I think I can finally breathe! The 2017 d23 (Offical Disney Fan Club) expo is over and, I must say, I can’t remember ever having seen so much huge Disney World news released at one time! (and I won’t even be covering news related to Disney movies, cruise line, disneyland, or other international Disney theme parks). As Disney World approaches it’s 50th anniversary, they seem to be pulling out all the stops to have each theme park primed to kick off the next 50 years in spectacular fashion… It is a GREAT time to be Disney World fan (and blogger)!
Out of respect for your time, I want to get right to the news. There is a disclaimer I need to make: As I share my reactions to the news you need t know two things:
- I am an unashamed fanatic/sheep/fanboy when it comes to Disney World. There is very little they could do wrong in my eyes. Whether they are building something new or demolishing an attraction, they get the benefit of the doubt from me 99.9% of the time.
- Adding on to the first point, I am a very nostalgic person, but my love for creativity and innovation outweighs my love for the nostalgia. If Disney has to demolish an old attraction to put a new one in, very rarely would you hear a peep from me about it. I know many Disney fans are the exact opposite, so I thought I’d let you know ahead of time!
Any one of these announcements would be huge by themselves. All put together, I believe this is an unprecedented period of growth and improvement at WDW, and a direct shot across the bow of Universal just down the street.
Now.. to the news!
Toy Story Land to Open in Summer 2018–Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in 2019
I guess you can’t exactly call this “new” news. We have known for nearly 2 years that Hollywood Studios was getting two brand new expansion lands themed in Star Wars and Toy Story. However, the information is starting to get specific as we hear that Toy Story Land will open in the Summer of 2018 and the newly titled Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be ready for guests in 2019.
Toy Story Land will feature a medium sized children’s roller coaster themed as Slinky Dog and hold several other attractions and dining options (more details in a future post).
The Star Wars area looks to be much more expansive, at least triple the size of the new Pandora area of Animal Kingdom. The pictures of the small scale model coming out of the d23 expo are nothing short of jaw dropping. I can not wait to have the opportunity to just walk through this land and become immersed in the theme and story.
Wow wow wow… Hollywood Studios is about to get SPECTACULAR.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Speaking of Hollywood Studios, the iconic Grauman’s Chinese Theater is going to be hosting a new attraction soon. For it’s entire existence, the theater has housed a kitschy show/ride called The Great Movie Ride in which you are floating along in the all-too-common boat and dropped right into the middle of some of Hollywood’s most iconic film scenes. It is a nostalgic favorite of many but has never been on my must-do list.
Having said that, I welcome this new attraction and won’t miss it’s predecessor. With all of it’s brilliant purchases (Marvel, Star Wars), Disney has become a bit widespread and some of the original Disney characters have been drowned out a bit. Mickey and Minnie, especially, deserve a great attraction to remind us of the heart of Disney World, literally right in the middle of one of it’s theme parks.
Really really looking forward to this one. I’m sure we’ll see many more details at next year’s d23
Two New Major Epcot Attractions
As stated at the beginning of this post, I’m not exactly the biggest Disney critic, but I’ve had many harsh critiques of EPCOT and it’s aging Future World section. The World Showcase side is phenomenal and worth the price of admission, but Future World is far too hit or miss to create the wow factor you get at the rest of WDW. (My main complaints are with the truly embarrasing Innoventions, the mistake that is Mission: Space, as well as other aging attractions). It needs to be stated that there are a couple of great attractions in the newly updated Soarin’ and the thrilling Test Track and the untouchable classic, Spaceship Earth.
With all of the said, it’s nice to hear news of two major additions to EPCOT. One of them will be in Future World and that is a Guardians of the Galaxy. There weren’t many details released about this attraction but it is being hyped as a major ride and it will take the place of Ellen’s Universe of Energy. The nostalgic crowd aren’t happy about this but I absolutely welcome it. I must admit that I’m not sure how the theme of this movie ties in with EPCOT but I’m going to withhold judgement until I experience it.
In the World Showcase, France will be getting a Ratatouille themed ride that is assumed to be a carbon copy the attraction that Disney already created in their Paris theme park. I love that movie and I’m really looking forward to this!!
What a relief it is to see Epcot getting some much need attention.
Tron Coming to Magic Kingdom
This is, by far the most exciting piece of news for me. I was one of the few people who really enjoyed the movie Tron: Legacy so I can’t wait to see this roller coaster attraction sitting right next to Space Mountain. For me, this is going to be a great addition to another aging part of WDW and that is Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom. “Tomorrow” looks a lot different than it did in the 1970s and anything that can be done to pump new life into this area is a welcomed sight.
This “light-cycle” ride already exists in the new Shanghai Disney and it looks like a blast to sit on the roller coaster motorcycle style and have your hair blowing in the wind and you quickly zip through the air.
It was heavily rumored before the d23 expo that the Tomorrowland Speedway would be replaced by Tron but there is a currently empty piece of land to the left of Space Mountain that will definitely hold this large coaster. The artist rendering shows Space Mountain and Tron… and if you look closely there are still cars zipping around a track at the bottom left of the image!
I’m SO ready.. bring it on! We should definitely see this around 2020, just before the 50th anniversary in 2021.
Star Wars-Themed Resort Announced
This news has me as excited as an 8 year old on Christmas morning… even though I’ll never be able to afford it.
Disney is creating a fully immersive experience in the form of a Star Wars Resort Hotel. You will be a character in the Star Wars universe. You will dress the dress and interact with other characters. You will “leave Earth” and be fully immersed in the journey.
I am geeking out over this!!
There hasn’t been any more details about location, but I’ll keep you updated as I hear more. I love this direction and I hope Disney does more of it. It’s one of my biggest recommendations to people on any Disney vacation. Let yourself get caught up in the story of everything around you. This takes that idea to a whole new level!
Ok.. let’s hit the lightning round…
A 15th DVC Property is Coming to Walt Disney World
I know this won’t be exciting for everyone, but as members of the Disney Vacation Club, our family is always interested to hear about the next resort that Disney is adding to the family. Disney Riviera Resort is the 15th DVC resort and will be located close to Epcot. The new Gondola system (more info below) will create fairly easy access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
There isn’t currently a lot of information about this Resort but I’m definitely in investigative mode to try and find out a few more details
New Transportation Offerings at Walt Disney World Resort
Two exciting new pieces of transportation news.
- This is, by far the more exciting of the two new announcements. A new gondola system called “The Disney Skyliner” is being built and will connect resorts and theme parks in the Epcot area… This includes Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century, and Caribbean Beach resorts with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot (near the Boardwalk resort). As mentioned above, there will also be a stop at DVC’s Riviera Resort.
- Any option to help get around the 40 square mile area that is WDW is welcomed. Disney is instituting it’s own UBER like on-call-ride-service will take riders around in a Minnie theme polka-dot vehicle. The rumor is that it will be a $20 flat fee per ride. Not bad on those crowded evenings trying to leave after fireworks and get your family back to the resort.
Disney also announced a few “minor” things with addition of a new Theater at Magic Kingdom and a hint at some of the special things that will be happening around the 50th anniversary in 2021.
This is truly an unbelievable time to be a Disney World fan. I’d love to be on the journey with you all so please check us out on Facebook, instagram, and Youtube so we can explore all of this new stuff together!
Have a magical day!