The D23 Expo: What's Next For Disney Parks and Resorts?
PHOTO: Disney unveiled plans for a new Toy Story Land at the D23 Expo 2015 in Anaheim, Calif. (courtesy of The Walt Disney Company)
Disney announced upcoming attractions and entertainment for several of its theme parks around the world at the D23 EXPO 2015 in Anaheim, Calif.
Fans got a sneak peek of what’s to come at the expo, courtesy of Walt Disney Park and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek, plus Disney Imagineers and filmmakers James Cameron and Jon Landau.
“Star Wars” fans will be happy to know that Disney will be introducing two “Star Wars”-themed lands—one at Walt Disney World, and one at Disneyland (TravelPulse detailed that announcement here).
Cameron and Landau also shared details about an upcoming land based on the blockbuster hit “Avatar.” The new land—coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom—will be called Pandora-The World of Avatar, and its e-ticket attraction will be called AVATAR Flight of Passage. Pandora will include floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest and Banshees (the winged creatures in the movie). AVATAR Flight of Passage will allow guests to explore Avatar’s alien world on a Banshee, delivering top-notch views of the surroundings in the process.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom will also feature new “After Dark” nighttime experiences. “Rivers of Light”—slated to open next spring—will combine “live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery on the natural stage of Discovery River. The existing attraction Kilimanjaro Safaris will be expanded to include a nighttime adventure, where guests will travel through the African savanna underneath the orange glow of the setting sun and encounter two new species to the attraction: African wild dogs and hyenas.
But Disney didn’t stop there. Chapek also declared that a new Toy Story Land is coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, and a new experience called “Soarin’ Around the World” will make its United States debut at Epcot and Disney California Adventure.
Toy Story Land—encompassing 11 acres—will zip fans right into Andy’s backyard, where all kinds of adventure happened in the beloved movie. Guests will be surrounded by towering toys, giving the appearance that they have shrunk to the size of Woody and Buzz. Included in the backyard: toys that have been assembled like building blocks, plastic buckets and shovels and game board pieces. The land will include two new attractions for any Disney park: a roller coaster where guests ride on the back of Slinky Dog, and an alien saucers attraction where little green aliens from “Toy Story” will zip guests around in their flying saucers (watch out for “The Clawwww”).
Also, a third track will be added to Toy Story Mania!, a favorite attraction among guests. Now, guests can zap even more 3D objects as they glide around the Toy Story Midway Games Play Set.
“Soarin’ Around the World” will take guests to hard-to-reach lands and soar over some of the world’s most unique natural landscapes and manmade wonders.
Last but not least, Disney announced that the first Marvel attraction planned for Disney parks will debut at Hong Kong Disneyland in 2016 (fans witnesses an exclusive preview video firsthand). The attraction, Iron Man, will take guests on a journey over the streets and across the skies of Hong Kong. They will start at the new Stark Expo, where they will board the Iron Wing and battle Hydra alongside Iron Man.
All of this news comes as Disney gears up for the opening of Shanghai Disney Resort.
"From Disneyland's 60th anniversary celebration to the anticipation of Shanghai Disney Resort, we're in the midst of unprecedented growth and expansion around the globe," Chapek said. "With these new announcements, we continue our legacy in creating innovative attractions, worldwide entertainment, and magical lands that take our guests into the worlds of stories they love."
More by Ryan Rudnansky
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