The 2022 D23 Expo opens Friday morning in Anaheim, but Disney invited me and other select reporters for a preview of the fan event tonight. So join me for a first look at this year's D23 Expo.
We started the evening in the Anaheim Convention Center's arena, where Walt's recently restored Grumman Gulfstream I plane stands on display.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek welcomed us to the event and noted that the plane would be moved to the Palm Springs Air Museum collection, where it will go on display starting December 5 - Walt's birthday.
We then toured the new Walt Disney Archives pavilion, Step In Time, which features photo ops from major creative milestone in The Walt Disney Company's 100-year history, including a delightful collection from Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion.
And Star Wars icons from Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm.
But I know what you really want to see - the Disney Parks pavilion.
We did not get any early news dumps from Disney Parks Chairman Josh D'Amaro Thursday night. And there were no elements in the pavilion obviously covered up pending their reveal in D'Amaro session on Sunday morning. But we did get some nifty models of coming attractions, including this ride vehicle for the new Zootopia ride at Shanghai Disneyland.
And we got a couple of large models of the new Toontown coming to Disneyland next year. Here is the El Capitoon Theater entrance for the west coast installation of Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway.
And the Centoonial Park across the street, with expanded play areas at the entrance to Toontown.
We also got a first look model of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, the rethemed Splash Mountain.
I spoke with WDI Vice President Carmen Smith in my video above, about the importance of this rethemed to "The Princess and the Frog." Disney also announced that Eudora’s Chic Boutique Featuring Tiana’s Gourmet Secrets will open in Disneyland's New Orleans Square on September 20, in anticipation of the Tiana ride's debut in late 2024.
Finally, the pavilion includes the new statue of Walt Disney - Walt the Dreamer - that will be coming to Epcot's World Celebration as part of that Walt Disney World park's ongoing makeover.
Stay tuned for coverage of the Disney Parks presentation at the D23 Expo on Sunday morning. Plus some surprises, too!
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