Next month, Disney is holding its bi-annual D23 convention. This all-encompassing three day celebration covers all things Disney, and fans of everything from Marvel to Star Wars and of course Pixar and Walt Disney Animation are expecting to hear big things about their favorite film franchises during this event, which will take place from July 14-16
However, aside from massive announcements about the various film and media properties under the Disney umbrella, theme park fans are looking to this event for crucial updates about current and future projects at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort and beyond! Though precious little has been confirmed, here’s everything we’re expecting Disney to announce at next month’s event.
1. Our first look inside Star Wars Land
Though we already figured Disney would use the upcoming D23 Expo to give us our first complete look at its plans for Star Wars Land (for both Disneyland Resort and Disney’s Hollywood Studios), it looks like Disney will actually be providing guests with the change to get a sneak peek inside this new land during this event, as it was announced several days ago that an entire pavilion dedicated to the Star Wars-themed lands is being erected which will have artwork, models, and more based on these under construction lands.
While we know the basics about the different ride, dining, and even character experiences inside this land, D23 2017 will give Disney the chance to give guests more specifics about this land, which is expected to open in early 2019 at the Disneyland Resort and later that same year at Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
2. An opening date for Toy Story Land
Unlike Star Wars Land, we actually know quite a bit about what to expect from Toy Story Land when it opens. However, even though this land’s two new attractions have been detailed extensively already, there’s still one big question mark regarding this new land: when it is going to open.
Based on reports that construction is actually pretty far along in this new land, many are saying that Disney could announce an early 2018 opening date for Toy Story Land, potentially targeting the busy Memorial Day weekend again for this new land’s debut, as they did in 2017 for Pandora – The World of Avatar. However, while such a move would make sense, we won’t know for sure when Disney will unveil this new area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios until an official announcement is made, hopefully at this year’s D23 Expo
3. The future is revealed for Epcot’s Future World
Disney doesn’t have any new attractions currently confirmed to be in the works for Epcot, but that doesn’t mean that rumors aren’t swirling about the future of the front half of this park. With Mission: Space currently down for a mysterious mid-summer refurbishment and rumors persisting that Ellen’s Energy Adventure is on its way out, many are predicting that Disney is looking to soft-reboot this area of Epcot with a new attraction where Universe of Energy now sits (potentially themed to either Tron or the Guardians of the Galaxy), and could also be introducing new missions for Mission: Space as soon as later this year.
Looking farther out, rumored improvements for Journey Into Imagination With Figment could finally be on the way, as Disney looks past the 2019 opening of Star Wars Land, and tries to get guests back to Epcot, which has been seeing its fair share of attendance declines in recent history.
4. A plan is revealed for Disneyland Paris
The Walt Disney Company announced earlier this week that it has purchased more than 97 percent of the shares of Euro Disney SCA, the holding company that officially owns the Disneyland Paris Resort, and will be taking full ownership of the resort in the coming days.
This is significant, as Disneyland Paris Resort is now the first of Disney’s theme park resorts outside the United States to be wholly owned by the company, and Disney will now be free to invest in this park in a big way. Though details might be scarce, we wouldn’t be surprised if Disney announces a big expansion plan for this struggling resort at the D23 Expo in an effort to generate excitement for this resort’s impending rebirth.
And while we can only speculate what an expansion at Disneyland Paris could entail, it would make sense for Disney to either copy Disneyland’s or Walt Disney World’s Star Wars Land and bring it across the pond, potentially for a 2020 opening. It’s also worth noting that Disney has unlimited rights to use Marvel characters outside the US, which means that a full-fledged Marvel Land could also be a possibility for this resort.
With so many projects rumored or confirmed to be in the pipeline, it is certainly an exciting time to be a Disney Parks fan. Aside from the above likely announcements, Disney could also surprise us all by announcing a new nighttime parade for the Magic Kingdom, a replacement for IllumiNations, or even something else completely different! What would you like to see announced at next month’s event?
-From Theme Park Tourist, June 14, 2017 by Amanda Kondolojy
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