sometimes Disney likes to feel out their guests before they take on a new project. They do this by surveying guests and asking a lot of what if type questions. Earlier this year they did that and asked “What if you could stay at a Star Wars themed resort?” They must have gotten the answers they were looking for because they are building a Star Wars resort.
While we did not get all the details we wanted we did learn some important things. This is not just be a hotel with Star Wars inspired architecture and dining. This is be a complete Star Wars Experience!
“It’s unlike anything that exists today.” Bob said. “From the second you arrive, you will become a part of a Star Wars story! You’ll immediately become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with characters, stories, and adventures that unfold all around you. 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.”
Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Toy Story Land
This one was also announced in 2015. We knew it would feature two new rides, a Slinky-dog coaster and a green aliens themed ride but now we know it opens in 2018. Hollywood Studios has never had a lot of attractions (although it does have some of the best at Walt Disney World) but with all the closures in the last few years really needed a bump. Toy Story Land should provide that.
Good bye Great Movie Ride hello Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad
There is one last piece of big news from D23 for Hollywood Studios. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad is replacing The Great Movie Ride.
This new attraction features the animation style of the new batch of Mickey Mouse animated shorts and is described as 2 and 1/2 D. While that sounds interesting we will have to wait and see what exactly it means!
The last tram through movie history leaves on August 13th, 2017.
Epcot finally getting some love!
Rumors about the future of Epcot have been circulating for some time. They have centered on a lot of things from new rides, new pavilions in World Showcase to a whole new vision. The news from D23 did not confirm all the rumors but it did concern some and the news is big!
The Guardians of the Galaxy
You probably know that Disney owns Marvel. You probably also know that Disney may own Marvel but Universal owns the theme park rights to certain Marvel characters east of the Mississippi. While I do not understand this complex situation Disney does and they have been pushing the edge by putting some Marvel characters into their Orlando parks.
Now they are doing that in a big way. Ellen’s Universe of Energy is on the way out and Guardians of the Galaxy is on the way in! Guardians already has a presence on the West Coast. Will the Walt Disney World get a similar attraction or something totally new? We will have to wait and see.
Epcot’s France Pavilion gets a Ratatouille Ride
Remy the famous rat chef from the Dinsey/Pixar movie Ratatouille will be getting his very own ride at Epcot. Again details are scarce but according to the official Disney Parks Blog it will be similar to the Ratatouille: The Adventure ride that opened at Disneyland Paris in 2014.
Eat In Space?
In one final piece of Epcot news we learned that a new themed restaurant will opening adjacent to Mission Space. Can you guess what the theme might be? Yup. It’s space themed. The restaurant will be operated by the Patina Restaurant Group which also operates Tutto Italia and Via Napoli at Epcot and Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs.
Tron Coming the Magic Kingdom
Disney is not leaving out their most popular theme park in the world! The news from D23 hit the Magic Kingdom too. Though it had been rumored that the Tomorrowland Speedway was on its way out to be replaced by a Tron roller coaster (similar to the very popular one at Shanghai Disney) this rumor turned out to be half true.
The Tomorrowland Speedway will remain but a Tron coaster is being built. Land near Space Mountain will re-purposed for this new E-ticket attraction.
New Transportation Options for Walt Disney World
In two last bits of news for Walt Disney World two new transportation options were announced. These will not replace the buses, boats or monorail (at least not in the near future) but will supplement them.
The Disney Skyliner
This new gondola system will let guests ride in character theme style high above the ground. There will be stations at Hollywood Studios, Epcot’s International Gateway, Pop Century, Art of Animation and Caribbean Beach.
Are you in a hurry? Is the bus too slow or the line too long? How about traveling to your destination in a the new Minnie Van? See what they did there? This mode of transportation in currently in testing but will eventually service every destination on property. There be a cost for each one-way trip.
News From D23 Outside of Walt Disney World
The good news from D23 was not limited to just Walt Disney World. Disney’s California Adventure, Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Cruise Lines were included to.
More Marvel Coming to California Adventure
Because of that pesky contract with Universal Disney is limited to what it can do at Walt Disney World. That contract does not cover California (or the rest of the world for that matter) which means Disney can do a lot more in California.
So what are they going to do? We do not know exactly what is coming but we do know something is coming. What we will probably get is a Marvel land. Whatever it is the Avengers and Spider-Man will be there!
Paradise Pier Becomes Pixar Pier
Disney’s California Adventure is not just getting a Marvel update. Pixar will be getting a bigger presence too. Paradise Pier is being re-branded as Pixar Pier.
This change will see more characters from Toy Story plus characters from Inside Out and the Incredibles in their own neighborhoods.
Both Disney’s California Adventure and Disneyland will celebrate Pixar in 2018 with Pixar Fest. Pixar Fest will allow guests to experience some of the favorite stories in whole new ways.
The Pixar Play Parade is moving across the street from Disneyland to Disney’s California Adventure and will be joined by Paint the Night.
The New York Hotel – The Art of Marvel
Jumping across the ocean to Paris Disney will be be adding Marvel to The New York Hotel. Described as something that would make Tony Stark proud the changes to this resort hotel will add the Avengers, Spider-Man and more.
A New Ship for Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise consistently wins top of the line awards for all of its four existing ships. Those ships are also consistently full (without offering discounts for the most part.) So it was no surprise that Disney announced earlier in the year that they are building two new ships.
There was some surprise news from D23 for Disney Cruise Line (DCL) fans. Disney is building a third new ship. The ships are scheduled to be completed in 2021, 2022, and 2023. This will almost double the size of the Disney fleet!
What do you think?
What was the most exciting announcement for you from D23 this year? I have to say I love the idea of the Star Wars resort… but with all it entails I am afraid to see the price?