In September we had Destination D23, a Disney event similar to the D23 expo (but smaller in scale), where new ideas are announced and presented. That means we had a lot of news this past month, with both things that will be coming relatively soon as well as those that are just conceptual ideas that the imagineers are looking at right now. So plenty to share this month!
- Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, will officially open in Epcot on October 16th.
- Also on October 16th – Moana will begin doing character meet and greets in Epcot at her own dedicated space near Journey of Water.
- A life-sized Figment has begun doing character meet and greets at Epcot inside the Imagination Pavilion.
- The Country Bear Jamboree at Magic Kingdom will get an update debuting sometime in 2024, which will include your favorite bears “reinterpreting favorite Disney songs in different genres of country music.”
- A new Pirates of the Caribbean themed lounge will come to Adventureland in Magic Kingdom sometime in the future. This is still in the design process and no dates or details have been announced.
- The Hatbox Ghost will finally be making his appearance at the Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom sometime in late November of this year.
- The new fireworks spectacular coming to Epcot will debut on December 5th, and is called “Luminous: The Symphony of Us.” my bet is still that it will be somewhat similar to Harmonious but with some improvements.
- In Epcot, Test Track will be reimagined. We do not have any details or dates on this yet, other than the statement that the new version will be partly inspired by the original Epcot attraction World of Motion.
- The World Celebration neighborhood at the front of Epcot will officially open in December.
- Soarin’ Around the World will temporarily become “Soarin’ Over California” in honor of the Disney 100 celebration, starting on September 22, 2023 (no end date has been officially announced).
- In Animal Kingdom, the Tree of Life Theater show (currently “It’s Tough to Be a Bug”) will be replaced by a Zootopia film. We do not yet have a timeline for that.
- Disney announced that the DinoLand area of Animal Kingdom will be re-themed to a land inspired by the “tropical Americas.” Exactly what will be there and when it will happen is still unknown, but some of the ideas that Imagineers are considering include attractions and experiences inspired by Encanto and Indiana Jones.
- Disney also reiterated that they are still considering an expansion for Magic Kingdom, what they are referring to as “beyond Big Thunder.” We didn’t hear much besides that, and no talk of the previously suggested lands that might be inspired by Encanto or Coco. Only that they are planning to do something… at some point.
- Asha, the main character from the upcoming animated Disney film Wish, will be coming to do character meet and greets in Epcot, Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris (presumably sometime this fall).
- Star Tours in Hollywood Studios, Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris will be getting some new scenes inspired by Ahsoka and her new Disney+ show beginning “next spring.”
- Over in Disneyland Paris, the Disneyland Hotel will reopen after a long refurbishment on January 25, 2024. A number of spaces, including the rooms, have been re-themed with inspiration from classic Disney films including Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Frozen, Moana, and more.
- Disneyland in California is seeing a few additions to Genie+. The Little Mermaid dark ride in California Adventure will now be offered as a lightning lane option, while Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will switch from an individual lightning lane offering to being part of the regular Genie+ line-up.
Magic Kingdom // Disney announced a Pirates of the Caribbean themed lounge would be coming to Adventureland, but they haven’t shared any details. A lot of speculation is that this will go in the area where Tortuga Tavern is currently located, and be a similar set-up to Oga’s Cantina (drinks only with maybe some small bites).
Disneyland // “We have a wealth of untapped stories to bring to life across our business,” said D’Amaro. “Frozen, one of the most successful and popular animated franchises of all time, could have a presence at the Disneyland Resort.” This was mentioned at Destination D23, and while it’s not definite it shows that they are at least considering adding more Frozen presence to Disneyland. Will it be a Frozen land like the one in Hong Kong? Or just an attraction?
Disney World // Also part of that same quote: “Wakanda has yet to be brought to life.” How will that happen? Well, the good news is it can happen in Florida, so there are lots of ideas. One would be to replace Rock n Roller Coaster with a Black Panther theme. We could also see a Black Panther attraction in Epcot, next to Cosmic Rewind. And while a lot has already been announced for Animal Kingdom, it might not be out of place to see Wakanda, a country big on conservation and nature (in addition to technology!) represented there.
Other Disney blogs
Ever gone through the hassle of trying to coordinate multiple parties and rooms on My Disney Experience? Jenn at Fairest Run of All has a great hack to make sharing plans a little bit easier!
The new villas at Disneyland Hotel have opened, and Tom at Disney Tourist blog has a great preview.
Thinking about a trip to a water park, but not sure which to pick between Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach? Shannon at WDW Prep School has a great post comparing the two!