Wow! I think I am still having heart palpitations after all the announcements at last weekend’s D23 Expo. When I wrote the preview for this year’s event I never in a million years thought it would be this crazy.
It all started with a bang when again this year the Disney Legends presentation included a surprise honoree. Harkening back to 2015 when Johnny Depp was a surprise honoree, this year it was Whoopi Goldberg who has many ties to the Disney media empire from her portrayal of one of the hyenas on The Lion King to Toy Story 3 to her work on ABC’s The View.
The panels with the biggest announcements were the Animation, Live Action and Disney Parks & Resorts. Here are the highlights of the weekend:
- The Speed Test short was shown as a teaser for a DisneyToon Studios movie that will focus on the history of aviation. The expected release date is April 12, 2019.
- Olaf’s Frozen Adventure – Olaf and Sven seek out holiday traditions for Anna & Elsa – It will accompany Coco which is set for release on November 22, 2017.
- Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet – Vanellope’s game breaks and Ralph and Vanellope must fix it. Look out for a cameo from all the voices of the Disney modern era princesses. Ralph Breaks the Internet will be in theatres on November 21, 2018.
- Incredibles 2 – All cast returning including Samuel L. Jackson as FroZone.
- Toy Story 4 –Lasseter is stepping down as director giving Josh Cooley full directing credit. (Evidently, running three animation studios doesn’t afford him the time to direct a movie. LOL) The scheduled release date is June 21, 2019.
- Untitled Dan Scanlon (Monster’s University) Project – The setting is two teenager elves are in a fantasy world where there is real magic.
Live Action Movies
- A Wrinkle in Time – “A family story wrapped in an epic adventure.” – Director Ava DuVernay This film will be released on March 9, 2018.
- Mary Poppins Return – This sequel takes place 24 years later, during the Great Depression.
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi – While no plot details were revealed, its mention definitely ramped up the excitement for the December 15, 2017 release.
- Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – November 2, 2018
- Bailey confirmed they are working with Dwayne Johnson on a Jungle Cruise film.
- Aladdin – The new cast was announced. Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, and Will Smith will play the parts of Aladdin, Jasmine and Genie, respectively.
- Avengers: Infinity War – Every single hero will be in this film which opens May 4, 2018.
Parks & Resorts
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Parks and Resorts goodness started early with the reveal of a detailed scaled model of the new Star Wars Land.
- Speaking of Star Wars Land: It now has an official name on both coasts: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios is not only getting the two new lands; they will also be home to a couple new attractions. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be a series of twists and turns through the movie screen with Mickey and his friends. The Great Movie Ride will also be sunsetting beginning on August 13, 2017 to make way for a new attraction which is rumored to be a ride through Disney movie history.
- Toy Story Land has an opening ‘season’. Since Disney never releases opening dates until the last minute all we know if that it will open in the Summer of 2018.
- Guardians of the Galaxy attraction coming to Future World. To make way for this attraction, Universe of Energy will be sunsetting on August 13, 2017.
- Ratatouille attraction coming to France Pavilion
- Forget your family mini-van, Disney announced a new transportation option for point-to-point transportation in a “Minnie” van.
- Both attractions will be open by Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021.
- Disneyland Paris’ Hotel New York will be reimagined into a new Marvel-themed wonderland.
- The long rumored gondola system is coming to Walt Disney World. Disney Skyliner will transport guests between Epcot, Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century and Caribbean Beach and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
- A new table service restaurant with an ‘out-of-the-world’ experience is coming to Future World adjacent to Mission: SPACE.
Magic Kingdom Park
- A new entertainment venue modeled after the Willis Wood theatre in 1920’s Kansas City will be located on Main Street, U. S. A.
- TRON Lightcycle Power Run attraction is confirmed at Walt Disney World. However, instead of replacing Tomorrowland Speedway as the rumors speculated, it will inhabit a totally new location next to Space Mountain.
- Pixar Pier, a new immersive experience, will be coming to Disney California Adventure in 2018.
- Paint the Night Parade will return to Disney California Adventure.
- The Guardians of the Galaxy will be joined by Spider-Man and the Avengers in a completely immersive Super Hero universe.
Disney Cruise Line
- Disney has previously announced two new ships were being added to the Disney Cruise Line fleet. However, that number jumped to three. The ships are scheduled to be complete in 2021, 2022 and 2023. The newest ships have 1,250 guest rooms which are larger than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.
- A new Star Wars-inspired resort is coming to Walt Disney World. Bob Iger called the resort a “living adventure that allows guests to immerse themselves in an entirely new form of Disney storytelling”.
- Disney Riviera Resort, the 15th DVC property, will be built near Epcot and be accessible to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios via the new Disney Skyliner.
Sue Nowicki is an alumna of the 2014/15 Disney Parks Moms Panel. She splits her time between planning her next Walt Disney World vacation and being team mom to ten high-energy volleyball players where she fills the roles of secretary, navigator, head cheerleader, treasurer, athletic trainer and team psychologist. You can follow her on Twitter @MQPodcast.