Today at the D23 Expo, several major projects were announced for the Walt Disney World Resort. Disney followed these projects up with press releases as well as Disney Parks Blog Posts and high resolution concept art.
The first announcement came from the Walt Disney Studios presentation that ran from 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM. At the conclusion of the Star Wars The Force Awakens discussion, Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger took the stage. Bob Iger officially confirmed the long rumored Star Wars Land at both Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios.
The Parks and Resorts presentation began with the head of Parks and Resorts Bob Chapek.
Bob Chapek and Imagineer Scott Trowbridge shared details of Star Wars Land and the other Star Wars projects in development.
Star Wars Land
- 14 Acre Land on both costs
- 2 New attractions
- One attraction will be an, "Epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance."
- Another attraction would allow guests to pilot the Millennium Falcon
- The Cast Members working in the restaurants and shops would all be in character for the land.
- The land will be a new location on an entirely new planet to the Star Wars universe.
- Guests will be able to drink Blue Milk and interact with characters
- Guests will be able to visit a Cantina
Additional Star Wars Content
- A new destination will be added to Star Tours later this year based on Star Wars The Force Awakens
- A new Star Wars celebration, called Season of the Force will debut at the beginning of 2016 and will include similar components to Star Wars Weekends
- A new villain from Star Wars Rebels will be added to the Jedi Training Academy
- Star Wars Launch Bay will be added to Disney's Hollywood Studios later this year. This was previously announced for Shanghai Disney and will include a behind the scenes look at Star Wars The Force Awakens character meet and greets
- A new fireworks show based on Star Wars will be added to Disney's Hollywood Studios
Following the Star Wars discussion, Imagineer Kathy Mangum came on stage to discuss Toy Story Land and Frozen Ever After
Toy Story Land
- 11 Acre Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios
- The land is set in Andy from Toy Story's back yard.
- Includes the current Toy Story Midway Mania attraction. Previous announcements indicate a third track being constructed for Toy Story Midway Mania.
- Slinky Dog Coaster: Guests will ride a Slinky Dog themed ride vehicle through the land on a family friendly coaster. Trenches will be built for the coaster and the track will be themed to look like a toy roller coaster track.
- Alien Saucers Attraction: Guests will ride around in flying saucers inspired by the little green men from Toy Story all while avoiding the claw. The attraction is expected to use the Location Positioning System ride system that is currently in development for Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters at Disney California Adventure.
Frozen Ever After
- Additional concept art was given on the Frozen Ever After attraction going to the Norway Pavilion at Epcot as well as the Royal Sommerhaus Meet and Greet
Following Kathy Mangum, Bob Chapek introduced Joe Rohde to discuss Disney's Animal Kingdom. After non-AVATAR related Animal Kingdom content, James Cameron and Jon Landau joined Joe Rohde.
Animal Kingdom Updates
- Hyenas and African Wild Dogs will be added to Kilimanjaro Safaris as part of the nighttime safaris.
- Rivers of Light was given a targeted opening date of Spring 2016.
- The transition into nighttime at Disney's Animal Kingdom will be done with "fireflies" lighting the park and the Tree of Life.
- The banshee attraction at Pandora: The World of AVATAR will be called "Flight of Passage"
Bob Chapek introduced additional Imagineers to discuss the overseas park before announcing Soarin' Around the World. The show concluded with a chorus of cast members singing music from the nighttime spectaculars from around the world.
Soarin' Around the World
- Soarin' Around the World is set to open in 2016 at both Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios
Additional announcements that were rumored that did not get mentioned today include:
- Opening date of Pandora: The World of Avatar
- Official name of the Pandora boat ride and clarification as to whether or not it would be included with the opening of the land or delayed to a "Phase 2"
- New name of Disney's Hollywood Studios