Last updated: August 26th. 10:00 AM.
This weekend, the D23 Fan Expo took place in Anaheim, California. A lot of BIG announcements were revealed for Disney parks around the world — and we’ve got the scoop on everything Walt Disney World related for you right here!
Official 2019 D23 Announcements
Details For Star Wars Hotel Revealed
Star Wars fan rejoice! We’re finally getting more info about the new Star Wars hotel coming to Walt Disney World. Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will be a first-of-its-kind vacation experience.
Guests will embark on a 2-night journey aboard the starship Halcyon, where they will be able to interact with characters from all over the galaxy, becoming key players in their own storylines.
All guests will board the starcuiser on the same day, and depart together after their two-day itinerary — much like with Disney Cruise Line.
While onboard the Halcyon, guests will enjoy state-of-the-art cabins, indulge in delicious onboard dining, and make a planet-side excursion to Black Spire Outpost on Batuu!
Guests will check-in for this one-of-a-kind adventure at the Galactic Starcruiser Terminal at Walt Disney World. From there, guests will enter a Launch Pod and be whisked off into hyperspace. Windows in the Launch Pod will allow for breathtaking views of the Earth shrinking away as the Halcyon grows closer.
Once docked, the airlock will open and guests will have a first glimpse of the ship’s Atrium. From there, an all-immersive experience will begin! Interact with crew members, other passengers, and even Star Wars characters on this galactic excursion.
Wield a lightsaber, visit the starcruiser’s Bridge, peer out into the vastness of space through the ship’s windows, learn navigation and defence skills which may come in handy, and even discover a connection with the Force.
All of this will be possible aboard the Halcyon. Guests may even discover hidden spaces within the ship where secret meetings take place. Just be sure to keep your wits about you! Each choice you make on this adventure could impact your fate…
Mega Epcot Transformation
We’ve seen quite a few closures and construction walls go up at Epcot this year, and things are about to get even messier!
A multi-year transformation of Epcot will bring new experiences into the park. Disney intends to make Epcot more family friendly, timeless, and relevant to guests.
The park will be divided up into four neighborhoods: World Celebration, World Discovery, World Nature and World Showcase.
Epcot’s World Celebration
The World Celebration area of Epcot will encompass the main entrance, Spaceship Earth, and the central hub where the Fountain of Nations currently stands.
This area will be transformed with lush gardens, a wishing tree, an interactive fountain and a new statue honoring Walt Disney himself.
World Celebration is also where you’ll find a new pavilion, which will act as the home base for Epcot’s many festivals. It will be a 3-tiered structure, featuring a plaza level, a middle expo level, and a park on the top level with stunning views of the nighttime entertainment.
Spaceship Earth Transformation
Epcot’s beloved park icon will remain a voyage through time, but will a little face lift!
New narration, a new musical score, and updates to the scenes will breathe new life into our Grand and Miraculous Spaceship.
Epcot’s World Nature
The World Nature section of Epcot is where you’ll find The Land and The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilions.
The Land will receive a new film in 2020 titled, “Awesome Planet,” showcasing the beauty of our world.
Moana Attraction Coming World Nature
A brand-new attraction based on Disney’s Moana will be built in the World Nature area.
This attraction, to be called Journey of Water, Inspired by “Moana”, will allow guests to interact with magical living water in a gorgeous, lush setting.
It will be a walk-through attraction, teaching guests about importance of the natural water cycle.
Over in the World Discovery area, you’ll be immersed in science, technology and intergalactic adventure. This is where you’ll find Test Track, Mission: Space, and the previously announced PLAY! pavilion, which will open in 2021.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
This new attraction will launch guests backwards into the cosmos, in a 360 degree rotating ride vehicle.
The movement of the vehicle is a new innovation from Walt Disney Imagineering, which directs your attention to where the action is taking place.
New Restaurant: Space 220
As an expansion of the Mission: SPACE pavilion, Space 220 will be a culinary space excursion with views of earth from 220 miles up!
Make your way into a special elevator which will take you up, up and away to this incredible dining location. You’ll see our beautiful blue planet through viewports in the elevator as you travel to your destination.
Operated by the Patina Group, Space 220 is set to open this winter.
Over in World Showcase, we’ll be seeing some very exciting new additions to some of the existing pavilions! However, we will not be seeing a new country in World Showcase.
Mary Poppins Attraction Coming to the UK Pavilion
A Mary Poppins attraction is making its way to Epcot’s United Kingdom pavilion.
Make your way down Cheery Tree Lane past Admiral Boom’s house before entering the Banks family home. Once inside Number 17, your magical Mary Poppins adventure will begin!
New France Pavilion Offerings
Over in Epcot’s France pavilion, a new restaurant called La Crêperie de Paris featuring cuisine by celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse is coming. This new dining location will open next to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, opening in summer of 2020.
The France pavilion will also see the addition of an all-new Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along in January 2020. And for those of you worried about the fate of Impressions de France — don’t worry — The film isn’t going anywhere!
More World Showcase Updates
Both Epcot’s China and Canada pavilions will be seeing updates to their current films.
“Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360” will bring new scenes and a new story to the Canada pavilion in January 2020.
Over in the China pavilion, “Wondrous China” will be presented in a 360-degree digital format, taking guests on a wondrous journey across this vast country.
Epcot’s New Nighttime Spectacular
Once IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth takes its final bow on September 30th, 2019, it will be swiftly replaced by Epcot Forever. However, this nighttime spectacular will be a temporary show.
Epcot Forever will be replaced with its permanent successor; HarmonioUS, which will be the largest nighttime spectacular ever created for a Disney park.
Walt Disney Imagineering presents the Epcot Experience
On October 1st, 2019, a new experience centre will replace the Odyssey Events Pavilion at Epcot.
This pavilion, to be named Walt Disney Imagineering present the Epcot Experience, will give visitors a closer look at what the future holds for Epcot.
If all these D23 announcements about Epcot have your heart racing with excitement, a visit to this pavilion will be just what the doctor ordered.
With interactive exhibits, the pavilion will show guests never-before seen details about Epcot’s transformation.
Around Walt Disney World
While Epcot is seeing the biggest transformation, there are a few D23 announcements pertaining to the rest of Walt Disney World as well!
Details Revealed For Mickey And Minnie’s Runaway Railway
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests will soon be transported into a cartoon world through a magical portal inside the Chinese Theatre. They’ll board Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and set out on an adventure through the wacky world of Disney Channel’s Emmy® Award-winning “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts.
With Goofy as your train engineer throughout this ride, you can bet it will be one zany adventure!
The attraction is slated to open in 2020, but no exact opening date was announced.
Construction Continues on TRON Lightcycle Run
While not technically “news,” we did still want to remind you about the TRON coaster coming to Magic Kingdom. This attraction is slated to open in 2021, in time for the 50th anniversary.
You can catch a glimpse of the construction progress from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover.
New Cirque du Soleil Show
Over at Disney Springs, Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Animation Studios have joined forces with Cirque du Soleil!
The show will premiere on April 17th, 2020, with previews beginning March 20th, 2020.
Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge
We’re also seeing some new concept art for the nature-inspired resort coming to Bay Lake.
This new Disney Vacation Club resort will draw inspiration from the wonders of nature.
‘Disney Genie’ Coming to Walt Disney World Resort
A brand new digital offering is set to debut at Walt Disney World Resort in late 2020. Disney Genie will work with your My Disney Experience account and MagicBand to enhance the way you plan for and experience a trip to Walt Disney World Resort.
With Disney Genie, you’ll be able to customize itineraries that will help you make the most of your time at Walt Disney World.
Choose an itinerary geared towards your interests, and Disney Genie will evaluate millions of options and create an optimal plan for your day. You can also create custom itineraries by telling Disney Genie exactly what you’d like to experience.
Disney Genie will be flexible, so you’ll be able to make changes to your plans on the fly.
The Future of Walt Disney World
All of these incredible D23 Announcements are set to gear us up for the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World in 2021. Disney intends to extend the celebration across all four theme parks, with new merchandise, food and beverage options, new entertainment and more!
Disney has not expressly stated that all of the D23 announcements we’ve outlined here will be ready in time for a 2021 opening. But you can bet that we’ll see a lot of progress on many of these projects between now and then.
Be prepared for a lot of changes coming to the most Magical Place On Earth over the next few years. It’s going to be a wild ride!
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