From Epcots update to a Spider-Man ride, everything Disney revealed about its parks at D23
Even Dick Van Dyke made an appearance as it was announced that a new Mary Poppins attraction would fly into the Great Britain pavilion, gathering the loudest applause of the news-filled two-hour session.
What the highly anticipated event was missing, however, was a blockbuster reveal along the lines of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, announced four years ago at D23. The closest might have been a hint at a new Avengers ride in Disney California Adventure Park, but details were scarce, including when it may debut.
Still, fans in the audience cheered loudly at each bit of news, from a new daytime parade at Disneyland to the name of the latest Disney cruise ship, dubbed “Disney Wish.”
Here’s what attendees learned, starting in Disney World:
Calling it the largest transformation of a park in company history, Walt Disney Parks chairman Bob Chapek said Epcot was in the midst of a massive update that would bring it in line with the tastes of modern audiences.
Epcot will be divided into four neighborhoods:
- World Showcase, where several of the international pavilions will receive everything from new attractions to 360-degree films. Leading the way will be Mary Poppins, who will welcome guests to Cherry Lane. Details of the attraction were not released. The France pavilion welcomes Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, in which riders are shrunk down to rodent size for a trip through a French restaurant, opening in summer 2020.
- World Celebration brings a revamped Spaceship Earth, with new and updated scenes. It also includes a three-level pavilion topped by a small park.
- World Nature features a walk-through attraction where water seems to dance and play.
- World Discovery will be home to a Guardians of the Galaxy ride that features Disney’s first reverse launch. The coaster in Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will spin to focus on the action, wherever it may be. Guests also may board an elevator to space to dine in Space 220, a restaurant 220 miles above Earth, at least if diners believe what they see on the viewing screens. It’s expected to open this winter.
A new Star Wars hotel
Disney officials revealed their most immersive resort, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. Guests will board a launch pod for a two-day, two-night stay aboard the Halcyon. Once aboard, they will meet all manner of Star Wars creatures, and may find themselves on missions to thwart the evil Resistance. No opening date was announced.
The digital assistant Disney Genie
To celebrate Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021, officials are releasing a digital assistant to help guests with everything from booking a FastPass to planning the perfect day. Visitors will be able to go online and use Disney Genie to arrange each day by experiences and attractions, as well as dining reservations. It also will send out alerts should arrangements need to be changed because of weather or ride breakdown. No price for the service was announced.
Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure Park
Superheroes will be gathering at Avengers Campus, now under construction at California Adventure. The centerpiece is a Spider-Man ride in which guests will board vehicles and hurl webs at the vastly multiplying Spider-Bots that have escaped. While details of the ride weren’t released, it may well be like the experience found in Toy Story Mania, where riders fire at targets on 3D video screens.
Chapek also hinted at a new E-ticket ride in which guests will board an Avengers jet and rocket to Wakanda, home of Black Panther. Once there, they will find themselves in a battle to save Earth. Few details of the ride were revealed, though Chapek said it would feature the latest and greatest innovations when it came to immersive attractions. He said it would open as part of the Avengers Campus second phase.
Avenger Campus also will include a restaurant based on Ant-Man and the Wasp, where the food is both enlarged and shrunk.
The campus will open sometime next year.
New at Disneyland
After the debut of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in May, things are rather quiet in the original park. Officials did reveal a few more details of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Toontown. Guests will enter the El Capitoon Theater for the premiere of the newest Minnie and Mickey cartoon. Things go awry as the train pierces the veil between the real and animated worlds in an attraction that combines vintage dark-ride looks with the latest technology. It opens in 2022, and Disney World’s version is slated to debut next year.
A new daytime parade, Magic Happens, will roll down Main Street beginning in spring 2020. It will feature new floats and music.
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