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.

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:

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!


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:

Which new Star Wars Land attraction are you most excited about?
Please leave a comment; I would love to hear from you!

A Galaxy Of Star Wars Fun At Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Calling all Star Wars fans! While you eagerly await the release of the next film in the saga, check out all of the fun you can experience at Walt Disney World this year…


Guests visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios can step into Star Wars experiences with exciting live entertainment, out-of-this-world encounters with favorite Star Wars characters, special displays inside Star Wars Launch Bay that take guests behind the scenes of the epic saga, and a first-ever themed tour.

Here are all of the Star Wars experiences in store for guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

Star Wars Launch Bay Star Wars Launch Bay is a multi-sensory space celebrating all things Star Wars where guests can interact with iconic Star Wars characters, tour galleries featuring treasured memorabilia and detailed replicas of Star Wars props and have access to special Star Wars merchandise. 

  • Meet BB-8 A docking bay leads to a Resistance freighter where guests will discover the loyal droid BB-8 from Star Wars: The Force Awakens starting this April.
  • 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, key movie crew members and Imagineers who bring the saga to life.
  • Special Character Encounters – After entering a themed atrium complete with authentic replicas of Star Wars props, guests journey to the dark side and come face to face with Kylo Ren 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 to meet the most famous co-pilot in the galaxy, Chewbacca.
  • 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 game table.
  • Themed Galleries – Special immersive galleries featuring authentic replicas of movie props, starships and more are located throughout Star Wars Launch Bay.
  • Launch Bay Cargo – Guests may bring home a variety of Star Wars merchandise, including original artwork and collector’s items.

Star ToursStar Tours – The Adventures Continue Randomized tracks have returned to Star Tours – the Adventures Continue, the popular attraction that uses motion simulator-based technology. Instead of each ride experience launching from the planet of Jakku, the attraction is randomized to both start and end at different locations for every galactic journey. New scenes from “Star Wars: Episode VIII” will be added to Star Tours later in 2017.

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple This popular entertainment offering was reimagined with new characters and a new villain to battle from Star Wars Rebels, the popular Disney XD series. Younglings are magically transported to a secret and ancient Jedi temple where they will face villains such as Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister Inquisitor from Star Wars Rebels, and discover if they have the makings of a true Jedi.

Star Wars: Path of The Jedi Guests re-live stories from the Star Wars saga with this abridged, cinematic reel featuring scenes from the complete Star Wars saga and gives anyone new to the Star Wars galaxy an opportunity to get acquainted with the films.

March of the First Order Clear the way for Captain Phasma as this ruthless commander leads her squad of Stormtroopers up Hollywood Boulevard to Center Stage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios—and witness a daunting demonstration of the First Order’s obedience and strength.

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” The nighttime spectacular “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” fills Center Stage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with memorable moments the“Star Wars” films, presented as never seen before using state-of-the-art projection, lasers, lighting, pyrotechnics and other special effects.

Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away Witness the power of a live show that brings iconic Star Wars scenes to life—including moments from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Guided Tours For the ultimate fan comes the ultimate tour. An all-new Star Wars guided tour is a seven-hour immersion in all the park’s current Star Wars experiences. Here’s what it includes:

  • A Star Wars “all-in-the-know” tour guide
  • Priority boarding for Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
  • Encounter two Star Wars characters (Chewbacca and Kylo Ren) at Star Wars Launch Bay
  • An in-depth, insider’s tour around Star Wars Launch Bay
  • Screening of “Star Wars: Path of the Jedi
  • Enjoy Star Wars-themed menu items during dinner at Backlot Express
  • A spot in the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party, which includes themed sweets and specialty beverages, as well as reserved viewing for the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks show

Younglings ages 4-12 on the guided tour package can also train in the way of The Force in Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. Priced at $129 per person, tours are offered on Mondays and Saturdays throughout 2017.

This latest flight of additions celebrating the Star Wars saga continues to elevate the Star Wars presence at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Entire Star Wars-themed lands are now under construction at the theme park and at Disneyland Park in California and are set to open in 2019.


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:

Have you enjoyed any Star Wars experiences at Hollywood Studios?
Please leave a comment; I would love to hear from you!

New Star Wars Experiences Coming To Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Amazing news Star Wars fans! Even more exciting Star Wars experiences are coming our way at Disney’s Hollywood Studios very soon. Here’s the scoop on what we have learned so far courtesy of Disney:


star-wars-2016-aA galaxy of new Star Wars experiences is coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios beginning mid-December. The announcement noted that some of the coming-soon additions are inspired by “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” that opens in theaters worldwide on December 16.

Guests, including fans of the epic space saga, will find new entertainment, special displays inside Star Wars Launch Bay, a first-ever themed tour and more at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Premiering this Month

  • Star Wars Launch Bay – a multi-sensory space celebrating all things Star Wars – is now updated with authentic replicas from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” joining other Star Wars memorabilia in the preview gallery. Making-of footage from “Rogue One” has been added to the “Meet the Makers” film featured in Star Wars Launch Bay.
  • In the popular daytime stage show “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away,” guests will get a first look at AWR Troopers from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” Outfitted in their specialized Stormtrooper armor with a dark, ominous gleam, these soldiers serve as bodyguards and enforcers for Director Krennic, a highly placed officer within the Advance Weapons Research (AWR) division of the Empire. A new Troopers sequence will join the show December 16. Performances daily.
  • The fan favorite nighttime show, “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular,” will return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios on December 16 and will join “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” as a second nightly fireworks spectacular at the park through December 31. The show will continue to be presented in 2017.
  • Starting mid-December, randomized tracks will be returning to Star Tours – the Adventures Continue, the popular attraction that uses motion simulator-based technology. Instead of each ride experience launching from the planet of Jakku, the attraction will be randomized to both start and end at different locations for every galactic journey. New scenes from “Star Wars: Episode VIII” will be added to Star Tours in the coming year.

New in 2017

Star ToursFor the ultimate fan comes the ultimate tour. An all-new Star Wars guided tour is a seven-hour immersion in all the park’s current Star Wars experiences. Here’s what it includes:

  • A Star Wars “all-in-the-know” tour guide
  • Priority boarding for Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
  • Encounter two Star Wars characters (Chewbacca and Kylo Ren) at Star Wars Launch Bay
  • An in-depth, insider’s tour around Star Wars Launch Bay
  • Screening of “Star Wars: Path of the Jedi”
  • Enjoy Star Wars-themed menu items during dinner at Backlot Express
  • A spot in the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party, which includes themed sweets and specialty beverages, as well as reserved viewing for the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks show

Younglings ages 4-12 on the guided tour package can also train in the way of The Force in Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. Priced at $129 per person, tours begin January 2 and will be offered on Mondays and Saturdays throughout 2017. Please click here for more details or call 407-WDW-PLAY to book now! 

This latest flight of additions celebrating the Star Wars saga continues to elevate the Star Wars presence at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.


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: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party At Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Fireworks 4

Yoda CupcakeIf you are a Star Wars fan, you are probably already thrilled by the newest additions and upcoming changes to Disney’s Hollywood Studios including Star Wars Launch Bay, the stage show Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away, the march of the stormtroopers, the high hopes of the currently under construction Star Wars Land, and of course, the jaw-dropping new fireworks show Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. Disney is now offering another fun experience for the whole family especially the dessert lovers – the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party.

Darth Vader CupcakeTickets are $69 for guests 10 and older and $39 for children ages 3 to 9 years old. Tax and gratuity are included in the price. Separate admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is also required.

Guests will enjoy Star Wars-themed desserts, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, reserved viewing for Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, and a souvenir Chewbacca stein. The party location is inside Star Wars Launch Bay. No seating is available, and wheelchairs and ECVs can be accommodated.

Tickets are limited and will sell quickly; reservations can be made by clicking here!

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:

Are you a Star Wars fan? Will you be booking
the dessert party? Please leave a comment!