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


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.


  • 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.


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.


  • “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.


  • 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.


  • 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!

Daily Dose Of Disney – Mission: SPACE

Epcot Mission Space Gravity Wheel

Did you know placed in the center of the Gravity Wheel at Mission: SPACE is the logo for the lost Epcot attraction, Horizons? Horizons was a beloved attraction located where Mission: SPACE now stands that explored where people might live in the future including space!

Tuesday Trivia – Mission: SPACE

Epcot Mission Space

How many man-hours did it take for Walt Disney Imagineers to develop Mission: SPACE?

Please check the comments section for the answer!

Disney World Epcot Spaceship Earth

Friday Favorites – Best Epcot Future World Attractions

For today’s Friday Favorites, I’m going to share with you my picks for best Epcot Future World attractions. Epcot is my favorite theme park in Walt Disney World so it was really hard to choose my top attractions. I decided to narrow it down to my favorite five and here they are in no particular order.

  • Spaceship Earth This ride is classic Epcot to me. Even though it has gone through several minor refurbishments throughout the years, it still reminds me of early Epcot. This is a 16 minute ride that travels through the 18 story iconic Epcot geosphere depicting the history of communication from cave men through today. There is a great use of audio-animatronics, wonderful narration and beautiful music that help create and tell the story. This ride is suitable for all ages and is not to be missed!
  • Soarin’ Another great ride that most everyone will enjoy! This ride simulates flying in a hang-glider over the gorgeous state of California. The attraction itself lasts a little over 5 minutes and has you high above the ground in a seat that moves gently creating the sensation of flight while you watch stunning scenery on an IMAX type screen. There is also wind, music and smells to add to the mood. This ride is great for anyone who isn’t afraid of heights and you must be at least 40″ tall to ride.
  • Test Track This is a fast-paced thrill ride that reaches speeds of 65 mph. The premise is that you are designing your own concept car and then putting it through the test track to see how it measures up. This attraction uses clever interactive technology to allow you to customize a virtual car and then once you are done testing it on the test track, enables you to continue the experience with even more games and experiences. This ride is great for any thrill-seekers in your group and you must be at least 40″ tall to ride.
  • Living with the Land Another classic attraction that is perfect for anyone in the family. This is a slow-moving 14 minute boat ride that displays the history and future of farming and agriculture. Now this may sound too boring or educational to be fun, but this attraction is filled with amazing audio-animatronics, waterfalls, thunderstorms and real plants to help bring the story to life. There are no height restrictions for this ride. If you love this ride as much as I do, consider dining at The Garden Grill. This restaurant rotates while offering views of Living with the Land.
  • Mission: SPACE (orange or green) This is the most intense thrill ride in Epcot. There are two versions of this ride Orange (that spins) and a milder Green version. The premise for this attraction is that you are manning a shuttle mission to Mars. The entire experience lasts about 15 minutes including a pre show training where you will assume one of four positions (navigator, pilot, engineer or commander) of your space shuttle. During the actual ride you will have an interactive role to play based on your position, however, if you panic and don’t do your part, no worries, it doesn’t effect the outcome of the attraction. This ride, created and designed with the help of NASA, uses flight simulators to mimic a space launch and is said to be very authentic. Be forewarned, this is not for people prone to motion sickness. Even the mild Green version can cause people to lose their lunch! You will also want to pass on this one if you are claustrophobic. Once closed, the capsule you ride in is small and you are strapped in very tightly with an over-the-shoulder type restraint. Mission: SPACE has a height requirement of at least 44″ tall to ride. However, keep this in mind, when my son first rode Mission: SPACE he was just 44″ and was very uncomfortable! Although, he met the height requirement, most of his height is in his legs, so the shoulder harness came down very close to his neck and he felt like he was almost being choked for the duration of the ride.

Well, there you have it…the best Epcot Future World attractions! I can’t wait to ride them all again this summer!

How about you? Do you have a favorite Epcot Future World attraction? Please leave a comment!