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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If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

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

D23 Expo 2017: A First Look At Star Wars Land

We’re already getting our initial bit of news out of the D23 Expo 2017…a first look at Star Wars Land! Check out what we know so far and these incredible sneak peek pics courtesy of Disney


During a special preview of D23 Expo 2017, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek unveiled a first look at the epic, richly detailed model of the Star Wars-themed lands under development at Disneyland park in Anaheim, California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida. This stunning exhibition, on display in Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ “A Galaxy of Stories” pavilion at D23 Expo, is yet another example of the breathtaking new worlds, immersive storytelling and transformational guest experiences that set Disney apart.

“To say we are excited for the Star Wars-themed lands to open in 2019 is an understatement,” Chapek said. “All along, we have said this will be game-changing, and through the model we can begin to see how truly epic these immersive new worlds will be.”

Chapek plans to share exciting new details about the project during the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Hall D23 Presentation on Saturday. The model will remain on display at the pavilion throughout the weekend to give visitors an up-close look at what’s to come on this never-before seen planet. In addition, the pavilion will display models, artwork and media that provide a first-ever look at some of the locations, starships, creatures, and droids that guests will encounter when they visit this new planet.

At D23 Expo 2015, The Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced the Star Wars project to the delight of thousands of fans in attendance. The jaw-dropping new lands will open with two anchor attractions – one that gives guests the chance to pilot the Millennium Falcon on a customized secret mission, and one that puts guests right in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Representing the largest single-themed land expansion at 14 acres each, the Star Wars-themed lands will open in 2019.

However, guests don’t need to wait until 2019 to be immersed in the Star Wars galaxy. From special character encounters to fan-favorite attractions like Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, and interactive entertainment like Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, guests of all ages can experience Star Wars stories at Disney parks and resorts around the world. Click here to learn more about the Star Wars experiences currently being offered in Walt Disney World!


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If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Which new Star Wars Land attraction are you most excited about?
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More Details About New Star Wars Experiences In Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Weekends

Great news, Star Wars fans! Disney has just released more details about all of the new Star Wars-inspired entertainment that is coming our way in December at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, plus a glimpse into some of the new elements that will be debuting in January 2016. We may be losing Star Wars Weekends, but there are a lot of exciting things on the horizon. Here’s the scoop courtesy of Disney:


The Force is growing stronger at Walt Disney World Resort with the addition of new Star Wars-inspired entertainment arriving in December at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Star Wars Jedi Training AcademyThe Star Wars themed entertainment will include new experiences as well as reimagined elements of popular Star Wars attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, starting December 1 – just ahead of the December 18 movie premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. These new experiences involve the creation of Star Wars Launch Bay, a central locale for fans to celebrate all things Star Wars; Star Wars: Path of the Jedi, a cinematic overview of the Star Wars saga; and cool, new enhancements for Star Tours – The Adventures Continue and Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple.

Additional Star Wars elements enter the galaxy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios starting January 5, 2016, such as First Order stormtroopers patrolling the park, Star Wars-inspired food and beverage offerings, plus a fireworks show called the “Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular.’’

These new experiences celebrate the Star Wars saga at Walt Disney World Resort like never before, allowing guests, as well as Star Wars fans, the opportunity to transport themselves every day to a galaxy far, far away:

Star Wars Launch BayStar Wars Launch Bay

Located in Animation Courtyard, Star Wars Launch Bay will be a primary location within the park for fans to celebrate all things Star Wars. In this multi-sensory space with an outdoor queue area lined with special concept artwork, guests can interact with beloved Star Wars characters, tour galleries featuring treasured memorabilia and replicas of large-scale Star Wars artifacts, including ones from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and play the latest Star Wars interactive video games, plus have access to special Star Wars merchandise.

  • Special Character Encounters: After entering a themed atrium complete with replicas of Star Wars props, guests can journey to the dark side and encounter Star Wars characters such as Darth Vader in a 360-degree immersive area themed around the Star Destroyer, or they may choose the light side by stepping into a makeshift Rebel base and coming face to face with Star Wars characters such as the most famous co-pilot in the galaxy, Chewbacca.
  • Launch Bay Theater – Guests hear directly from the creative minds behind the Star Wars saga in a short video that includes exclusive interviews with the directors, writers, producers and other key movie crew members who bring the saga to life.
  • The Cantina – This setting, inspired by the unsavory “hives of scum and villainy” in the Star Wars galaxy, is a fun place to explore and take photos near elements of the cantina, such as a holochess table. Holochess is a game seen in Star Wars
  • Star Wars Game Center – Guests can play current and upcoming video games, including new Disney Infinity 3.0 content created exclusively for this location.
  • Themed Galleries – Special immersive galleries will be located throughout Star Wars Launch Bay.
    • Celebration Gallery will feature iconic ships from throughout the Star Wars saga, such as memorable ones of the Rebel Alliance and the Imperial Navy fleet.
    • Celebration Hallway will display large-scale replicas of Star Wars props amid scenic murals.
    • Preview Gallery will offer guests exclusive looks at replicas of props, artifacts and memorabilia from the latest movie in the saga, starting with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Among the items that will be on display are costumes, ship models, droids and artwork.
  • Launch Bay Cargo – A unique shopping area where guests may bring home a variety of Star Wars merchandise, including original artwork and collector’s items.

Star Tours 1Star Wars: Path of The Jedi

Guests looking to relive the stories from the Star Wars saga or be introduced to the iconic characters, including ones from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, can watch an abridged, cinematic reel celebrating the Star Wars saga (episodes I-VII) in a theater setting near Echo Lake.

Star Tours Force AwakensStar Tours – The Adventures Continue

Fans of this popular attraction will experience journeys involving new characters and adventures from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Based on the Star Wars films, Star Tours takes guests to multiple Star Wars destinations where they interact with characters from throughout the saga. With an eye-popping digital presentation leveraging Dolby 3D to deliver a vivid and realistic experience, a dramatic musical score and motion simulator-based technology, guests are immersed in the Star Wars galaxy like never before on a theme park attraction.

Star Wars WeekendsJedi Training: Trials of the Temple

This popular entertainment offering is being reimagined with new characters and a new villain to battle from Star Wars Rebels. Younglings will be guided to the site of a secret and ancient Jedi temple where they will face villains such as Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister Inquisitor from the popular Disney X D series Star Wars Rebels, and discover if they have the makings of a true Jedi.

Star Wars WeekendStormtrooper Patrols

As guests enjoy the sights and attractions of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, they may come face to face with First Order Stormtroopers who will patrol various areas of the park, interacting with guests during their mission to find members of the Resistance.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Panel At San Diego Comic Con - Comic-Con International 2015“Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular’’

Starting January 5, 2016, guests will be treated to a spectacular finish to their visit to the park involving a dazzling Star Wars-themed fireworks show set to memorable Star Wars music from throughout the saga.

Darth Vader CupcakeGalactic Food

Guests can experience Star Wars through their palates. Various novelty items and specialty foods inspired by a galaxy far, far away, such as Blue Milk Panna Cotta, Padawan Limeade, BB-8 Lemon and Butter Cream cupcake and a Han Solo Souvenir Kid’s Meal served in a Han Solo-themed bucket, will be available at various locations inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Guests will soon be able to purchase admission to a dessert party during the fireworks show featuring themed desserts, specialty drinks and a souvenir Chewbacca stein.


501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Do you love Star Wars? What new addition are you most excited about?
Please leave a comment!

New Star Wars Experiences In Hollywood Studios

Star Tours Force Awakens

If you are a Star Wars fan, Disney has some good news and some bad news for you. First, the bad news…Due to the upcoming construction beginning next year of Star Wars Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, they will not be offering the wildly popular Star Wars Weekends in 2016. My guess is that once construction at the park is complete, I would not be surprised to see this huge moneymaker return in some form. Star Wars Weekends is one of Disney World fans most beloved events, and I cannot imagine the company not wanting to cash in on that!

Now for the good news…Beginning in December 2015 to coincide with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, several new Star Wars’ experiences will be available for guests of Hollywood Studios to enjoy every day! Here’s what’s coming our way…

Star Wars Launch BayStar Wars Launch Bay – This interactive experience will take guests into the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, including opportunities to visit with new and favorite Star Wars characters like Chewbacca and Darth Vader, special merchandise and food offerings.

Star Tours – The Adventures Continue – Star Tours will include a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, giving guests a new experience in the Star Wars galaxy. During the opening months, all guests who ride Star Tours will experience the new adventure. After that, it will be up to the will of the Force when guests will travel to the new destination. Here’s a sneak peek:

Star Wars Jedi Training AcademyJedi Training: Trials of the Temple — A favorite of younger fans is reimagined with a new experience that takes participants to the secret site of an ancient Jedi temple and includes new characters and a new villain to battle from the popular Disney X D series “Star Wars Rebels.”

And there is even more to come in 2016 and beyond…

Season of the Force – This new seasonal event, beginning early 2016, brings new  Star Wars experiences to guests. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests will close out weekend nights with a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic score of the Star Wars movies.

Star Wars Land – Construction that begins in early 2016 will bring Star Wars to life include creating Disney’s largest single themed land expansion ever at 14 acres, transporting guests to a never-before-seen planet, a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life.

Along with retail and dining, this land will include two signature attractions. The first will be an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climatic battle between the First Order and the Resistance. The second attraction will put guests behind the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, as they take on a customized secret mission.

No timeline has been released yet for the new Star Wars Land, but it is probably safe to expect about 3 to 5 years of construction before it is complete. In the meantime, it looks like Disney will be giving us a few things along the way to keep the excitement growing!

501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Do you love Star Wars? What new addition are you most excited about?
Please leave a comment!

Star Wars Land And Enhancements Coming To Disney World

Star Wars Land 4

Star Wars fans received thrilling news this weekend during the D23 Expo when Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced the ambitious plans Disney has in the works to add even more Star Wars to the parks. Here’s the scoop on what we have learned so far:

Star Wars Land 1Plans to bring Star Wars to life include creating Disney’s largest single themed land expansion ever at 14 acres, transporting guests to a never-before-seen planet, a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life.

Along with retail and dining, this land will include two signature attractions. The first will be an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climatic battle between the First Order and the Resistance. The second attraction will put guests behind the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, as they take on a customized secret mission.

And if the incredible new land wasn’t enough, Disney also announced several new Star Wars experiences and enhancements being added to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, many of which will be opening relatively soon.

  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue – Later this year, Star Tours will include a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, giving guests a new adventure in the Star Wars galaxy.
  • Star Wars Launch BayStar Wars Launch Bay – This interactive experience will take guests into the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, including opportunities to visit with new and favorite Star Wars characters, special merchandise and food offerings.  Star Wars Launch Bay will be located in the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and will be available for guests later this year.
  • Jedi Training Academy— A favorite of younger fans is reimagined with a new experience that includes new characters and a new villain to battle from the popular Disney X D series “Star Wars Rebels.”
  • Season of the Force – This new seasonal event, beginning early 2016, brings new  Star Wars experiences to guests. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests will close out weekend nights with a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic score of the Star Wars movies.

No timeline has been released yet for the new Star Wars Land, but it is probably safe to expect about 3 to 5 years of construction before it is complete. In the meantime, it looks like Disney will be giving us a few things along the way to keep the excitement growing!

501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Do you love Star Wars? What new addition are you most excited about?
Please leave a comment!