Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Disney Announcement Overload From 2015 D23 Expo - Star Wars, Toy Story Land, + More

Last weekend's Disney D23 Expo proved to be an explosion of massive announcements for Disney theme parks across the country, much to the delight of the thousands of adoring fans in attendance.  Not too shabby for us on the interwebs, either.  Almost too much to take in at once, new rides and attractions were unveiled that have been underway for years, and won't open to guests for many more years.

Arguably the biggest news of the Expo presentation on Disney Parks was the long awaited announcement of Star Wars themed lands for both Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida.

These pieces of concept art that were released show that Disney is most certainly going all-in on the Star Wars lands, both of which will come in at 14 acres - very large expansions to the parks.  Disney is creating an all new, previously unvisited trading planet, where everything will be Star Wars authentic down to the shopkeepers.  Make sure to click these pieces of art to see larger versions with more details.

Each of the new Star Wars areas will have two major attractions, one of which will put riders inside the famous Millennium Falcon, and another that puts us in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance.  The environments look as immersive as they come, meaning Disney plans to do these areas correctly and absolutely load them with details.  Unfortunately there was no mention of even a possible time frame for the lands to open, and rumors point to us waiting until around 2020 to step foot in them.

Disney's Hollywood Studios, currently a bit of 'the little park that could' will also see a massive addition named Toy Story Land.  It will be anchored by what appears to be a repositioned entrance to Toy Story Mania, which will be adding a third track for additional capacity.

Outside the ride will be an 11 acres expansion that shrinks visitors down to the size of toys where they will explore Andy's backyard.  The largest addition here will be a custom roller coaster that looks to have both a lift hill and a launch, with riders sitting in trains that are one giant slinky dog.

Also new to the land will be a pair of family spinner rides, themed to the little green aliens from the movies.  The area will be stuffed with over-sized props, food and retail locations and a purposely immersive theme that is said to be the future direction of the Studios parks.  No opening date was announced for this land.

Animal Kingdom was included in the announcements as well, though just with additional details given on previously announced attractions.  Here is some beautiful concept art for the park's new lagoon nighttime show, named Rivers of Light.  The show will feature "live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery" that will combine to create a show unlike any other at a Disney park.

Animal Kingdom's famous Kilimanjaro Safaris will also be expanded to include to new animals - African wild dogs and hyenas.

Under construction for some time now, we finally have an official name for the new land at Animal Kingdom, Pandora: The World of AVATAR.  Other details, such as the name of the area's e-ticket ride, called AVATAR Flight of Passage, were also revealed.  Disney brought a giant model of the new area as well, showing off an incredibly details and dense land being created.

Also confirmed after being rumored for years, both Epcot and Disney California Adventure will premier Soarin' Around The World next year.  The new films for the super-popular Soarin' rides will feature some of the most famous sights around the world.

All concept art/photos are © Disney