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What We Learned From the D23 Expo

Happy Monday, friends! This weekend I died, was revived, and died again because of all of the announcements from the D23 Expo! Literally everything from movies, to parks, to resorts, and just amazing panels with incredible people was all over Twitter and I wish I had flown out to Anaheim to be part of the experience. But I didn't and I know some of you didn't either. So today I'm rounding up the top things we learned from D23 about all things Disney! This is going to be broken down by day and panel to keep things organized.

Thursday

Technically the expo didn't start until Friday, but we got some amazing sneak peaks of Star Wars Galaxy's Edge (Star Wars Land) on Thursday night. And by sneak peak, I mean the media got to go in and see the scale model and I am so excited to see this new land come to life at Hollywood Studios. As the time for this new land to open comes in 2019 we are obviously going to get more details about what is actually going to be inside and how it's going to work. I did hear that it was going to be more imersive than Pandora: The World of Avatar, which I don't know how that's possible, but I'm so ready to see what the Imagineers have in store for us. 

 Courtesy of D23 on Twitter

Courtesy of D23 on Twitter

FRIDAY

Friday was the official beginning of the D23 Expo and the amazing John Lasseter was on hand to greet guests outside. Can I just say that John Lasseter has a better wardrobe than I do?! Seriously his Hawaiian shirts are so cool and I want one of the ones they were selling at the Expo. 

Disney Legends Ceremony

The day started out with the the Disney Legends Ceremony. It's a huge honor to be inducted into the Disney Legends community, and there were 11 new honorees this year.

1. Carrie Fisher: Best known for her role as Leia from Star Wars.

2. Clyde Geronimi: Best known for his role in animation at the Walt Disney Studios.

3. Whoopi Goldberg: Best known for her role as a comedian and voicing Shenzi the hyena in The Lion King.

4. Manuel Gonzales: Best known for his penciling duties of the Sunday newspaper's Mickey Mouse comic strips.

5. Mark Hamill: Best known for his role as Luke Skywalker from Star Wars.

6. Wayne Jackson: Best known as the Imagineer who worked on attractions around the world.

7. Jack Kirby: Best known for creating the Marvel universe with Stan Lee.

8. Stan Lee: Best known for Marvel comics.

9. Garry Marshall: Best known as a writer and producer for ABC.

10. Julie Taymor: Best known for her adaptation of The Lion King on Broadway.

11. Oprah Winfrey: Best known for her talk show and philanthropy. 

Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios Panel

During the Animation Panel we learned of new movies, and saw previews for some of them. The panel was hosted by John Lasseter, the head of Pixar. One of the films is an untitled film about supersonic jets, due to come out April 12, 2019.

There were also some major surprises from Wreck-It Ralph 2! The plot of this movie is that Ralph and Venelope get sucked into the internet to fix Sugar Rush. A new character that's going to be introduced is YESSS, who is an expert on internet trends and will be played by Taraji P. Henson. During this film, all of the former Disney princesses will make an appearance and be voiced by their original voice actors! That alone is worth going to see the movie. Imagine going to see a movie and Moana is having a conversation with Rapunzel!

During the portion about The Incredibles 2 we learned that the family has to get a new house, and will be in theaters June 15, 2018.

Toy Story 4 has brought a lot of debate int he Disney community since Toy Story 3 ended so well. But Pixar is bringing us another story with our favorite toys, and it's now being directed solely by Josh Cooley instead of in conjunction with John Lasseter.  There will be a new character called Lulu and she is a paper doll.

A major surprise was that John Lasseter announced a new Pixar film, which is unnamed, and it's set in a suburban fantasy world. The same team that made Monsters University is working on this untitled film. In this film magic used to exist, but now it's hard to use and unicorns are everywhere. 

SATURDAY

Walt Disney Studios Live Action Films Panel

The first panel Saturday was for upcoming live action films. This includes anything Marvel, Star Wars, and animated remakes. 

The first movie that was featured was a rendition of A Wrinkle in Time, based off the book, which will star Oprah, Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and more. 

Disney is also going to be doing their own version of the Nutcracker, which will be called The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. This movie will star Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and Keira Knightly, and will be released November 2, 2018. 

We learned a lot more about Mary Poppins Returns. Mary is going to be played by Emily Blunt and Bert is played by Lin Manuel-Miranda. This film takes place 24 years after the original. More of the cast was announced, and Angela Lansbury is going to be Balloon Lady, and Dick Van Dyke is going to be a bank manager. If you've ever been to Club 33 at Disneyland there is a table that was used in the original Mary Poppins on display, and that will also make and appearance in the film. 

As far as animated films getting the live-action reboot, Mulan has been officially added to the slate, and Aladdin has finally been found! Disney was apparently struggling to find the perfect Aladdin for their upcoming film, but has found their diamond in the rough in Menna Massoud, Jasmine is going to be played by Naomi Scott, and Genie is going to be Will Smith. Oh and that Jungle Cruise project that The Rock has been teasing is a go, too. Dumbo is also getting the live-action treatment, and will be produced by Tim Burton. It will be released March 29, 2019.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is set to come out December 15, 2017! I am beyond excited for this film. The director for the film, Rian Johnson, used to produce the "coming up next" segments on Disney Channel, and we all know how cool those were. Some of the actors from the film were in attendance at the panel, and while many fans were expecting the next trailer, we got a behind the scenes video instead and the movie posters, which honestly are really cool! Whoever did these movie posters deserves a raise! 

 Courtesy of Star Wars

Courtesy of Star Wars

After Star Wars literally everyone went nuts for Marvel. Every single actor who portrays a superhero was on stage all at once. Guests got to see a clip from Infinity War, and Spider-Man has a new suit, and Guardians find Thor drifting in space. 

Disney Parks and Resorts Panel

This is the panel that literally everyone was waiting anxiously for! From the demise of rides, to the rumors swirling for Epcot we all wanted answers! The first thing that was talked about was Star Wars Galaxy's Edge. In this immersive land guests will earn galactic points based on tasks you complete, or don't complete well. Your rank in the galaxy is determined by these points. There are going to be two rides at Galaxy's Edge. One is where you can pilot the Millennium Falcon, and the other is a First Order ride. Not much is actually known about the First Order ride except that the ride vehicles look a lot like the ride cars from Dinosaur or Indiana Jones.  Our former Star Tours pilot, Rex has gotten a new job at the canteen as a DJ! BB-8, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, and other Star Wars characters are going to be found at the Galaxy's Edge. For all of you all reading in California, or who visit Disneyland more often, your edge of the galaxy is going to open first, then Walt Disney World. 

The next ride announcement was for a new Mickey ride which will take the place of The Great Movie Ride. This ride is going to be called Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway. It will be presented in 2.5 D, and will be state of the art. This ride will have it's own theme song that will inevitably get stuck in everyone's head.  The facade of The Great Movie Ride is staying the same, but obviously the inside is going to be very different. The final day for The Great Movie Ride is August 13, 2017.

We also learned that a Ratatouille ride will be coming to Epcot! This is going to be a replica of the one at Disneyland Paris, and be placed in the France Pavilion of World Showcase. On the other side of World Showcase, there will be a new circle vision film in China.

Future World is really getting a lot of love at Epcot! There will be a new Guardians of the Galaxy ride where Ellen's Universe of Energy is at now. Ellen is also set to close August 13. There will be a new flight on Mission: Space, which will be called Green, and will be more suitable for children. It's going to take you high above earth, much like Soarin' does. Next to Mission: Space, there will be a new space themed table service restaurant. 

Over at Magic Kingdom, we all thought the Speedway was going to be leaving to make way for the Tron Lightcycles, but we are getting BOTH! Tron is going to be places next to Space Mountain behind the train tracks in what is now cast only areas, and the speedway gets to stay so children of all ages can drive for the first time. Magic Kingdom is also adding to Main Street USA with the addition of a new theater. This will be a place where Disney can perform shows like Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire. 

Along with Galaxy's Edge, Walt Disney World is getting a totally immersive Star Wars Hotel where guests can take part in challenges, each room faces space, and I'm already saving for that.

Transportation is about to change at Walt Disney World too! There is a brand new gondola system going in, and it's going to be called the Disney Skyliner. It reminded me a lot of the Skyway that used to be at Magic Kingdom. Each of the gondolas are going to have a different theme. The gondolas are going to service Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, the new Disney Vacation Club Hotel The Riviera, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot.

There will be a seventh Disney Cruise Line ship coming to the fleet, adding to the two new ships Disney already announced. 

Disneyland is getting a whole Marvel-land to go along with Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. They are also re-doing Paradise Pier into Pixar Pier. Paint the Night is going to California Adventure. There will be a new Pixar themed fireworks show.  There's a whole lot of Pixar happening at Disneyland basically. 

Friends, this post is super long! If you made it this far, thank you! Let me know in the comments what you think of all of the changes coming to our parks! Be sure to follow me on Instagram to keep up with my Disney adventures!

Be magical today!

-Megan