Sunday, July 16, 2017

Disney Parks Announce A Slew of New Rides, Attractions and Developments at D23 Expo

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Yesterday's Parks presentation at the D23 Expo in California turned out to feature a massive set of announcements about rides, attractions, hotels, experiences and more that are headed to the Disney parks in North America and beyond.  Let's dig in!

First up is the announcement of the full name of the Star Wars themed area being built at both Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios.  Named Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, the land will open first at Disneyland in 2019 and then later that same year at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  The lands will both feature two signature attractions that "put guests in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance."  While not all details have been released there are more from the Expo shared here.

Another part of the growing excitement for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge was the gigantic model of the land that was on display at the Expo.  Thankfully for those of us far away and not at the Expo, Disney filmed this fantastic video of the area as if we were walking through it.  Certainly looks to take immersive to the next level.

Walt Disney World in Florida had a total of 4 new rides announced at the Expo.  Two of them are headed to Epcot.

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Located in a currently undeveloped backstage area behind the France pavilion will be Ratatouille, a ride inspired by the existing one at Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris.  The 4-D ride mixes huge physical sets with 3-D animated sequences that have riders shrunk down to the size of a mouse.  The journey takes passengers on a hair-raising trip through Gusteau's restaurant.  To check out a video of the existing ride in Paris, click here.

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Epcot's Future World will see Ellen and her Universe of Energy attraction close for good this August 13th, to be replaced by a brand new Guardians of the Galaxy themed ride.  Very little about the attraction (ride system, etc) was revealed, but the Guardians are definitely moving into Epcot.  The concept art released does not appear to give us any hints, either.

Both Ratatouille and the Guardians of the Galaxy ride should be ready to open in 2021 for Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary celebration.

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The Magic Kingdom will also have a new attraction in 2021 when TRON Lightcycle Power Run opens adjacent to Space Mountain.  The ride will go up in previously undeveloped land, and no attractions will close for it to be added.  The ride is expected to be a clone of the ride of the same name at Shanghai Disneyland, which has received rave reviews since it opened last year.

As its core the ride is a launched coaster from Vekoma who's lighting alone is a serious visual feast.  If you want to take a spin on the Shanghai version, click here.

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Disney's Hollywood Studios will be retiring the Great Movie Ride (operates until August 13th) in order to build Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway, a unique dark ride that will be the first ride-through attraction to feature Mickey in Disney history.

Riders will join Mickey and Minnie as they enter one of the pair's famous cartoon shorts, becoming a part of the zany action.  The dark ride will not require 3-D glasses, and from a quick preview shared at the Expo looks to feature plenty of projection mapping special effects to create ever-changing environments.

The Imagineers working on the ride are promising that it will be a fitting replacement for the Great Movie Ride, and is one of the "boldest... most impossible" things they've ever made.

No official word on the ride's opening date, but it wasn't listed as for the 50th anniversary so perhaps it'll be sooner.

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The presentation also touched on various other additions, almost too much to list in one post.  There's a summary of all announcements here, which is a great place to start reading.

These other announcements include:

•  The grand opening of Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios will take place in Summer 2018.

•  A brand new gondola system, named the Disney Skyliner, will connect several Florida resorts to Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

•  The Magic Kingdom will add a large new theater off Main Street U.S.A., based off of Kansas City's Willis Wood Theater.  No show was announced for the new facility.

•  A new restaurant will open soon adjacent to Mission: Space at Epcot.  It will be set in outer space as a highly themed experience.

•  Pixar Pier will replace Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure, adding new theming to the existing land, and both the Avengers and Spiderman will eventually call the park home.