For Disney Parks fans, the biannual D23 Expo is like Christmas and a funeral in one. Every two years, the company’s “Ultimate Fan Event” hosts a Parks & Experiences panel, when Disney executives and Imagineers are on hand to unveil the list of additions and subtractions the company plans to make to the parks. Disney-themed for years to come.
This year, the Parks panel takes place on Sunday 11 September, at 10.30 a.m. in Los Angeles. At that time and around the world, Disney Parks fans will be glued to their seats and their phones as Parks President Josh D’Amaro hosts a panel that will be filled with excitement, surprises and – yes – disappointments.
D23 Expo has never been more important to Disney Parks fans than it will be this year. With COVID having seen hundreds of millions of dollars in canceled projects, Chapek emerged as a franchise- and budget-focused CEO, Disney World’s 50th anniversary flatlining, countless reduced guest perks and the very storyline. unusual where we don’t know about any confirmed Disney Parks plans after 2022, what we learn on September 11, 2022 will literally reveal the scope and scale of Chapek’s ambitions for Disney parks for years to come.
So what will be announced at this year’s D23 Expo? Of course, those who know don’t speak… but if you believe the rumblings and wishes of the fans, here are some key areas where we could see big announcements (and repeat announcements) that will give Parks fans something to say for years to come…
1. The Lost Attractions of EPCOT’s Reinvention
At last D23 Expo (in 2019, when the world was a very different place), all eyes were on EPCOT. For decadesfans had begged EPCOT for a comprehensive, planned reinvention to refresh the park and its attractions — the same kind of multi-year reunification and restyling that saw Disney California Adventure reborn in 2012.
In 2019, it became official that EPCOT would indeed undergo such a multi-year transformation, making the park (in the words of Bob Chapek) “More Disneymore relevanttimeless oreand more family.” (Another way of reading this: “More characters, less education, less 80s, and even After characters.”)
A plot was announced for the park in 2019, including details on what became Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Space 220, and Harmonious. Of course, much has been announced that doesn’t become. We already know that Disney cut the announced Celebration Pavilion completely, then announced a massively scaled-down version. (Too bad because EPCOT is the only park that really has Needs a long-lasting, big-budget, planned solution instead of more piecemeal changes and quick fixes.)
But what many fans are hoping to be (re)announced at this year’s D23 Expo are three projects that were anything but official, then quietly disappeared post-COVID.
A. The game! Flag
The first was the Play pavilion, intended to take over the most significant space used for the health-focused pavilion and Lost legend: Wonders of life from 1989 to 2007. Completely emptying the interior of the golden dome between Universe of Energy (er, Cosmic Rewind) and Horizons (I mean, Mission: SPACE), the Play pavilion was meant to be stylized as an animated neon , Disney Emoji Cartoon Town stylized characters, interactive games and encounters.
A set flag coming online would obviously be a huge deal. But so far, that is not the case. No one outside of Disney seems to have any idea how Project Play was going before the COVID budget cuts hit, or if it even keeps moving forward. Since the sight of abandoned pavilions is unfortunately nothing new for EPCOT, it’s not a huge loss… but one has to wonder if Disney will renew its commitment to the Play pavilion during this Expo D23, or if this project was quietly killed.
B A Mary Poppins Attraction
A Mary Poppins the mini-pitch added to the UK pavilion at EPCOT was part of the park’s announcement rollout in 2019, but when the parks reopened post-COVID, mention of it was erased from the EPCOT Experience preview center. It’s not surprising. Disney hadn’t actually announced the details of what would lie in the recreation of Cherry Tree Lane, with many assuming that Mr. Chapek (then just President of Parks, now CEO) was more interested in a carousel or even just a meet-and-greet rather than a full dark ride. With the promotional campaign for Mary Poppins Returns now passed, the project was easy enough for Chapek’s franchise-focused regime to cancel. Would you like to see a Poppins attraction make a comeback at EPCOT, even if it’s “just” a meet and greet?
VS coconut in Mexico
During this time, the other fans of the project are hoping that being part of this year’s Parks panel is a bit longer. After all, Disney never officially acknowledged that Pixar’s 2017 film coconut was going to take over the often overlooked Gran Fiesta Tour boat ride in EPCOT’s Mexican pavilion… They only did suggested by including a model of Mexico in the park model of the EPCOT Experience preview center (which – aside from Mexico – only featured pavilions with planned expansions), with a giant coconut guitar leaning on it. coconut is a stunning film and an obvious fit for the pavilion (especially with World Showcase’s clear “animation integration” plan in action). But will it actually happen?
D. Spaceship Earth
Perhaps the most controversial changes announced but suspended at EPCOT was the announced reimagining of Spaceship Earth. Make no mistake – Spaceship Earth has suffered various major overhauls over its lifetime, emerging with new show scenes and new celebrity narration each time. But at its core, Spaceship Earth has always been EPCOT’s “communications pavilion,” telling the story of how humans evolved from cave paintings to written language, to papyrus, to printing, to the Renaissance. , the electric age, the personal computer and the unlimited interconnectivity offered by the Internet.
But according to Bob Chapek’s announcement, that was about to change. During Expo D23 2019, Chapek announced that a more fundamental overhaul of Spaceship Earth was about to begin, shifting the focus of the journey from “communication” to “storytelling”. Although many of the scenes from the beginning of the ride on written language would remain, they would refocus on how humans learned to tell stories to pass on lore. Naturally, this would evolve into odes to Disney Animation, with concept art showing a light ray of Moana sweeping the night sky under the gaze of Polynesian travellers.
In what would likely have been a mix of real history and Disney movie allusions, the ride would have a little maintained that epic “EPCOT” ethos, but was also a character-infused thing with major cringe-worthy potential. (Imagine a ride that deals with storytellers from all of human history, but ends with a weird ode to Walt Disney as the “ultimate storyteller” or something. That seems very possible.) This renovation wasn’t only a rumor; it was announcementwith May 2020 as the start of what was said to be a two-year closure. Of course, that didn’t happen. But it could. Spaceship Earth wrong needs a mechanical overhaul, and it seems likely that when that happens, odes to Disney storytelling will make their way.
So what do you think? Do you want this renovation – or any of the others on this list – to come to fruition? Let us know… And keep reading, because there’s more to consider…