This weekend is the big biannual block party bash that Disney’s official fan club, D23, throws for its fans. With all the fans and media gathered in one place, the event has become a place for Disney to announce is plans for the future. The D23 Expo is held in Anaheim, CA right across the street from Disneyland, but a lot of the big news from Disney parks this year is expected to concern Walt Disney World, which will be celebrating it’s 50th anniversary in 2021. It’s believed that, as part of the celebration, every park will get at least one major addition between now and 2021.
If any of 50th Anniversary projects are going to get done, they’d better get started soon. The question is what Disney will announce for Walt Disney World at the D23 Expo and what might be saved for future announcements.
The rumors have been flying fast and furious across the Disney fan interwebz and today we’ll handicap a number of them.
Up first are the projects that we think are mostly likely to be announced.
- The general consensus is that a TRON coaster will be coming to Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland in time for 50th Anniversary. If it’s a full clone of the amazing design at Shanghai Disneyland, it could be the first step in a project Imagineers have really wanted to tackle for years – a new vision for Tomorrowland.
- Also likely is some news on the previously announced EPCOT re-do. It’s expected to include an almost entirely new Future World entrance and core (replacing the old innoventions buildings) and we could get concept art for that.
- A Guardians of the Galaxy attraction is expected to replace Universe of Energy, and, possibly the Wonders of Life pavilion too.
- It’s also generally expected that a Ratatouille Ride for France pavilion will be made official.
- With the Star Wars themed land and Toy Story Land under construction we could possibly learn the new name for Hollywood Studios. It’s more likely they’ll just reveal more details about Toy Story Land and possibly an opening date.
- The last thing I think is likely to be announced is the gondola transportation system between EPCOT and DHS and a few resorts. Work has already begun over at EPCOT’s international gateway and it could begin anyday at the other locations too.
There are a few projects that I see as less likely to be announced, but are very likely to be announced at some point in the future:
- A Wreck-it Ralph attraction for Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom
- Both water parks are expected to get a new attraction.
- A Mickey Mouse themed attraction is expected to replace the Great Movie Ride
- Two new countries for EPCOT’s World Showcase (possibly Spain and Brazil)
- There could also be more Disney Springs announcements (for instance a Cirque Star Wars show to replace Cirque’s La Nouba).
- A new project for Disney’s Animal Kingdom that’s rumored to be Zootopia themed
I see it as very unlikely that we’ll learn anything about the following heavily rumored projects:
- A Star Wars themed hotel adjacent to the new Star Wars themed land where all the cast would be in character as from a Galaxy Far, Far away. An overnight stay would include live role playing opportunities in the Star Wars themed land.
- A makeover for Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland that would end boat traffic on the Rivers of America, turning the Liberty Belle into a stationary Tiana themed restaurant, adding a new bridge to the Island and adding at least one attraction (most likely an indoor performance arena or theater) over beyond Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
- There’s an outside chance that we’ll also get some news on future tower expansions at Caribbean Beach Resort and Pop Century/Art of Animation.
If all this stuff actually gets built, we have the makings of a new Disney decade here in Central Florida. What do you want Disney to announce for Walt Disney World at the D23 Expo?