D23 Expo 2017: A First Look At What’s On The Horizon At Walt Disney World

What an incredible weekend filled with exciting announcements out of the D23 Expo 2017! If you’ve been following along with Zeek, Rachel, and I on Behind The Magic Podcast, you know we’ve been speculating for months about what we would hear at the convention this time around. We talked at length about several of the rumors including a Mickey Mouse attraction coming to Hollywood Studios, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ratatouille coming to Epcot, Tron at Magic Kingdom, a new Star Wars Themed Resort, and even the new Disney Skyliner. Zeek and Rachel were lucky enough to be at D23 this weekend to get all of the latest information live! Here’s everything that is confirmed so far courtesy of Disney


WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT OVERALL:

Several projects and updates were announced for Walt Disney World Resort including a new line-up of attractions at Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, new resort hotel experiences and concepts, and two new transportation options.

DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS:

  • Star Wars-themed land update – Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the name of the new Star Wars-themed land opening in 2019 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, after the opening of the land at Disneyland Resort. Guests will encounter several characters, including:
    • BB-8
    • Chewbacca
    • Rex
    • Kylo Ren
  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway –  In this game-changing attraction, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will feature an original story that will take guests on a journey inside the world of Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-winning “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts using new technologies that turn the flat cartoon world into an incredible dimensional display. Located inside the Chinese Theatre, this new attraction will replace The Great Movie Ride, which will close Aug. 13, 2017. Opening for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be announced at a later date.
  • Toy Story Land – Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is scheduled to open summer 2018.

EPCOT:

In preparation for the park’s 35th anniversary, Epcot will continue to evolve to make it more timeless, more relevant, more family and more Disney, while staying true to its original vision beginning with several newly revealed offerings.

  • “Guardians of the Galaxy” – Epcot will have a brand new E-ticket attraction within Future World based on the rockin’ and action-packed world of Guardians of the Galaxy. This is the next step in how guests can encounter these characters at Walt Disney World Resort. To make way for this new adventure, Ellen’s Energy Adventure inside Universe of Energy will close Aug. 13, 2017. The new attraction will open by the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort in 2021.
  • “Ratatouille” – Within World Showcase, in an all-new space in the France pavilion, a new “Ratatouille”-inspired attraction will take guests on a dazzling chase across a kitchen with the sights, sounds and smells of Gusteau’s Parisian restaurant. Patterned after the number one family attraction at Disneyland Paris, the new attraction will open by the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort in 2021.
  • China pavilion – To showcase the splendor and majesty of China, an updated film will be added using a next-generation digital camera system to film a brand new, seamless Circle-Vision show for the
    China pavilion.
  • Mission: SPACE – In addition to an updated Orange Mission, a brand new Green Mission will take guests on a stunning tour around the Earth, with younger cadets joining the adventure for the very first time. Mission: SPACE will reopen this August.
  • New restaurant – Adjacent to Mission: SPACE, a new table-service restaurant will invite guests to travel high above the Earth for an unforgettable dining experience. The new restaurant will be managed by Patina Restaurant Group and an opening will be announced at a later date.

MAGIC KINGDOM PARK:

  • “Tron”-themed attraction – The highest rated attraction at Shanghai Disneyland is coming to Tomorrowland in a new area near Space Mountain. Opening will be announced at a later date.
  • Live entertainment theater – Based on the iconic Willis Theater in the 1920s Kansas City where Walt lived after he left Marceline, this new addition to Magic Kingdom Park will be located off of Main Street U.S.A. and will be an entirely new venue for world class entertainment. Opening will be announced at a later date.

RESORTS:

  • Disney Riviera Resort – The proposed 15th Disney Vacation Club property will be located near Epcot with a rooftop restaurant that has unbelievable views of nighttime spectaculars at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Opening will be announced at a later date.
  • Immersive Star Wars-themed hotel – An immersive Star Wars-themed hotel will be the most experiential concept ever. Dedicated entirely to the galaxy of Star Wars, guests will have a one-of-a-kind experience where a luxury resort meets a multi-day adventure in a galaxy far, far away. Opening will be announced at a later date.

TRANSPORTATION:

  • Disney Skyliner – This new transportation system will give guests a bird’s-eye view of Walt Disney World Resort. Disney Skyliner will connect Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios to four resorts – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, as well as the proposed 15th Disney Vacation Club property, Disney Riviera Resort. Opening date for Disney Skyliner will be announced at a later time.
  • Minnie Van service – Starting later this month, the Minnie Van service is a whimsical, point-to-point transportation service that will help guests get around Walt Disney World Resort in a jiffy. Guests can arrange their own private Disney vehicle right from their smartphone, and a Disney Cast Member will drive them wherever they want to go around Walt Disney World.

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Which announcement are you most excited about?
Please leave a comment; I would love to hear from you!

Disney Marvel Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

Photo Courtesy of Marvel.com

On Friday, my boys and I decided it was time to hit the movies again. This time, we ventured out to the theatre to see the newest Disney Marvel release, Guardians of the Galaxy. I had a few concerns heading into this movie. First, I am typically not a fan of science fiction or superheroes. To be honest, the first superhero movie I ever saw was The Avengers that came out a couple of years ago. I surprisingly loved The Avengers so I went into this film with an open mind. Secondly, I was a bit concerned about the violence in Guardians of the Galaxy and if it would be suitable for my boys (ages 8 and 11) considering that it had received a PG13 rating. Finally, I wondered just how bad the language in this movie would actually be and would I have a lot of things to explain when we got home. Luckily, my worries were for nothing and we all truly enjoyed it!  

WARNING – SPOILERS FOLLOWING THE PHOTO!!

Guardians of the Galaxy

Photo Courtesy of Marvel.com

This film follows the story of Peter Quill who was abducted from earth after his mother’s death. Years later, Quill steals an orb that contains an infinity stone that he plans to sell for an enormous sum. After being arrested, Peter teams up with a unique gang of characters; Rocket, Gamora, Groot and Drax each dealing with their own issues of loss and uncertainty. Together they have to fight against the evil Ronan who plans to use the orb to destroy a planet. The things my boys and I enjoyed the most were the humor and themes of teamwork and friendship that were incorporated throughout the movie. The character of Rocket the Raccoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper, stole the show!  Things to keep in mind before seeing this film:

  • This movie begins with the gut wrenching death of Peter’s mother.
  • This movie is violent. My boys thought the level fell more violent than Star Wars less violent than Lord of the Rings. It was what I would consider sci-fi violence; mostly hand-to-hand fighting, lasers, explosions and similar.
  • Death is spoken about often in the film. One character talks about avenging the death of his wife and daughter. There are also a lot of death threats made.
  • There are at least a dozen uses of profanity during the movie and one obscene gesture.
  • There are some veiled references to Peter being with a lot of women. These would easily go over the heads of younger kids.

Overall, my boys and I really enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy. I would definitely recommend this film to lovers of science fiction and superheroes! I’ve included the trailer below and for more details, reviews, ratings and for help determining if it might be right for your family, please check out this link.

Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy? Did you enjoy it? Please leave a comment!