A Comprehensive List of Everything Announced For Disney Parks at 2015 D23 Expo
Every other year, the Walt Disney Company holds the D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center in order to showcase “all the magic, wonder, and adventure of Disney at this remarkable gathering created especially for the most passionate and loyal fans.” The Expo presents three full days of “inside-the-magic” experiences, including exclusive sneak peeks at upcoming films from The Walt Disney Studios, dazzling celebrity appearances, the Disney Legends ceremony, and the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives exhibition, which spotlights crown jewels from Disney’s timeless legacy.
And of interest to theme park fans: a look at what’s coming from Disney Parks and Resorts and Walt Disney Imagineering. This particular presentation was held Saturday afternoon, and we have done our best to compile all of the new experiences coming to the 12 Disney Parks around the world in the near future.
Disneyland Park: We reported this afternoon about the Star Wars-themed areas coming to both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando. Though there was not a timeline announced for this large expansions, Disney did shed some light on some Star Wars-related experiences that will open in the very near future.
Star Wars Launch Bay – Opening later this year, this interactive experience will take guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and Disneyland park in California into the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as the first six films in the Star Wars saga. At Disneyland, this experience will be located in Tomorrowland, sharing the space with the reimagined Super Hero HQ, featuring opportunities to meet and take photos with Marvel Super Heroes like Captain America and Thor, as well as experience the returning Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries.
Season of the Force – This new seasonal event, beginning early 2016, brings new experiences to both coasts. In Tomorrowland at Disneyland park, guests will explore the Star Wars galaxy with special entertainment, themed food locations and — exclusive to Disneyland — Hyperspace Mountain – a reimagining of the classic Space Mountain attraction in which guests will join an X-wing Starfighter battle.
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, which was upgraded from Star Tours in 2011, will include a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, giving guests a new adventure in the Star Wars galaxy. This experience will be available later in 2015.
Finally, Jedi Training Academy – a favorite of younger fans – will be reimagined with a new experience that includes new characters and a new villain to battle from the popular Disney XD series, “Star Wars Rebels.”
Disney’s California Adventure
After a recent transition to high-definition, one of Disney’s California Adventure’s signature attractions Soarin’ Over California, will be receiving another upgrade as Soarin’ Around the World.
The attraction will take guests on a journey to far-flung lands and fly above some of the world’s most unique natural landscapes and man-made wonders. Some of the destinations will include the Great Wall of China and Monument Valley. It is expected to arrive in 2016.
Walt Disney World Resort
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is on deck to receive arguably the most drastic changes at any United States Disney Park. In addition to their own Star Wars land, Star Tours and Jedi Academy upgrades (that will also happen at Disneyland) Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Seasons of the Force will feature a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic score of the Star Wars movies on weekend nights. In addition, their version of Star Wars Launch Bay will be set in the park’s Animation Courtyard. (Speculation, but perhaps in the location of the recently-shuttered Magic of Disney Animation?).
In addition to the 14-Acre Star Wars Land, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will also be getting an 11-acre Toy Story Land.
Located near to the existing Toy Story Midway Mania attraction, (which will open a third track in the near future), the new Toy Story Land will feature two brand new attractions that are unique to the Disney’s Hollywood Studios Toy Story land.
There will be Family-friendly roller coaster that zip and zoom, plunge and coast as it takes guests on a thrilling, toy-filled adventure throughout the new land on the back of Slinky Dog. (It looks to have a similar train style to the “Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin” attraction at Disneyland Paris)
Also, an Alien Saucers attraction themed after the famous little green aliens from the Toy Story franchise will take guests around for a spin in their very own flying saucers. The ride will have a light sense of danger. The “claw” will loom over you, according to Disney Imagineer Kathy Magnum. This is a reference to the toy crane that took on ominous overtones in the films.
This will be the first Toy Story land in a United States Disney Park. There are similar themed areas at Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and under construction at Shanghai Disneyland. Magnum mentioned Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure as the bar for the “level of immersion” that the “Toy Story” land will attempt to convey. There was not an opening date announced for this area.
Already well into construction, James Cameron’s Pandora: The World of AVATAR themed land was a major topic of discussion at this year’s D23 Expo. (Be sure to check out this review of Everything AVATAR at D23 on Slashfilm.com)
The area’s signature attraction, AVATAR Flight of Passage will bring guests into one of the most thrilling scenes from the film, in which they will soar on a Banshee over a vast alien world.
— WDW News Today (@WDWNT) August 15, 2015
According to redditor /u/Zombies_Grace, the second attraction will be “A Pirates of the Caribbean-like water ride. The boar ride (which has not yet revealed a name) is described as ‘fluid, romantic, lyrical’ and ’emotional.’ It’ll take guests through a glowing bioluminescent forest, populated by animatronic animals.” Guests will also be able to “walk through a bioluminescent jungle experience.”
Outside Avatar Land, the Tree of Life will be transformed into the “Mother Tree” from Avatar at night using electronics and light projections during a new nighttime spectacular experience. (Supposedly, each leaf is being wired to light up.) (Again, credit to /u/Zombies_Grace)
With a major themed land opening up, guests will need more time to immerse themselves into the Pandora atmosphere, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will soon be open later each day to accommodate the amount of guests who will want to visit the park. With these later hours, Animal Kingdom has announced two new night-time experiences for guests to enjoy.
“Rivers of Light” – Expected to open next spring, “Rivers of Light” will be an innovative show unlike anything ever seen in Disney Parks, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery.
Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris – This popular attraction will be extended for a new nighttime adventure next spring, where guests will travel through the African savanna amid the magically extended orange glow of the setting sun and discover two species new to the attraction: African wild dogs and hyenas.
Disney’s Magic Kingdom park will be adding a new eatery by the end of 2015 with the addition of the Jungle Cruise-themed Skipper Canteen Restaurant. The restaurant will be located in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, “The Canteen will have several dining rooms, such as crew mess hall and a meeting room of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers.” The Sentinel also reports “Jungle Cruise skippers will staff the restaurant, so expect some eye-rolling puns on the menu.” As long as they have a sub on the menu that’s bun measures anywhere from a foot to a whopping twelve inches, I’m excited.
With a third theater under construction, Epcot’s Soarin’ will also receive the new Soarin’ Around the World ride film in 2016.
Imagineers also discussed details for the upcoming Frozen Ever After attraction in World Showcase’s Norway pavilion. Check out this video from Attractions Magazine for more details.
Hong Kong Disneyland
Disney’s first Marvel attraction, The Iron Man Experience, will open at Hong Kong Disneyland in 2016.
According to Slashfilm, Disney teamed with ILM to create the Iron Man Experience, a simulator ride which has been likened to Star Tours. The attraction will be part of Stark Expo in Tomorrowland. Guests will get to see inventions from Howard and Tony Stark, including the Iron Wing, essentially a really big Iron Man suit that’ll let guests see what it’s like to be inside Stark armor.
Shanghai Disneyland, Disney’s first park in mainland China, is currently under construction. There was a lot on display to showcase the upcoming park.
Tokyo Disneyland Resort
Accoring to WDWNT on Twitter, the Arendelle expansion for Tokyo DisneySea and Fantasyland Expansion for Tokyo Disneyland were discussed during the Disney Parks panel.
Moving on, discussing the Tokyo Disneyland Fantasyland and Arandelle in Tokyo DisneySea. #D23Expo
— WDW News Today (@WDWNT) August 15, 2015
Details were released earlier this year, and can be found in detail at Theme Park Insider.
Disneyland Paris Resort
Though there were no expansions or new attractions announced for Disneyland Paris, it was announced that the Disneyland Paris Resort will celebrate their 25th Anniversary in 2017.
— WDW News Today (@WDWNT) August 15, 2015
There’s a lot on the horizon for Disney Parks around the world. Which attraction are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments below!
Stay tuned to Coaster101.com for more information about all of these upcoming attractions!