It’s been about two weeks now since the D23 Expo unveiled some of the fun new things coming to Disney parks in the next few years. If you’re not familiar – D23 is a big Disney expo that’s held every 2 years, where they announce all the new things happening for the Walt Disney Company. This always includes some BIG announcements about new stuff coming to Disney parks around the world. If you’re interested in watching the whole hour and a half long panel, you can do that here:
As someone who has an obvious interest in Disney (to say the least, haha) these announcements are clearly relevant to me. Of particular interest are all the things announced for Walt Disney World that will be happening for the resort’s 50th anniversary in 2021. Who knows if I’ll still be living/working here by that time, but I am BEYOND EXCITED that we’re getting so many cool things here at WDW. I wanted to write a blog post about my thoughts on everything…so here we are!
Also, real quick – even though I work for Disney, this blog post (and everything else I write, for that matter) contains solely my own opinions and not those of the company! AND I also don’t know any extra secrets or behind the scenes info about anything coming to the parks… everything discussed in this blog post is just what was revealed at the Expo, so don’t come bothering me for any secrets 😉 I’ll try to keep this brief so I don’t ramble on for ages about things haha… I decided I’ll just run through everything and give my opinions (that no one asked for haha) and I’m going to start with…
Magic Kingdom didn’t get a ton of announcements this time, but the ones they did are PRETTY AMAZING!! First we have one of the things I am most excited for of this whole list – Magic Kingdom is getting a TRON ride based on the one in Shanghai!
I am SO THRILLED about this! Tomorrowland deserves a ride that feels actually futuristic, and I think Tron will fit the bill. I clearly remember watching videos of the Shanghai version of this attraction and being extremely bitter that we didn’t have anything nearly this cool haha…and now we’re getting it! I am so excited for this one and I can’t wait to ride it. Hopefully it means they’ll clean up the rest of Tomorrowland too haha
The second thing announced for MK is also really exciting – a new theatre for live shows:
The concept art for this theatre looks SO STUNNING. It hasn’t yet been announced what show or whatever will be taking place in the theatre, but I am sure it’ll be something amazing. I’m personally hoping for a cruise-line style cabaret type of show, where they just cram a ton of Disney characters and songs into a show and call it a day.
That’s pretty much all that was announced for MK this time, but I’m really excited about both of these things! I think they’re both going to be awesome additions to the park and I’m particularly glad that we aren’t having to sacrifice any other attractions or areas to get these cool new things. Yay!!
Up next…the park that is closest to my heart and the updates that I am MOST excited for…
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably know that Epcot is my FAVORITE park. Before D23 there were tons of rumors swirling around that Epcot was about to undergo some major changes – it makes sense, considering MK recently got New Fantasyland, Animal Kingdom got Pandora, Studios is getting Star Wars AND Toy Story Lands…it was only fair that Epcot gets a major expansion. I was excited about the possible things that Epcot could get but also nervous that they would take away a lot of my favorites!! After watching the panel though, I felt so much more relieved and honestly very happy with all of the things mentioned. Especially knowing that Epcot’s reimagining is in the hands of Tom Fitzgerald, an Imagineer who really understands the whole idea of Epcot – I think we’re in for some fun things!!
I’ll start with the thing I’m least excited about. That’s not to say I’m NOT excited about a Guardians of the Galaxy ride coming to Epcot, but I’m more sad about what it’s replacing. I knew the day was coming when my beloved Ellen’s Energy Adventure would come to a close, but I was still really sad when it was finally announced. Chris and I love it so much that we took engagement photos there!! I’m sad that it’s going but I acknowledge that it was time.
As for the Guardians ride, I have mixed feelings but I’m mostly interested to see what it’s going to be. They didn’t give us any information about it other than “it’s a ride”, so I’m curious to see what all is going on there. Mostly, I hope they don’t get rid of the beautiful mirrored walls on the outside of the building – it would make me happy to see them leave that little bit of Universe of Energy there, at least haha
The next big thing actually seems SO COOL and I can’t wait to see it play out – a space-themed restaurant next to Mission Space.
I’m like…actually super excited about this lol like I was low-key into it when they first announced it, and now I’m slowly becoming high-key into it. This concept seems SO cool – almost like a Space Needle type restaurant except…actually in space. While I question the decision to put a restaurant next to the ride notorious for making guests vomit, hopefully most guests will choose to indulge after riding Mission Space and all will be fine haha
Then…the BIG announcement (in my opinion) and the thing I am MOST excited for out of ANYTHING debuting at Walt Disney World in the next 5 years…
We are getting a Ratatouille ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so obsessed, I could scream, I shed tears of joy during the announcement, etc. – I am SO THRILLED with this I seriously can’t even explain it to you. Ratatouille is my FAVORITE Pixar film, and I am obsessed with Remy so much omg. I’ve pined over the Ratatouille attraction in Disneyland Paris for so long now and I just cannot believe we are finally getting it here in Walt Disney World. Like, no joke – when this news broke I literally shed a few tears because I was so happy haha. AND the best part of all is that from the looks of things – we aren’t going to have to sacrifice my other favorite attraction in Epcot, Impressions de France! I just find that film so beautiful and relaxing, I could sit in there all day (and I may or may not have done so before). The announcement didn’t mention the film closing, and said that Ratatouille will be in a whole new area of the pavilion, so my hopes are high that Impressions de France will get to stay. I am so ecstatic about this whole thing… France is my favorite part in my favorite theme park and it’s going to get even better than it already is. I’m so excited to see how this pavilion turns out – I think it’s going to be amazing!!
Also in World Showcase, they announced that Reflections of China is getting a new and updated film! This was a more minor announcement in comparison to everything else, but I think it will still be really cool and significant. I don’t remember if they announced this or I heard it elsewhere, but apparently it’s going to have no more seams between the screens anymore?? It’s going to be awesome.
Finally, a quick concept art showed a newly reimagined entrance at Epcot:
I hear this is purely a concept at this point and not necessarily what the entrance is going to look like EXACTLY…and I can’t really tell what all is going on in this picture haha but it looks soooo beautiful! And Bob Chapek said at the panel that this is just the tip of the iceberg and I am so excited for all of the changes coming to Epcot 🙂 and I’ll try not to ramble this much about anything else in this post lol
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Thank GOD Studios is getting some stuff finally because that park is a wreck right now lol Studios is my least favorite park but who knows…after everything finally opens back up it could rise up the rankings! First up –
It was announced that the Great Movie Ride will officially close in August to be refurbed into “Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway”, the first ever Mickey-themed ride. I have mixed feelings about this – first of all, I’m a little surprised. I had been hearing whisperings of Great Movie Ride closing for a while, but I have to say I didn’t think they would actually do it. I don’t have any particular nostalgia or affinity for the ride – I don’t remember the last time I rode it, and I have only been on it once since TCM took over – but it’s also the only remaining opening-day Studios attraction and I’m kinda surprised it’s being closed. However, I do feel like it kinda makes sense given that Studios is being taken in a different direction now, but still – surprising. I’m also pretty shocked that Great Movie Ride is closing so suddenly because in less than a month Studios is going to be down to FOUR RIDES!!!!! That is honestly unbelievable to me lol. I can’t wait til the new lands open and we finally have a full day’s worth of things to do in that park again.
As for the actual Mickey ride – I’m not mad about it! I think it will be cute, and unlike apparently everyone else (??) I really do like the new Mickey cartoons and the animation style. I won’t be rushing to ride it like I will with Ratatouille, but I think it will be cool.
Also at Studios – we learned that Toy Story Land will open next summer!
I have a moderate excitement level for this. I think it will be a GREAT addition to a park that desperately needs more kid-friendly rides (or just rides in general lol) and from the concept art it seems like a really charming and fun new area. And my mom loves Toy Story so I’m sure I will be taking her here haha
And finally…the thing I’m most excited about at Studios…
The official name of “Star Wars Land” was revealed – Galaxy’s Edge. We also learned some more details about some of the things coming to this new land and I am SO excited about everything. It looks like it’s going to be so well done and amazing. If it’s anything like Pandora at Animal Kingdom, I know it’s going to be full of detail and cool things and we should probably start lining up for the 2019 opening like…right now. Every part of this new land looks so stunning, I can’t wait to experience it.
That’s all for Studios this time. No real news for Animal Kingdom, so we’ll move on to…
Resorts & Transportation
Disney announced a few new resort-related things, including a new DVC resort called Riviera Resort:
It looks very cool and very fancy. It was mentioned that from the top floor restaurant you’ll be able to see nighttime shows at both Studios and Epcot, which I think is pretty cool. I’m sure this will be a precious commodity for DVC owners and I’m looking forward to seeing it come along.
And THEN the other piece of resort news…the thing I am most excited about after Ratatouille – the Star Wars themed resort experience:
This sounds absolutely incredible. It’s described only as an extremely immersive resort hotel experience for Star Wars fans, and I think it has the potential to be groundbreaking stuff. Nothing exists like it so far and I’m nervous about how much it’s going to cost us when we eventually do it haha but it looks so completely amazing. My theory is that it’s going to be similar to a cruise, in that people check in together in groups and stay for a few days at a time. I’m really looking forward to learning more details about this and seeing it all come together, and eventually experiencing it for myself!!
A few transportation things were announced – first, the Disney Skyliner:
It’s kind of unbelievable to me that this is going to exist because…first of all, Pop Century is getting a direct line of transportation to a park aside from buses and that is mind-blowing to me haha. As my former home I’m pretty excited about this development but it does seem it would go down a lot for lightning and such, no? I don’t know, I’m clearly not anyone in charge of anything so I’m sure they have all the bugs worked out like that lol but this one will certainly be interesting to see how it all works out.
Disney also announced “Minnie Vans”, a name that I both love and hate:
Disney describes it as “point to point” transportation which I read as Disney’s version of Uber or Lyft. I have a few friends who were on opening team of this who were really excited about it. I’ve seen a few of the cars going around property and I do think they’re really cute haha. I don’t think this is a service I would ever use, but I could see the appeal for maybe an early morning breakfast or something. I also don’t know how much I’d love to pay $20 for a single ride but hey…this is clearly not marketed at me, a person who has a car and is not on vacation haha
And that’s all for the announcements at Walt Disney World! For the most part I am really thrilled with all the new changes coming to the parks. There’s so many fun things to look forward to and there’s not really anything that I’m outright DREADING or upset about (aside from the removal of Universe of Energy </3). Overall I think it’s going to be a great next few years at Walt Disney World, and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out! I hope you enjoyed this post and be sure to check out my other Disney posts as well. Thanks for reading 🙂