New Avengers, Mary Poppins attractions highlight D23 reveals

August 25, 2019, 2:26 PM · Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek gave fans at the D23 Expo a sneak peek at multiple new experiences coming to Disney parks around the world, including a new ride to Wakanda at Disney California Adventure and Cherry Tree Lane housing a new Mary Poppins attraction at Epcot.


Chapek kicked off the session with the news that Disneyland would be getting a new parade this spring, Magic Happens. The new daytime production will feature floats themed to Moana, Coco, Sleeping Beauty and more, with a new musical theme by Todrick Hall.

Coco float
All concept art courtesy Disney.

Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway will open in Toontown in 2022, with a new facade revealed.

Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway

Disney California Adventure

As revealed Thursday, the name for the park's new Marvel-themed land will be Avengers Campus. The new ride will be the first Spider-Man ride in a Disney theme park, a web-slinging adventure where riders have to shoot webs to collect escaped Spiderbots in a Worldwide Engineering Brigade exhibition.

Spider-Man ride

The land's restaurant will be Pym Test Kitchen and the land will open next year, to be followed by a phase two featuring a Quinjet ride to Wakanda and a battle for the fate of the world alongside the Avengers. That ride, for which we did not get a name or a date, will feature an all-new ride system.

Future Avengers attraction

Hong Kong Disneyland

The expanded castle will be called The Castle of Magical Dreams and feature elements themed to 13 Disney heroines. The park's new Frozen land has a couple of changes: it is now getting an installation of the Frozen Ever After ride from Epcot, and the Oaken's ride is now the Wandering Oaken's Sliding Sleighs roller coaster rather tha the trackless ride previously announced.

Disney Springs

Disney Animation is working with Cirque du Soleil on the new show for the Cirque theater. The story will focus on the daughter of a Disney animator, whose work sends the daughter on a journey of self-discovery. The new production will begin previews on March 20, 2020 with an official premiere on April 17.


The transformation of Epcot will be the largest transformation of a theme park in Disney history, Chapek said. It will see the renaming of Future World into three "lands": World Nature, World Discovery, and World Celebration.

Epcot overview

The new Guardians of the Galaxy coaster, "Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind" will be part of the World Discovery land and feature a planetarium-style preshow and a reverse launch on the coaster.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Next door in the Mission Space pavilion, the Space 220 Restaurant will open this winter.

In World Celebration, Spaceship Earth is getting a major refresh, with a new narration, a new "host" (Storylight), and new scenes that emphasize storytelling through history.

Behind the geosphere, a new park-like area, Dreamers Point, will include a new statue of Walt as well as a three-level structure that overlooks the park's lagoon. The overarching element of all these changes will result in more shade in the park, Chapek said.

New pavilion

Over in World Nature, the previously announced Awesome Planet movie will open in The Land pavilion in January, which will see the debut of several other new films across the park, including Canada Far and Wide 360 and the Beauty and the Beast sing-along that will play in rotation with Impressions de France.

The new movie in the China pavilion will arrive at a later date, but it will feature seamless 360-degree projection and be called Wondrous China.

Elsewhere in World Showcase, Remy's Ratatouille Adventure will open next summer, but the big reveal saw Dick van Dyke take the stage to a rousing ovation from the crowd of more than 7,000 to announce that Mary Poppins would be coming to the United Kingdom pavilion.

Cherry Tree Lane

The first Mary Poppins attraction in a Disney theme park will see a new Cherry Tree Lane come to the pavilion, within which the new Poppins attraction will exist, behind the entrance to the Banks family home.

Finally, the park is getting a new musical anthem by Pinar Toprak, and the park's Illuminations replacement will be called HarmonioUS and debut next summer.


Elsewhere at Walt Disney World

Disney will introduce a new digital planning assistant in late 2020, called Disney Genie. This tool will plan detailed Disney World itineraries for visitors and will be capable of managing Fastpass+ and dining reservations, too.

We got a little more detail about the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser experience - the Star Wars "hotel" that Chapek revealed the name for on Thursday. This will be a two-day, two-night interactive experience, starting with check in at Walt Disney World before taking a launch pod that will blast you into space for your entry onto the Halycon starcruiser.

One day of the adventure will be a port day on Batuu, at Star Wars Galaxy's Edge. But on-board activities will include lightsaber training, a bridge visit... and a possible space battle.

Lightsaber training

Disney Cruise Line

Chapek announced that Imagineer Joe Rohde is overseeing the development of Lighthouse Point, the new DCL-exclusive port of call in the Bahamas. Rohde came on stage to talk about the development, which he said would draw attention to the natural beauty of the island while helping to protect it. He also said that Imagineers are recruiting and working with local artists to ensure that the destination is "saturated with Bahamian culture."

Lighthouse Point

Finally, Chapek announced that the name of the DCL's fifth ship would be the Disney Wish and that Rapunzel will be the stern character. The Disney Wish will set sail in January 2022, with a sixth and seventh ship to come.

Disney Wish

Since Chapek also oversees Disney merchandise, he also announced that Disney is partnering with Target, which will begin opening Disney Store-themed shops within Target stores around the country this October.

And in case you missed it, here are Chapek's reveals from the Thursday night D23 Expo press preview.

Okay, now that you've heard and seen what Disney had to announce today, let's take Bob Weis' advice and examine these announcements with an informed, critical eye. Where do you see each of these in Imagineering's seven-phase process? And where do you see them on your own, personal scale of excitement?

Replies (21)

August 25, 2019 at 4:07 PM

Is Mary Poppins going to be a major attraction or just a cheap carnival ride?

Rumours point to a cheap Carousal - which makes me wonder why even announce something like that?

August 25, 2019 at 4:18 PM

So China is getting a brand new movie but France has been showing the same film since the park opened?

August 25, 2019 at 8:56 PM

Epcot is definitely moving in the right direction, as is all of WDW. These announcements are all about the course correction Epcot needs to be current and relevant. I’m sure in the years to come, the reimagining of The Seas, The Land and most definitely Imagination will be coming soon.
The additions of Remy and Mary Poppins are nice. Would like to see Coco in World Showcase as well.

August 25, 2019 at 5:59 PM

Wandering Oaken's Sliding Sleighs roller coaster is looking amazing. The rest not so much.

August 25, 2019 at 6:02 PM

I believe it was 2022 for Wish. (I thought it was to be 2021!)

August 25, 2019 at 6:11 PM

Okay, I've finally completed the write-through, with all the additions, clarifications, etc. Thanks for your patience. Lots to digest here.

Poppins strikes me as the one earliest in the design process, while I was happy to hear that Remy is opening next summer. But I am a bit wary of the "phase two" habit that Disney seems to be falling into with major new lands.

August 25, 2019 at 7:08 PM

Nice to hear more details for upcoming attractions for Disney's theme park resorts though expected to hear more regarding the 'Project Firefly" expansions and re-imagining plans for Disneyland Paris Resort as well as more on Shanghai Disneyland's "Zootopia" expansion theme area- though D23 did offer more concept art and models..sure there's more news to follow for both those resorts soon.

August 25, 2019 at 7:17 PM

Any word on when the refresh will be happening for spaceship earth and how long it will take? Was the opening for micky and minnie’s runaway railway in florida discussed at all? I am planning a trip in may 2020 to disney world. Was hoping ratatouille would be open by then but it doesn’t look like it will be. At least rise of the resistance will be open. Hopefully at least. Guess i will need a 2022 trip to get it all

August 25, 2019 at 9:24 PM

I really like what Disney is doing with Epcot. While some of those changes are pretty substantial, I think it is necessary to make the park one worth visiting for more than the food festivals. I suspect everything above is what is planned by the park's 40th anniversary in 2022, and I wouldn't be surprised to see more announced at the next D23. This is going to be the park to watch throughout the next decade.

Conversely, I really dislike how Avengers Campus is being approached. Opening with a single D-ticket attraction (which looks very much like Legoland's Ninjago ride) while promising a second bigger attraction at an unspecified date doesn't exactly spark my desire to go check it out. Seeing how the opening of Galaxy's Edge has played out, I'll be very surprised if a similar strategy works differently for this land.

I'm a little surprised Hong Kong was the only international park touched upon. I figured Paris would get a section since the studios park has a major expansion planned in the 2020s, but perhaps all of that is too far out right now.

August 25, 2019 at 9:53 PM

Wandering Oaken's looks really cool! I'm actually really glad they're doing a roller coaster rather than a trackless ride. I think it's very interesting that they're doing something that has a similar feel as what they already have in Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars - which I absolutely LOVE, by the way.

It doesn't get enough love.

So having two Disney roller coasters in one (small) park will just make it even more fun!

I haven't been in a few years, and I'll wait until the castle is complete, but this is looking really awesome.

I echo AJ though. Why isn't Paris getting anything at Walt Disney Studios park?

August 26, 2019 at 11:22 AM

I think Disney needs to be more calculating and deliberate with their park announcements. I know there's a level of expectation at D23 that they feel they need to satiate, but what good is it to throw attraction concepts out there when they haven't even settled on the specs. Galaxy's Edge should have taught Disney that they can't simply "build it, and they will come", and they certainly can't expect that when they jack prices into the stratosphere. Disney needs to be more concrete with these plans, and while guests should understand that every plan goes through changes as it's executed, I think Disney gets so far ahead of themselves that they feel the need to feed the addicts that get highs from every shred of Disney news that gets announced.

I don't think we'll ever get the full story about what has happened with RotR, but the staggered debut of Galaxy's Edge should have clearly demonstrated that even uber-loyal Disneyland fans will not pony up record-breaking ticket prices to visit a land that is incomplete. The Black Panther attraction announced for The Avengers CAMPUS was completely unnecessary. There was absolutely no need for Disney to even bother talking about a ride that they've obviously not even finalized, but it seems that the Drones' lust for something new from the initially uninspiring and underwhelming DCA announcement forced Disney to reveal much longer term plans that could lead to further disappointment. The same thing has happened to MMRR and RotR, where Disney has hyped these attractions so sky high that even if they are amazing attractions, they may end up disappointing guests that have set their expectations higher than Disney could ever achieve. Why not just leave Black Panther in house, and let guests in on the secret at a later time? Fans had already set expectations for the Marvel land low after it was widely reported that GotG:MB would be the e-ticket for the land, so why not just leave it at that, hype up the Spiderman ride, and then floor people when they see construction walls still up after Avengers CAMPUS opens next year.

I'm definitely intrigued by the EPCOT announcements. It took them almost 20 years, but Disney finally seems to be listening to guests about the lagging appeal of the one park that should have always had the most continual investment to keep it ahead of the times. I really like the division of FutureWorld into the 3 separate areas. I wonder if Imagineers had that plan all along, or if someone just noted the bunching of pavilions based on certain themes and decided to speak up. Spaceship Earth is a tricky attraction to deal with, so it will be very interesting to see how Disney can update it while making it seem fresh without disrupting the underlying concept of the attraction. The Mary Poppins attraction really bothers me though because it does sound like Disney is getting too far ahead of themselves. Mary Poppins is already pretty prevalent in the UK pavilion, so it's a natural connection, but why not stay quiet on this until they have a real idea what the attraction will be. Guests are only going to be disappointed once Disney reveals what this attraction is going to be, much like how Inside Out: Emotional Whirlwind thudded into Pixar Pier (though I can't for the life of me understand why people wait in 30+ minute lines for a kiddie spinner). Why tease an attraction so far in advance that's almost assuredly going to be a stock ride system?

"Behind the geosphere, a new park-like area, Dreamers Point, will include a new statue of Walt as well as a three-level structure that overlooks the park's lagoon." In other words, a new spot where we can charge guests $100+/person to watch the new lagoon show.

I'm shocked that the new Cirque show isn't debuting until next spring. That's a really long time to install a new stage show. I guess the real question will be whether the NBA Experience is still open by the time the new Cirque show debuts.

In other "kicking the can down the road" news, the "open this winter" announcement for the Space Restaurant sounds like yet another Disney project delay. While Disney never set a formal opening date, it was expected when the project was announced back at D23 in 2017 that it would be open in time for Summer 2019. However, earlier this year, Disney pegged the opening as "later this year", which has now shifted to "Winter," which could see the opening slide to as late as early March 2020 depending upon how you define "winter".

This silly Genie sounds like Disney's attempt to undercut "experts" that help amateur WDW visitors make the most out of FP+. If Disney wanted to eliminate the secondary market of people trying to make money off the complexity of taking a WDW vacation, the easiest thing would have been to get rid of FP+, not throw even more money at another system to try to make FP+ simpler to use. The D23 announcement should have been the elimination of FP+.

So let's see, the only attractions that Disney has delivered on time over the past 5 years has been Toy Story Land (simple coaster and flat ride). Pixar Pier was opened in phases despite the transformation being relatively simple and straight forward. Galaxy's Edge was extremely ambitious, but Disney has cut it back from the initial plans, and while the land itself debuted ahead of schedule, it was not complete when it opened, and when the lands are finished, they will have missed the anticipated opening dates. MMRR was supposed to be taking the heat off Galaxy's Edge, but the fact that there wasn't a peep about the DHS version at D23 suggests that it is perhaps running even further behind schedule, and might not debut until well into 2020.

While I have to applaud Disney for their ambition and finally investing money into the parks after long stretches of neglect, I worry that they are over-hyping themselves, and ultimately setting themselves up for failure by over-promising and under-delivering. They seem to be making announcements simply for the sake of hearing themselves talk, and the amount of details provided for so many of these attractions makes me think that even Disney doesn't know what they're doing yet, and are simply flinging ideas at the wall to see what sticks. Why not deliver more concrete news about attractions closer to opening? Nothing about Tron, very little about Ratatouille, and nothing about the Space restaurant aside from another push of its opening date (menu, prices, or number of tables are certainly details they should have by now, right?). Disney should be getting people excited about what's coming in the next 6-12 months, not what might not even get off the drawing board, or if it does, it will be completely different than what guests are told to expect. Disney needs to slow their PR roll.

August 26, 2019 at 4:27 PM

Disney should be applauded for their ambition, but made some fundamental flaws in decision making. Eisner pushed through Euro Disney, now Disneyland Paris, despite strong opposition from the French people who would be its local audience and host country. He spent a lot on the park and overspent on huge hotels that failed to fill rooms. Then he cut back on California Adventure, blaming the Imagineers for the failure in Paris.

Iger and Chapek wanted to base Star Wars Land on the new trilogy which hadn't proven itself yet. Add to that the pushback from fans against the Last Jedi. The staggered opening would be less of a problem if the Millennium Falcon ride and the land itself was good enough and appealing enough to satisfy visitors, but to many people it's like one and done. Meanwhile, Hagrid's roller coaster at Universal Orlando is getting rave reviews and 10 hour waits.

The Mary Poppins ride seems to feature the new movie. Disney views old movies like the original Mary Poppins and the original Star Wars trilogy as old and in the past, and they want to focus on the future. But they don't seem to realize that Disney fans like nostalgia, that's why Disneyland (before this summer) was so packed, because all those generations of families bringing their kids to Disneyland came to fruition.

August 26, 2019 at 1:19 PM

With regards to Disney needing to slow down its PR roll, Universal's Studios Epic Universe News which although maybe was the worst kept secret in the Theme Park world was not expected to be announced this year perhaps. It backed Disney into a proverbial corner so it felt that it had to make an Epic Announcement during D23. (pardon the pun)

August 26, 2019 at 1:49 PM

@Yeowser - What Universal and Disney did were two very different things. Universal knew they couldn't keep their project under wraps any longer, and decided to go formal with the announcement. However, Universal deliberately kept the details vague while making it clear that individual attractions are still under development. Universal called the media to Orlando to make the announcement with the Governor of Florida in attendance, so it was a carefully orchestrated event.

These announcements from Disney were very different, and done instead with a captive and fanatical audience that would have drooled over a concept drawing of a new Tomorrowland bathroom if that's all they had to announce. I think it's fine for Disney to go a little "Blue Sky" with their announcements, but they have plenty of projects that will be opening in the next 12-24 months that we know very little about. Sure, we know that Ratatouille is a clone of the Paris attraction, but the American audience might not be very familiar with it, so it certainly deserves some publicity if it is indeed going to open next summer. Same with Tron, which is likely further away from opening while also being a clone, but also deserves some love over some Mary Poppins attraction or Black Panther attraction where Disney hasn't even settled on ride systems, or some Frozen roller coaster that was initially announced as a dark ride just a year ago.

My point is, while Universal probably takes the other tact to a bit of an extreme by waiting until the last possible moment to announce attraction details, Disney goes way too far in the other direction, getting guests too excited over attractions that are either unlikely to ever make it into a park or will get drastically changed from these initial concept drawings. If Disney wants to invite guests into the Blue Sky process, they should frame these announcements as such, not simply feed off the excitement and need for D23 attendees to get some sort of fix from every single minuscule announcement the company makes.

August 26, 2019 at 5:48 PM

The Epcot revamp sounds very promising, and overdue.

Sorry, but I do have to grouse about one thing: Disneyland is getting yet another parade, but all of WDW STILL only has ONE freakin`parade! What`s the excuse for that??

August 26, 2019 at 7:18 PM


I'm framing this:

" It took them almost 20 years, but Disney finally seems to be listening to guests about the lagging appeal of the one park that should have always had the most continual investment to keep it ahead of the times."

Thank you for saying the words I had no way to find...

August 26, 2019 at 10:35 PM

Disfan, not sure what you are talking about the new Star Wars Trilogy not proving itself. The Last Jedi took in well over a billion in the box office and The Force Awakens took in over two billion. The only pushback against TLJ comes from toxic fans. I will bet The Rise of Skywalker will be the second highest grossing film of 2019 behind only Avengers: Endgame.

Sure, Galaxy’s Edge crowds weren’t what was expected at Disneyland. Mistakes were made by Disney, and they aren’t doing that a second time. We will know by week’s end what kind of crowds it will bring to Orlando.

Finally, the 10 hour line at Universal for Hagrid was very short lived, and it was that long because the ride was shut down a large amount of time due to mechanical failure, reduced ride capacity, and weather shutdowns.

August 27, 2019 at 9:01 AM

D23's scantily detailed announcements shows that the Ravenous Rat is seriously scared of the groundswell of anticipation and excitement gathering momentum for Universal Orlando's expansion.

Tell 'em anything Chapek is on the back foot for the time being.

August 27, 2019 at 9:21 AM

Whilst I am quite excited about the Mary Poppins attraction, I do agree with Russell - why announce something when details are so vague - probably yet to be decided. It's like inviting someone to dinner, then not having any dinner for them :-)

One thing that intrigues me - the imagination pavilion will now be in the World Nature Zone - whilst the Land and Seas pavilions fit into this nicely, I can't see how Imagination does, so is a change to this ride inevitable?

There has been so much chatter about a new country pavilion, but as this wasn't announced, can we assume this is off the cards for the medium future, or could it mean plans are still being drawn up

August 27, 2019 at 9:24 AM

@Mike - I thought the same about the Imagination Pavilion, but it sounds like the Moana attraction is being used to bridge the conceptual gap between the original theme of the pavilion and the new Zone. Honestly, while the media seemed to gush glowingly about the Moana announcement, I'm skeptical that it will amount to anything more than an exterior walk through attraction, leaving the Imagination Pavilion to rot.

There was definitely some buzz about a new World Showcase country, and close observers noted that there was definitely something shown in the empty space between Germany and China in some of the concept drawings. Disney has shown structures in this area on concept drawings in the past, igniting rumors that a new country would finally be added to occupy this space. However, considering that Disney made announcements regarding additions to EPCOT that are still years from being reality, I doubt the depictions of a new World Showcase country in concept drawings is anything more than "Blue sky" at this point. Some rumor sites are convinced that a Brazil pavilion is on the horizon for this space, but even if it is, it's at least 4-5 years away, even with the pressures of WDW50 and EPCOT40 accelerating development at the park.

August 27, 2019 at 12:02 PM

Imagination Pavilion isn't even mentioned on the Disney Parks Blog, where they say "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. "

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