Disney’s corporate-wide 100 Years of Wonder celebration will kick off in January at the Disneyland Resort in California, with the return of the Magic Happens parade and the debut of two new night-time spectaculars, Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro announced today during a 100-minute “A Boundless Future” presentation at the D23 Expo in Anaheim.
World of Color: One at Disney California Adventure will be “World of Color like you’ve never seen it before,” D’Amaro said, while Wondrous Journeys will fill the skies above Disneyland with a new projection and fireworks show, themed to all the 60+ Disney animated films.
Even before then, Disneyland guests will be able to enjoy visits from new park characters, including Hulk at Avengers Campus starting next week and the Mandalorian Din Djarin and Grogu in Star Wars_Galaxy’s Edge starting in Mid-November.
Photo courtesy Disney
Early in 2023, in addition to the new shows, the new Mickey’s Toontown will open, featuring the west coast installation of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which will be slightly modified from the Florida original.
Then in 2024, runDisney will return to the Disneyland Resort, while late in the year Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will open, replacing Splash Mountain with a new theme and staging for the beloved flume ride.
“We want this attraction to be a love letter to New Orleans,” Walt Disney Imagineering’s Carmen Smith said. Several film cast members will voice the attraction, including Anika Noni Rose, D’Amaro said. Rose then comes to stage to perform “Almost There” and “Dig a Little Deeper.”
Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige announced that the third attraction at DCA’s Avengers Campus will “bring the multiverse to Avengers Campus,” with a new ride that will put visitors in the middle of battle between all of the Avengers and all of their foes, led by a new villain King Thanos. “This is the Thanos that won,” Feige said. “And the Avengers are not happy about that. So you have to help them.”
King Thanos. Image courtesy Disney
D’Amaro also announced that DCA’s Pacific Wharf land will transformed into Big Hero 6’s San Fransokyo, though he provided no opening date or details for that, beyond confirming that it will include a Baymax meet and greet.
San Fransokyo at DCA. Image courtesy Disney
At Downtown Disney, D’Amaro announced that Din Tai Fung and Porto’s are coming to the shopping and dining district. He also said – to great applause – that everyone at the presentation would get a Porto’s pastry on their way out of the presentation.
Finally, D’Amaro announced that the Paradise Pier Hotel at Disneyland will be renamed the Pixar Place Hotel. Remember that Pixar Pier replaced the old Paradise Pier land in Disney California Adventure across the street several years back.
Walt Disney World
The Magic Kingdom also is getting Tiana’s Bayou Adventure in late 2024, as well as the TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster, which D’Amaro announced will open in spring 2023.
Also next year at the Magic Kingdom, Happily Ever After is returning, and the Hatbox Ghost is coming to the Haunted Mansion, following its successful return to Disneyland.
Hatbox Ghost. Image courtesy Disney
At Epcot, the Moana Journey of Water walk-through will open in late 2023, and Figment is coming back as a meet and greet character sometime next year. But the biggest news for the park is that Disney will replace Harmonious with a new World Showcase lagoon nighttime spectacular in 2023, celebrating Disney’s 100th anniversary as a company.
Disney Cruise Line
Disney’s sixth ship will be named Disney Treasure and set sail in 2024. Its theme will be “adventure,” with Aladdin, Jasmine and their Magic Carpet as the Grand Hall characters, with that entrance hall to the ship drawing on influences from Asia and Africa.
The DCL will sail to Australia and New Zealand for the first time starting in October 2023, with the Disney Wonder repositioning via the Disney Cruise Line’s first South Pacific voyages, with stops including Fiji and Samoa.
D’Amaro also said that work has started on Lighthouse Point in The Bahamas, which will be 90% powered by solar energy.
Lighthouse Point. Image courtesy Disney
Hong Kong Disneyland will be getting a new Walt and Mickey statue, with Walt sitting on the Griffith Park bench where he first envisioned Disneyland.
Image courtesy Disney
Three Frozen-themed lands are coming to Disney Parks around the world, with World of Frozen opening in the second half of 2023 at Hong Kong Disneyland, a Frozen section of the Fantasy Springs project opening in late 2023 or early 2024 at Tokyo DisneySea and the third land coming to Disneyland Paris’ Walt Disney Studios Park.
World of Frozen at Hong Kong Disneyland. Image courtesy Disney
A new garden-filled promenade will lead guests to the Frozen land in Paris, and that promenade will include new Tangled-themed family attraction.
Shanghai Disneyland is getting its new Zootopia land, for which D’Amaro shared some new concept art, showing the windows from which the puppet characters we saw previews in the Disney Parks pavilion on the D23 show floor will interact with guests. Still no opening date, though.
Image courtesy Disney
For fans of Duffy and his friends, the cuddly crew that got their start at Tokyo DisneySea and other Disney Parks in Asia will be coming to Disney+ with a six-episode, stop-motion animated series next year.
In what might turn out to be the most controversial segment of the presentation, Imagineering’s Chris Beatty and Walt Disney Studios’ Jennifer Lee joined D’Amaro on stage to tease several potential projects for Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. For DAK, the trip teased Zootopia and Moana-themed concepts to replace Dinoland, while in the Magic Kingdom, they suggested Coco, Encanto and – to wild applause – a Villains-themed land to go behind Big Thunder Mountain.
Concept art for Moana and Zootopia at DAK.
There is as much chance of seeing all five of these concepts come to life at Disney World as there is of us seeing that Mary Poppins attraction for Epcot’s United Kingdom pavilion that Disney announced at the previous D23 Expo. (And that was confirmed to me by a source in the company after the presentation.) But Disney apparently has decided that it wants to get into the game of fueling fan rumors, rather than leaving others to introduce and control that narrative.
Plus, this way, Disney can get an early read on fan reaction as it floats these trial balloons to its most dedicated fans. The early take? Villains was the runaway favorite of the five concepts trialed here.
D’Amaro transitioned from the Blue Sky segment to wrap the presentation on a hopeful note.
“Disney is a company of unrivaled creativity, and we are never, never going to stop working towards that,” D’Amaro said. “We’re never going to stop surprising. We’re never going to stop the delighting and pushing the boundaries of where we should all go together.”
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I think we’ll learn more about the third attraction at Avengers Campus too.
An Avenger’s ride where you have to help them win a battle? Please tell me it’s not another shooter.
Very stoked to hear about the change to Pacific Wharf, it’s so sad and incongruous right now.
Okay, so the Tiana ride:
Tiana is opening a grocery store inside of an abandoned salt mine. That’s filled with “critters.”
That’s the honest-to-god story of it. A grown woman is opening an underground grocery store filled with raccoons and rats and such. I guess the drop represents your efforts to escape with your dirty groceries without getting rabies?
Still watching … But the real story is what’s going on with PLAY!
Let’s Go Chapek!
Shame that Disney’s already throwing in the towel on Enchantment and Harmonious, but I do applaud them for at least recognizing guest feedback and adjusting as needed.
San Fransokyo at DCA sounds pretty cool though.
Blowing out the back of the MKP for ‘Cocoa’ and ‘Enchanto’ … YEAH … “Let’s GO Chapek!”
And “villains”?! … YEAH … “Let’s GO Chapek!”
Pretty underwhelming overall, but that was expected going in. Wanted more detail on Fantasy Springs but unsurprised that OLC wants to do that themselves. On the plus side it’s good to see they recognize they need to fix Dinoland, and the Villains land is a cool idea that got easily the biggest cheer of the presentation, hope they go through with that, but with how slow their construction has been it seems like it’ll be the 2030s before either of those concepts see the light of day.
Not so fast, TH. These are blue sky concepts which mean sh-t at this point. With Disney’s track record, this will be another New Fantasyland expansion – value engineered and underwhelming. And that’s if it ever gets built. I’d rather have the Rivers of America and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
What happened to the PLAY pavilion, and Mary Poppins, and the Spaceship Earth redo. And Moana and Zootopia taking over Dinoland USA? No wonder Joe Rohde left the company. LOL! Good luck with that.
Let’s Go Chapek! (clap…clap…clap, clap, clap)
Really Keith? That’s the best ya got? “What ifs”?
Um … okay.
Honestly Keith Schneider, you come here HOPING Disney fails … You WANT them to fail … Your message to the 170,000 Disney cast members is that you WANT their company to fail.
Instead of saying “Great concepts” … “Great ambitions” … I want this to become a reality: … You offer “Let’s go Chapek”?
On behalf of someone speaking for a Disney cast member family, thanks.
TH, are you mental? You were just boasting about the announced what ifs (blue sky concepts). And now you’re projecting?
Let’s Go TH! (clap…clap…clap, clap, clap)
TH, Disney should be better than this, but all they seem to care about is taking the money and running.
Get a set, TH.
@Benny 27: Notice you did not address my comment to Keith Schneider; He wants Disney to fail and will spin news to accommodate that convicton.
@TH Creative so basically, you think disney should be hailed as a flawless God and that everyone who criticizes them and chapek should die. Got it loser.
So Benny27 is guaranteeing that WDW will shut down completely after UEU opens?
Are you and Keith Facebook friends?
Now TH is playing the victim. Keep score everyone. First TH was projecting, now he/she/they is playing the ol’ boo who woise me card. Whatcha got next, TH?
TH has gone from suck to blow (Spaceballs!). Maybe Disney should use this IP to replace Dinoland USA.
Keith, could you just confirm you want Disney to Fail?
Benny: “You know theme park insider will take their side since they can’t tolerate criticism of disney”
Me; So (a guy who joined this twenty-plus years community TODAY) is questioning Robert Niles’ objectivity?
Tron opening spring 2023 just doesn’t make sense. I would say that was the worst announcement.
The Blue Sky wasn’t anything official so I don’t have an opinion one way or other because they’re just concepts.
Disney won’t close but Universal with Nintendo world is going to be a second harry potter gate that is going to pour them money like when the wizarding world first opened. Disney doesn’t need to make announcements they need to thin out their parks as thats guest number one complaint and they’re doing it by raising prices and not adding anything big. They just added Ratatouille and Guardians and soon to be Tron. They will rest on those for the time being until they need to start keeping up with Epic Universe. Maybe Disney thinks Epic and the cohesiveness with the other universal parks won’t be successful and they’re resting on those laurels possibly.
And now TH is making false accusations. So sad.
I want Disney (and TH for that matter) to be better. They should be better.
“Oh oh, take the money and run.”
Shane: “Tron opening spring 2023 just doesn’t make sense.”
Me: It absolutely makes sense as it is in step with a marketing strategy celebrating the 100th anniversary.
Benny the Rookie posts: “Epic universe is going to do amazing with killer unique rides and low prices.”
Me: A woman just posted at this link that her one day with a family of four at Universal cost them $1,113.
So tell us rookie, three years from now, when people crash into UEU … How much will one day for a family of four cost?
I’m glad they’re changing up Avengers Campus to be based in a separate universe than that of the MCU…Having it take place in a particular time frame in relation to the MCU was always inhibiting exactly what they can do with the characters and theming…This way they can vastly open up the story they want to tell…
Warning here to keep comments about the presentation and not directed toward each other.
Overall, imo this was a pretty lackluster D23 parks panel. I was really hoping for some more big announcements so that Disney could strike back against Universal and steal some of the hype away from EU. This was their chance and they kinda fumbled the bag.
The most exciting part to me was the possible Magic Kingdom expansion but I couldn’t help shake the feeling that they were being very specific with their words. I can’t recall exactly what they said but they kept stating along the lines of “it might happen” and “concept art could be countless versions of the idea”. It’s smart to not build yourself into a box and promise things that might change but I feel like saying these things is a disingenuous way to say that “we may change things or cancel things, we don’t even know yet”. Even with the Zootopia and Moana AK stuff, they kept emphasizing that “there are so many ideas that different pieces of concept art could show”. It’s a smart method but I can’t help but feel like it’s a cheap way to announce projects.
I’m also really nervous about the Avengers E-ticket. With the promise of different characters, they’ll probably build a bunch of screens so that it’ll be easy to change out heroes and villains. I really like this concept of a multiverse attraction and King Thanos. I find it really promising and intriguing if executed correctly, but I hope it’s just not a bunch of screens. Also, going by the concept art which “shows different ideas for different versions of an attraction so we may change it anytime blah blah blah”, it shows what could appear to be a trackless dark ride vehicle but I’m not sure. The original concept art back in 2019 showed individual flying seats. Seemed like a more fun attraction physicality experience but ig we’ll just have to see.
Finally, two things. 100 Years of Wonder better have more stuff than the 50th anniversary of WDW and Tron opening in Spring 2023 was probably the most disappointing part of the panel.
Villains has been a theme park fan dream since God was a boy. To hear Disney reference it in such a public forum borders on historic. The idea of blowing out the borders of MKP counters (adds to) the UEU investment in Central Florida.
What starte as a “ho-hum” presentation ended in a major announcement for the Central Florida economy.
2030 is gonna be AWESOME!
TH, yeah, and monkeys might fly outta my butt (Wayne’s World!). Another likely IP to take over Dinoland USA.
Say, how’s that “gate crasher” Harmonious at EPCOT doing? Oh, it’s being shelved. And the daytime fountains STILL aren’t working.
Be better Disney.
Wow, WDW is getting spoiled.
Best announcement was Figment, man I thought; now they are going to redo the ride and have Figment prominent in the attraction. Maybe it gets to its original length to tell a new and unique story about this popular purple dragon. In the meantime, helping the crowds and wait times a bit.
But it’s much better, it’s a meet and greet. As if Disney was reading my mind.
TH says ” It absolutely makes sense as it is in step with a marketing strategy celebrating the 100th anniversary.”
I say “Disney takes almost 6 years to make one copy of an existing attraction.
Universal makes a giant additional park with state of the art attractions in same time. Theres a disconnect there. Disney can hold an attraction for 100 anniversary I get that but its just another not consumer friendly decisions they’ve done in the past year with the others.
Shane: “Universal makes a giant additional park with state of the art attractions in same time.”
Me: That sounds awesome. If you can tell me where to get tickets I will go there tomorrow.
The real story is that WDW has a vision to blow-out the back of the most successful themed entertainment model on the planet (Magic Kingdom park). If they started that effort TODAY, in six years (2028) they would counter any Central Florida competition. And theme park fans should loudly applaud that intent.
That is freakin awesome that Disney is about to add some huge new additions to MK. It would have been easy to open up Tron and Tianas in 2024 and let MK sit untouched for the next decade and a half or so but I’m glad they already have some neat stuff laid out for the future even after that. This is a win for all theme park fans especially those who frequent the most popular park in the world.
I’m really not impressed by the event today. We heard very little about anything other than attractions that were already announced prior. I know TH is doing his happy dance in regards to the “possible” expansion of the Magic Kingdom but I can’t help but to temper my enthusiasm for that project, IF it ever happens at all. We all remember the amazing attractions promised a few years back by Chapek and the boys regarding the redo Of Spaceship Earth, The Play Pavilion and Mary Poppins amongst others. There’re now gone like dust in the wind.
The Villains area (which they MIGHT build) could be fun, but why am I expecting an east coast version of the DCA Halloween event Villains grove? I see them going with this model of a meet and greet with a restaurant and a gift shop and then calling it a day.
I really do enjoy Disney but I’m sorry, the mouse really did drop the ball as of recent. In a few years I CAN see the situation of mom an dad talking to their kids Bud and Sis and telling them they’re going to EPCOT to see Moana the shape of water and a Coco meet and greet and kids respond with “But we wanna go to see Mario and Harry Potter and Toothless the dragon”.
If we’re going to be honest, Disney World is not going out of business, but I see them losing some serious market share over the next 5 to 10 years with the road they are on.
Yawn – Maybe they’ll announce a new fully immersive hotel where you can play princess for 3 days for $5k.
Looks good overall even though obviously a lot of it Blue Sky stuff and we know how things can change but still not bad. Hope a bit more of WDW but does seem they’re not trying to compete direct with Universal on “epic” stuff but build on what they have which might be a better strategy down the line. I still trust Disney overall so some of this looks well worth waiting for.
When do you think the new Avengers ride will debut? Also, San Fransokyo in California Adventure?
The very FACT that we know Disney is considering an MKP northwest expansion over the next three, four, ten years is enough to crow about. The click bait vlog garage band, wannabe on the outside industry can flounder as they choose. But stop and THINK! Mr. Disney bought all those acres in Florida SPECIFICALLY for elbow room for all of his dreams. This PUBLIC announcement of the intent to blow-out the northwest corner of MKP is noteworthy … By any reasonable standard
Instead of “blowing out” one of the sectors of Magic Kingdom, I think it is more likely that we see Rivers of America drained/filled-in and Tom Sawyer Island flattened (sorry, Robert).
I certainly wouldn’t shed a tear over losing those, along with the Liberty Square Riverboat.
Of course, if Disney does truly expand the perimeters of the park, what does that mean for the railroad? Another re-route?
Yikes, it’s very clear those bluesky concepts were just created to save face. They even presented it as if they’re giving a new seminar to new Imagineering students as opposed to it being an actual announcement. A lot “what if we place a ride here that we don’t have a story for yet one day.” If these concepts do develop, they’re so new that the first of the 3 lands wouldn’t break land until near 2030, well after Epic Universal. Zootopia makes more sense in DHS than AK & Moana seems silly after already ill-placing it into Epcot, Joe Rhode dipped for a reason. Even the lack of concept art for Avengers & PATF are telling, where’s the direction? Not impressed
Why wouldn’t they “break land until near 2030”? As opposed to 2024?
Story updated. Comments with personal attacks posted after my warning have been deleted. If you made such comments before my warning, now would be a good time for you to delete those. Thank you for helping to keep the discussion welcoming to all.
And I have some really, really interesting stuff that I learned after the presentation that I will be able to share later. Stay tuned.
@TH Creative the MK projects are so bluesky they won’t even be considered to be constructed for a long time, if they even make it out the blueSky phase. I’d say the earliest realistic wouldn’t be at least until 4-6 years from now until they start construction, these things take a long time and these projects are clearly just new ideas right now.
Reading into this a bit more I can see why Robert called it controversial and some folks are unhappy. The blue sky segment does seem a bit of like a carrot at the end of the stick type of deal. I dont like the fact that they filled up the presentation with “maybes.”
But lets not lose sight that they did confirm an e-ticket ride for avengers campus which is a major win for the disneyland resort. Im not so happy about the San Fransokyo part. I like the last remaining vestiges of California in that park. We’ll see how it turns out.
IMO this “Epic Universe is a game changer and Disney is screwed if they don’t respond to it” thing is total nonsense to me. I see Epic Universe as nothing more than a cash grab with attractions that should have been added to the other two parks, but to each his own. Disney will be fine, people go to Disney World for Disney World, not for Universal.
Also I hope to god all of these IP minilands do not actually happen. If there is one thing the world does not need more of its IP minilands.
would love to see what was on the table for the e-ticket in california adventure’s avengers campus before chadwick baseman passed away. I have no doubt what they put together will be fantastic, but a Wakanda and black panther-centered attraction would have been something special.
otherwise, sounds like a lot of what we expected — but certainly not much to complain about on my end. I would love a more thoughtful revamp of pixar pier that brings some of those attractions up to the standard of the rest of the park, but that’s just My Blue Sky Phase.
I have a blue sky thought: How about it not take 5 years to open a replica roller coaster. UO will have an entire theme park with hotels open in less time than it took Tron Lightcycle Run to open. The most hilarious part is that the roof is already showing aging signs, and it still wont be open for at least 6 months!
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