This post is brought to you by Disney.
Bob Chapek, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman, gave a behind-the-scenes look at what’s to come during the 2015 D23 Expo. Project Imagineers, filmmakers James Cameron and Jon Landau, and the legendary Stan Lee made special appearances.
Star Wars Enhancements & New Experiences
Incredible things are coming your way if you love Star Wars! (Of course you love Star Wars. Who doesn’t love Star Wars?)
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue – This year, folks…this year! Star Tours will include a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Go ahead. Squeee. I know you want to. I know I did.
Star Wars Launch Bay – You’ll get the chance to peek behind the curtain of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in this interactive experience. Guests will be able to explore special exhibits and get a look behind-the-scenes, including opportunities to visit with new and favorite Star Wars characters, special merchandise and food offerings. Star Wars Launch Bay will be located in the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and in Tomorrowland at Disneyland. Disneyland will also be home to a reimagined Super Hero HQ. There you’ll be able to meet and take photos with heroes like Captain America and Thor and experience the returning Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries. All of this is coming later in 2015!
Jedi Training Academy — I wish I was young enough to battle the dark side. Since I’m not, I’ll enjoy watching the small people train and experience the new characters and new villain from the Disney XD series “Star Wars Rebels.”
Season of the Force – Early 2016 will bring Season of the Force to both Anaheim and Orlando. In Tomorrowland at Disneyland, guests will explore the Star Wars galaxy with special entertainment throughout the land, themed food locations and more. I’m also geeking out over Hyperspace Mountain, a reimagining of the classic Space Mountain attraction, in which guests will join an X-wing Starfighter battle. Guests at Hollywood Studios will get to experience a new fireworks spectacular set to John William’s classic Star Wars score. Does that music give everyone chills, or is it just me?
Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida
A new 11 acre land at Hollywood Studios will take guests to infinity and beyond. Upon entering, you’ll shrink down to the size of Woody and Buzz. (Or at least that’s how you’ll feel!) On this adventure through Andy’s backyard, you’ll encounter oversized toys like building blocks, plastic buckets and game board pieces.
Family-friendly roller coaster – A coaster where you ride on the back of Slinky Dog? It’s family fun where you’ll zip, zoom and plunge through a toy-filled adventure.
Alien saucers attraction – Go for a spin in your own flying saucer, but beware “The Claw” overhead!
Toy Story Mania! – My favorite ride at Hollywood Studios gets an expansion to include a third track!
After Dark at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Pandora – The World of AVATAR
Now here is where I confess that Avatar isn’t really my thing. Except that after seeing what’s in store I think it will be. This is the largest expansion in the park’s history. Animal Kingdom guests will be immersed into the world of Pandora. The entire park will transform after dark, offering a truly full day experience.
“Rivers of Light” – Spring, 2016 is the expected launch of “Rivers of Light”. The combination of live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery will be unlike anything seen before at a Disney park. Located on Discovery River, “Rivers of Light” will be the perfect ending to a full day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Kilimanjaro Safaris – Everyone’s favorite Safari will magically extend into a new nighttime adventure in Spring, 2016. Two new species will join the attraction: African wild dogs and hyenas.
Pandora – The World of AVATAR – I’m totally psyched to see just how the Disney Imagineers create the floating mountains, bioluminescent forest and Banshees of AVATAR.
AVATAR Flight of Passage – The highlight of your trip to Pandora, AVATAR Flight of Passage will allow you to soar on a Banshee over a vast alien world. You’ll get a birds-eye view of the world of Pandora during your flight.
Soarin’ Around the World-US Debut
One of my favorites gets an upgrade for 2016, as guests at both Epcot and California Adventure will glide over some of the world’s most amazing natural and man-made wonders.
Iron Man Unveiled for Hong Kong Disneyland
The new Iron Man Experience will be the first Marvel attraction at any Disney park, set to open in late 2016. Guest will journey on an epic adventure over the streets and in the sky above Hong Kong. The adventure will begin at the new Stark Expo where guests board the Iron Wing to take flight and battle Hydra alongside Iron Man.
Shanghai Disney Resort
Fans at D23 Expo also got a sneak peek at the plans for Shanghai Disney Resort. I’m currently figuring out how to make my way there if for no other reason than the completely sick plans I saw for the Tron Lightcycle attraction.
Ready to plan your next trip to a Disney park? I’ll be back at Disneyland in October. Fingers crossed the new Star Wars Launch Bay is ready for me!
Follow my full coverage from the D23 EXPO!