Exciting New Experiences Coming to Disney Destinations

There were so many fun announcements for the Disney parks around the world last weekend at the D23 Expo. I have pulled the highlights from the destinations I most frequently visit and book most often for my clients.

Walt Disney World Resort

The 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort (2021) will be one of the biggest ever! We’re extending the celebration to all four Resort theme parks with amazing attraction openings, new entertainment, food and beverage, merchandise and more. 

Resorts

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will be a new, first-of-its-kind vacation experience where guests will check in for a two-night adventure aboard a glamorous starship. Once onboard, guests will interact with characters and become active participants in stories that unfold around them on their galactic journey.

You will cruise the galaxy in style aboard the Halcyon, known for its impeccable service and exotic destinations. Onboard, you will stay in well-appointed cabins, experience onboard dining, make a planet-side excursion to Black Spire Outpost on Batuu, and much more. Throughout the journey, you will be invited to delve deeper into your personal adventure by participating in onboard activities, interacting with characters, crew, other passengers you meet, and becoming part of the action and the broader Star Wars saga:

  • The adventure begins when you arrive at the Galactic Starcruiser Terminal at Walt Disney World and check in for your two-night experience.
  • You will be invited to enter a Launch Pod for transport into space. Through windows above, you’ll see yourself leave the real world behind as you jump to hyperspace and draw closer and closer to the Halcyon.
  • When the Launch Pod docks with the Halcyon and the airlock opens, you will step into the ship’s main deck Atrium to begin your journey through a galaxy far, far away.
  • A visit aboard the Halcyon becomes a multi-day story that interweaves with members of the crew, other passengers, familiar Star Wars characters, and an excursion to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  
  • The all-immersive experience also features entertaining activities, such as:
    • Wielding a lightsaber while facing off against a training remote, where you may discover your own connection with the Force.
    • Visiting the starcruiser’s Bridge to learn about ship systems and how to operate them, including navigation and defense – skills that may come in handy during a journey through this adventure-filled galaxy.
  • Every window in the Halcyon – including those in each cabin – has a view of the galaxy beyond, with ever-changing vistas as the ship progresses from place to place.
  • You’ll be able to explore the Halcyon and perhaps discover hidden spaces deep in the mechanics of the ship – perfect for uncovering secrets … or holding secret meetings.
  • Choices you make during your adventure will help determine how your Star Wars story progresses.

Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Lodge

Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Lodge, will be a unique hotel and proposed Disney Vacation Club resort inspired by the wonders of nature and artistry of Walt Disney.  It will be located on the land where Mickey’s Backyard BBQ once stood, near Fort Wildnerness and Wilderness Lodge.

Reflections will also be home to a new Princess and the Frog themed restaurant. This table service restaurant will allow guests to experience waterfront dining on the bayou.

Theme Parks

Epcot

There are big plans for our multi-year transformation of Epcot, with new experiences that will make the park more Disney, more family, more timeless and more relevant to the millions of guests who visit each year.  

The park will be unified with four neighborhoods that each celebrate a unique aspect of what makes Epcot so special. Where Future World currently stands, three new neighborhoods will spring up: World CelebrationWorld Discovery and World Nature. And World Showcase will continue to celebrate culture, cuisine, architecture and traditions from around the world.

World Celebration

  • World Celebration will offer new experiences that connect us to one another and the world around us.
  • The iconic Spaceship Earth will remain a voyage through time as the journey transforms to reflect the power of storytelling to unite the human experience. New narration and an entirely new musical score will focus on the moments and ideas that define our story. You will follow a magical “story light” that brings the entire experience to life in dynamic ways, giving each scene energy and beauty that ties the entire journey together.
  • new pavilion will be the perfect place for live events, and the home base for Epcot’s signature festivals. It will provide a stunning elevated view of the entire park and an ideal spot to witness Epcot’s nighttime spectacular. This beautiful three-level structure will have one of the most remarkable architectural designs at any Disney park, featuring a plaza level, a middle expo level, and a park that sits in the sky on the top level.
  • Epcot’s entrance plaza will be transformed with new experiences that connect us with the world, welcoming you with a reimagined fountain, new pathways and sweeping green spaces that beautify the entryway. The design will pay homage to the origins of Epcot. 
  • As you exit Spaceship Earth, you’ll discover a breathtaking new view of World Showcase from Dreamers Point. World Celebration will also feature a new statue celebrating the legacy of the original dreamer, Walt Disney, plus beautiful natural environments and global design elements filled with Disney magic and surprises, including a wishing tree in an enchanted forest and a story fountain celebrating the power and music of iconic Disney storytelling.

World Nature

  • World Nature is dedicated to understanding and preserving the beauty, awe and balance of the natural world. It will include The Land and The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilions.  
  • Journey of Water, Inspired by “Moana” will be the first experience inspired by the hit Walt Disney Animation Studios film. This lush exploration trail will invite you to meet and play with magical, living water. The water will have a life of its own – just like Moana’s friend, the ocean – and you’ll learn about the importance of the natural water cycle.
  • The Land pavilion’s new film, “Awesome Planet,” which showcases the beauty, diversity and dynamic story of the planet, will debut in January 2020.

World Discovery

  • In World Discovery, stories about science, technology and intergalactic adventure come to life.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will be the first “other-world” showcase pavilion at Epcot. The adventure starts in the “Galaxarium,” a planetarium-like exhibition that explores the similarities and mysteries of the formation of Earth’s galaxy and Xandar. You will be invited to learn more about the treasures Xandar has to share – until the moment when the Guardians of the Galaxy arrive, and adventures across the cosmos ensue. The attraction will feature a new innovation from Walt Disney Imagineering – a storytelling coaster that rotates 360 degrees to focus your attention on the action, including the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster.
  • An expansion of the Mission: SPACE pavilion, the new restaurant Space 220 will be a culinary experience featuring the celestial panorama of a space station, including daytime and nighttime views of Earth from 220 miles up. You’ll board a special elevator for a journey to a space station that is home to an incredible dining experience. Along the way, viewports will give you a real-time perspective as you travel high above the planet. Once you arrive, you’ll enjoy fantastic meals and drinks while taking in views that are truly out of this world. Opening this winter, Space 220 will be operated by the Patina Restaurant Group. 
  • The PLAY! pavilion will open in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World. In this digital metropolis, you’ll discover an interactive city bursting with games, activities and experiences that connect you with friends, family and beloved Disney characters – both real and virtual – like never before. As part of this new pavilion, you’ll have the chance to help legendary fashion icon Edna Mode on her quest to rid the world of uninspired style, or make a splash competing in a water-balloon fight hosted by Huey, Dewey, Louie and Webby.

You’ll be able to visualize these exciting plans for Epcot when doors open Oct. 1, 2019, for Walt Disney Imagineering presents the Epcot Experience in the Odyssey Events Pavilion. You’ll discover engaging and interactive exhibits that showcase the relentless innovation, energy and excitement driving the park’s future throughout this unprecedented period of transformation.

World Showcase

World Showcase will continue to be a celebration of culture, cuisine, architecture and traditions – infused with new magic.

  • The United Kingdom pavilion will welcome the first attraction inspired by Mary Poppins. You will step in time down Cherry Tree Lane past Admiral Boom’s house, then enter Number 17, home of the Banks family, where your adventure will begin.
  • In 2020, following the limited-time run of “Epcot Forever,” the new “HarmonioUS” will debut as the largest nighttime spectacular ever created for a Disney park. It will celebrate how the music of Disney inspires people the world over, carrying you away harmoniously on a stream of familiar Disney tunes reinterpreted by a diverse group of artists from around the globe. “HarmonioUS” will feature massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics, lasers and more.
  • In summer 2020, the France pavilion will offer even more for you to discover, including the much-anticipated attraction Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, where you’ll shrink to the size of Chef Remy and race through Gusteau’s restaurant on a wild adventure. Summer 2020 will also see the debut of a delicious new restaurant in the France pavilion, La Crêperie de Paris, offering both table- and quick-service options featuring a menu from celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse.
  • Also in the France pavilion, the classic Impressions de France film will be joined by the new “Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along,” debuting in January 2020 and directed by Don Hahn, producer of both the animated and live-action versions of this tale as old as time. 
  • “Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360” will debut in January 2020 in the Canada pavilion with new scenes and a new story.
  • In the China pavilion, “Wondrous China” will take guests on a spectacular journey across the country, filmed and presented in a completely seamless 360-degree digital format.

And following the limited time run of Epcot Forever at Epcot, a new nighttime spectacular called  HarmonioUS will be the largest ever created for a Disney park. It will celebrate how the music of Disney inspires people the world over. 

Hollywood Studios

The newly themed Chinese Theater will be home to Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway when it opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in spring 2020.  

This first major Mickey-themed ride-through attraction will put you inside the wacky and unpredictable world of a Mickey Mouse cartoon short where anything can happen!  Once you step into the cartoon world of Mickey and Minnie, you’ll board a train with Goofy as the engineer. Then, one magical moment after the next leads you to a zany, out-of-control adventure filled with surprising twists and turns. With an original story and lovable theme song, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway uses state-of-the-art technologies and dazzling visual effects to transform the cartoon world into an incredible and immersive multidimensional experience.

Magic Kingdom

Also, at Magic Kingdom Park, the TRON attraction will be called TRON Lightcycle Run. As regular readers know, this attraction lets riders board a train of two-wheeled Lightcycles and experience the energy, lights and excitement of TRON’s high-tech universe. 

Disney Springs

For the first time, Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Animation Studios have joined forces with Cirque du Soleil to create a show that will combine Disney storytelling and heart with Cirque du Soleil’s signature artistry. Previews will begin March 20, 2020, leading up to the world premiere on April 17.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Wish was revealed as the name of our fifth ship. It’s very fitting because making wishes come true is at the heart of so many Disney stories.

Disney Wish cruise ship

The ship’s atrium will be a bright, airy and elegant space inspired by the beauty of an enchanted fairytale. A beloved hallmark of Disney Cruise Line, it has been a tradition to adorn the back of our ships with an iconic character that reflects the theme of each vessel. For the Disney Wish, the ship’s stern will feature Rapunzel. Our favorite artsy princess, paintbrush in hand, uses her enchanted hair to suspend herself as she decorates the stern of the ship with the help of her feisty sidekick, Pascal. Spirited, smart, curious and above all, adventurous, Rapunzel embodies the wish and desire to see and experience the world.

The Disney Wish is scheduled for delivery in late 2021 and will set sail in January 2022. The vessel will join Disney Cruise Line’s award-winning fleet where guests experience the magic of Disney entertainment combined with the relaxation of tropical, sun-drenched beaches and the adventure of ocean cruising. All three new ships will be powered by liquefied natural gas and, at approximately 144,000 gross tons and 1,250 guest staterooms, be slightly larger than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.

I also want to share details on our second tropical destination in The Bahamas, which will be located on the breathtaking island of Eleuthera at a place called Lighthouse Point. The new destination will celebrate both the stories of The Bahamas and the natural environment of Lighthouse Point itself. Joe points out that Disney will be directly involved in conservation efforts to preserve and protect the environment and will be working with local artists to create a unique destination that is rooted in Bahamian culture and filled with Disney magic.

With three new ships coming to the Disney Cruise Line fleet, there’s so much to look forward to on the high seas and at the new Disney tropical destination experience in The Bahamas.

Disneyland Resort

Avengers Campus to Open in 2020 at Disney California Adventure Park

You can soon suit up alongside your favorite Super Heroes at the Avengers Campus, beginning in 2020 at Disney California Adventure park. This campus is set up by the Avengers to recruit the next generation of Super Heroes.

“In some ways, these new campuses are like the Avengers themselves: a group of diverse individuals who have teamed up for the same purpose,” said Scot Drake, Creative Executive, Marvel Global Portfolio, Walt Disney Imagineering. “This collection of unique addresses—each dedicated to a different discipline—have been brought together to champion the next generation of heroes.”

The first key address at the Avengers Campus will be the Worldwide Engineering Brigade – also known as “WEB” – which will house our new Spider-Man experience, the first Disney ride-through attraction to feature this iconic Super Hero.

During an open house at WEB, the aspiring inventors are excited to invite you for a test drive of their latest invention: the “Web Slinger” vehicle, which allows you to sling webs just like Spider-Man! The attraction gives you a taste of what it’s like to have actual super powers as you help Spider-Man collect Spider-Bots that have run amok.

Avengers Campus will also feature Pym Test Kitchen. Just as Ant-Man and The Wasp use “Pym Particles” to grow and shrink just about anything, Pym Technologies is using the latest innovations to grow and shrink food at this eatery!

You will also find heroic encounters throughout the campus, including Black Widow, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Doctor Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Super Heroes from Wakanda and Asgard, and Iron Man.

As Super Heroes continue to assemble at the campus, one of its iconic buildings will be the Avengers Headquarters where you may catch a glimpse of the Avengers along its rooftops.

This building, which will open in phase two, will become the future entrance to a brand-new E-Ticket attraction where you will step on board a Quinjet and fly alongside the Avengers in an epic adventure to Wakanda and beyond! You will team up alongside the Avengers in a battle to save our world against one of the most powerful villains they have ever faced. Imagineers are hard at work conceiving an all-new innovative ride system to put you in the middle of this action.

All-New ‘Magic Happens’ Parade to Debut in Spring 2020 at Disneyland Park

Debuting in spring 2020, the all-new, extraordinary “Magic Happens” parade will travel down Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland park.

Celebrating awe-inspiring moments of magic—both large and small—that are at the heart of so many Disney stories, “Magic Happens” reminds us we don’t need wings to fly, shooting stars were made to wish upon, and magic doesn’t stop at midnight.

This daytime spectacular will feature stunning floats, beautiful costumes, and beloved Disney characters – all led by Mickey Mouse and his pals.

On her voyager wa‘a (or canoe), Moana journeys forth on the crest of a beautiful wave, inspired by beautiful koa wood carvings inset with LED panels, providing a dazzling glimpse into the magic the ocean holds.

Celebrating the magic that happens when Miguel strums the guitar of Ernesto de la Cruz, the spectacular float inspired by the Disney and Pixar film “Coco” bridges the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead with vibrant marigolds. Fantastical alebrije spirit animals join the procession, along with Miguel’s dog Danté.

The regal grand finale of “Magic Happens” parade celebrates magical moments from classic Disney stories, including the trio of fairies from “Sleeping Beauty” who transform Princess Aurora’s gown from pink to blue and back again!

In addition, the parade will feature ​even more floats and characters, an energetic musical score and a new song produced in partnership with singer-songwriter Todrick Hall. The high-energy music combines this original song with classic Disney tunes in a fresh, contemporary style.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway to Open in 2022 at Disneyland Park

As we’ve previously shared, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway—the first major Mickey-themed ride-through attraction—is coming to Disneyland park in 2022.

The action takes place at the El CapiTOON Theater in Mickey’s Toontown, where Mickey and Minnie are premiering their newest short, “Perfect Picnic.” Before you enter the cinema, you’ll experience a special exhibit created by the Toontown Hysterical Society featuring costumes and props from the toon world. 

As you can see, there is SO much still to come at Disney destinations! I am equally as excited to see the reimagination of Epcot as I am for the new Disney Wish ship to set sail. How about you?!

Source: Disney Parks Blog

As Premier Level Gold Key Advisor with Glass Slipper Concierge, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, I offer concierge travel planning for Walt Disney World® Resort, Disney Cruise LineDisneyland® Resort, Disney Aulani Hawaii, Universal, Sea World and to 35 countries on 6 continents through Adventures by Disney®.

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