As most Disney fanatics know, the biennial D23 Expo was held this Bank Holiday weekend over in Anaheim. For those that don’t know what that is, it’s “The Ultimate Disney Fan Event” where lots of products, park expansions, films, shows, etc are announced. Essentially, anything owned by Disney that has upcoming changes or additions are released. Most importantly for me, all of the park changes are announced which I am so incredibly excited for. I thought I’d do a little round-up of what the Walt Disney World 2019 announcements were specifically. The most exciting thing for me is that all the Epcot announcements will be ready for the 50th Anniversary.
Cirque du Soleil
First up in the Disney Parks, Experiences and Product announcements is a new Cirque du Soleil show. Teaming up with the incredible French-Canadian performance group, Walt Disney Imagineering and Animation intend to bring a spectacle that combines the Disney animation with acrobatics in a way that’s never been seen before. They announced that the performers will be interacting with animation, how I do no know. There are already so many sketches to demonstrate the links between; an artist’s desk as the stage. The show is set to start in March/April 2020 and I’d love to see it when I go back! La Nouba was fantastic and I doubt this will be any different.
So first off, the logo has been updated, or should I say backdated, to almost it’s original prototype! I know this is something small but I love that it has taken on the original styling. There were also new logos for all of the pavillions revealed but with some unknown as to what they are clearly. Ever the inconspicuous.
Epcot Forever is announced to debut in October 2019 and is a new nighttime spectacular that showcases the Epcot of past, present and future through music. This will be a firework show on the World Showcase Lagoon and will only be available until the new spectacular comes.
Sadly, this is the replacement for my beloved Illuminations. I’m sure it will be absolutely phenomenal, but after listening to the original show every closing shift for over a year, I’m a little gutted I won’t get to see it again. Bob Chapek announced that Harmonious is going to be the biggest nighttime spectacular in the companies history. This is exciting. I’ wonder if this includes the special event fireworks such as New Year’s Eve, Fourth July, etc. It will debut in 2020 but no month has been given yet.
New Musical Score
A new musical score has been created for Epcot which again, is something I’m a little sad and excited for. The music that you can hear in the parks takes me back instantly and I remember walking across Epcot to get to work. Pinar Toprak is the composer and after having a Google, she created the score for Captain Marvel which is cool.
World Celebration is the entrance area which includes Spaceship Earth and the fountain. There’s going to be updated fountains, more greenery, a wishing tree that comes to life, a story fountain and (phew!) Spaceship Earth will remain the icon of Epcot. Another addition to this incredible space is the new pavilion for live events for the festivals. There are going to three levels with the top one being a viewing space for the new nighttime show.
World Discovery is taking over Future World East and is remaining the icon for technology and space travel with the added dimension of the Guardian’s of the Galaxy ride which was announced in 2017. One of the most exciting Walt Disney World 2019 announcements is what the ride is actually going to be like which you can read about below.
World Nature is the new name for the Future World West area and will focus on perfecting the balance of the natural world. a New film called Awesome Planet is going to be in the Land Pavilion. It will showcase the beauty and diversity of the earth and will premier in January 2020.
The Journey of Water is also going to be a new attraction and is a Moana inspired water exploration trail. Guests will be able to ‘meet and play’ with magical ‘living water. The images showcased suggest that depending on where you are, the water will react in different ways such a spouting out of a rock, etc. Of course, it wouldn’t be Epcot without a little learning along the way so you’ll also discover about the importance of the natural water cycle.
I really held my breath because when Bob Chapek mentioned Spaceship Earth, I thought the worst! To modernise the iconic ride, there will be updated features inside that involve bringing the stories to life. Instead of focussing on engineering and technology, the ride is going to focus on storytelling. New scenes will be added too. They will also be updating the voice and showcasing it as a character called “storylife”. The images shown, display a sort of sparkle that interacts with the scenes that you follow on the journey. The only negative that I can personally see from this is the removal of Judy Dench as the voice. She instantly reminds me of the ride, no matter what I watch her in so there will be some lost nostalgia for me. inc.
You will also exit from a different space onto something called Dreamer’s Point. From here, you’ll be able to see amazing views of the entire park. My favourite part about this is the addition of a new statue; Walt sitting on a step, admiring the view. The perfect tip of the hat to the man himself which I cannot wait to see!
Guardian’s of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
In 2017, a Guardian’s of the Galaxy ride was announced for Epcot but no further details were really disclosed other than where in the park it would be. One of the Walt Disney World 2019 announcements was further details on this attraction. At last! It’s being called Cosmic Rewind and starts in a ‘Galaxarium’ where you travel from Earth to the planet Xandar. It’s a ‘storytelling’ rollercoaster that rotates depending on where the action is on the screens. Something that they have kept quiet until now is that it’s also their first-ever reverse launch which is where the name has come from.
Space 220 Restaurant
A new restaurant that is simply “out of this world” next to Mission Space. There will be an elevator to the restaurant that makes it look like you are heading up into space. Once you’ve sat down to eat, the ‘windows’ out of the restaurant will showcase a view from Earth 220 miles up in the sky. Personally, I think this is so damn awesome! It’s so innovative and will be really strange to experience. Knowing what Disney is like, the immersion into tricking your brain will be so realistic, you’ll think you’re actually there. What’s more, it’s opening this winter!
The Wonders of Life pavilion hasn’t been used since 2007 except for special events so it’s due a massive update. It’s being transformed into an area called Play! where guests can interact with others and digitally. Some of the features were attending a seminar by ‘Edna Mode’, participating in a water balloon fight with Huey, Dewey and Louie and even interact with live and digital characters. Bob Chapek also said that this would be ready for the 50th Anniversary in 2021. Perfect timing for when Curt and I go!
New Shows in World Showcase
World Showcase’s name is remaining the same but there are quite a few new updates revealed for shows around a few pavilions but little information other than the names and how they have been filmed were given. I assumer they will be an overview of the culture, scenery and life in those countries as they are now.
China will have a new an all-new, seamless, digital, 360-degree show called Wondrous China that will debut in 2020. The Canada Far and Wide circle vision update was announced last time which has also been given the same date now. France still has the ‘Impressions de France’ show but also the addition of a Beauty and the Beast Sing-a-Long Show. My only hope is that it’s the original songs, not the live-action versions. Ratatouille Ride and new restaurant
Mary Poppins Attraction
The main Walt Disney World 2019 announcement that excites me the most; the addition of a Mary Poppins themed attraction to the United Kingdom Pavilion! Artist images of the area show the area as Cherry Tree Lane and gives me shivers in such a great way. There has always been something missing in our pavilion; we showcase great music and some characters but the rest is shops and restaurants. Don’t get me wrong, they are amazing, but we could have so much more. The only thing revealed was that the Mary Poppins attraction will start when you step into Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane. I can’t wait to see what is revealed over the next few years!
Remi’s Ratatouille Adventure
This has been so long coming! I’m so happy that the Walt Disney World 2019 announcements have included Remi’s Ratatouille adventure. You can jump on this in Paris but is definitely needed and wanted in Epcot and is actually going to be ready for next summer!
Creperie de Paris
Bob Chapek has also announced that there will be a new French restaurant in the France Pavilion. Creperie de Paris, if its name didn’t already give it away will be a crepe restaurant that will have a table and quick service available.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
This has obviously been coming for a while with the update to the Chinese Theatre at the 2017 D23 Expo. Although I’m going to miss The Great Movie Ride, it’s a nice reminder that as Walt famously said, “It was all started by a mouse.” It’s based on the new shorts on the Disney channel and takes you on a journey with the characters. They have released some new images of the inside of the ride at Walt Disney World for when it opens in 2020. Bob Chapek stated that it has an exciting twist in the ride but wouldn’t give any further details.
50th Anniversary Announcement
Although there were no specifics given, Bob Chapek spoke of and showed some information around the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, Florida. The logo for the milestone was revealed and it was announced that the milestone will be celebrated across all four parks. There will be limited edition food, drinks, merchandise and entertainment. From the images, you can see that there are new magic band designs (rose gold glitter, yay!) cakes and balloons with confetti.
One of the reasons that Curt and I have decided to go in 2021 is for our 30th birthdays and the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World. This news has got me so excited and I really can’t wait as most of the announcements will be ready by then.
A new app has been announced to help plan your experiences. Customised itineraries can be created based on your interests. Bob Chapek showed a video on the screen stating that you could plan days around “a royal princess themed day at Magic Kingdom”, “a trip around the world at Epcot” and “a perfect day for thrill-seekers”. I love the idea of this and I’m looking forward to seeing the intelligence of the app with its content.
If you’re like me and you like to plan your trips yourself, you can tell Disney Genie what you want to do and it will tell you when. It can plan for you so I’m thinking that this may be to manage peak and quiet periods? It could also bring better management for queuing which is cool. Dining reservations and fast pass space can also be made in one step. The app’s debut will bein late 2020, also ready for the 50th Anniversary!
Reflections; A Disney Lakeside Lodge
A new Disney Vacation Club Members resort was announced called Reflections. It’s a take on a classic country lodge (American-style of course) reimagined on Bay Lake. The design has been inspired by the artistry of Disney and the world of nature. A-frame lodges and treehouse suites will be amongst nature and they look incredible. I thought it might be something similar to Wilderness Lodge, but being DVC, much more modern and luxurious. Something else exciting is the new table service restaurant inspired by The Princess & The Frog. One of my favourite movies and so underrated!
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser
The Star Wars-themed hotel was announced previously but apart from a few artist drawings, nothing was really revealed. Well, it was worth the wait! Not only is it a hotel, but it’s also a 2-night immersive experience on Galactic Starcruiser Halcyon. I assume that this will be reflected extortionately in the price but I’m still looking forward to seeing it. Your entire experience is your own story that you will have to interact with the characters, crew and passengers you meet. Bookings will be coming ‘soon’ but no dates as of yet.
There were artist representations of how it’s going to look inside and out. Some of the experience looked unachievable but so amazing. You check-in at the terminal after which you go to a launch pod that ‘blasts you off into space’. It’s totally immersive and you’ll be able to see stars and other galactic ships out of the window. This is the same for every window on the starcruiser. There is mention that your choices change how your story unfolds. I assume, because it’s so immersive, you stay there for the full two days as there without leaving. There are activities such as practising your lightsaber skills with a Jedi training remote – just as Luke Skywalker did! You can learn and have a go at operating and defending the ships.
After all of the exciting Walt Disney World 2019 announcements, Curt and I have been immersed watching videos. We really need a Disney fix before we go in 2021, so, we have now booked to go to Disneyland Paris in March! I cannot wait to go back and even more so, with my favourite person!
To discover all of these amazing Walt Disney World 2019 announcements at the D23 Expo, I watched Laughing Place‘s live stream which you can watch below.