Home Publishers Disney D23 2015: What’s New at Disney’s Amusement Parks?

D23 2015: What’s New at Disney’s Amusement Parks?

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Alexander Jones reported on the new Star Wars attractions, so here are the main points:

  • Each will occupy 14 acres. (Picture halls A-H in San Diego, plus the Sails Pavilion)
  • In Florida, it will be located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (But there isn’t much land available…maybe they’ll move the parking lot to the other side of World Drive? Or the support buildings?)
  • In California, it will be located up at the northern edge, west of Toontown.
  • The locale? A new, never-before-seen planet on the frontier of the Star Wars galaxy.
  • It will be immersive, and in direct competition with Universal Studios Hollywood, which will be opening The Wizarding World of Harry Potter next Spring.
  • In California, there will be a more immediate “Star Wars Launch Bay” paired with a Marvel “Super Hero HQ” in Tomorrowland, to sell tchotchkes to True Believers and Jedi, and to facilitate meet-and-greets.
  • In Florida, the Launch Bay will be located in the Animation Courtyard at Hollywood Studios.
  • Star Tours gets a new storyline later this year, in advance of the new Star Wars movie.
  • In early 2016, Tomorrowland with host a seasonal event for Star Wars fans.

Marvel

Disney World has to tread carefully, as Universal Studios Orlando still holds the theme park rights to certain Marvel characters.

Disneyland? No problem. But no announcement, except for the “Super Hero HQ” area in Tomorrowland.

My prediction: a massive reconstruction of Tomorrowland, with many of the current attractions either relocated (Buzz Lightyear, Star Tours) or demolished (Innoventions, Autopia).

Here’s why: Hong Kong Disneyland (yes, there is a such a place, has been since 2005) will be getting a new Iron Man ride.  Here’s the scenario:

The adventure begins at the new Stark Expo – a showcase of new and exciting technologies coming soon from Stark Industries – which Tony Stark has brought to Tomorrowland. At the expo, guests will experience the history of Stark Industries through inventions by the company’s founder, Howard Stark, and into the present day, where Tony Stark is inspiring his team of scientists and engineers to make our lives better, more convenient and safer through technology.

One of the best examples of the new technology showcased at the Stark Expo will be the innovative vehicle called the Iron Wing. On Iron Man Experience, guests will board the Iron Wing for a short flight to new Hong Kong Stark Tower, where they find themselves in a fight – alongside Iron Man – against the evil forces of Hydra.

Basically… Star Tours, with Iron Man… which can be repurposed into any flight simulator… Avengers quinjet, the Milano… and which doesn’t need to be aboveground.

Pixar

Disney’s last big project was Cars Land in California, at the California Adventure theme park.

Since California already has a “Pixar Land” (and Paris Disneyland has La Place de Rémy), Disney will be adding a Toy Story Land in Florida.

When Toy Story Land opens at the park, guests will be able to play with some of their favorite toys at two new attractions that will be unique to the Walt Disney World Resort, plus one expanded favorite:

  • Family-friendly roller coaster – Guests board Slinky Dog’s back for a thrilling toy-filled coaster adventure that’s ideal for the entire family.
  • Alien saucers attraction – The famous little green aliens from the movie will take guests around for a spin in their very own flying saucers – but beware The Claw!
  • Toy Story Mania! – This current guest-favorite attraction, which allows guests to take aim at 3D objects in into the Toy Story Midway Games Play Set, will expand with more midway track that takes you into the world under Andy’s bed where he’s built a carnival-style midway.

That looks like a lengthy roller coaster! (Hmm… that reminds me of one Christmas vacation, where I took every Hot Wheels track I had, about 50 yards, and built a giant track with curves, ramps, all sorts of stuff! The starting point was a giant downward hill, about three feet off the ground. What if you simulated a similar experience, at human scale?  Maybe Mattel can license that to another theme park…)

It looks like Disney will have fixed the attendance problems at Hollywood Studios (currently ranked #8 worldwide, fourth among Walt Disney Resort parks) when both Star Wars and Toy Story attractions are opened.

Avatar

But what about #3, Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Well, Disney announced in 2011 an agreement with James Cameron and Fox to add an “Avatar Land” to the Animal Kingdom. (Yes, Animal Kingdom was always designed to feature imaginary creatures!) Due to open in 2017, Disney released new pictures and a name: “Pandora – The World of AVATAR” last weekend!

If you look closely, you can see people on the pathways.

Among the offerings:

  • Pandora – The World of AVATAR – Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests will journey into the magnificent world of Pandora at this new AVATAR-themed land.
  • AVATAR Flight of Passage – The centerpiece of Pandora – The World of AVATAR, brings guests into one of the most thrilling scenes from the film, in which they will soar on a Banshee over a vast alien world.
  • “Rivers of Light” – Expected to open next spring, “Rivers of Light” will be an innovative show unlike anything ever seen in Disney Parks, combining live performers, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery.
  • Sunset 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.

Shanghai

There wasn’t much announced, since it opens next Spring.  Disney Imagineering did have a pavilion at the Expo, and the Disney Insider blog has slides!  Most of them are from Shanghai, plus some Avatar/Pandora models.

My three favorite images:

Fantasia carousel!
Tomorrowland Logo

Shanghai will also have the first pirate-themed land of any Disney park.

And… Disney’s California Adventure?

Nothing new to report.  Expect something at D23 2017. MiceChat has an interesting rumor about that

I suspect that Disney will announce Marvel attractions once they buy out Universal’s contract (Universal can fill that space at Islands of Adventure with another licensed property, perhaps Star Trek).


 

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