For all of you Disney fans, it was a busy — and exciting! — weekend. Over at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif., there were major announcements for Disney World, Disneyland and beyond. We wrote in depth about what is expected for Star Wars Land already. Today we wanted to bring you a roundup of all the major points discussed at D23.
Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney isn't just adding a third track to its most popular ride in the park, it's adding a whole new, 11-acre land around it! Set inside Andy's backyard, Toy Story Land will feature oversized toys that he has created himself out of building blocks, plastic buckets and shovels, and game board pieces. Guests will think they've shrunk to toy-size when they climb aboard two new attractions:
- A family coaster — Riders will climb aboard the Slinky Dog for a fun adventure of twists and turns throughout Toy Story Land
- Alien saucers spin — The little green men from the movies will take guests for a spin aboard flying saucers. Just watch out for the famed Claw!
As mentioned above and previously announced, Toy Story Mania is getting a third track, which will provided much-needed capacity to help lower waits. No timeframe has been given for Toy Story Land.
Star Wars Land at Disney World & Disneyland
At 14 acres each, Star Wars Land will be the largest lands in each of the resorts, transporting guests to a never-before-seen planet. Look for two new attractions based around a secret mission aboard the Millennium Flacon and an epic Star Wars battle. No timetables have been revealed for the creation of the land, although Star Tours — The Adventure Continues will receive an update before the release of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" this Christmas. Read full details about Star Wars Land here.
Update on the Iron Man Experience at Disneyland Hong Kong
Disney offered an exclusive peak at the new attraction first announced in 2013. This ride simulator will rise up in Stark Expo in Tomorrowland, where guests will be able to view new technologies coming out of Stark Industries. Set in the metropolis of Hong Kong, Iron Man will take flight, battling over the streets of Hong Kong Island all the way to Victoria Harbour. Guests will also board the innovative Iron Wing for a short flight to Hong Kong Stark Tower, where they'll help Iron Man fight the evil Hydra. The land will include a Marvel store as well as a character meet with Iron Man himself! The ride, which debuts in 2016, just completed its topping out.
At Disneyland Park in the Disneyland Resort, Super Hero HQ will be reimagined in Tomorrowland and share space with the coming Star Wars Launch Bay. In this space, guests will be able to meet and interact with Captain America, Thor and the returning Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries. Both experiences will open later this year.
Soarin' Around the World at Epcot and Disney's California Adventure
Details thus far have been sparse, but we do know that guests will fly above some of the world's most unique locations and famed wonders such as Monument Valley and the Great Wall of China in Soarin' Around the World. The updated ride is expected to debut next year at both Epcot and Disney's California Adventure. Soarin' Over California at California Adventure recently upgraded to an IMAX Laser 4K projection system. Epcot is expected to also get a projection update, and a third theater is currently under construction.
An Update on Pandora — The World of AVATAR at Disney's Animal Kingdom
James Cameron was on hand at D23 for an update on Pandora, which is currently under construction in Disney's Animal Kingdom. The main attraction, AVATAR Flight of Passage, will allow guests to take flight on a Banshee over an alien world, where guests will have a sweeping view of the beauty and vastness of Pandora. The new land, which will include floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest that comes to life at night and winged Banshees, is expected to open in 2017. D23 attendees were able to see a Pandora exhibit, which included a scale model that showed the land changing from day to evening. With Pandora, the "Rivers of Light" nighttime spectacular and a Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris, the park will see expanded park hours. You can read more about what's coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom here.
Jungle Cruise-Themed Restaurant at Magic Kingdom
You adventurers can sample "world famous jungle cuisine" later this year at The Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen, or Jungle Skipper Canteen for short. There will be several unique dining rooms, including a crew mess hall and once-secret room of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. Jungle Cruise Skippers will staff this Adventureland restaurant, so expect plenty of puny jokes along with your meal. There is no word yet on whether it will be quick service or table service, or a hybrid similar to Be Our Guest.
Of course, we'll be bringing you more details about each of these projects as we know them. One thing is clear for sure: Disney continues to invest in its theme parks and is committed to bringing guests an incredible experience. Which of these changes are you most excited about? What are you most interested in experiencing? Share in comments below!