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  • Writer's pictureJared Pitzer

What's Coming to Walt Disney World!

The D23 Expo is wrapping up today in Anaheim, California but we now know what's coming to the parks and beyond thanks to an absolutely amazing Disney Parks and Resorts presentation that took place on Saturday. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the D23 Expo, it's a celebration of all things Disney. Major announcements are made for new projects as well as updates to projects that are already underway for the Parks and Resorts, live action and animation, video games, and much more!

We wanted to break down each announcement that was made for the Parks, Resorts, and Disney Cruise Line and let you know why we are excited for each one! We will start with the Walt Disney World Resort which was the recipient of most of the announcements as the resort prepares for it's 50th anniversary celebration in 2021.

The Magic Kingdom:

TRON Coaster

What is it? Simply put it's a roller coaster, but not just any roller coaster as Tron takes guests into the grid aboard two wheeled lightcycles. The TRON Lightcycle Power Run attraction is the highest rated attraction at Shanghai Disneyland and now we will get to experience something similiar here stateside.

When will it open? By 2021

Why we are excited? Where to begin! It's a new thrill ride at the Magic Kingdom and hopefully it will be the beginning a revamped Tommorrowland. It's a perfect fit to the land and judging by the concept art the rumors about the Tomorrowland Speedway's closure were false. It's just an absolutely amazing addition to a park that already is jam packed with attractions.

New Theater for Main Street U.S.A.

What is it? It's a new theater that's designed to look like the Willis Wood Theater in Kansas City as it stood in 1920s when Walt Disney was living there as a young boy. It will sit right off Main Street, U.S.A. Nothing was said about what the show would be in the theater.

When will it open? By 2021

Why are we excited? It's not often that something new and excited is announced for Main Street U.S.A. (literally one side of the entire street is a giant souvenir shop)and it was an unexpected announcement as nothing was leaked about the theater in the days leading up to the event. We can't wait to see what the inaugural show will be!


Ratatouille Attraction for the France Pavilion

What is it? It's a 4-D ride through attraction that will be similar to the Ratatouille: The Adventure attraction in Disneyland Paris. You'll be shrunken down to the size of a mouse for the adventure as your scurry across Gasteau's famed kitchen.

When will it open? By 2021

Why we are excited? EPCOT is in desperate need of more attractions, especially ones for smaller children. This attraction is also a perfect fit to the France pavilion as the story takes place in Paris and there's no conflict as when a certain pair of sister's fairy-tale land took over a pavilion a few countries down.

Guardians of the Galaxy Attraction

What is it? Well, all we really know is that it's a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction that will replace Ellen's Energy Adventure which will permanently close on August 13th. From the looks of the concept art it looks to be a complete immersive experience which is becoming the norm for new attractions.

When will it open? By 2021

Why are we excited? This will be the first Marvel attraction at Walt Disney World and hopefully won't be the last. Universal Studios owns the theme park rights to a lot of the Marvel characters due to a contract that was in place well before Disney bought Marvel in 2009. Universal Studios never used the Guardians of the Galaxy characters so Disney was free to make an attraction. Don't expect an Avengers or Spiderman attraction in Florida until Universal and Disney work out a deal that gives Disney full rights to all characters. For now we are super excited to have a new E Ticket (major attraction) and hopefully the addition of Guardians and Ratatouille will remove the tiered FastPasses which causes planning issues.

Mission Space Upgrade and Space Restaurant

What is it? This was a two part announcement. First it was announced that Mission Space will receive a new upgrade that features an orbit around Earth mission on the Green Side, while the more intense Orange side will still be the classic Mars mission. The second announcement was a new restaurant beside Mission Space that will feature great food with a unique view.

When will they open? Mission Space is currently showing on the refurbishment through September with the possibility of extending further into the fall. Our best guess is that it will reopen by the end of this year. No date was given for the restaurant, but we imagine it will be done by the 50th Anniversary in 2021.

Why are we excited? Mission Space was in need of a refresh and it will drive more people to the attraction which will spread the crowd across the park. We are extremely excited for the new space restaurant because well it's really cool and because it will be operated by the Patina Restaurant Group who currently operate popular Walt Disney World restaurants like Via Napoli, Tutto Italia, and Morimoto Asia.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

What is it? Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is now the official name of the Star Wars lands that were announced back at the last D23 Expo in 2015 for Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida and at Disneyland Park in California. They showed off a huge model of the new lands and WOW they are going to be out of this world! (Yes, I am aware how corny that is). We learned more about the two feature attractions, one which will allow guests to pilot the Millennium Falcon and the other will put you right into a battle between the First Order and the Resistance on a Star Destroyer!

When will it open? 2019 (Aren't you glad we didn't say 2021!) Disney announced that Disneyland is progressing a little faster so it will open before Hollywood Studios.

Why are we excited? It's STAR WARS! From the moment Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012 we have been waiting for more Star Wars in the parks. While the temporary attractions like Star Wars Launch Bay and the Star Wars: Galactic Spectacular Fireworks are amazing, we have been dying to step inside the environment that has captivated audiences since a Star Wars: A New Hope was released in 1977. Disney promises that this will be an immersive land like nothing they have done before which is a bold statement when you look at how amazing Pandora: The World of Avatar is at Disney's Animal Kingdom!

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway

What is it? It's a 2 1/2D (a new 3D like technology without the need for glasses) ride through attraction that puts you in the middle of a Mickey Mouse cartoon. Surprisingly, it's the first Mickey Mouse attraction at Walt Disney World and it promises to be a fun, family friendly attraction.

When will it open? By 2021

Why are we excited? Mickey Mouse finally get's his own dedicated ride and the new "2 1/2D" technology will be groundbreaking.

Why are we sad? Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway will replace the Great Movie Ride which will permanently close on August 13th. We loved the Great Movie Ride and will miss it dearly. With that said change is always good and Disney's Hollywood Studios will be a much better park in 2021 than it is today.

Toy Story Land

What is it? Toy Story Land was announced back at the last D23 Expo in 2015 and while we really didn't get any major news, we did learn that it is scheduled to open in summer of 2018. The land set in Andy's backyard will feature a new entrance to the wildly popular Toy Story Midway Mania, a Slinky Dog coaster and a spinning attraction themed to the three eyed aliens and the claw (ooooooo!).

When will it open? Summer of 2018

Why are we excited? Hollywood Studios has been a bit of a mess since construction started on Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and Toy Story Land and it's nice to finally see some light at the end of the tunnel. Toy Story Land gives the park some much needed family attractions and who doesn't love Toy Story!

Animal Kingdom:

Nothing Announced...

The amazing new land Pandora: The World of Avatar just opened this summer at the parks so it's no shocker that nothing was announced. The addition of Pandora and Rivers of Light turned this half day park into a full day of fun!

Beyond the Parks:

Star Wars Resort

What is it? According to Bob Chapek, Chairman of Disney Parks & Resorts "It's unlike anything that exists today. From the second you arrive, you will become a part of a Star Wars story! You’ll immediately become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with characters, stories, and adventures that unfold all around you. It is 100% immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day, and it will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits.”

When will it open? No date was given.

Why are we excited? It's a Star Wars resort! The ability to be completed immersed in the Star Wars universe is mind blowing! We can't even put into words our excitement because we really don't even know what it is yet. All we know is that we are overwhelmed with excitement!

Disney Skyliner

What is it? The Disney Skyliner is the official name to the rumored gondola transportation system for the Walt Disney World Resort. It will link Disney's Art of Animation, Disney's Pop Century, Disney's Caribbean Beach, and other locations with Disney's Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at EPCOT.

When will it open? No date was given, we imagine it will be open well before 2021.

Minnie Vans

What is it? A point to point transportation system similar to Uber. In classic Disney fashion the vans are pokka dotted "Minnie" vans.

When will service begin? No date was given, but this was the least ambitious announcement so we can see these Minnie Vans zipping through the Resort shortly

Why are we excited? It's a much needed service for those that are uncomfortable with services like Uber and don't want to deal with a taxi. We know we will be safe and in good hands with a Disney transportation service.

As you can see, there was A LOT of announcements and we just covered what's coming to Walt Disney World! We will have another post shortly with what's coming to Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line!

What are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments!

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