My D23 Expo Predictions
This August will be 6 years from when I attended the D23 Expo out in Anaheim, California in 2011. For those who do not know, the D23 Expo is a large 3 day convention at Disneyland with guest panels, awards ceremonies and tons of announcements related to everything Disney. It was an amazing experience where I met tons of interesting people.
While I am not attending this year, you can guarantee I will be glued to the internets, waiting to see what kind of awesome information comes out of the different panels. Which one am I most interested in? Why, the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Panel of course! This panel is where all of the information of upcoming attractions comes out and with the Expo drawing nearer, the rumors are certainly flying! I figured I would get in the act and voice my thoughts on some of the possibilities for those beautiful 90 minutes of park magic.
1. Epcot Changes
Yes, I do feel like this one is almost a given; this park has had the least done to it in the last few years and rumors are flying about this more than anything else. What announcements will be made?
- While it hurts my heart to say it, I fear that my favorite fireworks show, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, will be coming to an end. It has been around for some time now and if crowds last week when I was there to see it are any indication, it is time for something new.
- Another attraction that is past its prime is Ellen's Energy Adventure and I foresee a major announcement for this area.
- Ratatouille Attraction in France - Seems almost imminent and if it is announced, I will be curious to see how similar it is to the one in Disneyland Paris.
- New Country? This is something guests have been asking for years and there have been countries that have "auditioned" for the spot with different booths at Food and Wine. Rumors say Brazil is high on the list, but I personally would love to see something different, such as Australia, Greece or South Africa.
- Epcot's 35th Anniversary is this October, so I would not be surprised if they spent a minute mentioning the activities related to this. Because of this big anniversary, I would also not be surprised if we do not hear much about Epcot at D23 and they end up announcing something on the anniversary itself, but I think that unlikely.
2. Hollywood Studios
Ah yes, the current "Wall World" that is Disney's Hollywood Studios. I have no doubt that tons of detailed information about Star Wars and Toy Story lands will be coming out of both the panel and the Expo as a whole. Other Hollywood Studios announcements: Possible Park name change announcement and changes to the Great Movie Ride.
3. Rest of Walt Disney World
Rumors I have seen include announcements on what is to come for Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary, More DVC Location Information and details on the announced/leaked Gondolas between Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
My thoughts: Gondolas will probably be discussed, they seem pretty much confirmed. For DVC locations, I see more details on the Wilderness Lodge ones, but I have no input on what else they could be opening. WDW's anniversary is too far away for there to be announcements in my opinion; If D23 Expos continue to happen they way they are (every other year), we still have 2 more to go before the Oct 1, 2021 Anniversary date.
*Very recent park rumor is that Zootopia is coming to Animal Kingdom to replace Rafiki's Planet Watch. While this idea intrigues me, I am curious how it will fit into the Animal Kingdom's Conservation theme as well as what the storyline for it coming through Africa will be.
4. Disney Cruise Line
If the Cruise Line is brought up at all, I think it will be to announce the ships names. There are two new ships joining the DCL fleet that have been unnamed as of yet, however the ships are not due to launch until 2021 and 2023. These far off dates bring up the same issue as I have with announcements for the Walt Disney World 50th celebration; they are just too far away. There are other Expos between the launch dates, so who knows if we will even hear from this department.
5. Other Disney Parks
With the very recent full acquisition of Disneyland Paris by the company, it would seem fit for there to be announcements related to the park. I am of the opinion that if there are any announcements related to it, they will be brief and in the very early stages. I don't think Disney would have wasted time and energy working on a project until they knew for sure they had it, which would not give them enough time to throw something together for this presentation.
I may stand corrected, however, if Marvel is involved. People have been asking for more Marvel in the parks, so it would not surprise me in the least to see some kind of area/attraction announcement for Disney's California Adventure, Hong Kong Disney or even Disneyland Paris.
Shanghai, the newest of the Disney Parks, has been enjoyed by many and the rumors have whispered something about a second gate opening. I think it may be too soon, but if they are seeing the money from there like is being reported (just google Shanghai Disney Profit to see what I mean), the company may see the worth in it.
So there you have it, my thoughts on what we may see at 3pm Pacific on Saturday. What would you like to see announced? Do you agree with my predictions? Let me know in the comments!