Wednesday, August 12, 2015

2015 D23 Expo Predictions for Walt Disney World

The D23 Expo is this weekend and rumors are flying about what could potentially be announced during the Parks and Resorts. The rumors that are floating range anywhere from nothing gets announced at all to Star Wars Land and Marvel Land. Of course, not every rumor that’s being floating currently is going to be released and honestly, it’s been a while since Disney actually did release anything of excitement at the D23 Expo. While the first year we got the fantastic announcement of New Fantasyland and Star Wars 2.0, if you remember the last few conventions have been extremely light on the jaw-dropping news has been extremely light. 

So I figured, I’d go step by step and discuss what I think are locks that will absolutely be discussed at the D23 Expo in regards to Walt Disney World, and which things I would love to see come true, but don’t necessarily have high hopes for.

Information Likely To Be Released

Solid Avatar Stuff: We know a few floating details (literally) about this upcoming land…we’ve seen some concept art and a model, but really details have been very sketchy.  Besides the attractions of a flying banshee ride and a boat ride, what else is coming to this land? I would suspect we will get more details about what we can expect when Avatarland opens up in 2017.

Rivers of Light: Much like Avatar, Disney released the news that Rivers of Light was coming and they released some concept art, but that was pretty much it.  We don’t know much beyond that. I suspect we will get the story behind Rivers of Light and what the new nighttime extravaganza will entail for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. 

Frozen in Norway:  While the details of the new attraction were recently released, I have a feeling there’s more we will be learning about in regards to Frozen and Epcot. I suspect we’ll maybe see some concept art of the new meet and greet and maybe a little more about the attraction or other additions that may currently be under wraps. 

Possible Information That Will Be Released:
Soarin’: While I suspect that during the presentation, Disney will be promoting Shanghai at least a little bit, I would suspect that they will, at least in passing, mention that Soarin’ Over the Horizon will be coming to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. I don’t know what kinds of details we’ll get beyond that, but I would suspect we’ll get confirmation that an update is coming.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Updates:  Ok…let’s be honest Disney had absolutely better announce updates to this fledging park.  Now, what they announce is up in the air, since the upgrades are clearly going to be done in phases. I also go back and forth with what I think will officially be announced.  I think that they will absolutely announce something is coming for Toy Story/Pixar Playland.  If rumors are to be believed, flat rides are going to be going in first, so I suspect that the plans are in place and that construction on this will begin ASAP.  Disney has closed so much in the section of the park this is rumored to go into, that I think all they are waiting on is this announcement and then shovels will go in the ground.  I think some of the bigger things like Carsland are part of another phase of the project and may get a mention, but that will be it, no real details. As far as Star Wars, I think that they will announce the name of the land, maybe some brief details about what we can expect, but I don’t know if even Disney has all the details ironed out yet on what they want.  If the latest rumors are to be believed, the Disney Board of Directors told the company to go back to the drawing board on what this land will entail.  I don’t know if they’ve come up with something just yet to announce because of that.  I do think that we’ll find out the new name of the park and that a preview center will go in where The Magic of Disney Animation was.   Overall though, this is the time to announce all the new additions that they are planning for Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  If Disney doesn’t mention at least this much during this event, I think the auditorium may riot.

Not Counting On It Being Announced

Jungle Cruise Restaurant:  While I think it’s possible that the Jungle Cruise Restaurant that’s being constructed in Adventureland will officially be confirmed, I suspect that will likely be a blog post article in the future and not something that will be announced at D23. 

DVC Expansion at Wilderness Lodge:  While I could see them mentioning this in their conversation about DVC, I again, see this as another blog post article, not a full blown announcement at D23.

Illuminations Replacement:  While the show is on the older side and I do think we’ll be seeing an announcement over the next couple of years on a replacement, I don’t think we’ll see an announcement about a replacement just yet, given that Rivers of Light will likely be the main focus.

Disney Springs: While I think there will be mentions about Disney Springs and what has already opened, I don’t know if they will be releasing any additional information about what we can expect to see.  Most of these announcements have been made on the blog and I would expect them to continue to be made there. 

Big Thunder Mountain/Frontierland Announcement: A week ago, Disney accidentally let slip that Big Thunder Mountain would be going down for a lengthy refurbishment beginning in April 2016.  I am hoping this is to include the updates that Disneyland just got with their end scene of the attraction. (It’s super cool and involves “dynamite”!) While I think we will see the upgrades to Big Thunder, I think that will, once again, be announced in a blog post.  I’ve also heard the rumor that with the massive $3 Billion expansion cost number that’s headed for Walt Disney World, that Frontierland is expected to see an update as well.  I don’t think Disney is anywhere near ready to announce anything for Frontierland and I don’t suspect we’ll see anything announced here.

Never Gonna Happen

Indiana Jones Attraction:  While I would love to see a clone of Indiana Jones Adventure, because it’s an awesome attraction, I highly doubt it’s on its way.

Maybe this is me tempering my excitement, but the one thing we all have to keep in mind is that this is the Disney Parks and Resorts panel…which means they will be focusing on all areas of the Disney Parks and Resorts family, not just Walt Disney World, so I would suspect that Disneyland will get play (in the form of the overview mention of Star Wars Land, like we’ll likely get for the WDW news), Shanghai Disneyland will probably get a good portion of time, discussing some of the cool stuff headed to that park, even though it won’t impact us stateside,  Disney Cruise Line and Adventures By Disney could even get a mention, though neither one of those has any big announcements on the horizon that are rumored. The presentation is only an hour and a half, so for them to pack in all of these potential rumors, alongside speaking about the other facets of the Disney Parks and Resorts umbrella, that makes me pause and wonder really just how much will be announced. 

Rumors are running rampant, as they always do prior to the D23 Expo…my hope is that we won’t end up disappointed, like we have been after the past couple of Expos. Disney needs to make a mic-dropping announcement and they need to make it here.  And my hope is that the blow me out of the water.  As you can probably tell, I’m cautiously optimistic; I have to be. I’ve learned these types of announcements and events rarely go the way the rumors indicate. But the fanatic side of me really is hopeful.  Please Disney…for once make the major announcements we are all longing to hear.

What do you think is likely to get discussed during the D23 Disney Parks and Resorts presentation? Let me know in the comments section.

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