The weekend featured extensive looks back at Walt Disney World’s 50-year history as the resort continues its 18-month anniversary celebration of the half-century milestone, but it also included a slew of announcements about new offerings launching worldwide across Disney’s theme parks and resorts, as well as the return of a number of beloved experiences that have been suspended during the pandemic.
Here’s a look at the biggest news revealed at Destination D23.
An opening season has been revealed for EPCOT’s new Guardians of the Galaxy-themed rollercoaster, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. The highly anticipated Marvel attraction will debut in summer 2022. Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro also revealed that Glenn Close will reprise her role as Nova Prime from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” film in the new ride.
EPCOT’s New Quick-Service Restaurant Has a Name
Connections Café and Eatery is a new quick-service spot coming to EPCOT’s World Celebration area. The new restaurant will take the place of Electric Umbrella.
Walt Disney Imagineers shared that the transformation of EPCOT’s Future World area will be completed in 2023 and that the park will also be getting a new original score soundtrack by Pinar Toprak.
More Live Entertainment Is Returning to Walt Disney World and Disneyland
Some of Walt Disney World and Disneyland’s most beloved shows and live entertainment are coming back to in 2022. At Walt Disney World, the Festival of Fantasy Parade is coming back to Magic Kingdom along with an updated stage show, Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire, which will feature a new opening and finale with a new original song, “Where the Magic Feels Like Home.” Magic Kingdom is also getting a new cavalcade, Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade, which will feature Disney and Pixar characters including Nick Wild and Judy Hopps from “Zootopia,” the Incredibles, Mulan, Moana, Miguel from “Coco,” Merida, Stitch, and more.
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, beloved nighttime spectacular Fantasmic! will return with a brand-new segment and new-to-the-show characters. And at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a reimagined Finding Nemo musical will be called “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyone,” and will take place in the timeline of “Finding Dory.”
Nights are getting a lot brighter at the Disneyland Resort in 2022 with the return of Fantasmic! and the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland Park and World of Color at Disney California Adventure Park.
The West End of Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District Will Be Reimagined
A multi-year project to reimagine the AMC Theatres building and adjacent area in the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland is set to begin in January 2022. Disney plans to transform the area into a new lifestyle space, inspired by Southern California mid-century modern architecture and will feature open green space as well as new shopping and dining offerings.
MagicBand+ and “Hey, Disney!” Are Coming to the Disneyland Resort
For the first time ever, MagicBands are coming to Disneyland. MagicBand+, an updated version of the MagicBands long in use at Walt Disney World, will be available to guests at the Disneyland Resort in 2022. MagicBand+ was previously announced for Walt Disney World and Disney has noted that some features and functionality will vary between Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
The “Hey, Disney!” voice assistant, previously announced for Walt Disney World, is also coming to Disneyland in 2022. The service integrates with Alexa on Amazon’s Echo devices and will begin rolling out in guest rooms at Disneyland Resort hotel rooms next year.
More Details and Concept Art Were Revealed for the new Disney Vacation Club Tower at the Disneyland Hotel
Plans continue to progress on a new Disney Vacation Club tower coming to the Disneyland hotel. The new property will take its inspiration from classic Walt Disney Animation Studios films. Concept art was shared for a new pool and recreation area, as well as a Sleeping Beauty-inspired guest room.
More Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Details
Disney continues to share more details about the company’s most immersive offering yet, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, the two-day, two-night experience coming to Walt Disney World on March 1, 2022. Walt Disney Imagineers introduced guests to some of the key characters guests will meet onboard the Halcyon and showcased some new merchandise and shared more about the out-of-this-world food guests will get to eat onboard.
Two More Stage Show Were Announced for the Disney Wish
Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Disney Wish, sets sail this summer and new details continue to be revealed about the onboard offerings. Two all-new stage shows were announced — “Seas the Adventure”, featuring Captain Minnie, Goofy, and other beloved characters, and “Disney The Little Mermaid,” a retelling of the animated film with a modern, reimagined script and score.
In addition to the new shows, Destination D23 attendees were also treated to some sneak peeks at two of the ship’s most exciting offerings. Guests were shown video footage from “Swiss Meltdown,” one of the two storylines that will be featured on the AquaMouse aqua coaster, Disney’s first-ever attraction at sea.
Star Wars fans got an extra-special video treat too. Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge, the ship’s Star Wars-themed bar, will feature a massive “window,” aka seriously high-def screen. Guests got a first look at some of the footage that will be shown out the window, giving a sneak peek at the passing planets and ships they’ll see while sipping intergalactic cocktails in the highly themed space.
New Reveals at Disney Parks Abroad
Destination D23 attendees were also treated to a few updates about Disney’s theme parks abroad. Disneyland Paris will launch its 30th-anniversary celebration on March 6 and Avengers Campus will open at Walt Disney Studios Park next summer.
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