What to Expect: Destination D23 Announcements, Panels, and Experiences

Disney recently announced panels, experiences, and the schedule for Destination D23, its Biggest Fan Event of the year, which is taking place September 8-10th, 2023! The event, which returns to Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Orlando, is different from last year’s D23 Expo (for more about the major Disney parks news announced then, see Everything Announced about the Disney Parks at D23 Expo 2022), but no less exciting. Let’s take a dive into what to expect from this year’s Destination D23 event!

Josh D’Amaro, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman, will host a presentation on “what makes a Disney experience so magical and memorable.”

Disney Legend Don Hahn and Director of the Walt Disney Archives Becky Cline will talk about the earliest days of The Walt Disney Company, including Walt’s journey to join his brother Roy in California, the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio and the Alice Comedies, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and how Mickey Mouse became a superstar.

Learn about “weird Disney” moments, which is a special version of this event themed to the Disney centennial. Also, prepare for a “Disney you didn’t know” event, where the Disney archivist discuss little-known facts about the Disney-verse. These events sound like an interesting way to learn even more about Disney, and maybe even change our opinions on whatever topics they discuss.

Animation Celebration. Disney is celebrating 100 years if Walt Disney Animation Studios—can you believe it?—and in addition to hearing from legendary animators, guests will get a peek at Wish, the new Disney animated feature out November 22, 2023.

Disney Cruise Line: 25 years of Innovative Design at Sea. Calling all Disney Cruise Line fans—this event will give a look into the designing process for the newest fleet.

EPCOT: Always in a State of Becoming. This event is all about the evolution of EPCOT—Disney’s first park without a castle—and will provide a look into its transformation, and new neighborhoods, attractions and experiences. Disney parks pros know that EPCOT has been in flux for several years. Concept art from 2019 revealed major changes, some of which have come to fruition, some of which remain under construction, some of which have yet to be discussed again. Expect updates on the walk-through attraction, Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana (opening later this year), and CommuniCore Hall, a multi-use space which will be located in the World Celebration neighborhood.

I expect most of the exciting news to come from those events, and from panels yet to be announced. There are several exciting experiences for those actually attending the event, including a Disney+ Hallowstream Costume Bash (yes, Halloween starts early at Disney World), an exhibit dedicated to 60 years of Disney’s Audio-Animatronics, and the opportunity to shop at both Mickey’s of Glendale (a pop-up shop filled with Walt Disney Imagineering merch normally only available at the Imagineering Campus in California), and for the first time The Walt Disney Company Store, which will include employee and D23 Member-exclusive items.

Though I will not be attending—our third baby is due shortly after the event) I will be watching closely from afar. If you want to receive my article about all the event announcements and happenings, subscribe to my weekly newsletter here.

See ya real soon!

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