Well, it happened. D23 EXPO 2022 came and went, leaving fans in tizzy in the wake of all of the Disney Parks announcements! And Disney started way before its A Boundless Future: Disney Parks Experiences and Products event, announcing some news as early as Day 1 of the Expo. Buckle up, folks: here is everything announced about the Disney Parks at this year’s D23 EXPO.
Walt Disney World Resort
Magic Kingdom and Beyond Thunder Mountain. In perhaps the biggest surprise of the parks presentation, both Coco and Encanto themed lands appear to be coming to the Magic Kingdom as part of a project unofficially referred to as “Beyond Big Thunder Mountain.” And a new villains-themed land was shown in the same area in very, VERY EARLY concept art (so early it is considered to be in the “blue sky” stage of Imagineering development), which means it may or may not happen. Josh D’Amaro was not super clear with final details or a timeline, but something is clearly brewing beyond (read: behind) Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland. (!!!!!!)
Animal Kingdom Updates. As mentioned in my article, What to Expect from D23 Expo 2022, a Zootopia-themed land will be coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, replacing DinoLand USA. But that is not all—new concept art showed the land will also be themed to Moana! (Lots of Moana coverage in the parks at Walt Disney World!)
HAPPILY EVER AFTER IS COMING BACK!!! WE DID IT, EVERYBODY. At the top of the presentation, Josh D’Amaro announced that Happily Ever After, the beloved nighttime fireworks show at Cinderella Castle is COMING BACK next year (2023). It is not clear when exactly, but likely after the end of the 50th Celebration (which ends in March). This likely put everyone in a better mood.
Harmonious, No More: EPCOT IS GETTING A NEW NIGHTTIME SHOW. To celebrate the 100th year of The Walt Disney Company (more on that below), EPCOT will be getting a brand new nighttime show starting next year! No other details were revealed.
Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana. The biggest update is its opening date, which is now officially late 2023.
Figment is Back. Figment is returning for character meets in EPCOT next year.
Haunted Mansion. The Hatbox Ghost will be now be appearing at the Haunted Mansion attraction.
Tron Opening. We finally finally got an opening date: the new attraction will be opening in the Spring of 2023! Expect a virtual queue situation for its initial months.
EPCOT Statue. A new “Walt the Dreamer” statue will be installed at Dreamer’s Point in EPCOT as part of the ongoing transformation of EPCOT. The statue will be located near the exit of Spaceship Earth, and is sure to add not just a unique photo opportunity, but also a touch of Walt Disney at EPCOT.
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Disney premiered a model of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, the new attraction that is replacing Splash Mountain at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. At Disneyland, the new attraction will be stationed in New Orleans Square, and joining the new attraction is a brand new store called Eudora’s Chic Boutique Featuring Tiana’s Gourmet Secrets. Several members of the original film’s cast, including Anika Noni Rose, will lend their voices for the attraction.
According to Disney, the backstory for the new attraction is as follows: the year is 1927, and to celebrate carnival season Tiana is hosting a party in New Orleans. She realizes her party is missing a special ingredient, and we will make a magical trip to the Bayou to find it. Guests will join Tiana and Louis and also meet new friends along the way. Disney showed renderings of the attraction at night, filled with lights and digital tools to create a new attraction experience. Colorful mist will be used to show “true Bayou magic.” The attraction will open at both theme parks in late 2024.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Disney Legend Jon Favreau joined Josh D’Amaro on stage to tell the audience that The Mandalorian and Grogu — both who joined them on stage — will be appearing in Disneyland as soon as this November!
Avenger’s Campus Expansion. It is officially happening: Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure will be expanding beyond its existing footprint! President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige joined Josh D’Amaro to make several announcements about Avengers Campus, including that The Multiverse is coming to Avengers Campus. Imagineers worked with Marvel Studios to come up with a concept of a new attraction where guests can fight with all of the Avengers against ALL of the villains, “from everywhere from every when.”
A new villain called King Thanos, who will be new to the Disney Parks, will be featured on the new attraction. This version of Thanos beats the Avengers, who need our help to beat him this time around. Disney also announced that the Hulk will be appearing at Avengers Campus starting NEXT WEEK.
SanFransokyo. Pacific Wharf will be reimagined to SanFransokyo from Big Hero 6. There will be a place to meet Baymax, and new retail and dining options.
Paradise Pier Hotel Re-Theme. The new name will be Pixar Place Hotel, will feel like a Pixar Art gallery, and feature new interpretations of new Pixar characters. We know there will be a Finding Nemo-themed splash-pad, but that’s about it.
Downtown Disney. Din Tai Dung, featuring Chinese cuisine, is opening in Downtown Disney. Also, Porto’s Bakery & Cafe, a famous bakery known for treats and Cuban food, will add a new location at Downtown Disney. According to Josh D’Amaro, “it’s really good.”
RunDisney. The races are coming back to Disneyland Resort in 2024. The last races held at the Disneyland Resort were held in 2017.
Re-Imagined Mickey’s Toontown. A model of Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland shows an expanded land, new open spaces, and of course, the west coast’s version of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway! Disney revealed a new attraction poster, and announced Goofy’s How-to-Play Yard, a “soundgarden” play area for children. As a father to two young kids, I am eager to see how this land will be in-person. Luckily we don’t have to wait very long: the reimagined Mickey’s Toontown opens in 2023!
Josh D’Amaro showed several renderings, and reiterated that Disney aims to honor the attraction’s setting in the Disneyland Resort.
A New Show: Pixar: We Belong Together, a new show premieres at the Studio Theater next year. Josh D’Amaro reminded us that the 30th celebration lasts through September next year.
Frozen. New concept art of a new promenade connecting the current park to Arendelle was revealed.
New Tangled Attraction. A new family-focused ride themed to Tangled will be opening along the promenade in Disneyland Paris.
Disneyland Hotel Renovation. As part of the updates to the Disneyland Hotel in Disneyland Paris, princess rooms will be themed to Frozen (pictured above), Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Tangled.
Tokyo Disney Resort
Fantasy Springs. Peter Pan, Tangled, and Frozen will be the three stories featured at this new land. The new, Frozen-themed land will feature new animatronics, including a new Elsa, which was previewed at the event for attendees.
Space Mountain. Starting in 2024, the Space Mountain attraction and surrounding area will begin to be reimagined. It will be completed by 2027.
Zootopia Update. Disney showed new concept art for Zootopia, a new land coming to Shanghai Disneyland, as I previously discussed in my article, Photos of Zootopia in Shanghai Disneyland Show Major Progress.
Hong Kong Disneyland
Walt and Mickey Statue. A new statute of Walt Disney on a bench with Mickey Mouse will premiere behind the Castle of Dreams at Hong Kong Disneyland.
The World of Frozen will open in late 2023! Which is very soon! We also got new concept art, which looks exciting.
Disney Cruise Line
New Addition to the Fleet, Adventures, and Island. Disney gave us a peek into the new grand hall of its newest Disney Cruise ship (its sixth) which will be called the Disney Treasure. The ship’s statue will feature Jasmine, Aladdin, and the Magic Carpet. New concept art for Lighthouse Point, a new new private island for the cruises, also was revealed. Additionally, the Disney Wonder will officially travel the seas to Australia and New Zealand.
Duffy and Friends
Duffy and Friends will be getting their own stop-motion show on Disney+! No other facts were released about the show at this time, but another panel on Duffy is happening at D23 Expo. Linabell also made an appearance—her first in the United States! No announcement on whether the popular characters will come stateside.
Disney’s 100th Anniversary
Disney’s 100th year starts in October 2023, and the company plans to celebrate throughout the year. While more announcements are to come, it appears that the Disneyland Resort will be the focus of the celebration. The following will premiere next year:
Parades. Magic Happens, the beloved parade, will be returning to Disneyland in Spring 2023.
New Nighttime Spectaculars. Wondrous Journeys will be the new show at Disneyland, with a new song, “It’s Wonderous.” World of Color – One will be the new night time spectacular at Disney California Adventure.
There you have it! With the Disney Parks announcements wrapped (for now), what are your thoughts? Did you expect more? What are you most excited about?