Every two years, Disney fans from around the globe gather at the Anaheim Convention Center to enjoy the D23 Expo, a special event where The Walt Disney Company exhibits scale models of new theme park lands, documents, artistic renderings, props used in movies, and much more. One of the highlights of the event is the Theme Park & Resorts panel, which will take place Saturday. If rumors are to be believed, we can expect to hear some amazing announcements during this year's panel.
To make things even more exciting, we decided to put together a list of many projects that are rumored to be coming to the Walt Disney World Resort over the next five to seven years. As you will see, some of them are semi-confirmed projects, while other additions are borderline blue sky projects.
While we don't know what will be actually announced during the event, we added a note next to each project specifying whether we PERSONALLY think it will be officially announced or not (our "forecasts" are simply based on how many sources picked up the rumor and on permits filed). We are confident this is going to be one fun roller coaster ride...
Magic Kingdom Park
1) TRON ROLLER COASTER (Very likely to be announced)
If you haven't hear about the new Tron coaster rumored to be coming to the Magic Kingdom Park you might have been living under a rock without any internet connection during the past few weeks.
Multiple sources all around the internet have pretty much "confirmed" that this new roller coaster is, indeed, coming to Tomorrowland. While most websites that talked about this subject pretty much agree that this new ride will be a clone of the Tron coaster already present at Shanghai Disneyland, the location of this new ride varies based on who you ask.
According to many sources, the ride will essentially replace the Tomorrowland Speedway, while fewer - but extremely reliable - sources (including Martin at WDWMagic, who is very, very knowledgeable about most projects under development at the Walt Disney World Resort) say that the Tomorrowland Speedway will be completely overhauled and that the new roller coaster will be located in a plot of land found behind the speedway, on the left of Space Mountain.
Even though it is unclear where the new ride will end up being built, it seems like it's pretty much guaranteed we will hear something about this exciting project at the D23 Expo.
2) STITCH'S GREAT ESCAPE'S REPLACEMENT (Unlikely to be announced)
The infamous Stitch's Great Escape refuses to close permanently. The attraction began to operate seasonally last year, and has since reopened multiple times to "entertain" Guests during the busiest times of the year (including this month).
While there have been insistent rumors about a new Wreck-It Ralph attraction taking over this space, the rumors appear to have died down in the past few months, leading us to believe that Disney may want to wait a few more months before officially announcing when the attraction will receive a much-needed overhaul.
3) TOMORROWLAND RE-DO (Likely to be announced)
The new Tron Coaster and the attraction replacing Stitch's Great Escape are just two pieces of a large puzzle that include a new look for Tomorrowland and other attractions of a themed land that has not aged very well. The dated-looking sections of this side of the Magic Kingdom Park will soon look very different, and Guests will be greeted by multiple new experiences that may feature familiar characters.
While one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle will be unveiled soon, it is doubtful that the Walt Disney World Resort will announce this during the Expo, as there are already many other projects that are expected to be announced this year. That being said, the new Tron-themed coaster would look out of place in the current Tomorrowland, so we expect the overhaul of this land to begin shortly after work on the new ride begins. Disney might also choose to show the new look of the area surrounding the coaster during the Expo (that counts, doesn't it? Oh well, we tried).
4) FRONTIERLAND EXPANSION (Unlikely to be announced)
We absolutely do not expect to hear anything about this project, but don't forget that the Walt Disney Company has surprised us in the past (remember the AVATAR Land announcement? That came out of the...blue).
According to rumors, a new attraction may soon be joining Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain in that corner of the park. While we would love to see the amazing Western River Expedition finally becoming a reality, we do not know what this project entails. We will continue to keep you posted.
5) HALL OF PRESIDENTS UPDATES (Unlikely to be announced)
The Walt Disney World Resort recently released a statement about The Hall of Presidents, stating that the show "will get a new show and a complete theater upgrade - including a brand-new sound system, lighting, and high-definition projection system - when it reopens to park Guests this fall."
While it wouldn't be such a big surprise if they mentioned it, we believe that this is a small project that may not get the attention of too many fans. We expect to learn more about this refurbishment on the Disney Parks Blog.
6) ENCHANTED TIKI ROOM REPLACEMENT (Unlikely to be announced)
A rumor started on WDWMagic mentioned that Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room might soon become a thing of the past, as the attraction's day may be numbered. The details about this project are so scarce that we do not expect to hear anything about this at the upcoming Expo, especially since it looks like it's a long-term project that may not be completed before the park's 50th anniversary.
7) NEW NIGHT PARADE (Unlikely to be announced)
After the departure of the Main Street Electrical Parade last year, the Magic Kingdom Park has not featured a nighttime parade. While Guests are loving the other nighttime offerings (such as the amazing Happily Ever After fireworks spectacular), the light parade has been a staple of the park for many years.
Once again, we think anything pertaining a new parade might be announced on the Disney Parks Blog, just as it was done for the Festival of Fantasy parade. Don't get us wrong, we'd love to be surprised...
8) INNOVENTIONS REPLACEMENT (Unlikely to be announced)
Innoventions is a mess. There's now way we can sugar-coat this, as one side is completely closed to the public while the other includes the Colortopia exhibit, a seasonal shop, and a seating area. It is clear that the Walt Disney World Resort is just patiently waiting for their partnership with Glidden to end so that they can begin overhauling this absolutely disgraceful area of the park.
While we are sure something will happen soon, the details about this much-needed project are incredibly scarce, leading us to believe that Disney may still be working behind the scenes trying to figure out what would be the best course of action (reusing the existing buildings, demolishing them, etc.). Disney may also want to wait to announce anything about this area until the time they can also announce the plans regarding the entrance of the park and the Fountain of Nations plaza.
9) THE LAND UPDATES (Unlikely to be announced)
Very little is known about this project other than the fact that the tired Circle of Life movie will soon be replaced and that Living with the Land will receive some enhancements. While the pavilion certainly needs help, it seems like it's not a priority at this time, as there are countless other areas of the park that need even more help (poor Epcot, what did they do to you?).
10) JOURNEY INTO IMAGINATION'S REPLACEMENT (Unlikely to be announced)
Journey into Imagination with Figment is one of the lowest-rated attractions in the park. There have been many rumors in the past about possible replacements for this ride; yet, nothing happened.
While the attraction continues to be plagued by technical issues, it still seems like we are years away from seeing something new taking over this space. It might be a little too early to expect an announcement.
11) GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY ROLLER COASTER (Very likely to be announced)
Rumors about the new Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster taking over the Universe of Energy pavilion have created a division in the world of theme park fans. While some love the idea of having something worthwhile to enjoy in that tired area of the park, others believe that having Guardians of the Galaxy taking over this Future World east pavilion is just another nail in the coffin for Epcot.
According to recent permits, the current pavilion will only be part of the new attraction, which will extend to the back of the existing building. Additional offerings are expected to join the new roller coaster, including a possible new show and more.
Just like in the case of the Tron roller coaster, we believe there's a good chance that we will get at least some details about this project because there have been many reliable sources that have confirmed that something is in the works. In addition to that, permits have already been filed for this attraction.
12) WONDERS OF LIFE REPLACEMENT (Unlikely to be announced)
Will the Wonders of Life pavilion finally be replaced by something worthwhile? The days of this festival showplace are numbered, but there are still no updates regarding its future. Stay tuned.
13) MISSION: SPACE UPDATES (Unlikely to be announced)
Insistent rumors say that, when Mission: SPACE reopens in the coming weeks, it will not feature major changes. That being said, the attraction is expected to close again soon to receive some enhancements, including multiple "missions" that Guests will be able to enjoy in both versions of this infamous ride.
It is unlikely that Disney will announce this at the Expo, but you should watch the Disney Parks Blog closely.
14) BRAZIL PAVILION (Likely to be announced)
One of the biggest surprises last week was the rumor of a new country taking over an empty plot of land in World Showcase. After going for decades without seeing a new country, we are a little skeptical about this rumors, but we cannot deny that we would be happy to see this becoming a reality.
The rumored area where the new country would be built is the expansion pad between Germany and Italy. The pavilion would include multiple food & beverage options, one or more shops, walk-through attractions, and (hopefully) a ride.
We wouldn't be surprised to see this announced as part of the massive overhaul of Epcot.
15) RATATOUILLE RIDE (Very likely to be announced)
A clone of the popular Walt Disney Studios ride is coming to World Showcase according to many sources. This has been semi-confirmed by some permits recently filed by the Walt Disney World Resort, which show major changes coming to the area behind (and next to) the France pavilion.
The rumors that are floating around say that that Epcot's version will not feature the attached restaurant that is found in the Disneyland Paris version of the ride but will include an exact copy of the ride itself (the queue will be slightly different due to the location of the showbuilding). The other great news is that it appears that Impressions de France is actually staying and might even be plussed!
Disney's Hollywood Studios
16) TOY STORY LAND & STAR WARS LAND UPDATES (Very likely to be announced)
As expected, Disney confirmed that fans will get updates regarding the new Star Wars themed lands coming to Hollywood Studios and Disneyland Park in California. In addition to that, it is very likely that we will get additional details regarding the new Toy Story Land taking shape next to Star Wars land at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
17) GREAT MICKEY RIDE (Very likely to be announced)
The Great Movie Ride is rumored to be closing in the coming months to make way for a new Mickey Mouse-centric dark ride that will use the LPS (trackless) ride system that will also be used in the Ratatouille dark ride coming to Epcot.
While details are still scarce, permits have already been filed. We are getting very close...
18) UPDATED FANTASMIC! (Unlikely to be announced)
Disneyland is getting an updated version of Fantasmic!, while the inferior version at Disney's Hollywood Studios continues to run with minimal changes. It's unclear whether we'll receive an update regarding the rumored enhancements coming to the show at the D23 Expo. We'll keep you posted, as we absolutely love this show but we also recognize that it's time for it to be updated to make it look more contemporary and not simply a product of the 90s.
19) ROCK 'N' ROLLER COASTER & TOWER OF TERROR UPDATES (Unlikely to be announced)
Not much is known regarding this project, but there have been rumblings saying that updates may be coming soon to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and the Tower of Terror. We do not expect to hear anything new about these projects yet.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
20) DINOLAND U.S.A. UPDATES (Unlikely to be announced)
Since Pandora - The World of AVATAR just opened at Animal Kingdom, it is unlikely that Disney will announce any major new addition coming to the park (at least for now). That said, we expect to see some changes in the DinoLand U.S.A. area of the park in the near future.
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