Chairman Josh D’Amaro Shares a Boundless Future for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products
D23 Expo 2022, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro shared a look into the future for Disney theme parks and beyond, with announcements that continue to defy expectations and inspire imagination. Highlights included the expansion of Avengers Campus at Disneyland Resort with a third attraction; a first look at the Disney Treasure, the next ship joining the Disney Cruise Line fleet; a closer look at the Frozen-themed lands coming to three park destinations around the world; and a behind-the-scenes look at the blue-sky brainstorming of Disney Imagineers.
“It’s terrific to be together in person and connect with our fans again at D23 Expo. I love sharing in the excitement with them for what we have ahead of us,” said Josh D’Amaro. “As the world’s greatest storytellers, I’m thrilled to share the new and innovative ways we are bringing next-generation Disney magic to life across Disney parks and experiences.”
As D’Amaro welcomed thousands of fans back to the ultimate Disney fan event for the first time since 2019, the audience was wowed by appearances from special guests, celebrities, never-before-seen characters and electric performances that filled Hall D23 with music and excitement.
Singer-songwriter Jordan Fisher kicked off the show with a rousing performance of the popular anthem “Happily Ever After.” Executive Producer and Disney Legend Jon Favreau joined to share a first look at the Mandalorian and Grogu before they encounter guests starting in mid-November inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Park in Anaheim. Then, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige shared how Avengers Campus at Disneyland Resort will expand the Multiverse with a third attraction, along with the debut of the Incredible Hulk, who will appear in his Quantum Suit at Avengers Campus in California beginning next week for a limited time.
The audience was brought to their feet with a stellar performance by Disney Legend and Tony Award-winner Anika Noni Rose, the voice of Tiana in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “The Princess and TheF Frog,” as more details were revealed about Tiana’s Bayou Adventure coming to Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort in late 2024. As D’Amaro shared a closer look at the Frozen-themed areas coming to Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Resort and Disneyland Paris, the audience was treated to a moving rendition of the “Frozen 2” hit song “Into the Unknown” performed in Cantonese, Japanese and French.
A highlight of the morning included a look at what’s possible when Disney Imagineers and their collaborators dream big. Disney Animation Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee, the Academy Award-winning writer and director of “Frozen” and “Frozen 2,” shared how the studio is working with Walt Disney Imagineering on concept explorations for Dinoland U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park and potential expansion opportunities at Magic Kingdom park, both at Walt Disney World. Finally, D’Amaro offered a look at Disney100, the biggest celebration in the company’s history, which will kick off in January.
The presentation was full of exciting announcements with an incredible slate of experiences coming to Disney parks, resorts, cruise ships and beyond:
New Stories Coming to Disneyland Resort
Guests at Disney California Adventure park will soon head into the Multiverse alongside fan-favorite Super Heroes, as details on a never-before-seen third attraction with a brand-new story was announced for Avengers Campus. Joining in battle with the Avengers means facing foes from anywhere and everywhen, including a new threat, King Thanos, a Multiverse variant designed specifically for Avengers Campus.
Just around the corner from Avengers Campus, Pacific Wharf will be reimagined as San Fransokyo from the Oscar-winning Disney Animation film “Big Hero 6,” complete with a place to meet Baymax as well as new spots to eat and shop.
At Disneyland park, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will invite guests into a cartoon world where toon rules apply, and Mickey’s Toontown will step into a new era of inclusive experiences for families of all ages when it opens in early 2023.
Across the way, progress continues on the reimagining of the Paradise Pier Hotel to Pixar Place Hotel, where guests will feel as though they’ve stepped into a Pixar art gallery featuring new interpretations of favorite Pixar pals. Over at the Downtown Disney District, more than a dozen new and reimagined locations will open, including a Southern Californian favorite, Porto’s Bakery & Café. For running fans, runDisney races will return to the resort in 2024.
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort
Imagineers joined D’Amaro onstage to discuss new story details for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, coming to Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort in late 2024. Several members of the original film cast will return to lend their voices to the attraction, including Anika Noni Rose as Tiana, Bruno Campos as Naveen, Michael-Leon Wooley as Louis and Jenifer Lewis as Mama Odie.
Walt Disney World Resort and the Transformation of EPCOT
The next major milestone in EPCOT’s multi-year transformation will include the completion of the World Celebration neighborhood in late 2023. Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana will also open in late 2023, inviting guests to follow the story of water on the planet, inspired by Moana’s connection to the ocean. Fan-favorite character Figment will also appear live to park guests by the end of 2023.
Over at Magic Kingdom, TRON / Lightcycle Run will invite guests to enter the Grid in spring 2023. Popular anthem “Happily Ever After” will play again when an updated nighttime spectacular returns to light up the skies over Cinderella Castle in 2023. At the Haunted Mansion, the Hatbox Ghost will materialize in 2023.
New Horizons for Disney Cruise Line and the Disney Treasure
The sixth ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, the Disney Treasure, will set sail in 2024. Imagineers have dreamed up a new design concept inspired by the theme of adventure, celebrating Walt Disney’s lifelong love of exploration. The Grand Hall — the magnificent three-deck-tall atrium that welcomes guests on board — is inspired by the grandeur and mystery of a gilded palace, drawing on real-world influences from Asia and Africa, and paying homage to the far-off land of Agrabah. At the center, the signature statue will feature Aladdin, Jasmine and their Magic Carpet.
For the first time, Disney Cruise Line is bringing the magic of a Disney vacation to families and fans in Australia and New Zealand during limited-time cruises that immerse guests in Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars stories beginning in late October 2023. Additionally, repositioning cruises for the Disney Wonder will be the first South Pacific voyages for Disney Cruise Line, giving guests the chance to experience destinations like Fiji and Samoa.
In the Bahamas, progress continues on a beautiful new island destination at Lighthouse Point, which will bring the natural beauty and rich culture of the Bahamas to life for Disney Cruise Line guests.
Three Frozen-themed Lands Highlight Expansions at Parks Around the World
Inspired by Disney Animation’s stunning films, World of Frozen will open in the second half of 2023 at Hong Kong Disneyland – the first of three Frozen-themed areas coming to international Disney parks. It will blend Arendelle with the park’s natural landscapes on Lantau Island.
At Disneyland Paris, the Frozen-themed land will be the next major milestone in the ongoing transformation of Walt Disney Studios park. This land will offer a gorgeous lakeside promenade and will immerse guests in the same magical wintry setting from the films. A new Tangled-themed family attraction will join the new gardens leading into the land. Frozen will also be part of the transformation of the Disneyland Hotel, reopening in 2024. As part of the grand finale of the 30th Anniversary celebration underway, a new stage show, “Pixar: We Belong Together,” will debut next year in Walt Disney Studios park.
At Tokyo Disney Resort, Frozen is one of the stories coming to life as part of the Fantasy Springs expansion at Tokyo DisneySea, joining two other Disney Animation stories, “Peter Pan” and “Tangled,” plus a brand-new hotel integrated right into the park. Fantasy Springs will feature several new Audio-Animatronics figures, including Elsa, who sings in Japanese and whose movements sync with the rhythms of the language.
Shanghai Disney Resort will be the first Disney resort to bring the world of the Oscar-winning Disney Animation film “Zootopia” to life. At Zootopia Central Station, guests will find animals going about their daily lives. At the Zootopia Police Department, which doubles as the entrance for the land’s new family attraction, guests will be greeted by an Audio-Animatronics figure of Officer Clawhauser.
Mickey’s favorite teddy bear, Duffy, is a favorite of fans in all three Disney resorts in Asia, and D’Amaro shared that Duffy & Friends will star in their very own six-episode, stop-motion animated series on Disney+ next year.
Disney 100 Years of Wonder
D’Amaro concluded the presentation with a first look at how Disney Parks, Experiences and Products will mark Disney 100 Years of Wonder (Disney100), the biggest celebration in the history of the company. New décor, specialty food and beverages, character experiences and more will come to parks around the world, with the heart of the celebration rooted at Disneyland Resort.
Two new nighttime spectaculars — “World of Color – One” and the new fireworks show “Wondrous Journeys” — will kick off in late January at Disneyland Resort. “World of Color – One” at Disney California Adventure will celebrate the storytelling legacy started by Walt Disney a century ago. It’s going to be World of Color like you’ve never seen it before, with an all-new inspiring story told through some favorite characters. “Wondrous Journeys” at Disneyland park will ignite the wonder in everyone and feature nods to all 60 Walt Disney Animation Studios films to date, taking viewers on a journey filled with artistry, music, storytelling and heart. Special entertainment moments will also pop up across the resort, including the long-awaited return of the “Magic Happens” parade this spring.
A brand-new nighttime spectacular will come to the World Showcase Lagoon at EPCOT in late 2023 as part of the Disney100 Celebration.
Hong Kong Disneyland will also unveil a new statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse near Cinderella’s Carousel as part of the Disney100 Celebration.