Disney took to the stage on Saturday to announce new attractions and entertainment offerings headed to its theme parks during the company’s D23 Expo.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek brought on special guests James Cameron, Jon Landau and Stan Lee to announce new details about Pandora — The World of AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Iron Man Experience for Hong Kong Disneyland. Additionally, Chapek showed off some artists renderings of various projects around the world, including Shanghai Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland. Below are just a few of the highlights:
Additional details about Star Wars themed lands, which was announced earlier Saturday, were discussed, but not in too much additional detail. More information should be available as we near construction. Though if you visit Disneyland or Disney’s Hollywood Studios you may have an opportunity to see what will be coming in a separate Star Wars experience, more on that later. What we know do know is that we will be able to steer the Millennium Falcon, and travel to the galaxy far, far away. In true Disney fashion you will be able to take in Star Wars through all senses. Ever wanted to know what blue milk tastes like? You’ll be able to find out.
Existing Star Tours attractions in Disneyland and Walt Disney World will receive new scenes, characters to fall in line with new Stars Wars films, starting with The Force Awakens. Star Wars Launch Bay will also open later this year at Disneyland and Disney Hollywood Studios that will bring the world of Star Wars to Guests at the parks. Including meeting with heroes, experiencing all the things Star Wars including previews of the new Star Wars themed lands, movie previews, merchandise and games.
Disneyland will also receive a new limited seasonal event called “Season of the Force”. Guests will be able to take in various events geared toward Star Wars fans, similar in fashion to Star Wars Weekends at Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida. Space Mountain will also get a Star Wars overlay called “Hyperspace Mountain.”
Toy Story Land
A new 11-arce land will open in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida catered to Toy Story fans. The new land will transport guests to a toy-filled backyard of Andy’s design. The new land will include a new roller coaster themed to Slinky Dog, a little green alien flying saucer attraction, and Toy Story Mania will receive a new track to allow for better efficiency. With this action, Disney hopes to move Disney’s Hollywood Studios away from a “behind the scenes” experience park to one where guests are part of the action.
After Dark at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Disney’s Animal Kingdom will finally receive offerings that will make the park a full day park. Including a new innovative entertainment experience that combines music, floating lanterns, and water screens to bring the park to life.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom will also see its most popular attraction, Kilimanjaro Safaris, extended to offer new night time experiences, including adding special effects to provide an orange sunset through most of the night. Both new offerings will begin next spring.
Pandora — The World of AVATAR
Guests will be able to go to Pandora in a new experience designed around the film AVATAR and its upcoming sequels. This immersive land will be top to bottom the world of Pandora; even as you step on the floor, effects will come to life making the experience all too real. That is exactly what the team was hoping for. As you wander you will be able to experience the jungle world as you are intended to. The centerpiece of the attraction is “AVATAR Flight of Passage” that will allow guests to soar on a Banshee over Pandora. Even if you’re not a fan of AVATAR you will be able to appreciate the magic and immersiveness of this new attraction.
Soarin’ Around the World
This new experience will replace existing Soarin’ and Soarin’ Over California video sequences in Epcot and Disney California Adventure, respectively. The new higher definition footage will take guests across beautiful landscapes from around the world, including Monument Valley and the Great Wall of China.
Iron Man Experience
Hong Kong Disneyland will open the first new Marvel attraction at a Disney theme park in 2016 with Iron Man Experience. Iron Man Experience will open in Tomorrowland where it will house Stark Expo and a new attraction that takes guests to Downtown Hong Kong and to Hong Kong Stark Tower, home of the world’s largest arc reactor. Here we follow Iron Man as he battles Hydra. I wonder if Iron Man will prevail.
Phew. That’s a lot of new offerings heading to Disney Parks around the world. There certainly are many new offerings regardless of which theme park you are heading to.