I think the earth beneath D23 EXPO at the Anaheim Convention Center shook a little bit today when Disney Parks made exclusive announcements to eight thousand of their most loyal fans and press about new lands, entertainment and experiences. It goes without question the preponderance of said shaking came from the Star Wars Lands announcement during the Worlds Galaxies and Universes panel just hours before the Disney Parks Panel. And I do mean actual shaking.
When eight thousand people jump to their feet and scream in utter glorious delight, things shake.
That was the energy of the room in the following seconds, minutes and even the remainder of the day (and even now still at 1:31am as I’m writing this) after Disney Parks announced this incomparable expansion.
Following the Worlds, Galaxies and Universes panel a much more detailed announcement of Disney Park’s largest expansion in park history of new lands, entertainment and experiences was unveiled to include; Star Wars “Land”, Toy Story Land, After Dark at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Pandora -The World of Avatar and Iron Man Hong Kong.
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,” said Bob Chapek, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman. “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.”
Star Wars Enhancements & New Experiences a Massive Expansion
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue – Later this year, Star Tours will see a refurb when they include a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, giving guests a new adventure in the Star Wars galaxy.
- Star Wars Launch Bay at Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Tomorrrowland at Disneyland Park – An interactive experience which will take guests into the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, featuring special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, including opportunities to visit with new and favorite Star Wars characters, special merchandise and food offerings. Also at Disneyland park, Star Wars Launch Bay will share the space with the reimagined Super Hero HQ, featuring opportunities to meet and take photos with superheroes like Captain America and Thor, as well as experience the returning Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries. Both experiences will be available for guests later this year.
- Jedi Training Academy — A revamp of the current Jedi Training Academy is reimagined with a new experience that includes new characters and a new villain to battle from the popular Disney XD series “Star Wars Rebels.”
- Season of the Force – A new seasonal event set to beginning early 2016 which brings new experiences to both coasts. In Tomorrowland at Disneyland park, guests will explore the Star Wars galaxy with special entertainment throughout the land, themed food locations and more. Guests also will be thrilled to climb aboard Hyperspace Mountain, a remaining of the classic Space Mountain attraction, in which guests will join an X-wing Starfighter battle. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests will close out weekend nights with a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic score of the Star Wars movies.
The Verge did a small write up on the Star Wars expansion which details the press release from today’s panel at D23 EXPO.
Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Florida
Disney guests are already in love with the Toy Story Mania and Buzz Lightyear rides so adding an 11-acre land which will transport guests into the adventurous outdoors of Andy’s backyard where they will feel as though they’ve been shrunken to Woody and Buzz size, is almost guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. In this new land they’ll surrounded by oversized toys that Andy has assembled using his vivid imagination. Using toys like building blocks, plastic buckets and shovels, and game board pieces, Andy has designed the perfect setting for this land.
- Family Friendly Roller Coaster – All on the back of Slinky Dog, this coaster will zip and zoom, plunge and coast as it takes guests on a fun, toy-filled adventure throughout the new land.
- Alien saucers attraction – The famous little green aliens from the movie will take guests around for a spin in their very own flying saucers. The music, lighting and sound effects add to the flurry of action, while “The Claw” looms over.
- Toy Story Mania! – Guests glide into the Toy Story Midway Games Play Set and take aim at 3D objects in a variety of fast-paced games, with an expansion that adds a third track to this popular attraction.
See this Cute Video on the New Roller Coaster
James Cameron Announces All New After Dark at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Pandora – The World of AVATAR
As part of the expansion, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will immerse guests into the world of Pandora, and the entire park will transform after dark with new nighttime entertainment experiences, offering guests longer days than ever before to experience this one-of-a-kind theme park.
- “Rivers of Light” – Expected to open next spring, “Rivers of Light” will be an innovative experience unlike anything ever seen in a Disney park, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. “Rivers of Light” will magically come to life on the natural stage of Discovery River, delighting guests and truly capping off a full day of adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
- Kilimanjaro Safaris – This popular attraction will be extended for a new nighttime adventure next spring, where guests will travel through the African savanna amid the magically extended orange glow of the setting sun and discover two species new to the attraction: African wild dogs and hyenas.
- Pandora – The World of AVATAR – Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests will journey into the magnificent world of Pandora at this new AVATAR-themed land – a world that includes floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest and the winged creatures known as Banshees, giving guests a transformational experience they will never forget.
- AVATAR Flight of Passage – This E-ticket attraction, the centerpiece of Pandora, allows guests to soar on a Banshee over a vast alien world. The spectacular flying experience will give guests a birds-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of the world of Pandora on an aerial rite of passage.
Stan Lee and Iron Man Unveil “Iron Man Experience” for Hong Kong Disneyland
You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Iron Man and Stan Lee on the same stage together. Today, Iron Man landed at D23 EXPO for a special appearance to announce the all new “Iron Man Experience” for Hong Kong Disneyland.
Soon Hong Kong Disneyland guests will have the opportunity to meet and take photos with the Super Hero himself. Set to open in 2016, Iron Man Experience will be the first Marvel attraction at any Disney park, taking guests on an epic adventure over the streets and in the sky above Hong Kong.
The adventure will begin at the new Stark Expo where guests board the Iron Wing to take flight and battle Hydra alongside fan-favorite Avenger, Iron Man.
Check out the Parks Presentation Highlights from Disney Here!