On Sunday, Sept. 11, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D'Amaro took the stage at D23 Expo 2022 for the "A Boundless Future: Disney Parks, Experiences and Products" presentation. D'Amaro spent almost two hours breaking some incredibly exciting news regarding what frogs can expect at Disney parks and resorts both in the United States and around the world and on Disney Cruise Line in the near and far future. We are positively leaping with joy and cannot wait to experience everything Walt Disney Imagineering has in store for us! Without further ado, let's hop right into those magical announcements!
Walt Disney World Resort Announcements from D23 Expo
From a TRON Lightcycle / Run opening date to insight into potential Blue Sky projects, we received lots of hoppy news for Walt Disney World Resort.
- The presentation kicked off with a live performance of the iconic theme song from Magic Kingdom's "Happily Ever After." D'Amaro then immediately announced that the beloved song will play in the park again when an updated nighttime spectacular returns to light up the skies over Cinderella Castle in 2023.
- Imagineers joined D'Amaro onstage to discuss the story for the upcoming re-theme of Splash Mountain, Tiana's Bayou Adventure. The story picks up where the film left off — in 1927 with Tiana as a great entrepreneur and community leader. It's carnival season and our favorite froggy princess is hosting a party, but she's missing a special ingredient! On your journey through the bayou, you'll join Tiana and Louis, the trumpet-playing alligator, and discover a few new friends along the way. In this attraction, mist will be used as a painter's canvas — resulting in "true bayou magic." This ride looks incredible and is going to be even more gorgeous when the sun sets. As far as voices, you can expect to hear Anika Noni Rose as Tiana, Bruno Campos as Naveen, Michael Leon Wooley as Louis and Jenifer Lewis as Mama Odie all making their welcomed return to New Orleans in this attraction! Speaking of the Big Easy, we were told that if you're from there, the ride will feel like you're coming home. If you've never been, it'll make you want to visit. Tiana's Bayou Adventure is coming to Magic Kingdom in late 2024.
- Moving over to EPCOT, we heard that the World Celebration neighborhood will be completed in late 2023, featuring a new statue of Walt Disney called "Walt the Dreamer" which frogs at D23 Expo got the chance to see in person!
- Over in World Nature, Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana will open in late 2023. This walkthrough attraction will invite frogs to follow the story of water on this planet, inspired by Moana's deep connection to the ocean. Frogs at D23 Expo also got the chance to see a scale model of the beautiful 16-foot tall statue of Te Fiti, the Mother Island and goddess from the film, that will be featured in the attraction!
- Continuing the park's legacy of inspiring nighttime entertainment, EPCOT will debut an all-new nighttime spectacular on World Showcase Lagoon in late 2023 for Disney's 100th-anniversary celebration. Be sure to catch "Harmonious" while you still can!
- Rounding up EPCOT news, everyone's favorite purple dragon, Figment, is getting his very own meet-and-greet by the end of 2023. Lily can't wait for him to sign her autograph book!
- Hopping back over to Magic Kingdom, the infamous Hatbox Ghost from Disneyland's Haunted Mansion will materialize in the Liberty Square version of the ride in 2023. We're so excited to welcome the 1000th happy haunt to Walt Disney World Resort!
- Following a brief video preview of TRON Lightcycle / Run, D'Amaro announced that the long-awaited coaster will be lighting up Tomorrowland in spring 2023. Tad can't wait to enter the Grid!
- For the final piece of Walt Disney World Resort "news" at D23 Expo, D'Amaro was joined onstage by Imagineering Portfolio Creative Executive Chris Beatty and Walt Disney Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee. We were told that what we were about to hear are all concepts that are actively being discussed and things we might potentially see appear in the parks in the far future — better known as "Blue Sky" concepts. They started in Disney's Animal Kingdom and focused on Dinoland U.S.A. As Primeval Whirl recently went extinct, we've been curious about what the future held for that land. Beatty and Lee shared that lands inspired by "Zootopia" and "Moana" would be a perfect fit for the park and shared some stunning concept art that featured the city of Zootopia and the island of Motunui. They then set their sights on Magic Kingdom ... specifically the land beyond Big Thunder Mountain. What could lie past those iconic spires? What about a land inspired by "Coco" where you could celebrate Dia de Los Muertos in Santa Cecilia and even enter the Land of the Dead where you could fly on the back of an alebrije? How about a land inspired by "Encanto" where you can enter the magical Casita and explore Bruno's foreboding tower and Antonio's jaw-dropping bedroom? What would it be like to enter a land overrun by Disney's menacing and maniacal villains? Breathtaking concept art featuring these three lands was the cherry on top of the Walt Disney World announcements at this panel.
Disneyland Resort Announcements from D23 Expo
Meanwhile, the Hulk is coming to Avengers Campus NEXT WEEK, and later down the line, we can expect many exciting projects, including a San Fransokyo re-theme.
- Disneyland Resort announcements started when D'Amaro was joined onstage by Disney Legend Jon Favreau. He was more than hoppy to announce that the Mandalorian himself, Din Djarin, and everyone's favorite little bounty, Grogu, will begin encountering guests inside Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland Park beginning in mid-November. This is definitely the way!
- Speaking of meet-and-greets, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige (and Mark Ruffalo via video) appeared to announce that Disney's Project Exo is making its anticipated debut with Smart Hulk in his Quantum Suit. You'll be able to meet the verdant Avenger in Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure Park beginning the week of Sept. 18!
- Staying in Avengers Campus, we finally know what that long-awaited third attraction is going to be! Frogs will be able to enter the Multiverse and battle with different Avengers across space and time against the all-powerful King Thanos. We were so pumped to see the likes of Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Daredevil, the Hydra Stomper, Captain Carter, America Chavez, Sam Wilson's Captain America, the Mighty Thor, Peter Parker from the upcoming animated series, "Spider-Man: Freshman Year," and even Werewolf by Night from the upcoming Disney+ special featured in this concept art!
- While Walt Disney World Resort may only have land re-themes currently being talked about, one massive land re-theme is officially coming to Disney California Adventure Park. Pacific Wharf will be reimagined as San Fransokyo from "Big Hero 6" where frogs will get to enjoy new spots to eat and shop and — yes — even get the chance to meet the lovable robot, Baymax. The concept art looks gorgeous!
- Moving over to the hotels, we've officially learned that Paradise Pier Hotel is being renamed to Pixar Place Hotel. Frogs will feel as though they've stepped into a Pixar art gallery and get to interact with new interpretations of favorite Pixar pals. There's even a Finding Nemo-themed splash pad coming to the hotel, as well as a flagship location for Great Maple, a SoCal-based chain offering modern and elevated American comfort food.
- Speaking of food ... more than a dozen new shopping and dining locations will be opening up in Downtown Disney District in the future. Among them are Din Tai Fung, a family-run restaurant serving up flavorful Chinese cuisine, and Porto's Bakery & Cafe, a Southern California-favorite best known for its sweet pastries and treats, savory Cuban food and incredible desserts. My stomach is rumbling just thinking about it!
- Calling all runners! runDisney races are making their long-awaited return to Disneyland Resort in 2024. See you on track, fellow frogs!
- Hopping back over to Disneyland Park, Mickey's Toontown is in the middle of a massive renovation, but don't worry — Goofy's House and Donald's Boat are here to stay! They will be reopening with some new additions: Goofy's How-To-Play Yard, a playground perfect for tadpoles of all ages with a soft, spongey ground, an elevated clubhouse and a sound garden, and Donald's Duck Pond, a play area featuring giant spinning water lilies, balance beams and rocking toys, respectively.
- As for Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, the queue for the new attraction opening in early 2023 will celebrate the Big Cheese himself. It's a tribute to Mickey through the years featuring Steamboat Willie, Sorcerer Mickey, Mickey Mouse Disco and many more iterations of the beloved mouse!
- Imagineers joined D'Amaro onstage to discuss the story for the upcoming re-theme of Splash Mountain, Tiana's Bayou Adventure. The story picks up where the film left off — in 1927 with Tiana as a great entrepreneur and community leader. It's carnival season and our favorite froggy princess is hosting a party, but she's missing a special ingredient! On your journey through the bayou, you'll join Tiana and Louis, the trumpet-playing alligator, and discover a few new friends along the way. In this attraction, mist will be used as a painter's canvas — resulting in "true bayou magic." This ride looks incredible and is going to be even more gorgeous when the sun sets. As far as voices, you can expect to hear Anika Noni Rose as Tiana, Bruno Campos as Naveen, Michael Leon Wooley as Louis and Jenifer Lewis as Mama Odie all making their welcomed return to New Orleans in this attraction! Speaking of the Big Easy, we were told that if you're from there, the ride will feel like you're coming home. If you've never been, it'll make you want to visit. Tiana's Bayou Adventure is coming to Disneyland Park in late 2024.
- Also coming to New Orleans Square is Eudora's Chic Boutique Featuring Tiana's Gourmet Secrets. Tiana has collaborated with her dressmaking mother to open this new store which frogs will be able to shop at starting on Sept. 20!
- Capping off west coast news at D23 Expo, D'Amaro announced that, beginning in Jan. 2023, the Disney 100 Years of Wonder celebration will kick off in Disneyland Resort and include new décor, specialty food and beverages, character experiences and more.
- As for nighttime spectaculars, two new shows are coming to the resort! Over at Disney California Adventure, "World of Color — One" will celebrate the broad storytelling legacy of Disney's first 100 years and tell a new story through Disney classics and new favorites. At Disneyland Park, the skies over Sleeping Beauty Castle will come alive with "Wondrous Journeys," a new show that will ignite the wonder in everyone and feature nods to all 60 Walt Disney Animation Studios films to date, taking frogs on a journey filled with artistry, music, storytelling and heart. We even got to watch a performance of the show's theme song, "It's Wondrous!"
- That's not all, though. More special entertainment will pop up across the resort during the celebration ... including the long-awaited return of the "Magic Happens" parade in spring 2023. We cannot wait to see our favorite characters on their breathtaking floats rolling through Disneyland Park once again!
International Disney Park News from D23 Expo
We're toadally jealous of all the amazing projects coming to Disney Parks around the world. Does anyone want to join us on a Disney Parks global tour?
- As part of the grand finale of the 30th Anniversary celebration, the new stage show "Pixar: We Belong Together," will debut at Walt Disney Studios Park in 2023.
- The next major milestone in the ongoing transformation of Walt Disney Studios Park is a beautiful "Frozen"-themed land, which will offer a gorgeous lakeside promenade and will immerse guests in the same magical wintry setting from the films.
- Leading into the new "Frozen"-themed land are several gardens, one of which will include a new "Tangled"-themed family attraction.
- "Frozen" and "Tangled" will also be represented in the iconic five-star Disneyland Hotel, as every guest room and all communal areas are being rethemed in one royal transformation — taking inspiration from those newer films, as well as classics such as "Cinderella," "Sleeping Beauty" and more!
Shanghai Disney Resort
- Shanghai Disney Resort has the distinct honor of being the first Disney resort to bring the world of "Zootopia" to life! At Zootopia Central Station, frogs will find the animal residents of the city going about their daily lives — spectacularly brought to life by Walt Disney Imagineering. Over at Zootopia Police Department — the entrance for the land's new family attraction — frogs will be greeted by an Audio-Animatronic of the doughnut-loving Gazelle fan, Officer Clawhauser.
Hong Kong Disneyland
- As part of Disney's 100th-anniversary celebration, Hong Kong Disneyland will unveil a new statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse near Cinderella Carousel, calling back to the moment Walt watched his daughters on the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round and first dreamed of Disneyland.
- Opening in the second half of 2023, World of Frozen will blend the kingdom of Arendelle with the park's natural landscapes on Lantau Island.
Tokyo Disney Resort
- Tokyo DisneySea's phenomenal Fantasy Springs expansion will bring three different stories to life: "Peter Pan," "Tangled" and "Frozen." This area will feature several new Audio-Animatronics, including Elsa, who sings in Japanese and whose movements are synced with the rhythms of the language. There's even a brand-new hotel coming to Tokyo DisneySea that will be integrated right into Fantasy Springs!
- Over in Tokyo Disneyland, Space Mountain will undergo a stunning transformation that will bring a new story and experience to the iconic attraction beginning in 2024.
Disney Cruise Line News from D23 Expo
Last but not least, the big news for Disney Cruise Line includes a whole new ship!
- Give a warm welcome to the sixth ship to join the Disney Cruise Line fleet, the Disney Treasure! Setting sail in 2024, this ship celebrates the spirit of adventure and Walt Disney's lifelong love of exploration. I absolutely adore the concept art of the Grand Hall which draws on real-world influences from Asia and Africa and pays homage to the far-away land of Agrabah. Rightfully so, the signature statue at the center will feature Aladdin, Jasmine and their Magic Carpet.
- For the first time ever, Disney Cruise Line will be setting sail from Australia and New Zealand, taking families on limited-time cruises that will immerse them in Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars stories, beginning in late 2023.
- The Disney Wonder will be the first ship in the fleet to set sail for the South Pacific, taking families to bucket list destinations, such as Fiji and Samoa. I know where Leap and I are renewing our vows!
- Inspired by the rich culture and natural beauty of the Bahamas, Lighthouse Point is Disney Cruise Line's beautiful new island destination on the island of Eleuthera. Not only were we treated to some amazing concept art, but we also learned that 90 percent of the power on the private island will come from solar energy! How cool is that?
@undercovertourist Exciting D23 Expo 2022 announcements with @thedavidvaughn #D23 #d23expo ♬ Vibes - ZHRMusic
We're so hoppy that the future of Disney Parks is looking brighter than ever! What update, addition, renovation or return announced at D23 Expo are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!
Related: What's Coming to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando in 2022 and Beyond — Tiana's Bayou Adventure Opening in Late 2024!