Disney's corporate-wide 100 Years of Wonder celebration will kick off in January at the Disneyland Resort in California, with the return of the Magic Happens parade and the debut of two new night-time spectaculars, Disney Parks Chairman Josh D'Amaro announced today during a 100-minute "A Boundless Future" presentation at the D23 Expo in Anaheim.
World of Color: One at Disney California Adventure will be "World of Color like you’ve never seen it before," D'Amaro said, while Wondrous Journeys will fill the skies above Disneyland with a new projection and fireworks show, themed to all the 60+ Disney animated films.
Even before then, Disneyland guests will be able to enjoy visits from new park characters, including Hulk at Avengers Campus starting next week and the Mandalorian Din Djarin and Grogu in Star Wars_Galaxy's Edge starting in Mid-November.
Early in 2023, in addition to the new shows, the new Mickey's Toontown will open, featuring the west coast installation of Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, which will be slightly modified from the Florida original.
Then in 2024, runDisney will return to the Disneyland Resort, while late in the year Tiana's Bayou Adventure will open, replacing Splash Mountain with a new theme and staging for the beloved flume ride.
"We want this attraction to be a love letter to New Orleans," Walt Disney Imagineering's Carmen Smith said. Several film cast members will voice the attraction, including Anika Noni Rose, D'Amaro said. Rose then comes to stage to perform "Almost There" and "Dig a Little Deeper."
Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige announced that the third attraction at DCA's Avengers Campus will "bring the multiverse to Avengers Campus," with a new ride that will put visitors in the middle of battle between all of the Avengers and all of their foes, led by a new villain King Thanos. "This is the Thanos that won," Feige said. "And the Avengers are not happy about that. So you have to help them."
D'Amaro also announced that DCA's Pacific Wharf land will transformed into Big Hero 6's San Fransokyo, though he provided no opening date or details for that, beyond confirming that it will include a Baymax meet and greet.
At Downtown Disney, D'Amaro announced that Din Tai Fung and Porto's are coming to the shopping and dining district. He also said - to great applause - that everyone at the presentation would get a Porto's pastry on their way out of the presentation.
Finally, D'Amaro announced that the Paradise Pier Hotel at Disneyland will be renamed the Pixar Place Hotel. Remember that Pixar Pier replaced the old Paradise Pier land in Disney California Adventure across the street several years back.
The Magic Kingdom also is getting Tiana's Bayou Adventure in late 2024, as well as the TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster, which D'Amaro announced will open in spring 2023.
Also next year at the Magic Kingdom, Happily Ever After is returning, and the Hatbox Ghost is coming to the Haunted Mansion, following its successful return to Disneyland.
At Epcot, the Moana Journey of Water walk-through will open in late 2023, and Figment is coming back as a meet and greet character sometime next year. But the biggest news for the park is that Disney will replace Harmonious with a new World Showcase lagoon nighttime spectacular in 2023, celebrating Disney's 100th anniversary as a company.
Disney's sixth ship will be named Disney Treasure and set sail in 2024. Its theme will be "adventure," with Aladdin, Jasmine and their Magic Carpet as the Grand Hall characters, with that entrance hall to the ship drawing on influences from Asia and Africa.
The DCL will sail to Australia and New Zealand for the first time starting in October 2023, with the Disney Wonder repositioning via the Disney Cruise Line's first South Pacific voyages, with stops including Fiji and Samoa.
D'Amaro also said that work has started on Lighthouse Point in The Bahamas, which will be 90% powered by solar energy.
Hong Kong Disneyland will be getting a new Walt and Mickey statue, with Walt sitting on the Griffith Park bench where he first envisioned Disneyland.
Three Frozen-themed lands are coming to Disney Parks around the world, with World of Frozen opening in the second half of 2023 at Hong Kong Disneyland, a Frozen section of the Fantasy Springs project opening in late 2023 or early 2024 at Tokyo DisneySea and the third land coming to Disneyland Paris' Walt Disney Studios Park.
A new garden-filled promenade will lead guests to the Frozen land in Paris, and that promenade will include new Tangled-themed family attraction.
Shanghai Disneyland is getting its new Zootopia land, for which D'Amaro shared some new concept art, showing the windows from which the puppet characters we saw previews in the Disney Parks pavilion on the D23 show floor will interact with guests. Still no opening date, though.
For fans of Duffy and his friends, the cuddly crew that got their start at Tokyo DisneySea and other Disney Parks in Asia will be coming to Disney+ with a six-episode, stop-motion animated series next year.
In what might turn out to be the most controversial segment of the presentation, Imagineering's Chris Beatty and Walt Disney Studios' Jennifer Lee joined D'Amaro on stage to tease several potential projects for Disney's Animal Kingdom and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. For DAK, the trip teased Zootopia and Moana-themed concepts to replace Dinoland, while in the Magic Kingdom, they suggested Coco, Encanto and - to wild applause - a Villains-themed land to go behind Big Thunder Mountain.
There is as much chance of seeing all five of these concepts come to life at Disney World as there is of us seeing that Mary Poppins attraction for Epcot's United Kingdom pavilion that Disney announced at the previous D23 Expo. (And that was confirmed to me by a source in the company after the presentation.) But Disney apparently has decided that it wants to get into the game of fueling fan rumors, rather than leaving others to introduce and control that narrative.
Plus, this way, Disney can get an early read on fan reaction as it floats these trial balloons to its most dedicated fans. The early take? Villains was the runaway favorite of the five concepts trialed here.
D'Amaro transitioned from the Blue Sky segment to wrap the presentation on a hopeful note.
"Disney is a company of unrivaled creativity, and we are never, never going to stop working towards that," D'Amaro said. "We're never going to stop surprising. We're never going to stop the delighting and pushing the boundaries of where we should all go together."
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