With the D23 Expo set to start tomorrow at the Anaheim Convention Center, we wanted to put together our D23 Expo wishlist. Because we focus on the parks, this wishlist will focus on the parks as well, and it’s worth noting that this list isn’t a list of rumors or anything that we’re willing to say is definitely happening. Instead, take this at face value as a wishlist – things we hope will be announced and maybe even a sentence or two about the likelihood that we hear about a particular item.
D23 Expo 2022 Wishlist
TRON Opening Date
We’re starting at the top and something that we think Disney needs to announce. Last time Disney Parks chief Josh D’Amaro spoke about TRON Lightcycle Run was back in November 2021 when he said it was coming “soon”. Of course, “soon” in Disney-speak isn’t the same type of “soon” that we all probably think of. It’s high time for clarification on a project that broke ground in February 2018.
Walt Disney World Railroad
Another project that desperately needs an update is the Walt Disney World Railroad. The Railroad has been closed since December 2018 due to construction of the TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster. Perhaps we can get a 2-for-1 out of D’Amaro and get an opening date for the Railroad as well as TRON.
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Update
An update on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure seems like a lock, but what is unclear is how much detail Disney will share. We’d love to see some updates on animatronics or even a GCI ride-through of some of the scenes. There’s an appearance that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is further behind than Disney’s initial timeline would suggest. If Disney can offer a substantive update, perhaps it will feel more like something that is going to actually happen instead of something that was crafted in a PR workshop.
We’d also like some more clarity on the end-of-life timeline for Splash Mountain. Instead of rehashing arguments about the ride and its history, we’ll just acknowledge that the ride is quite popular and has a strong fanbase. The question is, will Disney acknowledge that fanbase and send Splash Mountain off into the sunset with a farewell (and closing date), or will the Laughing Place simply be closed one morning?
Main Street Theater
They say a good idea never dies at Disney, right? The Main Street Theater wasn’t a good idea, it was a great idea. Imagine a broadway-style production in the busiest theme park in the world. It would not only change the dynamics of your day at Magic Kingdom, but it would be a massive space for Disney to throw a few thousand people every 90 minutes. We imagine that meal plans with preferred seating would also be of interest to Disney. In a world where Disney is trying to manage crowds with precision, the Main Street Theater might be something they want to revisit.
As Disney execs pull up Google Earth to look at the Splash Mountain/Tiana’s Bayou Adventure area, they have to see what everyone else does – unused land. Disney has been quietly working on pushing backstage roadways and traffic further away from this corner of Magic Kingdom. Could that work signal a Frontierland expansion around the Rivers of America? Tom Sawyer’s Island and the Rivers of America take up a lot of acreage in the world’s busiest theme park, and we have to imagine that there have been some blue sky concepts thrown around for the area at one time or another.
Now more than ever, there seems to be uncertainty surrounding the future of Disney Enchantment. Disney recently added a new intro segment for Enchantment that leaned heavily into nostalgia that was missing from their 50th Anniversary celebration. To say that it was an interesting move would be an understatement. What comes next is the big question. We’re betting that we hear more about the future of Disney Enchantment and we wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if D’Amaro got on stage with an ace up his sleeve and the announcement that Happily Ever After will return in 2023 – perhaps with a Disney100 twist.
Furthermore, we wouldn’t be too surprised to hear about a new nighttime parade for Magic Kingdom. The Main Street Electrical Parade is, once again, without a home. There are actually two nighttime parades now sitting in storage: Main Street Electrical Parade and Paint the Night.
Stitch’s Great Delay
While Disney is surely investing a good amount in Tomorrowland with the TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster, there is at least one building sitting empty that could be put to good use. Rumors have swirled about this alien-infested location, but what kind of encounter will occupy this space next?
Gas – The Fuel of the Future?
With the futuristic TRON just steps away, we’d like to hear about an update to the Tomorrowland Speedway. It’s a classic for children, but maybe it’s time to put gas in the past.
EPCOT is turning 40 on October 1, 2022 and we expect that D’Amaro will at least mention the ongoing work at the park after years of “Progress Walls”. We want to know what the plans are to celebrate Disney World’s second-oldest theme park as well as any special entertainment planned.
Spaceship Earth never received the update that Disney announced, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need it. Spaceship Earth is the crown jewel of EPCOT and the interior of the ride doesn’t always match the expectation set by the exterior. We imagine that Disney will want to keep Spaceship Earth open for EPCOT’s 40th Anniversary celebration, but it could use an overhaul eventually. The timing of the World Celebration construction and Spaceship Earth overhaul have been completely thrown off, but let’s hope that Imagineers have a little bit more budget left over for the grand and miraculous Spaceship Earth.
Remember when Dick Van Dyke trotted out to “Step in Time” at the 2019 D23 Expo and then-Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek proudly exclaimed that EPCOT would be home to the first-ever Mary Poppins attraction? We imagine that Disney remembers.
Speaking of things seemingly forgotten, there’s an entire building that is sitting on the sidelines, waiting to play. Disney can’t ignore the PLAY! Pavilion at another major convention…right? Recent permit filings suggest that Disney has or will soon begin working on the delayed project.
Another project that has seemingly been forgotten by Disney World management is the Wonderous China upgrade.
We’ve rather fondly called it The Pit for a couple of years now, but World Celebration needs an opening timeframe. It’s very unlikely (read impossible) that it will be ready for EPCOT’s 40th Anniversary on October 1, 2022, but perhaps Disney can get it open before EPCOT turns 41. Inside World Celebration is CommuniCore Hall, Moana Journey of Water, and Dreamers Point. We hope that each of those words are said at least once by D’Amaro.
The Imagination Pavilion is ripe for an update, right?
More EPCOT, More IP
With the success of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, there have to be discussions about injecting more IP into World Showcase. Coco and Mexico seems like a no-brainer, but we don’t think that Disney is going to be too outwardly ambitious given the unfinished state of a lot of EPCOT.
Speaking of more IP…weren’t we supposed to get DuckTails in World Showcase? This should be an easy thing to announce, and we hear that Disney has made progress on this project.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
A long-overdue reopening date for Fantasmic can’t be ignored any longer. The show has encountered delay after delay starting back in the Spring (or even earlier), but we imagine D’Amaro will want to give a “Fantasmic is back” announcement.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has had a lot of money pumped into it in recent years, but it still needs some help. New attractions and shows have to be on the horizon, and what better place to start than a location that is one of three disjointed Star Wars experiences? Animation courtyard is filled with empty or underutilized buildings and Imagineering has to have something up their sleeves. That said, we’re not sure if they’re ready to announce large-scale upgrades to Hollywood Studios just yet.
Tower of Terror
File this under a wish and not something that is likely to happen anytime soon, but Tower of Terror, while a classic, is a bit stale when compared to Mission: BREAKOUT. Is Sunset Boulevard aging, or timeless?
Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster
Speaking of Sunset Boulevard, we can’t imagine that Aerosmith will stick around forever. Just like any work for Tower of Terror, we think that any Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster announcements won’t happen this D23 Expo, but we can hear the clock ticking.
Roundup Rodeo BBQ
Like Fantasmic, Roundup Rodeo BBQ needs an opening date.
Is Fantasmic enough to keep guests in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at night? A proper fireworks show would be great for the park, but it’s unclear if Disney will ever use the World Drive fireworks launch site again.
New Smugglers Run Missions
Disney has previously announced that there could be different missions for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, but we have yet to see anything new. It’s possible that a new mission could be announced in tandem with a pat on the back for the success of Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.
Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
Back to the question of “aging” or “timeless”, the Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage show recently celebrated its 30th Anniversary. That seems like a long time.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Top of mind when thinking about Disney’s Animal Kingdom has to be DinoLand. Rumors have been flying with regard to this land. Will we get Zootopia? Will we get an excavator coaster? Will it be something else entirely? One thing we can’t have is silence.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch
The rumor mill has softened on changes to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. It remains a critical space for animal care, so perhaps we won’t see any changes yet.
Animal Kingdom needs help keeping guests in the park into the evening. It’s kind of amazing how far we’ve come, operationally, from years ago when there was Rivers of Light, Tree of Life Awakenings, and Pandora at night. Now, Disney World execs don’t even keep the park open late enough for it to get dark enough to show the Beacons of Magic 50th Anniversary projection show.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
The most likely project that we’ll receive an update for is Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disneyland. More broadly, the Toontown expansion project. There are rumors that some scenes in the Disneyland version of the attraction will differ from the first version of the attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Perhaps D’Amaro will have some new concept art for the Disneyland version. An opening date seems to far off to be announced just yet.
Disney has already announced that a new Disney Vacation Club lounge will be coming to Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. It doesn’t seem farfetched that Disney would announce some more details and perhaps a timeline for a Tomorrowland overhaul. After all, Disney announced a new entrance for Tomorrowland back in November 2019 and that hasn’t come to fruition just yet. Hopefully Disney builds on that and announces some more plans for Disneyland’s Tomorrowland.
We’ve previously reported on a rumor that the Tarzan’s Treehouse construction is for an Encanto attraction. We anticipate Disney will provide a more formal update for this project at D23 Expo.
While we’re talking about Disneyland, we’ll also mention that we think it’s likely that D’Amaro briefly discusses the ongoing work to transform a portion of Downtown Disney.
Disney California Adventure
Avengers Campus Phase 2
Disney has also previously announced a phase 2 attraction for Avengers Campus that would be an immersive E-Ticket attraction that would take guests to Wakanda. There has been no movement with this attraction, and it would be easy to ignore it completely. Let’s see if Disney takes the easy route.
Hyperion Theater Show
The Hyperion Theater has been sitting empty for a while now, and while we’ve heard whispers about what could come to the space, Disney hasn’t announced anything yet.
Disneyland Paris has a large expansion project underway for the Walt Disney Studios Park and we hope to get some more concrete details about what to expect from the expansion beyond a lakeside restaurant.
A Zootopia-themed land is in full swing over in Shanghai Disneyland and we expect at least a new photo or brief mention of the latest progress.
A massive expansion of Tokyo DisneySea is underway, and we’re very interested in the Fantasy Springs project. Hopefully Disney is able to share some new details!
Only in the “proposed” stage right now, we imagine there will be some sort of formal announcement of the DVC plans at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Some new concept art is always nice too.
Future of Starcruiser
The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is in an interesting spot. The immersive hotel experience is popular, but also outrageously expensive. As advance bookings appear to slow, will Disney announce seasonal events as a way to entice superfans back onboard the Halcyon?
Magic Kingdom Area Resort
It will be interesting to see how ambitious the D23 “Boundless Future” presentation by Josh D’Amaro will be, but a new Magic Kingdom area resort seems like a long shot. It’s possible and even likely that they focus instead on the new Polynesian Village Resort DVC as the Magic Kingdom area resorts update.
The Disney Skyliner has been a very popular mode of transportation since it was introduced back in September 2019, and there have always been talks of expansion, but this feels as farfetched as a new Magic Kingdom area resort. We would love to see the service expanded though if Disney isn’t going to invest in other transportation like the “duct-tape monorails“.
Disneyland Hotel DVC/Pixar Pier Hotel
It’s also possible that we hear more about the two ongoing hotel projects taking place – the Disneyland Hotel Disney Vacation Club project and the previously announced Pixar overlay for the Paradise Pier hotel.
What would you like to see announced at the D23 Expo? Let us know in the comments below or on social media!
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!