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D23 Expo 2019: Disney Parks Panel — So Many New Announcements

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Last Updated on January 17, 2020 by Allyson

There were so many announcements during the Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Panel at the 2019 D23 Expo on Sunday, Aug. 25. Here’s everything new coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

Walt Disney World

Epcot Changes

First, beginning Oct. 1, 2019, guests visiting Epcot will be able to explore all of the park’s future plans at the Odyssey Events Pavilion with interactive exhibits. The experience is called “Walt Disney Imagineering presents the Epcot Experience.” Now, let’s discuss the changes coming to Epcot. Here is the new logo:

Photo of Epcot's new logo

The park will be united by four neighborhoods with Future World split into three parts:

  1. World Showcase
  2. World Celebration
  3. World Nature
  4. World Discovery

Photo of Epcot Neighborhoods

World Showcase:

>This will continue to celebrate culture, cuisine, architecture, and traditions.

>The U.K. Pavilion is adding the first attraction inspired by Mary Poppins. An entirely new neighborhood will be built replicating Cherry Tree Lane. Guests will walk down the famous lane past Admiral Boom’s house, enter the Banks family home (Number 17), and then the adventure begins. No details about the attraction have been revealed just yet.

>Following the limited-time nighttime show Epcot Forever (debuts Oct. 1, 2019 following IllumiNations’ conclusion on Sept. 30), the largest ever nighttime spectacular created for a Disney park will debut in 2020 — HarmonioUS. The show celebrates the music of Disney and how it inspires people.

>France Pavilion:

  • Summer 2020: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, where you’ll become the size of Remy and race through Gusteau’s restaurant on a wild adventure, opens.
  • Summer 2020: La Crêperie de Paris, a new restaurant from celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse that offers both table- and quick-service options, opens.
  • January 2020: The Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along debuts.

>Canada Pavilion: In January 2020, Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360 will debut with new scenes and a new story.

>China Pavilion: Wondrous China will take guests on a spectacular journey across the country and will be presented in a 360-degree digital format.

World Celebration:

>The neighborhood offers new experiences that connect us to others and the world around us.

>Spaceship Earth isn’t going anywhere and will remain a voyage through time. However, there will be new narration and a new musical score focusing on moments and ideas that define our story. Guests will follow a magical “story light” that brings the attraction to life.

>There will be a new pavilion offering space for live events and will serve as the home base for Epcot’s signature festivals. The pavilion will be a three-level structure (a plaza level, a middle expo, and a park that sits in the sky on the top level) that has elevated views of the entire park.

>Epcot’s new entrance plaza will pay tribute to the park’s origins and offer new experiences connecting visitors with the world. There will also be a reimagined fountain, new pathways, and green spaces.

>At Spaceship Earth’s exit, you’ll find Dreamers Point and a breathtaking view of World Showcase. There will also be a new statue celebrating Walt Disney (shown below), a wishing tree in an enchanted forest, and a story fountain celebrating the power and music of iconic Disney storytelling.

World Nature:

>This neighborhood is dedicated to the natural world and will include The Land and The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilions.

>A Moana attraction called “Journey of Water” will feature an exploration trail inviting guests to meet and play with magical, living water. The experience also gives visitors the chance to learn about the natural water cycle.

>The Land’s new film, Awesome Planet, debuts in January 2020.

World Discovery:

>The neighborhood brings to life stories about science, technology, and intergalactic adventure.

>Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is the first “other-world” showcase pavilion at Epcot. The attraction begins in  “Galaxarium, a planetarium-like exhibition that explores the similarities and mysteries of the formation of Earth’s galaxy and Xandar. Eventually, you’ll run into the Guardians of the Galaxy and the real adventure begins. The ride is described as a “storytelling coaster that rotates 360 degrees to focus your attention on the action.” AND, it has the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster.

>The new space-themed restaurant is called Space 220 and is an expansion of the Mission: SPACE pavilion. The dining spot offers daytime and nighttime views of Earth from 220 miles up. You’ll even take an elevator up to the space station for dining. Space 220 opens in winter 2019.

>There’s also the addition of the PLAY! Pavilion, which will open in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary on Oct. 21, 2021. The pavilion includes an interactive city featuring games, activities, and experiences connecting guests with friends, family and beloved Disney characters — both real and virtual. Edna Mode also joins the pavilion and you’ll be able to help her rid the world of uninspired style. There will also be a water-balloon fight play area hosted by Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby.

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‘Star Wars’ Hotel

The Star Wars hotel is called Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser and it offers guests a two-night, all immersive adventure on a starcruiser dubbed the “Halcyon.” This hotel is unlike any other Disney resort, including the fact that guests will arrive and depart together, similar to Disney Cruise Line.

This specific hotel allows guests to participate in onboard activities and interact with characters, crew, and other passengers. Here’s how it all works:

>You’ll arrive at the Galactic Starcruiser Terminal and check in for your two-night stay.

>You will enter a Launch Pod for “transport into space.” The windows offer a view into the galaxy and you’ll watch as you jump to hyperspace leading you to the Halcyon.

>The Launch Pod eventually docks with the Halcyon, the airlock opens, and you’ll step into the ship’s main deck Atrium.

>The experience is described as a “multi-day story that interweaves with members of the crew, other passengers, familiar Star Wars characters, and an excursion to Galaxy’s Edge.”

>Choices you make during your stay will help determine how your Star Wars story progresses.

As for the activities, they include:

  • Wielding a lightsaber while facing off against a training remote and possibly discovering your own connection with the Force.
  • Visit the Bridge to learn about ship systems and how to operate them, including navigation and defense.

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Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary

The resort’s 50th anniversary will be celebrated at all four parks! There will be attraction openings, new entertainment, food and beverage, merchandise, and more.

Photo of Walt Disney World 50th anniversary

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will open at Hollywood Studios in spring 2020. Guests will step inside the world of Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts as they board a train with Goofy as the engineer.

Photo of Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway at Hollywood Studios

Cirque du Soleil

Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Animation Studios partnered with Cirque du Soleil at Disney Springs for a show that combines Disney animation with the circus-like and artistic show. The show is called “Drawn to Life.” Previews begin March 20, 2020 with the world premiere on April 17, 2020. Tickets are currently on sale.

Photo of Cirque du Soleil at Disney Springs

Disney Store & Target

There will be a launch of 25 Disney stores within select Target stores nationwide on Oct. 4. An additional 40 locations will open by October 2020. An enhanced Disney assortment of more than 450 items, including more than 100 items that were once only available at Disney retail locations, will be featured at the “shop-in-shop.” Here’s a list of the first 25 locations.

Photo of Target Disney Store

Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Lodge

Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Lodge, the new Disney Vacation Club resort inspired by Walt Disney nature and artistry, will have a Princess and the Frog restaurant.

Photo of Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Lodge

Disney Genie

The Disney Genie is a “revolutionary new digital offering set to debut in late 2020 that will enhance the way you plan for and experience a trip to Walt Disney World.” The Disney Genie will help you plan your trip and allow you to create customized itineraries. Certain features will also be available through Disney travel agents. The Disney Genie is also capable of sending real-time tips and updates.

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Disneyland Resort

A New Disneyland Parade

The daytime parade is called “Magic Happens” and it will travel down Main Street starting in spring 2020. There will be floats inspired by Moana, Coco, Sleeping Beauty, and Mickey Mouse and his friends. In addition to the floats and characters, there’s a musical score and a new song produced in partnership by Todrick Hall.

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Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will open at Mickey’s Toontown in 2022. The ride is located at the El CapiTOON Theater, where Mickey and Minnie are premiering their newest short, Perfect Picnic. Before you even board the train, you’ll enter a special exhibit created by the Toontown Hysterical Society featuring costumes and props from the toon world.

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Avengers Campus

The Marvel-themed land at Disney California Adventure, aka “Avengers Campus,” opens in 2020.

>Worldwide Engineering Brigade aka “WEB”: Houses the new Spider-Man experience and features a “Web Slinger” vehicle allowing guests to sling webs just like Peter Parker.

>Pym Test Kitchen: Pym Technologies uses the latest innovations to grow and shrink food at this eatery.

>Characters: Visitors will be able to meet Black Widow, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Doctor Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Super Heroes from Wakanda and Asgard, and Iron Man.

>Avengers Headquarters: The building opens during Phase Two and will feature an E-Ticket attraction that gives fans the chance to board a Quinjet and fly alongside the Avengers in an epic adventure to Wakanda and beyond to fight one of the most powerful villains they have ever faced. The Avengers might also be seen on the headquarters’ rooftops.

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That’s all of the information for right now, which I know is a lot. I will definitely keep you updated when future details are announced. What are your thoughts on everything? Let me know in the comments!

Images: Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

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