D23 Expo 2019: Highlights for DVC Members

For Disney fans, the D23 Expo is the preeminent event on the Disney calendar. It only occurs every other year, which forces company executives to unveil two years’ worth of information at once. The 2019 version of D23 is one of the most exciting to date, with a series of bombshell announcements about the future of your favorite Disney parks and resorts.

In the coming days, DVC Resale Market will post a series of detailed evaluations of the changes that will impact your future Disney vacations. Today, we’re going to bring you up to speed on everything we just learned. Here are the major stories from the 2019 D23 Expo.

Avengers Assemble!

The most significant announcement is the confirmation of Avengers Campus. This long-rumored themed land isn’t actually just one themed land. Instead, Disney will recruit possible Avengers at Disney California Adventure, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland. Yes, this story spans three continents!

Avengers ride at disney land mockup art

The Disney California Adventure version revealed a few more details. First of all, a Spider-Man attraction is in development. Disney has also promised a new E-Ticket attraction for Phase 2, which will open at some point after Phase 1 debuts in 2020.

Spider man disney attraction mockup artwork

Guests will have the opportunity to fly a Quinjet to Wakanda and save the world on behalf of the Avengers! A restaurant called Pym Kitchen will also be a part of the West Coast version of Avengers Campus. The portions will either be huge or tiny, I guess.

More Changes at Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland

Also in California, we knew when Disney brought the Main Street Electrical Parade back that it would be a limited engagement. We now know its replacement, which involves state-of-the-art floats based on films like Moana, Coco, and Sleeping Beauty. Yes, the Magic Happens Parade will debut in the Spring of 2020 at Disneyland Park.

Over in Hong Kong Disneyland, the park has more exciting changes in store. Their current Sleeping Beauty Castle will become the Castle of Magical Dreams. Its style pays tribute to all Disney Princesses.

The bigger news is that their upcoming Frozen-themed land will get a roller coaster called Wandering Oaken’s Sliding Sleighs. Hong Kong Disneyland has also been confirmed as one of the hubs for Avengers Campus, which makes sense since it already hosts two different Avengers attractions.

All aboard the Star Wars Hotel!

Moving over to Florida, Star Wars fans are in for a treat. Star Wars Hotel now has an official name. It is called Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. And yes, the title reflects the experience, as the underlying theme is an exotic, intergalactic cruise. Guests will spend two nights on the Halcyon, one of the stateliest starliners in the fleet.

During your voyage, you will live out your dream of a personalized Star Wars adventure. Disney promises you can interact with the alien crew members and other characters “onboard,” which is to say that all of the hotel’s cast members will have a role to play in your story. The same is true of the other passengers during your stay.

To provide the most immersive experience possible, you won’t check into a hotel. Instead, you’ll enter a launch pod that shoots you into space. After enjoying the outer space sights, you’ll exit into an atrium that becomes your home during your hotel stay.

Disney hints that Rey, Chewbacca, and Kylo Ren will all appear during the two-night adventure. You’ll also have the opportunity to hone your skills with the Force in The Dojo. The scarier hint is that you’ll apparently get attacked during your starcruise, which doesn’t sound like the vacation of anyone’s dreams.

Epcot 2021 Sounds Phenomenal

For Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members, the most impacting news is at Epcot. Park officials finally confirmed the long-rumored changes coming to Future World. We’ll go over a few brief highlights now.

Epcot park stylized artwork

The important aspect is that by the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World in 2021, Epcot will divide into four themed lands, three of which are new.

Map of Epcot divided into four themed lands - Discover, Celebration, Nature, Showcase

The World Showcase will remain, while the current pavilions of Future World will become World Celebration, World Discover, and World Nature. Disney released a massive amount of information about the individual sections. Let’s hit the highlights.

Epcot in Space

A key revelation is that the replacement for Ellen’s Energy Adventure has a name, and it sounds pretty great. It is called Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Disney promises a reverse launch into space as the ride mechanic. Yes, think Expedition Everest in Outer Space. The difference is that you go backward right from the start!

Disney notes, possibly tongue-in-cheek, that the attraction building is the “first otherworld pavilion at Epcot.” A huge aspect of the walkthrough experience is a planetarium-type presentation. The company indicates that it will transport you from Earth to Xandar and back again. You’ll even receive an exclusive invitation to board a Nova ship and take a look at Earth from outer space.

Speaking of out-of-this-world views, the new Mission: Space restaurant is called Space 220. Disney chose this name because the station is located 220 miles above Earth. To eat here, you will take a space elevator to reach the station. During your travels, you can view ports that show where you’ve journeyed so far and where you will be going. A park official made the humorous comment that “departures are scheduled starting this winter.”

The Other Future World Changes

The other major change at Future World is the Play Pavilion. Disney promises a digital metropolis that sounds eerily similar to scenes from Ralph Breaks the Internet. At this pavilion, you can help Edna Mode “rid the world of uninspired style.”

Another picture hints at a water balloon fight that takes place in a pool. The participants are Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby. Disney states that this pavilion will allow you to play with real and virtual characters in unprecedented fashion. Also, it’ll be open by the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World.

The front of the park will include Journey of Water, a walk-through experience inspired by Moana. Disney promises that guests can interact with living water just as Moana does in the movie.

moana journey water fountain epcot future world concept art

What’s up with the World Showcase?

With regard to World Showcase, the Land Pavilion will get a new film called Awesome Planet. It’s almost ready and will debut in January of 2020, only a few months from now. Similarly, the Canada Pavilion will introduce Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360 that same month.

Disney noted that Wondrous China is currently in production. It will allegedly provide a “seamless digital 360-degree digital format.” Meanwhile, the France pavilion will add a new show, Beauty and the Beast sing-a-long, in January of 2020. Epcot may be undergoing a lot of changes, but park officials have ensured that you’ll have plenty of new stuff to do next year.

In fact, 2020 looks like a huge year at Epcot overall. We also just learned that Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Crêperies de Paris will open next summer. At some point in the year, HarmonioUS will also replace Epcot Forever at the World Showcase Lagoon. Yes, the park will present three different nighttime fireworks presentations between now and the end of 2020.

Other changes are in store for the World Showcase. Ninety-three-year-old actor Dick Van Dyke appeared at the presentation to announce a Mary Poppins attraction. Disney will host this attraction at the United Kingdom Pavilion’s Cherry Tree Lane area, which will be entirely new.

Mary Poppins Attraction at Epcot

A New App Just in Time for the 50th Anniversary

For Disney fans, 2021 is the most significant year. It’s the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World, and Disney has promised that celebrations will occur at all four theme parks. Unsurprisingly, they’ll have special food, merchandise, and entertainment for this event.

The excitement over the 50th anniversary likely plays into a technological announcement from D23. In late 2020, Disney will introduce a new app called Disney Genie. Its stated purpose is to optimize your Disney vacation experience.

With this app, you can put together a customized itinerary that fits your family’s vacation habits. Should your plans change, Disney Genie can provide real-time updates to adapt to new circumstances. It’ll also have recommended travel itineraries like a royal treatment day at Magic Kingdom or a World Showcase day at Epcot.

A Disney official bragged that the service evaluates millions of options to maximize your enjoyment and efficiency. So, it sounds like this product will help Disney with crowd management as much as it will help you have a great trip. And it’ll even book Advanced Dining Reservations and Fast Passes for you when you don’t want the hassle.

More Great News for DVC Members

At Disney Springs, we learned a bit more about Cirque du Soleil’s replacement for La Nouba. The company’s new show will open in the Spring of 2020. Disney promises that it “combines Disney storytelling and heart with Cirque du Soleil’s signature artistry.”

For DVC members, one of the most exciting reveals is rooms and suites coming soon to Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge. Photographs showed A-Frame houses and treehouse suites. The décor is based on some of your favorite DisneyNature-based movies. The Princess and the Frog is the basis for a table service restaurant at Bay Lake.

One last DVC tidbit involves the Disney Cruise Line. We just learned that the fifth ship in the fleet is the Disney Wish.

Finally, all of these rides have been previously announced, but we did learn a bit more about them if you are interested. Disney has posted footage of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and the Zootopia themed land at Shanghai Disneyland. We’ll discuss them more in future updates.

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