Team Popverse has made it to (weirdly humid) Anaheim, California to bring D23 Expo 2022 news home to you! This weekend, we've covered film, tv, and even what's going on over at the show floor, but now it's time to hear news from one of the most iconic aspects of the Walt Disney Company-- Disney Parks.
So sit tight for some live coverage from A Boundless Future, the D23 Expo panel all about the future of Disney Parks. On Friday, Disney CEO Bob Chapek hinted that there will be an expansion to Avengers Campus over at California Adventure, so we're expecting to hear more details about that expansion, and hopefully some even more exciting news about other parks too!
In some ways, D23 Expo is a three-day live version of Disney's streaming service Disney+. TV shows, movies, and specials from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, National Geographic, and more are on the streaming service.
We have been handed little bags with fabric in them for "later."
It looks like we're going to be hearing more about Tiana's Bayou Adventure today!
Looks like we're about to begin. We're starting with a black and white video of the parks and a musical number!
Now we've got Chariman of Disney Parks & Experiences Josh D'Amaro, coming on stage and saying that he's excited to be back.
And D'amaro has an announcement-- Happily Ever After will be coming back next year!
By the way, that musical number (the theme of Happily Ever After), was led by Jordan Fisher
D'Amaro thanks the audience and fans for keeping the Disney magic alive during these past few years, "I understand how much Disney means to you all... I am so, so grateful that you're on this journey with us."
D'Amaro recognizes that change can be hard for fans, but that he thinks that fans also want to come along with the future of what Disney parks will become.
D'Amaro says that he wants to start the panel with a celebration of the fans. He shouts out that it is the 50th anniversary of the Walt Disney World restort. And EPCOT is very close to its 40th anniversary.
D'Amaro now announced that for the 30th anniversary celebration in Disneyland Paris, they will have a brand new show called Pixar: We Belong Together debuting next year.
In December, we'll reach the 70th year of Walt Disney Imagineering.
And of course, on October 15 2023, there will be 100 years of Walt Disney Company. D'Amaro promises that the celebration will "Be like nothing we've done before."
Lots of cheering at the mention of the cast members who work hard "each and every day"
D'Amaro has the Disney Ambassadors in the audience stand for applause!
D'Amaro says that he has lots of cool news today, and that he's going fast!
And we're starting with Disneyland Resort--
Jon Favreau is coming out on stage to talk about Star Wars!
Favreau talks about Walt Disney combining storytelling and technology and how Disney was a pioneer with technology.
The Mandalorian is here!
"I'm looking for someone..." Mando says.
Grogu is in his bag!! And Grogu says *squeak*
And that's our first look at Mando and Grogu live and in person!
NEWS: Mando and Grogu will be in starting in the parks in mid-November, just a few months away.
Time to talk about Avengers Campus...
To talk about Avengers Campus, Kevin Feige has come out to talk!
And we've got a video interruption from Mark Ruffalo!
Ruffalo says he has one suggestion-- he wants more! He wants a little more color, a little more green.
"Just a suggestion"
And the Hulk is coming out!
We will have a Hulk at Avengers Campus!
He is wearing his time travell-y suit from Avengers: Endgame
"Avengers Campus, get ready!" the Hulk says.
D'Amaro says "If you want to meet Hulk, I've got some great news." He will be at Avengers Campus starting next week.
"He can only stay for a little while right now." D'Amaro says, so it looks like it will be a temporary stay, so don't miss him.
D'amaro asks Feige to tell Hulk not to smash stuff, and makes a little joke about Avengers Campus is new and that time that Spider-Man *splat*-ed. Feige responds "I understood that reference."
Feige says "We're bringing the multiverse to Avengers Campus."
About the third attraction in Avengers Campus, Feige announces "in this new attraction, you'll be able to battle alongside all the Avengers against all the foes." There will be a new villain, a new version of Thanos called King Thanos-- "This is a Thanos that won."
We'll see many versions of our favorite heroes and villains in this attraction.
And Feige is out of the room, with D'Amaro promising another new bit about California Adventure
Pacific Warf will become San Fransokyo! "Where East meets West and where technology meets tradition" There will be a place to meet Baymax too!
Paradise Pier Hotel will be rebranded into Pixar Pier Hotel, with Pixar art at the core of the redesign. "The hotel is going to feel completely new"
Downtown Disney will be getting a PORTOS!!!!
Potato balls here we come!
And audience members today will be getting a special treat from Porto's on our way out today (lucky me).
runDisney races will be returning in 2024. There will be more info on dates in the future.
Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway will be making its way to Toontown.
Donald will not lose his favorite boat-- the boat will still be there, there will also be a Goofy's How to Play Yard.
The new Toontown will open in early 2023.
Now for New Orleans-- and Tiana's Bayou Adventure!
To tell us about this new adventure we've got Imagineers Carmen Smith, Charita Carter, and Ted Robledo.
Robledo says that Tiana "is such an inspirational character," and that in this story is set in 1927, and Tiana is hosting a party! But she's missing a special ingredient, and so the riders will go into the bayou to meet new friends and find that special ingredient!
Carter says, "This attraction is going to gorgeous at night," specifically noting that mist will be used as paint to create a very special visual experience.
Smith talks about the research of New Orleans that the Imagineers have conducted "We want this attraction to be a love letter to New Orleans."
Smith says, "If you're from New Orleans, you should feel like you're coming home."
Tiana's Bayou Adventure will be opening late in 2024.
Now the ride will also feature voices from Princess and the Frog, with Bruno Campos as Prince Naveen, Michael Leon Wooley as Lewis, Jenifer Lewis as Mama Odie, and Anika Noni Rose as Tiana.
Anika Noni Rose is here to sing! And our handkerchiefs are going into the air.
Anika Noni Rose is singing "Almost There"
A lovely brass band is playing their way through the audience too!
Rose is now singing "Dig a Little Deeper."
Time to talk about Walt Disney World.
There will be an all new nighttime spectacular at EPCOT for the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney company. It will debut later next year on the World Showcase Lagoon.
Journey of Water, which is inpsired by Moana will be coming to World Nature Neighborhood in Florida. This will be open in late 2023!
AS for one last surprise...
By the end of next year, you will be able to meet Figment at the park!
Speaking of beloved characters-- The Hatbox Ghost will be at the Haunted Mansion next year at Walt Disney World!
Now there's that new Tron Identity game, at Magic Kingdom in Florida, we know that they're also making a new addition to tomorrowland with Tron Lightcycle Run (which they've been talking about for ages). We're seeing a sneak peek of it now.
D'amaro mentions the "unforeseen twists and turns" that came with creating the attraction.
D'Amaro announces that the Tron Lightcycle run will debut in Spring of 2023.
Now it's time to talk about the cruise ships. D'Amaro talks about the huge hit of Wish.
For the sixth ship D'Amaro shares that the theme will be "Adventure."
The Grand Hall will feature three characters, Jasmine Aladdin, and Magic Carpet.
And the sixth Disney ship will be named Treasure
Disney ships will be going to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and the Bahamas in the future.
D'Amaro promises that 90% of the power used at the Bahamas' Lighthouse Point will be solar energy.
Shanghai Disneyland will be having a Zootopia themed location!
And at the Zootopia Police Department, there will be a new family attraction, where you can meet Officer Clawhauser.
Now D'amaro is mentioning Mickey's favorite bear Duffy and his new friend LinaBell!
LinaBell has come out to make her US debut.
Duffy and Friends will be getting a six episode stop motion series on Disney+ next year.
For Disney's 100th anniversary, Hong Kong Disneyland will unveil a brand new statue of Walt and Mickey, a tribute to Walt watching his kids going around on a merry go round which inspired his creation of Disneyland.
Hong Kong will be getting a Frozen land, World of Frozen, which will open in Hong Kong Disneyland in the second half of 2023.
The Frozen themed land in Paris will have new gardens, and one of these gardens will feature a Tangled themed attraction (for all ages).
Toshio Kagami charman and CEO of Oriental Land Company is here today and is getting massive applause for his work on Tokyo Disney Resort.
We're getting a multilingual performance of Into the Unknown (Cantonese, Japanese, and French)
Now, it looks like we're getting a very early announcement about some big changes.
Animal Kingdom's Dinoland is going to get some changes... to talk about these ideas (very early concepts...), we've got Chris Beatty and Jennifer Lee.
Animal Kingdom is going to get some Zootopia!
"How cool would it be to bring our guests into the different districts?" Lee says.
There will also be some Moana in Animal Kingdom too!
We're being shown some concept art about these future developments of Animal Kingdom. We see a ship from Moana!
Now for Magic Kingdom... Beatty asks what might be on the other side of Big Thunder Mountain...
We're going to Mexico, where they're celebrating Dia De Los Muertos. "That's what COULD be out there" Beatty says. Lee adds, "What if we DO want to talk about Bruno??"
Lee asks, "What if you could walk into the Madrigal's Casita?"
Now, remember that these ideas are very much in the "what could be" part of development...
The last idea that Beatty and Lee are here to share is an area overrun by your favorite Disney villains!
This may be the most excited that the crowd has been today!
Beatty and Lee have stepped off the stage, and D'Amaro tells the audience, "We're never gonna stop working toward the next great idea."
Now D'Amaro is wrapping up with a video that sums up the magic of parks. This starts with a compliation of kids being told that they're going to Disneyland and Disney World. And continues with both filmed and home video of people enjoying Dinsey parks around the world.
Now D'Amaro is concluding by talking about all that has been created in the parks around the world, including this year's unveiling of Cosmic Rewind, Disney Wish, and Avengers Campus in Paris and more, with Mickey's Toon Town and more next year and beyond.
"Magic Happens" parade will be returning to Disneyland for the 100th anniversary celebration, and in late January, Disneyland Resort will have two new nighttime shows. Including "World of Color - One" at California Adventure and "Wondrous Journeys" at Disneyland which will draw from every one of Disney Animation Studios movies up until now.
"Wondrous Journeys" will feature a new song, called "It's Wondrous," and we're going to hear it right now.