Disney adults — it’s your time! Disney’s annual expo — D23 — just announced some major updates for Disneyland and Walt Disney World that will make you want to book your next visit ASAP, with or without the kids. On the up and up after the COVID-19 pandemic slump, Disney is making sure that, with the influx of people ready to attend their parks, a guest’s experience is bigger and better than ever.
Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro revealed a long list of new announcements at D23 Expo, which is held in Anaheim, California. From highly-anticipated opening dates for several attractions like TRON Lightcycle Run to new character meet and greets with The Mandalorian and Grogu at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in mid-November, there is something for everyone to look forward to.
"We're always, always in search of Walt's great big beautiful tomorrows," D'Amaro said.
At Disney World, EPCOT is the center of most of the changes. Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, is coming in 2023. "It's the story of water on our planet," D'Amaro said. "As you make your way around the trail, you'll interact with the water and discover that it kind of has a mind of its own."
Tiana's Bayou Adventure will open in late 2024, which is replacing Splash Mountain. The ride will feature many of the actors who worked on The Princess and the Frog. Disney Executive Creative Producer Charita Carter said the attraction also will use mists "like a painter's canvas to create this amazing sense of aura, which is going to be different from anything that you have seen in an attraction."
One of the bigger takeaways from the slew of updates is that the Disney parks will begin to start their 100th anniversary celebrations starting in January 2023. D'Amaro said Disneyland will be the “heart of the celebration” with platinum-infused decor, new looks for Mickey, Minnie and all their friends, plus two new nighttime spectaculars: "Wondrous Journeys" at Disneyland and "World of Color — One" at Disney California Adventure.
Another exciting update for Marvel fans in particular will be a new multiverse-centered attraction coming to Disney California Adventure's Avengers Campus. The new update will allow for guests to fight alongside all the Avengers, according to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige.
"And you're going to meet a new villain, King Thanos," Feige said. "This is a new version of Thanos, for the very first time, coming into the MCU via this attraction ... This is a Thanos that won, and the Avengers are not too happy about that, and you have to help them." The opening date for this attraction is still to be determined.
If you’re planning on staying at the Disneyland hotels while visiting, Paradise Pier Hotel will look a bit different in the coming years. The hotel will be renamed Pixar Place Hotel.
"You'll feel like you walked right into a Pixar art gallery," D'Amaro said. "You'll see new interpretations of characters like Woody. Buzz will be there, Mike, 22, Miguel, Dante and all the Disney Pixar characters that you can think of." There will also be a Finding Nemo-themed splash pad. No opening date has been released yet.
As for the other Disney properties around the globe, they’re getting updates too. Disneyland Paris will get a new "Pixar: We Belong Together" show set to debut sometime in 2023 as well as a new Tangled-themed attraction.
World of Frozen, an entire land dedicated to the fictional town of Arendelle, will open at Hong Kong Disneyland in Summer 2023. The park is also getting a new statue of Walt Disney in 2023. The statue is set to depict the moment Disney saw his kids on a merry-go-round and which sparked the flame that is Disneyland today.
Lastly, for those who like to take their love of Disney to the water, Disney's sixth cruise ship will be named Disney Treasure. The ship will feature Agrabah stylings from Aladdin, with a "gilded great hall."
Looks like there is enough to keep fans coming back for years!