The D23 Expo just wrapped up lots of stuff gets announced at a bunch of panels that span across 3 days. There are panels for movie projects and TV shows, panels all about Marvel and Star Wars, and then there’s our favorite: the Disney Parks & Experiences Panel.
DISNEY 100 YEARS OF WONDER ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Walt Disney Company is about to turn 100, and at this year’s D23 Expo they announced some of the details they have planned for their “100 Years of Wonder” celebration which kicks off December 31, 2022, during Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.
Here’s some of what you can expect to see in the parks and beyond:
- Mickey and Minnie get new platinum outfits “designed to reflect the optimism and creativity of Disney as the company celebrates 100 years and looks toward the next century.”
- Over 2023, several highly anticipated movie releases hitting the theaters or Disney+ including Wish (a new animated movie on the origin of the wishing star), a gorgeous new live-action Little Mermaid, Haunted Mansion which was inspired by the attraction, and Peter & Wendy, a reimagining of the 1953 classic.
- Disney100: The Exhibitiontouring both domestically and internationallyshowcasing in 10 different galleries rarely seen original artworks, props, costumes, etc. from Disney.
- A new logo for Walt Disney Studios to honor the 100 Years of Wonder celebration
- 2 new nighttime spectaculars at Disneyland, World of Color – One at Disney California Adventure and a new firework show called Wondrous Journeysat Disneyland park
- Also at Disneyland, the return of the Magic Happens parade
- A new nighttime spectacular at Epcot
- A new Walt statue at Hong Kong Disneyland
WALT DISNEY WORLD ANNOUNCEMENTS
MAGIC KINGDOM AND DINOLAND U.S.A. BLUE SKY BRAINSTORM
Probably one of the most talked about parts of the entire presentation was the blue-sky brainstorming session between Josh D’Amaro, Imagineering Portfolio Creative Executive Chris Beatty, and Walt Disney Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee.
Magic Kingdom blue-sky ideas
- Encanto and Coco elements being added to Magic Kingdom, but still in early concepts
- “Beyond Big Thunder Mountain” (5th gate?) will include a villain area – again, early concept phases
DinoLand U.S.A. blue-sky ideas
- Transformed with elements from Zootopia, Moana, or maybe both
We are likely a year or more from hearing any more details on either of the projects. But, at least now we know that the possibility is there.
Happily Ever After
Return date: 2023
It looks like Happily Ever After will return. It appears, though, that it won’t be exactly the same as it was. Disney has said the music will return to be paired with an “updated nighttime spectacular” at Magic Kingdom.
TRON Lightcycle / Run
Opening date: spring 2023
It feels as if TRON has been under construction for a million years, but the wait is almost over. Look for it to open up in Spring 2023.
No word, however, on when we might see the train return to Magic Kingdom. Fingers crossed it opens up before then.
Hatbox Ghost returns to Haunted Mansion
Return date: sometime in 2023
The Hatbox Ghost (known for his super creepy hatbox) returns to the Haunted Mansion. While not a major announcement, it will be fun to see him back!
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure
Completion date: Late 2024
The highly anticipated re-theming of Splash Mountain is scheduled to be completed by Late 2024 for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Figment Meet & Greet
Start date: end of 2023
Calling all Figment fans! It has been years (and years) since you’ve been able to meet Figment, but that all changes next year with the addition of a Figment character meet and greet.
New Nighttime Show
Opening date: late 2023
Epcot gets in on Disney’s 100th anniversary celebration with an all-new nighttime spectacular.
This one was actually kind of surprising because Harmonious (the current show) hasn’t been around that long.
Completion date: Late 2023
All of the Epcot updates were announced at the last D23 Expo, but this year we learned that the World Celebration area would (finally) be completed in late 2023.
Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana
Completion date: late 2023
The new Journey of Water area (part of World Nature) will also be opening up in late 2023. This new exploration trail will connect guests to the story of our planet’s water.
DISNEYLAND RESORT ANNOUNCEMENTS
DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE ANNOUNCEMENTS
Mandalorian and Grogu
Starting date: mid-November 2022. Mando and Grogu will begin encountering guests in Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge just in time for Thanksgiving. Look for them starting around mid-November.
Avengers Campus Expansion
Opening date: TBD. Avengers Campus at Disney California is expanding…including the addition of a brand-new story from the Multiverse. The new attraction will include Thanos, but it will be King Thanos from a section of the Multiverse where he WON.
Pacific Wharf Reimagined to San Fransokyo
Completion date: TBD
Big Hero 6 is getting some love. Pacific Wharf will be re-themed to San Fransokyo and while they didn’t give us a ton of details, they did confirm there will be a spot to meet Baymax plus new dining and shopping options.
World of Color – One
Start date: late January 2023
As part of the 100 Years of Wonder celebration, World of Color is being revamped into World of Color – One. This new show will tell the story of the past 100 years of Disney through Disney classics as well as some of the newer Disney favorites. “It will continue to build upon the park’s state-of-the-art projection effects, turning Main Street, U.S.A., Sleeping Beauty Castle, the façade of “it’s a small world” and the Rivers of America into an artist’s canvas that brings characters to life all around you as fireworks dance in the sky.”