6 Huge Announcements We’re Waiting on from Disney

by | May 13, 2024 | Animal Kingdom, Disneyland Parks, Magic Kingdom, WDW Blog

Beyond Big Thunder, DisneylandForward, an Encanto and Indiana Jones-themed land in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. These are just a few of the potential projects from Disney that we’re hoping to hear announcements for from D23 Expo later this year.   

We’re a few months away from the 2024 D23 Expo, the ultimate Disney fan event. The 2024 event will take place in Anaheim, California, on August 9, 10, and 11, showcasing the storytelling and innovation of The Walt Disney Company. The bi-annual event is known for giving us some huge announcements from the Disney Parks and beyond, and we expect this year will be no exception. With that in mind, we’re sharing a few pieces of news we’re hopeful we’ll hear more on from the 2024 D23 Expo.

Announcements We’re Waiting for from Disney

Over the past few years, there have been several projects that Disney has teased or revealed concepts for at both Destination D23 and D23 Expo. We’ve compiled a few of those projects (and more!) that we feel are most likely to be given more information at this year’s D23 event. These are the major announcements from D23 we’re hoping to hear!

Encanto and Indiana Jones Themed Land and Zootopia Update

As part of the 2023 Destination D23 event, it was revealed that Disney is looking into the idea of creating a South American-themed land in the current location of DinoLand U.S.A. In concept art, it was shared that this would become an Encanto and Indiana Jones-themed land if the blue sky concept came to fruition.

Since that initial reveal, we’ve seen more teases, as recently as this spring when a research trip was shown on the Walt Disney Imagineering Instagram. The Imagineers traveled to the Yucatán Peninsula, one of the inspirations for “Tropical Americas,” a new update they’ve shared would be coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We’re hoping at D23 Expo, we’ll hear more about this update, including what it will include and potential dates.

announcements from d23 tropical america expansion

Concept art for Animal Kingdom expansion. Photo Courtesy of Disney

Another Disney’s Animal Kingdom update we’re hoping to get takes place at the Tree of Life. Also at Destination D23, Disney shared that a Zootopia show would be replacing It’s Tough to Be a Bug! We’ll hopefully get more information on that as part of the D23 Expo.

Plans for Beyond Big Thunder

At the 2022 D23 Expo, one of the biggest pieces of news to be revealed was about a potential expansion for Magic Kingdom. Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Josh D’Amaro revealed blue sky concept plans for what he called Beyond Big Thunder Mountain, a reference to the open and undeveloped land beyond the Frontierland ride.

During the presentation, D’Amaro shared potential concept art for lands incorporating elements of Coco, Encanto, and even Disney villains. Since then, not much has been revealed about the idea, but there are a few big reasons we expect we may see some announcements soon.

CNN recently reported on a media event previewing new Disney attraction designs and technology. As part of the event, Michael Hundgen, Walt Disney World site portfolio executive, shared more on the expansion. “It’s probably the largest expansion ever at Magic Kingdom,” he said. He revealed the expansion will be about the size of Galaxy’s Edge, approximately 14 acres. At the time, he did not reveal themes or stories, but we are hopeful we’ll get more information as part of the D23 Expo.

DisneylandForward Plans

On May 7, 2024, DisneylandForward earned the city of Anaheim’s official approval with a unanimous vote. So, what exactly is DisneylandForward? The DisneylandForward website explains: “We want to bring more Disney investment to Anaheim. However, this becomes more challenging under our current approvals and limited space available in our Parks today. Without updates, new Disney experiences and placemaking, created from our beloved stories, will likely never find their way to the Disneyland Resort as they have to other parks throughout the world.”

Basically, teh project hopes to expand the footprint of Disneyland Resort, with new lands, attractions, parking, and transportation opportunities. While Disney has revealed potential projects and concepts in the past, we hope to get more specifics following this major approval.

Avatar Experience at Disney California Adventure

Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger participated in a question-and-answer session at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference, where he brought up some exciting news and developments. Among his reveals, he shared an update on an Avatar expansion planned for Disneyland Resort. In answering a question, he shared, “We have one Avatar-based land, Pandora, in Florida. We’re going to put a second one in California.”

With that reveal, a concept art image was shown with what that expansion could look like. However, details are still sparse on how big this land will be, what will be available, or what the timeline will look like.

Pirates of the Caribbean Tavern

Another announcement from D23 we’re hoping to hear? An update on the Pirates of the Caribbean Tavern that was teased as part of the 2023 Destination D23 event! During Destination D23, it was announced that a new Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge would come to Magic Kingdom. At the time, Imagineers were in the design process for the location. While details were few and far between, they did share that it would extend the story of the ride, and would feature the return of the Barker Bird (a.k.a. Peg-Leg Pete).

Fans of Pirates of the Caribbean loved the idea of this announcement, so hopefully we will learn more attraction from D23.

Opening Dates for In-Progress Projects

While we hope some of these will be revealed prior to the D23 Expo, there are a few projects currently in-progress that we’re hoping we will get opening dates for soon. These include the reimagining of Test Track, with the ride scheduled to close on June 17 to be refurbished to its new design. And this summer, we’re expecting the opening of the newly redone Country Bear Jamboree in Magic Kingdom. And while we know Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will be opening June 28 in Disney World, we still don’t have an opening date for its counterpart in Disneyland.

Posts by Morgan Flaherty

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Morgan is the Staff Editor for WDW Magazine. A lifelong Disney fan, her dream day involves just about anything to do with Animal Kingdom. Along with several years of experience writing about Disney, Morgan has also written as a contributing writer for Well + Good, Scary Mommy, Brit + Co, and Baby Chick.
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Authored by
Morgan Flaherty

Morgan is the Staff Editor for WDW Magazine. A lifelong Disney fan, her dream day involves just about anything to do with Animal Kingdom. Along with several years of experience writing about Disney, Morgan has also written as a contributing writer for Well + Good, Scary Mommy, Brit + Co, and Baby Chick.
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