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Sunday, July 14, 2024

2024 D23 Expo Want Checklist: Lion Kings & Figments & Bing Bongs

Precisely one month from immediately, on August 10, the Parks & Resorts panel shall be offered through the 2024 D23 Expo. Walt Disney World and Disneyland followers are anxiously awaiting bulletins for the following section of “turbocharged” development. Rumors and wishful considering are swirling about what’s on the horizon, with hypothesis of trip reimaginings, additions, and growth.

As we’ve been saying for the final 12 months, an enormous slate of bulletins on the 2024 D23 Expo really makes lots of sense. The final time that occurred was the 2017 D23 Expo, which revealed an enormous slate of additives. Going into and popping out of the pandemic, the 2019 and 2022 occasions weren’t almost nearly as good–lots of issues that have been cancelled or by no means occurred.

However there’s cause to imagine the 2024 D23 Expo will as soon as once more attain the identical highs as 2017. The final undertaking cycle has now wrapped up, there’s nothing brand-new below energetic building at Walt Disney World or Disneyland, and the time is true to share what’s in retailer for the following growth section. Disney has virtually telegraphed that that is what is going to occur.

The corporate has $17 billion funding plans for Walt Disney World. With the approval of DisneylandForward, they’ve dedicated to spending one other $2 billion or extra at Disneyland. Greater image, there’s the SEC submitting indicating that the corporate plans to double funding to $60 Billion in Walt Disney World, Disneyland & past.

The response to this information was primarily crickets. Followers yawned, taking an I’ll imagine it after I see it perspective. Buyers, who additionally need to see extra funding in Parks & Resorts, responded with a collective shrug. The inventory worth didn’t transfer in any respect. Within the months since then, Wall Avenue has been asking extra questions in regards to the substance of Disney’s growth plans.

On high of all that, the elephant within the room for Walt Disney World is Common’s Epic Universe, the third theme park being in-built Central Florida by Comcast. Formally, Disney received’t have any “reply” to Epic Universe. Their public place is a mix of ‘Common is answering the whole lot we’ve accomplished within the final decade’ and that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’ However as we clarify in How Walt Disney World Will “Compete” with Epic Universe, there’s extra to it than that.

The underside line is that the stage has been set for a fully epic D23 Expo. Followers need huge information. Buyers need huge information. The corporate is lastly in a monetary place to construct, and thus ship huge information. The stakes are excessive, and we firmly imagine that Disney will ship. (No strain.)

Earlier than we dig into the specifics of what we would like introduced at D23 Expo, it’s necessary to supply the caveat that this can be a want listing. It’s not based mostly on any inside data neither is it a listing of predictions. That is what we hope shall be introduced given what’s realistically on the desk, not what we really assume shall be revealed. That is overly optimistic–if even 25% of this finally ends up coming to fruition, I’ll be very blissful. Regardless of the disappointments and laborious classes of the previous couple of years, I feel there’s a compelling case for optimism for the long-term way forward for each Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

With that stated, right here’s what I hope will get introduced–and what does NOT get talked about–for Walt Disney World and Disneyland through the 2024 D23 Expo, in no specific order. We’ll be again roughly every week or so earlier than the large presentation with a (a lot shorter) listing of precise predictions…

No Blue Sky Nonsense – “Fish or minimize bait.” It’s time to cease losing time speaking, and begin doing. Collectively, it looks as if that’s the place the fan neighborhood is on the subject of the splashy non-announcement bulletins Disney has “made” for its theme parks for the reason that 2022 D23 Expo.

The preliminary response to the Dino-Rama and ‘Past Large Thunder’ growth proposals was pleasure. As soon as the mud settled and followers realized simply what had and, extra importantly, had not been introduced that gave option to skepticism, pessimism, and downright dismissiveness. It’s been the same story since–the phrase “turbocharged” when speaking about Parks & Resorts has virtually grow to be a punchline.

Maybe they’re seeing and listening to suggestions that’s completely different from what this web site sees, however from my view, this strategy shouldn’t be working. It’s arguably worse than saying nothing in any respect. An enormous a part of the issue right here is the baseline from which the strategy is beginning–it’s occurring towards the backdrop of a number of delayed or cancelled tasks.

No matter causes, lots of the goodwill and persistence followers would possibly in any other case have had with these non-announcement bulletins was already exhausted previous to the beginning of the present course of. Now, these public blue sky brainstorming periods simply really feel like a tedious tease or perhaps a model withdrawal to many followers.

If there’s one thing substantive to say about one thing, say it. Make an announcement about what it really shall be. Present idea artwork. Share when shovel will hit soil. However don’t go up there and speak in regards to the infinite prospects that Imagineers are dreaming up or no matter. That’s only a waste of everybody’s time. It would garner some low-cost cheers, however as soon as followers understand that there’s no there there, sentiment will bitter.

No DisneylandForward – Very same story right here. I don’t need to see idea artwork of Fantasy Springs, Zootopia, or superior lands within the worldwide parks which are (supposedly) “into account” for Disneyland. Positive factor, Bob.

You already received the glorified zoning undertaking permitted, Disney. No additional must play politics on this one to get the residents of Anaheim in your facet. Share what is definitely taking place, or nothing in any respect.

Much less Filler & Fluff – There’s undoubtedly going to be a little bit of pageantry and fanfare within the opening, finale, and possibly different components of the presentation. That’s the character of the beast. I’ll be the primary to confess that nobody does a sizzle reel to hype up the group and get the feelings flowing fairly like Disney.

I additionally fairly benefit from the musical numbers that includes Forged Members and characters, particularly those which have supplied a bridge from previous to current to future at prior D23 Expos. So I’m not averse to any of that. (I additionally don’t assume they need to get carried away–it’s a fragile stability.)

That is extra to reiterate the above, as there have been just a few ostensibly substantive segments over the past D23 Expo that have been completely pointless. The highest instance that involves thoughts was the section about Tiana’s Bayou Journey that “confirmed off” smoke and lighting. That one struck me as actively counterproductive, because it strengthened misconceptions that there wouldn’t be something spectacular in regards to the attraction.

I do know we nonetheless describe this because the “Parks & Resorts” panel fairly than “Disney Experiences,” however it’s technically the latter. And I’d fairly hear about Epic Mickey Rebrushed or no matter is occurring with Fortnite (and so on) than substance-less segments about theme parks.

Some Singles & Doubles – They may announce a fifth gate for Walt Disney World and a 3rd gate for Disneyland at D23, and a few followers would nonetheless complain that it’s not sufficient. They’d be disillusioned there was no point out of Disney’s Magical Categorical, free FastPass, Horizons being rebuilt, Pal Mickey introduced again, full toppings bars at Pecos Payments and Cosmic Ray’s, Beastly Kingdom, and a seventh gate at Walt Disney World, too. Disney ought to cease making an attempt to please the unpleasable.

It’s not all “go huge or go dwelling.” To that time, I actually appreciated the strategy that Disney took finally 12 months’s Vacation spot D23, the off-year history-oriented occasion at Walt Disney World. That had a sturdy lineup of smaller-scale bulletins just like the Pirates Tavern, Check Monitor 3.0, Nation Bear Musical Jamboree, and extra. With out query, it was the largest and greatest Vacation spot D ever from an bulletins perspective. (It wasn’t a “newsy” occasion in any respect till 2021.)

A solely singles and doubles technique shouldn’t be viable for D23 Expo. It’s a blockbuster occasion the place followers predict bombshell information about new lands and points of interest. However peppering in some smaller stuff between the heavy hitters could be a pleasant one-two punch–particularly if Disney isn’t able to disclose particulars or launch detailed idea artwork about some issues which are rumored to be within the pipeline.

So give us data about trip reimaginings of Spaceship Earth, Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster, Large Thunder Mountain Railroad, Autopia/Tomorrowland Speedway, and anything happening for refurbishment that’ll additionally obtain enhancements. New particulars and idea artwork of previously-announced or at present underway tasks like Check Monitor or the Zootopia present would additionally verify this field.

Inside Out Into Wonders of Life – Up till it was completely paused, Play Pavilion was deliberate for the outdated Wonders of Life. Walt Disney World already did lots of work fixing the roof and different infrastructure points with the pavilion and this can be a prime piece of actual property now that Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is drawing individuals to this nook of the park.

Up till this summer time, my dream state of affairs was for a revival of the ‘Well being Pavilion’ idea that includes Baymax and an assortment of different characters. I’d nonetheless like one thing alongside these strains, however that includes Inside Out. This IP injection would make full sense for the previous Wonders of Life, with an attraction that’s a non secular successor to Skull Command and extra. (Probably a shared area between Large Hero 6 and Inside Out?)

Admittedly, most of my want for Inside Out to take over the previous Wonders of Life pavilion is to take the IP off the desk. Whereas I feel Wonders of Life makes rather more sense for the Inside Out IP, the Creativeness pavilion can be undoubtedly being thought of. I’d hate to see that occur, so give it Wonders of Life as an alternative. On condition that Inside Out 2 has been an enormous hit, it’s solely a matter of time earlier than it will get a significant presence within the parks. And who doesn’t need to see Bing Bong introduced again to life as an excellent Audio Animatronics determine?!

CommuniCore Corridor Alternative – Clearly this isn’t going to occur, however I can dream. And this is perhaps a “when the canine catches the automotive” state of affairs, anyway. As a lot as I’d like for Disney to acknowledge they screwed up the EPCOT overhaul and we’re not caught with this for many years to come back, I’m additionally unsure I’m able to endure one other 5 years of EPCOT being a sea of building partitions.

On a extra practical word, I hope that Disney realizes the EPCOT overhaul isn’t really accomplished and actually may use a section 2. Most likely wishful considering, as all indicators level to plans targeted across the different 3 parks.

Sew’s Nice Escape Alternative – There was a seemingly credible rumor pre-closure {that a} Wreck-It Ralph Sugar Rush attraction could be coming to this area. Clearly, that didn’t occur. It will appear these plans have been absolutely deserted, however then Tokyo Disneyland introduced a (very vaguely) comparable idea to switch its Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters attraction. (The Magic Kingdom incarnation was not, and possibly couldn’t be, a shooter trip.)

That is one other area that may very well be excellent for one thing with Baymax. There’s additionally Pixar’s Elio in 2025, which is a science fiction movie and thus may conceivably match into Tomorrowland. The issue with Disney sci-fi movies, although, is that they’ve a 50/50 shot at flopping. Frankly, I don’t actually care what will get introduced–even when it’s a stopgap with an anticipated decade-long lifespan, it’s higher than the nothing now we have now.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Reboot – I’ve advocated for this many instances, so I’m not going to rehash all of that right here. The underside line is that I’d prefer to see Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge break the sacred timeline and use the setting of the land as a leaping off level for brand spanking new adventures. (See Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Must Break the Guidelines for my tackle all of that.)

A tender reboot of the Star Wars land could be a possibility to introduce beloved characters, use the catwalks within the land for mini-shows, and make the land extra lived-in because of droids and extra performers. They may additionally doing a check run of a dinner present in Starcruiser at Walt Disney World for a future purpose-built venue within the land. All of this could breathe new life into the land and assist it lastly understand its full potential.

Extra Muppets – What I’d actually love is an Electrical Mayhem overhaul of Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster, and Muppets takeover of the entire Sundown Showcase space. However it appears extremely unlikely that the Muppets will get two mini-lands in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Talking of which, Grand Avenue is principally a clean slate. It was designed to principally be a crowd hall for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which has confirmed pointless. No good thought in Imagineering ever dies, and maybe this may very well be the partial realization of the Muppets Studio land idea from a long time in the past. That was alleged to function not simply MuppetVision 3D, but additionally two eating places: “The Nice Gonzo’s Pandemonium Pizza Parlor” and “Swedish Chef’s Cooking College.”

Grand Avenue may obtain the San Fransokyo Sq. remedy, with a Muppet Makeover that transforms Mama Melrose into Swedish Chef’s Cooking College and BaseLine Faucet Home right into a Muppets institution. Bringing again the ‘Nice Moments’ puppets for a present within the home windows overhead could be one other nice transfer, as would extra placemaking all through the land.

Animation Courtyard Overhaul – Walt Disney World has already introduced the reimagined Little Mermaid puppet present. It will be unbelievable if extra have been revealed about the way forward for this nook of the park, which has gotta be one of the miserable areas of Walt Disney World. It has huge Walt Disney Studios Park vitality, which isn’t a superb factor.

I don’t have any particular ‘want’ for what this overhaul would entail. Something is best than what’s there now, even when it’s largely simply aesthetics and placemaking. However it actually needs to be extra than simply aesthetics and placemaking.

 

Summer time Nightastic 2.0 – We’ve talked about this repeatedly within the final 12 months (and possibly will do a devoted submit on it quickly), however we hope that Disney pulls out the entire Summer time Nightastic playbook, and makes 2025 a summer time of spectaculars, anchored round new and reimagined leisure on each coasts.

Walt Disney World will want a promotional push for Summer time 2025 to “counter” Epic Universe. Disneyland wants one thing greater than Pixar Fest to maintain individuals coming. Nearly by default, the answer will probably be leisure–it’s the one factor that may conceivably occur on this tight of a timeline.

After years of rumors and wishful considering, right here’s hoping that 2025 will lastly be the 12 months that each Paint the Night time returns to Disneyland. It’s been some time, however they’re each sitting in storage in Southern California, and Paint the Night time has a nonetheless comparatively new float. Getting one other new float or two and costumes and calling the parade ‘reimagined’ could be a simple win.

At Walt Disney World, it’s conceivable that as-yet unannounced leisure involves Disney’s Hollywood Studios and/or Magic Kingdom. That would imply a parade, parades (day and night time), or a parade and a projections/fireworks present. Then there’s the “Disney Goals That Soar” drone present, which we’re nonetheless satisfied was a check for one thing in Animal Kingdom.

Avatar Expertise Elaboration – As soon as each few months since he returned, Bob Iger has talked about the “Avatar expertise” at Disneyland. Every new point out conveys a morsel of more information, with the largest growth being the above piece of idea artwork he shared through the Walt Disney Firm’s Annual Assembly of Shareholders ‘sizzle reel’ in April. Based on Iger, this exhibits what the Avatar attraction that’s presumably coming to Disneyland Resort may appear to be.

This artwork means that the Avatar expertise is definitely Pandora land, and can function a ship trip together with immersive environments which are much like and completely different from the incarnation of the land in Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Which is sensible given Disneyland’s distinctive area constraints and the discharge of Avatar: The Means of Water for the reason that Animal Kingdom incarnation of the undertaking.

I’d like affirmation that this idea artwork displays what is going to be constructed, the place it’ll be situated, and what all it’ll entail. Extra idea artwork could be pretty, too. That is actually on my want listing, but additionally looks as if an extremely secure prediction following the approval of DisneylandForward and provided that James Cameron shall be in attendance at D23. (And since that is clearly a undertaking about which Iger cares.)

Tomorrowland Transformation – I’ve resolved myself to this not really taking place–however this can be a want listing, not predictions. By the point the 2024 D23 Expo rolls round, it’ll be virtually 5 years since Disney introduced “A Nice, Large, Stunning Tomorrowland Entrance Coming Quickly to Disneyland.” That entrance, depicted within the idea artwork above, nonetheless has not come to fruition. The idea artwork had grow to be so pale that they just lately changed–however didn’t take away–it. So there’s nonetheless hope!

That entrance was probably step one in a deliberate, lengthy overdue transformation of Tomorrowland at Disneyland. It appears logical that the following “new” Tomorrowland will revisit the 1967 concepts of Walt Disney and his Imagineers that envisioned it as a “world on the transfer,” streamlining the design to take away the visible hodgepodge and exchange it with clear mid-century fashionable stylization.

On a substantive stage, I’d like to see Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters get a brand new idea. As Hyperspace Mountain has confirmed, House Mountain may grow to be a completely “new” trip by way of the strategic use of screens. One thing extra everlasting may very well be an enormous draw and accomplished with out important funding or downtime.

Then there’s the outdated Innoventions/Tremendous Hero HQ/Star Wars Launch Bay constructing. This simply received a DVC lounge final 12 months, so it’s unlikely going wherever. However the overwhelming majority of the area remains to be unused. It may grow to be the house of a model new attraction–or maybe the loading space for the PeopleMover. Now that’s very wishful considering, however once more, that’s what this listing is!

Fantasyland Enlargement – For years, there have been rumblings of Fantasyland growth at Disneyland. Most variations of this contain changing Fantasyland Theatre and taking on among the area between Toontown and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge or some portion of the lagoons and Autopia space on the other facet.

Most credible variations of this rumor revolved round Arendelle, however at the moment are a number of years outdated. Shifting ahead on this simply is sensible. Fantasyland is cramped, and opening up extra walkways would ease the pressure of crowds and assist with capability. Not solely that, however World of Frozen has already confirmed an enormous hit in Hong Kong–cloning that now could be cost-effective and a straightforward win for Disneyland.

Avengers Campus: Section 2 – Fingers crossed that that is the third consecutive D23 Expo with an Avengers Campus E-Ticket attraction announcement. Will it nonetheless be the King Thanos family-friendly trip? Will it’s a revival of the Quinjet idea? Will it’s one thing model new? No person is aware of!

It’s most likely secure to say that the trip car shared at Vacation spot D23 remains to be correct. That implies the trip system shall be much like or the identical as Peter Pan’s By no means Land Journey (or Spider-Man at Common), which is sensible. It additionally implies that there are a selection of prospects for the trip itself.

Disney ought to need to proceed enhancing DCA to extend its drawing energy. The primary section of Avengers Campus is underwhelming, and is getting worse with current leisure cuts. Which is why this isn’t simply listed as an Avengers E-Ticket reveal–additionally they must announce leisure or one thing near-term so the land doesn’t simply limp alongside for the following few years.

Hong Kong Disneyland has already signaled that its long-delayed Marvel E-Ticket is lastly transferring ahead. It’s secure to count on information about that at D23 Expo, and regardless of the plans are to be pretty comparable at HKDL and DCA.

Tropical Americas Full Reveal – This Dino-Rama alternative and growth is already confirmed. At Vacation spot D23 final 12 months, Disney introduced that Imagineering will rework this into a brand new land impressed by a area generally known as “Tropical Americas.”

Imagineers have taken analysis journeys to biodiverse areas of South America, stretching up into Central America for inspiration on the growth. Development permits have already been filed, and Imagineering goes to have a big trailer park campus backstage. So we all know Tropical Americas at Animal Kingdom is really-for-real taking place, and never simply blue sky daydreaming.

What’s not but official is what, precisely, Tropical Americas will entail. It’s been recommended that an Encanto darkish trip and Indiana Jones Journey changing DINOSAUR, together with a brand new carousel and refreshes of the doorway and restaurant are on the best way. What I’d like is affirmation of all of this, plus 7 items of idea artwork: Indiana Jones exterior and inside; Encanto exterior and inside (with trip car); restaurant, carousel, and entrance.

Past Large Thunder Reveal – Again in April, Imagineering indicated that preliminary water administration permits for Past Large Thunder could be filed within the coming weeks. Over three months later, that also hasn’t occurred. However, that little tidbit alone means that plans for the huge Magic Kingdom undertaking have firmed up.

My expectation is that Past Large Thunder shall be carried out in phases, and that Disney received’t be able to disclose full particulars for your entire growth. That’s comprehensible. On the very least, I’d count on to listen to in regards to the first section of the undertaking, together with which characters and ideas shall be represented.

Whereas I’d prefer to see extra, I’d be glad with a single piece of idea artwork exhibiting a hen’s eye have a look at the growth–not just like the impressionistic one from two years in the past, however extra just like the artwork for New Fantasyland and Fantasy Springs (and even the above Tropical Americas artwork, for that matter) that conveys a tad extra specificity.

Lion King Journey – Rumors have been swirling for months that two Lion King points of interest are on the best way: one at Walt Disney Studios Park/Disney Journey World and one other at Animal Kingdom, between the Port of Harambe and Pandora.

I do know completely nothing in regards to the veracity of those rumors, a lot much less the (potential) tasks themselves. What I’ve heard “recommended” from credible sources is that Imagineering isn’t simply constructing the trailer park for Tropical Americas, and extra is on the best way to Animal Kingdom. That makes full sense, because it wants extra. I can’t consider many higher choices than the Lion King, which is each acceptable for the situation and a contemporary traditional film that also doesn’t have a trip at Walt Disney World.

Even when a Lion King trip has been greenlit for Walt Disney World, it wouldn’t shock me if it’s too early to listen to about it. That Disney needs to give attention to Tropical Americas, and save that for a future occasion. Wherein case, right here’s hoping we nonetheless hear in regards to the model for France.

Out of Left Discipline Shock – Though that is my want listing, it’s considerably grounded within the ‘actuality’ of cheap rumors and rumblings. It’s the wildest goals or concepts from the deepest depths of my creativeness–it’s believable stuff.

With that stated, what I actually hope occurs is a few bulletins, regardless of the dimensions or scope, that come out of left discipline–intently guarded secrets and techniques that catch followers completely abruptly…in a great way. And talking of Creativeness…

Figment & Dreamfinder – Lastly, this listing wouldn’t be full with out the compulsory daydreaming about Journey into Creativeness 4.0. I’m not going to rehash all of that right here but once more, however suffice to say, it simply is sensible to reimagine Journey into Creativeness. (Learn that for my full pitch.)

An Creativeness reinvigoration would generate goodwill amongst WDW diehards and forge new followers within the course of. It’d be one thing that may outline the EPCOT transformation, tying it collectively right into a extra cohesive undertaking. Figment would grow to be the face and mascot of the new-look EPCOT, elevating the in any other case underwhelming central backbone within the course of. Oh, and it’d be a license to print cash–simply consider the merchandising potential!

For Bob Iger, this needs to be a no brainer transfer. Bringing again the actual Figment and Dreamfinder would assist with rebuild visitor goodwill and tackle fan disenchantment. It’s a surefire approach of undoing lots of the outrage and model harm from the previous couple of years. I can’t consider another single optimistic announcement that may outweigh so many prior negatives ones. Lots could be forgiven by followers within the blink of an eye fixed. It’d be a legacy undertaking for Bob Iger.

Saying Journey into Creativeness 4.0 is one surefire option to get large applause from the D23 Expo viewers, undo model harm of the final a number of years, and assure visits from loyal followers. About the one methods to attain which are the return of Figment and Dreamfinder or the PeopleMover (the occasion is in Anaheim, in spite of everything). If Disney executives are actually involved about all of these items, it’s the logical time to do one thing that ought to’ve been accomplished a decade in the past.

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Your Ideas

What’s in your want listing for 2024 D23 Expo bulletins? Do you assume it is going to be the biggest-ever Expo for Walt Disney World and Disneyland information? Will it’s one other disappointment? Are you excited/optimistic about what shall be revealed, or taking an “I’ll imagine it after I see it” stance given the entire cancelled tasks of the final ~5 years? Any shock bulletins you assume is perhaps doable?

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