Destination D23 Disney Parks Panel: All the Big Walt Disney World and Disneyland Announcements


Destination D23 is currently underway at Walt Disney World and Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro was there to help lead the big Disney Parks panel that revealed a bit of the future for the most magical places on Earth.

There were updates for Disney Parks all around the world, and some of the big highlights included plans for Dinoland U.S.A.’s reimagination into a new land with Encanto and Indiana Jones experiences and the opening date for the Moana-themed Journey of Water. However, there was so much more and this article has gathered all the biggest announcements you need to know.

Dinoland U.S.A. at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom to Be Reimagined With Experiences Inspired by Encanto and Indiana Jones

Dinoland U.S.A. at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is going to be transformed into a new land and experiences inspired by Encanto and Indiana Jones are being considered to be part of the reimagination.

This new land is also taking inspiration from the “tropical Americas,” which include “some of the most biodiverse areas on the planet in the regions just north and south of the equator here in the Western Hemisphere – the northern part of South America, stretching up into Central America.”

We didn’t learn too much more about this new land, but Walt Disney Imagineering chief creative officer Bruce Vaughn did say “there’s a long way to go and a lot more to discover, but Imagineering teams in Florida are up to the challenge.”

Opening Date Revealed for EPCOT’s Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana

Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, is set to officially open at EPCOT at Walt Disney World on October 16, 2023. The new attraction is located within World Nature and is a walk-through experience that will let you “engage with water in magical ways.” This includes giving a high five to water and waving hello and having water respond in a fun way.

Throughout the walk, guests will see their favorite characters sculpted into the rocks like Hei Hei, Pua, and Moana, and there will be opportunities to learn about the water cycle and why we all need to do our part to protect our planet. A topiary of Te Fiti will also be present, and guests can choose to walk through a wet or dry path.

If that wasn’t enough, Moana will also be joining the fun on October 16 and will look forward to interacting with guests as they travel through Journey of Water and beyond.

It was then revealed that the World Celebration neighborhood will open in December. If you’ve visited EPCOT recently, you will have noticed all the construction happening in the front of the park. This will become World Celebration and will join World Discovery and World Nature as places for guests to enjoy.

‘World-Jumping Vehicle’ Revealed for Upcoming Multiversal Ride at Disney California Adventure’s Avengers Campus

Disney previously revealed that a third attraction will be headed to Disney California Adventure’s Avengers Campus, and at Destination D23 it revealed the world-jumping vehicle that will help take our heroes into the Multiverse.

It was confirmed that King Thanos will be the brand-new Multiversal threat that is being designed exclusively for this new attraction, and now we know how we’ll be traveling to face off against him alongside our favorite heroes.

Walt Disney Imagineer executive creative director Brent Strong shared that this ride will feature a “design that combines elements of Tony Stark’s time-suits with Xandarian jump points and Wakandan technology.”

EPCOT’s Test Track Is Getting a Big Update

EPCOT’s Test Track, which first opened in 1999, is getting a reimagination from Disney’s Imagineers and the team at Chevrolet. While not much was revealed, it was confirmed that the teams are “reaching back into history for inspiration – including the original World of Motion – and bringing that spirit of optimism to the next evolution of Test Track.”

For those unaware, World of Motion was the opening day attraction at EPCOT that closed so Test Track could take its place. It closed in 1996 and originally saw guests travel on an Omnimover vehicle and learn about the history of transportation from the invention of the wheel to present day to the future.

Future Expansion Plans for Disney World’s Magic Kingdom are the ‘Largest Ever for the Park’

Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Office at Walt Disney Imagineering, shared that future expansion plans for Disney World’s Magic Kingdom are the “largest ever for the park.” These Imagineers want to tell stories ‘Beyond Big Thunder Mountain’ in a way that are similar in scale to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Pandora – The World of Avatar.

D’Amaro also wrapped up the panel by saying there are big plans for the next decade of Disney Parks.

“We’re going to have more projects underway than at any point in our history,” D’Amaro said. “Our sole purpose is to give you more and more of what you love about a Disney experience. And then surprise and delight you with things you never dreamed possible.”

Magic Kingdom’s New Pirates of the Caribbean-Themed Lounge Will Have Guests Singing ‘Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a Pirate’s Life for Me!’

A “first-of-its-kind” experience will be headed to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in the form of a new Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge. This new lounge that will be located in Adventureland will “extend the story of Pirate of the Caribbean” and will surely have guests singing, “yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!”

Imagineers are currently still in the design phase and more details will be released at a later date.

A New Zootopia Show Is Being Created for Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life Theater

Judy Hopps, Nick Wilde, and other characters will be starring in a brand-new Zootopia show that will soon find a home at Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life theater. The show will take guests through different biomes that were only seen for a short time in Zootopia.

Imagineers are currently “finalizing the concept” and will reveal more details in the future.

The Country Bear Jamboree Bears Will Be Singing Classic Disney Songs with a Country Music Twist in a New Show in 2024

Country Bear Musical Jamboree will be a brand-new show in 2024 at Disney World that will see Trixie, Big Al, Henry, and all the other beloved bears “reinterpreting classic Disney songs in different genres of country music.”

This show is being inspired by Nashville’s classic musical revues and will still “have the fun and friendly tone fans have come to love” with these wonderful bears.

These were some of the biggest announcements from Disney Parks at Destination D23, but there were a ton more that should make Disney fans worldwide very happy. These include Ahsoka joining Star Tours in 2024, the Hatbox Ghost coming to the Haunted Mansion in Florida, Figment arriving at Imagination Pavilion at Epcot on September 10, and Asha from Wish coming to EPCOT, Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris.

Hong Kong Disneyland’s World of Frozen land is set to open in November, and we were treated to our best look yet at the land that looks to blend “Arrendelle with the park’s natural surroundings.” Disneyland Paris will also be getting a Frozen-themed land, and we were given a small look at what it will end up being.

Hong Kong Disneyland's Frozen-Themed Land
Hong Kong Disneyland’s Frozen-Themed Land

Shanghai Disney Resort’s Zootopia land was also given a new look, EPCOT will be getting a new show on December 5 called Luminous: The Symphony of Us, and more details on Fantasy Springs at Tokyo Disney Resort were shared. This land will feature Rapunzel’s Forest, Peter Pan’s Never Land, and Frozen Kingdom.

In the world of Disney Cruises, it was announced that the Disney Adventure will be the seventh ship to join the line. It is currently being built in Germany and will be the first Disney ship to sail from Singapore and throughout Southeast Asia. Furthermore, we got a new look at Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point in the Bahamas.

Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.





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