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The Latest Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Line News Revealed at Destination D23 2023

Destination D23 2023 - Josh D'Amaro

This morning, Destination D23 kicked off with the panel “A Celebration of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” hosted by Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro, and quite a bit of news was revealed…and even more teased.

The panel went over an hour and was co-hosted by various Disney Imagineers as new lands and attractions at Disney parks around the globe were highlighted, along with the latest from Disney Cruise Line (DCL).

Also co-hosting were The Muppets, which I’m sure was due to the SAG-AFTRA strike prohibiting any actors from appearing to promote attractions based on their films. But I didn’t mind, because I LOVE The Muppets, and we got to see a lot of them from Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzy, and Gonzo to lesser seen characters like Uncle Deadly.

The Muppets at Destination D23

D’Amaro said during the presentation: ““Over the next decade, we’re going to have more projects underway than at any point in our history. Our sole purpose is to give you more and more of what you love about a Disney experience. And then surprise and delight you with things you never dreamed possible.”

So let’s go park by park and talk about what we Disney fans can expect in the near future at the parks and at the DCL.


After highlighting recent events, like the reopening of Mickey’s ToonTown at Disneyland, we got a video update on a new attraction coming to Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure.

First mentioned last year during D23 Expo 2022, this attraction is based on the Marvel “Multiverse Saga” also highlighted at last year’s event…and pretty much up in the air right now due to the strikes.

Anyways, the attraction will feature a “multi-world initiative” to defeat the big bad King Thanos (who is an alternate-reality variant of Thanos from Marvel Comics).


Brent Strong, executive creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering, shared an early peek at the ride vehicle featuring a design that “combines elements of Tony Stark’s time-suits with Xandarian jump points and Wakandan technology.”

disneyland - king thanos - ride vehicle

No opening date was given for this attraction.

Walt Disney World

The bulk of the news released dealt with various developments at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I guess Disney’s Hollywood Studios gets to sit this year out.

Let’s start with the OG Walt Disney World park, Magic Kingdom. Josh D’Amaro and Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Officer at Walt Disney Imagineering (who returned to Disney earlier this year), touched briefly on some “bluesky project” that will be happening at the park, “beyond Big Thunder Mountain.”

This project has been talked about before, and honestly other than showing the same images as last time, not much more was learned about this project than D’Amaro saying, “it will be the biggest thing they’ve ever done in park” “similar in scale to things like ‘Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’ and ‘Pandora – The World of Avatar,’ adding new attractions, restaurants, shows and more,” and they’re “about to go into overdrive” on the project.

Beyond Big Thunder - blue sky - magic kingdom

We also learned from Disney Imagineer Chris Beatty about the revamp of “Country Bears Jamboree,” which will find the Bears learning a variety of classic Disney songs performed in various country music styles. We then saw a clip of the musicians recording a country-fied version of “Bear Necessities.” No date was given for this new show to start.


Rehearsals are now under way! 🪕Country Bear Jamboree is getting new songs and a new act reinterpreting favorite Disney songs in 2024 🐻🎶 @Disney D23 #Disney #DisneyParks #DisneyWorld #MagicKingdom #CountryBearJamboree #NewShow #CountryMusic #Nashville #DisneyNews #DestinationD23

♬ original sound – Disney Parks

Beatty said, “The Country Bear Jamboree will still have the fun and friendly tone fans enjoy with the same famous characters like the loveable Trixie, Big Al and others.”

Fozzy Bear also showed up to tell a few jokes: “How do the Country Bears catch fish? With their BEAR hands. wocka wocka” “What kind of bears don’t eat with their teeth? Gummy bears.”

We also got a look at the show’s new poster:

Country Bear Jamboree poster

We actually have a date the Hatbox Ghost will make his appearance at the “Haunted Mansion”…sort of. Disney Imagineer Daniel Joseph came on stage to announce the ghost will be materializing in the Haunted Mansion as you pass the attraction’s Endless Hallway in late November.

Finally, a new Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge is coming to the attraction at Magic Kingdom, sure to serve up a variety of rum and more. No opening date was given, though The Barker Bird, a green macaw, will feature in the design.


☠️ THIS IS NOT A DRILL ☠️ A new Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge is coming to Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World 🏴‍☠️ @Disney D23 #Disney #DisneyParks #DisneyWorld #MagicKingdom #DisneyNews #Pirates #PiratesOfTheCaribbean #DestinationD23

♬ original sound – Disney Parks
The Barker Bird

Over at EPCOT, we have several bits of news reveal, including opening dates.

Teased for well over a year, Figment will FINALLY be making meet-and-greet appearances at the park starting tomorrow, September 10, at the Imagination Pavilion.

Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana” will open to the public on October 16, 2023 (we’ll have passholder and DVC preview info later this weekend), and that is also the date that Moana herself will start doing meet-and-greets near her new attraction.


Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana opens Oct. 16 AND Moana begins meeting guests in a new dedicated space in World Nature 🌀🌐 @Disney D23 #Disney #DisneyParks #DisneyWorld #EPCOT #Moana #JourneyOfWater #DisneyNews #DestinationD23

♬ original sound – Disney Parks

We got both a title and an opening date for the new nighttime spectacular that was also mentioned at D23 Expo 2022.

The show will be called “Luminous: The Symphony of Us” and it will open on December 5, 2023…which also happens to be Walt Disney’s 122nd birthday.

Luminous: The Symphony of Us - EPCOT

Partnering with Chevrolet, Disney will once again be revamping “Test Track” using inspiration from the original “World of Motion” attraction. We also got a peek at one of the ride vehicles. No date was given for the new version to start.

Test Track - EPCOT

Finally, the last section of the park that has been revamped, World Celebration, will reopen in December 2023, including Dreamers Point.

World Celebration will unite the front of the park, tying together the other two new EPCOT neighborhoods, World Discovery and World Nature, and it will be the latest major milestone of the multi-year transformation of EPCOT.

World Celebration - EPCOT

Finally, let’s hop over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for two news reveals.

First, “Zootopia” is coming to the park, but not as a land (boo!). Instead it will be a new show that will reside inside the Tree of Life in the Tree of Life theater. Guests will visit the different biomes in the film, traveling along with Judy Hopps, Nick Wilde and other characters.

And while it wasn’t said, it most likely it will replace “It’s Tough to be a Bug!,” since I can’t see the theater hosting two shows. No date was given for the opening of this new show, but ride “It’s Tough to be a Bug!” while you can. I wonder if this new show will get rid of all of those “bugs” in the seats. (If you know, you know.)

Zootopia show - Disney's Animal Kingdom

The revamp of Dinoland was also talked about and since the park already has Africa and Asia sections, Disney has decided the park needs a “Tropical Americas” section, which will replace Dinoland.

This new section will cover the northern part of South America, stretching up into Central America, and it was hinted “Encanto” and “Indiana Jones” could find a home here.

We got a look at an artist rendering of the reimagination of this area. I’m hoping that temple top right means a version of Disneyland’s “Indiana Jones Adventure” is coming to Walt Disney World.

Top left looks vaguely like Casa Madrigal, too.

Disney's Animal Kingdom - tropical americas - dinoland

Nothing more concrete was announced, and no opening date was even hinted at. So I guess TBA on all of this.

Disneyland Paris

In a pre-recorded video, Thomas Muller, scenographer at Walt Disney Imagineering Paris, guided viewers on the construction site of what will become the ultimate Disney royal address at Disneyland Paris, including a first glimpse of the Royal Banquet which will invite visitors to attend a royal feast amidst a gallery of portraits.

The Disneyland Hotel, located at the entrance to Disneyland Park, will reopen its doors in the first quarter of 2024

The video also looked at construction happening for the “Frozen” land coming to Walt Disney Studios Park.

Tokyo Disney Resort

The new Fantasy Springs opening at Tokyo Disney Resort in 2024 was spotlighted briefly.

This eighth themed port of Tokyo DisneySea will feature “Rapunzel’s Forest,” “Peter Pan’s Never Land” and “Frozen Kingdom” – all inspired by the Walt Disney Animation Studios Films.

No new news was added to what we learned last month, though we got a new artist rendering of the entire land:

Tokyo Fantasy Springs

Shanghai Disney Resort

D’Amaro touched on the upcoming Zootopia land coming to Shanghai Disney Resort, which we gave you details on earlier this week. No new news about it was released today.

zootopia central station - shanghai

Hong Kong Disneyland

Earlier this week, Disney announced the opening date of “World of Frozen” at Hong Kong Disneyland would be November 20, 2023, so during today’s presentation, a video of the new land at night was shown:


Several updates concerned attractions that were available in more than one park.

We got a look at a video showing the animatronics that will be going into “Tiana’s Bayou,” coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney World next year.

Asha, a new character from the upcoming Disney Animation film, “Wish,” will be coming to EPCOT, Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris. Dates weren’t given, but most likely will be timed to the film’s release on November 22, 2023.

Wish - Asha

Also, starting next Spring, “Star Wars” character Ahsoka will be added to the “Star Tours” attraction at parks across the globe.

Star Tours 2024

Disney Cruise Line

Thomas Mazloum, president of Disney Signature Experiences, dropped two Disney Cruise Line news nuggets for fans during this presentation.

First, the ship that will sail from the new Singapore port of call (announced earlier this year), will be called the Disney Adventure. It was formerly the Global Dream, and was purchased earlier this year to be retrofitted Disney-style.

Disney Adventure - Disney Cruise Line

Second, the new Disney Cruise island port of call will be named Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, an extension of the soon-to-open Lighthouse Point in the Bahamas.

He said, “Disney teams are collaborating with talented artists and cultural advisors in the Bahamas to shape an experience that celebrates the natural beauty, traditions and artistry of the one-of-a-kind nation.”

Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point - Disney Cruise Line

And of course he touched on the Disney Treasure, which had its reveal earlier this week. No extra news revealed other than a photo of the ship and its Grand Hall under construction.

Disney Treasure

Mazloum then gave away a cruise on the Disney Treasure to a member of the audience. Congratulations Heather! Members of the audience were also given a commemorative map for the Disney Treasure.

That’s it for all the news reveals at the parks and Disney Cruise Line. Did you have any favorites? Did they not cover something you hoped to hear about. Let us know in the comments! Me? You’d think with all the Muppets present, they could at least announce a Muppets Coaster or something. Show of hands…who wants a Muppet Coaster?

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