Tuesday, July 11, 2017

15 rumored D23 Expo 2017 announcements about Disney World

New rides for Disney World, whole new park sections created, even a change of a park name are just some of the rumors swirling around the internet as D23 Expo 2017 is about to start later this week.

This is the place major announcements concerning the future of the Disney parks have been made.

For the uninitiated, the D23 Expo is super-sized meeting of all things Disney. Think of it as a shareholder meeting, ComicCon, a Science Fiction convention, TV, film and music press preview, toy fair and fashion show all round up into one. In short, the ultimate Disney fan experience.

And as we get closer to the event, which takes place July 14-16 at the Anaheim Convention Center, speculation is running rampant over what is coming next to Walt Disney World.

The big announcements are set to come out during the 90 minute Parks and Resorts panel on Saturday from 3 to 4:30 p.m. PDT (that's 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET for those in Disney World).

Here is a look at some rumors and speculation about what may be and what is hoped to be announced about Disney World. Again, nothing is a fact, until Disney officially makes it so.

1. New name for Hollywood Studios. With the addition of a Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land the name of the park will be changing. Bob Iger acknowledged the name will be changed during a shareholders meeting in March. The question is what will the name be. Some have speculated Walt Disney Studios Park, Disney Studios, Disney's Hollywood, Disney's Hollywood Magic and a few others. What do you think the name will be?

2. The specific opening date for Toy Story Land. It has been rumored that the section of Hollywood Studios will open within the next year. Construction is moving fast, but Disney is becoming more shy on specific dates recently with the extended time it took to open Pandora at Animal Kingdom. With all the attention on Star Wars and Hollywood Studios being a little light on attractions now, giving people hope with an opening date would be beneficial.

3. A Star Wars immersive hotel. This rumor has been moving faster through the universe than the Millennium Falcon making the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. (If you don't get the previous reference you shouldn't want to stay at the hotel, so move on). As first reported by WDW News Today, this would be a 2-night immersive stay in a hotel designed as a spaceship with interactions with Star Wars characters and live performers, flight training, lightsaber training and secret missions. The cost is rumored to be about $1,000 per guest.

4. The Great Mickey Ride replacing the Great Movie Ride. This rumor, which has been around for about year,  showed up on the WDWMagic forum boards. Instead of going through the history of movies, the attraction would be transformed to go through the life and movies times of Mickey Mouse. The deal with Turner Movie Classics, which revamped the ride, was only for three years and is believed not to have been renewed.

5. The new gondola system at Disney World. This may be one of the worst kept secrets since construction is already underway for a gondola system which will link Epcot, Caribbean Beach, Pop Century, the Art of Animation and Hollywood Studios (or whatever it will be called). We should expect a timetable and artist renderings.

6.  Zootopia land at Animal Kingdom. The opening of Pandora shows that this park can use a mix of fantasy with its real-life animals. Jim Hill in his Disney Dish Podcast brings up the possibility of this new area. This would replace Rafiki's Planet Watch. The behind the scenes area with a petting zoo, while somewhat popular, is not something that excites a lot of people. Being able to take a train to Zootopia, similar to the movie, with meet and greet areas could change the experience.

TRON Lightcycle Power Run
7. The TRON Lightcycle Power Run coming to the Magic Kingdom. Goodbye Tomorrowland Speedway and hello to the TRON Lightcylce ride. This has been a rumor running rampant for quite some time and there is now some strong belief that this will become a reality. Remember, the Magic Kingdom will be turning 50 in a few years and this is the kind of thing that will start getting people very excited. It's also a perfect fit for Tomorrowland. It also gets another Chevrolet sponsored ride into a another park.

8. New nighttime parade at the Magic Kingdom: This might seem like small potatoes to some, but not having a late night parade at the park has been frustrating for many. Maybe it will be Paint the Night coming from Disneyland as a placeholder until the 50th anniversary. Maybe it will be the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade. But let's hope something is coming.

9. New countries coming to Epcot. There are two countries rumored to be coming to Epcot. Brazil and Spain are the top choices, according to the Orlando Weekly. Nothing has been confirmed and these discussions with the various countries have been in the works for years, though Disney will not confirm.

10. New Ratatouille ride in France. Permits were filed for some major work to take place between France and Morocco. The area, according to WDWNews Today would work well for the construction of the dark ride Ratatouille which is currently in Disneyland Paris.

11. New Guardians of the Galaxy ride in Epcot. This is another rumor that has been around for a while. In this version Ellen's Energy Adventure in Future World would be replaced by a Guardians of the Galaxy ride. Now this is a tricky thing. The first question everyone asks is can Disney use these characters East of the Mississippi considering the deal it has with Universal. It is complicated and Robert Niles from themeparkinsider.com does a good job explaining this. However, it is possible and it is something all would love to have, especially since permits for work in that area have been filed.

12. A new entrance for Epcot. This has been something discussed in public. In November 2016, Inside the Magic reported that Walt Disney World Resort Disney Parks Chairman, Bob Chapek talked about transforming the park and the entranceway. The place would include removing the "Leave a Legacy" columns. A revamped Innoventions area, a revamped MouseGear gift shop and revamped Electric Umbrella restaurant.

13. Replacing the Gran Fiesta Tour boat ride in the Mexico pavilion. This boat ride tour would be updated and based on the upcoming film "Coco." The film, to be released in November, is about a boys dream to become an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the Land of the Dead. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector and together they set off on a journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history.

14. Retheming the the Seas with Nemo and Friends. This would be a simple name change and exterior brained, but it would change the name of the pavilion to Marine Life Institute from "Finding Dory."

15. Journey Into Imagination being replaced. This is one rumor, we here would hope not take place. There has been a lot of speculation and rumor that Inside Out attraction would replace Figment and Journey Into Imagination. Now, maybe Figment can team up with the Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust to have an entirely new ride. Still there are 30 to 45 minute wait rides for this attraction. So who knows.

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