Since 1955 when it opened its first park, Disney has been synonymous with family fun and entertainment. Current statistics show that approximately 47 million people visit the company parks every year. With so many visitors, the company’s executives understand the venues need continuous updating keep everyone coming.
One of the best places to hear about upcoming plans is the D23 Expo, held every two years at the Anaheim convention center. Disney’s D23 Expo is a jam packed weekend filled with the hottest travel news.Last week at D23’s parks panel we got a glimpse of the exciting changes coming to the resorts and theme parks and we are thrilled to share them here with you.
Star Wars Hotel – Walt Disney World
By far the most intriguing information revealed during the panel was about this hotel. There have been rumors circulating about it for some time now and I was ecstatic to find out they were true.
With George Lucas selling his famous Star Wars empire to Disney, it was only a matter of time before Disney came up with a concept to include it at its parks.
From the presentation, it looks like The Star Wars Hotel will be unlike any hotel around today. Guests get to become part of the story from the moment they walk in the doors.
Let me say this if you are a Star Wars fanatic; make sure you watch the opening date carefully and pre-book your stay. I’m pretty sure this place will have a very long booking wait list!
Disney Vacation Club Riviera Resort
As expected the company is growing its time share properties.For those not acquainted Disney has a vacation time share club that allows its members access to various properties around the world.This year, the Disney Vacation Club, opened its 14th resort. It is the Copper Creek Villas & Cabins, located at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.Slated to open in fall of 2019, the Disney Riviera resort, with its rooftop restaurant sounded interesting.
According to Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, the venue will provide guests with views of Epcot and Hollywood studios making it prime locations to view fireworks from afar. It sounded like a good fit for families with noise sensitive kids!
Disneyland Paris – The Art of Marvel Hotel
Paris Disney fans are also in for a treat. Those staying at Disneyland Paris’ hotel will enjoy marvel-ous fun.The Disney Hotel New York is getting a much needed “re-imagination” makeover. Last time we visited it wasn’t really up to snuff when it came to Disney quality or standards.Hopefully, when the property is taken over by favorite Marvel Characters it will improve exponentially!
Photo Credit: Disney Parks and Resorts
Disney Cruise Line
There was no surprise to hear that the Disney Cruise Line is expanding its fleet. It has been a family favorite of ours for over a decade. Providing cruisers of all ages with various exciting activities it is a great way to vacation particularly for families with autism.Adding to its growing arsenal of onboard attractions the cruise line is working on a new “beauty and the beast’ musical.
At the D23 Expo, we heard about the new three ships that will join the line in 2021, 2022, and 2023. The Meyer Werft Shipyard in Germany is building these ships, and they will have the cleanest burning fuels and liquified natural gas.
Leave it to Disney to push boundaries when it comes to Park transportation. Those who marvel at the monorail will love the new Skyliner idea. The Skyliner is a gondola style ride will give riders a bird’s-eye view of Walt Disney Resort. It will connect several resorts to two the theme parks namely Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
Minnie Mouse Van Service
Currently, Disney has a bus system that shuttles visitors between its different parks and resorts. But it as it runs at scheduled times sometimes wait times can be long.
For those unwilling or unable to wait the Minnie Van Service sounds perfect. Painted in bright red and white polka dots They match Minnie Mouse’s Dress.
Guests will be able to ride around faster with an Uber like service. As parents to a kid with autism, we welcome the service. Moreover, we hope that it will be reasonably priced so we will be able to use it often.
Epcot’s New Restaurant
This one is one of those hush -hush projects that we know exist but were not given details about. What we know is that it will be located next to mission space in Epcot. It will be high up and the decor will simulate space.
What we don’t know, yet is the name and the opening date. But that is all part of the Disney mystique and fun, right?
Walt Disney World Attractions
While Epcot is revamping the look of some rides, have no fear. They are keeping the original vision of the park in mind.Many of these exciting changes will be put in place right before or during Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 20121.
Epcot’s France Pavilion at World Showcase will get a Ratatouille ride based on the Disneyland Paris’ attraction. From the brief description given this will be a favorite with guests who prefer 4D milder rides. Riders will experience special effects and even get to smell some of the famous chef’s cooking.
Guardians of the Galaxy
After its success in Disneyland, Guardians of the Galaxy is headed to Epcot too. It is going to be a fascinating ride, that will be replacing Ellen’s Energy Adventure. Different than its Southern California counterpart this one promises to be one for the thrill seekers.
Are you Team Green or Team Orange Mission at Mission: Space?
Epcot has announced that some major changes are headed to Mission: Space. The Green Mission at Mission: Space is all new, and adding unique elements to this simulator ride. It will also be family friendly.
The Orange Mission at Mission: Space will be completely revamped too. There will be even better visual graphics.
Toy Story Land
Hollywood Studios is going to be the future home of Toy Story Land.
Scheduled to open during the summer of 2018, you will be able to shrink down and explore Andy’s backyard.
There will be two attractions to start. Family friendly The Slinky Dog roller coaster will be opening. Riders can expect turns, twists, inclines, and declines. The next ride will be the Alien Swirling Saucers. Here guests will spin around and try and avoid the claw at the end.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Hollywood Studios will also get a new Disney channel inspired attraction. Imagineer Kevin Rafferty described the new Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway as a zany, out-of-control adventure.
The ride will feature songs, and you will see the cartoons come to life. Disney executives are calling this a “2 1/2D” ride. Though it isn’t quite 3D the good part for some is that you will not need special glasses for it.
Not to be short changed The Magic Kingdom is getting its own new venues. The Tron attraction widely popular in Shanghai Disneyland is coming to Disney World. Not for the faint of hearts, The Tron Lightcycle Power Run will reach speeds of close to 60 mph, and is sure to be a futuristic fun ride.
Main Street Theater
Just off Main Street, U.S.A, in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, they are opening a super secretive new theater. The theater will look like the iconic Willis Woods Theater in Kansas City, in 1920. For those curious about any connection- Walt Disney lived there. At this time, there has been no information on the opening date, or what will be inside.
Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Attractions
Star Wars :Galaxy’s Edge
Currently under construction in Anaheim and estimated to open in 2019, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge promises to be the main event for fans! This reveal was by far the most elaborate in the presentation! So here are some of the deets! Guests will be able to visit remote trading ports in space. The characters will come to life and include you in the action.
Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge will have two rides at least initially A Millennium Falcon simulator ride, where you will get to command your own Millennium Falcon. I am waiting on additional details to emerge but I’m pretty sure this is not a single person ride but several people working in tandem. This might present a challenge to families on the autism spectrum.
The other ride will be First Order ride where you will get to fight off the Resistance. Furthermore, fans will also be able to meet BB-8, Chewbacca, and many other characters walking around.
In 2018, Pixar Pier will be giving the area known as Paradise Pier a brand-new look. You will be able to see your favorite characters from “The Incredibles,” “Inside out,” and “Toy Story.” Plans include a new different firework show and characters. This fest is a limited time event, so don’t pass it by. If your kid is a huge Pixar like ours then this is a good opportunity to go.
Ahh, the long awaited return of Fantasmic has come to an end.This beautiful show is coming back, and even better than before. Building on Mickey’s dream, guests can see his imagination come to life with New visuals and new characters.I remember seeing this when it first came out back in the nineties. It was epic then and I’m sure it is even better now.Coupled with the Summer of super heroes and Pixar Fest Disneyland is the place to visit in the next 12 months!
In conclusion, Disney is and always has been innovative.
Like thousands of other avid fans, we loved hearing about their new plans for the various parks and resorts.For us personally, news of Disneyland’s Star Wars Land along with the Orlando’s Star War themed hotel topped the list.
What was the most exciting piece of the Disney news from D23 expo for you?