To be completely honest with you, we’re still recovering from the 2022 D23 Expo. We heard SO MANY big announcements in such a short amount of time, and we’re still trying to process what all of them really mean. If you’re feeling the same way, maybe we can figure it out together.
From teasing a massive Magic Kingdom expansion to announcing an opening date for an upcoming roller coaster, Disney did NOT hold back at the Expo…or did they? Let’s take a look at all the projects that are in the works at Disney World right now, from updates that are definitely happening to attractions that Disney seems to have forgotten about.
You won’t be surprised to see that many of the projects in the works are taking place at EPCOT. This park is currently going through a major transformation, and we’ve already seen huge changes like the France pavilion expansion in World Showcase, the new Space 220 restaurant, and the new Connections Café and Eatery restaurant. There’s still a lot more to come, as you’ll see here!
We’ll start out with the projects that appear to be set in stone — some of which even have opening dates already announced!
What Is Definitely Coming to Disney World?
Journey of Water — Inspired by Moana
This walk-through attraction, themed after Disney’s Moana, is coming to World Nature in EPCOT. It’s been described as a “lush exploration trail” where people can “play with magical, living water.”
Disney has shown off some concept art for the attraction, which features big rock structures, fountains, walkways, and a large symbol of the heart of Te Fiti. Speaking of Te Fiti, there’s going to be a BIG model of her (around 15 feet tall!) inside the attraction that’s made of more than 3,000 pieces of foliage.
Disney has announced that this attraction is set to open in late 2023! We’re continuing to keep an eye on the construction for Journey of Water, and we’ll keep bringing you updates when we spot changes there.
EPCOT World Celebration Changes
We’re sticking with EPCOT for the next one. Disney has announced some major changes coming to World Celebration and the EPCOT entrance. We’ve already seen some of the updates to the entrance (like a new fountain in front of Spaceship Earth), but more changes are on the way.
There will be a new area called Dreamers Point that will feature a new statue of Walt Disney that’s called “Walt the Dreamer.” It’s going to be located near the exit of Spaceship Earth. We got to check out this statue at the D23 Expo, where we learned that it’s meant to celebrate the way Walt always looked towards the future.
Also coming to World Celebration are some new festival areas, called CommuniCore Hall and CommuniCore Plaza. These are going to be a sort of “home base” for EPCOT’s seasonal festivals, which seem to be happening most of the time during the year. CommuniCore Plaza is a big outdoor space that could host concerts and other performances. It will also have some gardens that will display art during the festivals.
CommuniCore Hall is located within the plaza, and it will be the first permanent structure built solely for festival programs. It can host all kinds of experiences inside, including kitchens, art galleries, live music, and more.
TRON: Lightcycle Run
We’re hopping over to Magic Kingdom for the next attraction! TRON: Lightcycle Run is a new roller coaster coming to Tomorrowland. It’s themed after the Disney movie Tron: Legacy, and it will feature unique motorcycle-style ride vehicles.
Get ready to board a train of two-wheeled Lightcycles and “launch into the Grid for a race through a dark, computerized world” reaching speeds up to 59 miles per hour.
We’ve been tracking the progress at the construction site for this coaster, and Disney finally announced that it will open in the spring of 2023! If you’re hoping to get on the coaster during your next vacation, be sure to book your Disney World trip for the summer of 2023 or later.
What Is Potentially Coming to Disney World?
During the D23 Expo, Josh D’Amaro (Chairperson of the Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products) announced that Disney has a few major projects in early development right now. The biggest include a Magic Kingdom expansion with new lands and a complete overhaul of DinoLand U.S.A. in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Keep in mind that both of these projects are really just concepts right now. We likely won’t see them come to be anytime soon, and there’s no promise that they’ll happen at all. However, we do know that Disney Imagineers are currently working on both ideas.
Huge Magic Kingdom Expansion
A big expansion might be coming to Magic Kingdom, with new lands potentially coming to the area behind Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. One possibility is a land themed to Coco! There could be the town square of Santa Cecilia, all dressed up for a Dia de Los Muertos celebration. A Disney Imagineer wondered out loud what it would be like to climb onto an alebrije and fly into the land of the dead.
We could also see an Encanto-themed area in this expansion! About this possibility, Disney has said, “What if you could walk into the Madrigals’ casita…What if Mirabel is your guide…What if you could step up to a door and discover your own magical gift?”
Finally, Disney really got us excited by mentioning a land themed to the Disney villains. We would love to explore some of our favorite villains’ lairs, meet the iconic baddies, and maybe even see a ride themed to them!
But are any of these ideas ever actually going to happen? Well, they’re certainly in the very early stages of development, but Josh D’Amaro said, “We are not up here daydreaming. It’s important to me that you know that these things…they are very real.”
Major Overhaul to Dinoland U.S.A. in Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Although DinoLand U.S.A. does have a really fun Imagineering backstory, sometimes this area can seem a little bit empty. Disney is apparently considering a complete overhaul of the space with lands themed to Zootopia and Moana!
So far, all we’ve heard is that guests could be immersed in various districts from the movie Zootopia (potentially some that were not even seen in the movie) and also enter the world of Moana. Like the Magic Kingdom expansion, this project is currently in the early stages of development, so we will probably not see it come to fruition anytime soon. But we will absolutely be looking out for updates!
Which Projects Are On Hold for Now?
Mary Poppins Attraction in EPCOT
Back in 2019, a Mary Poppins-inspired attraction was announced for the United Kingdom pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase.
The attraction was going to allow people to “step in time down Cherry Tree Lane past Admiral Boom’s house, then enter Number 17, home of the Banks family.” Since the original announcement, Disney has released a statement that the development for the Mary Poppins-themed attraction has been postponed, and the project is officially on hold. Could the attraction ever come to EPCOT? Only time may tell.
Spaceship Earth Renovation
Also in 2019, Disney announced a big refurbishment was coming to Spaceship Earth. They mentioned that there would be new scenes and fresh narration as part of the updates.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek (who was Chairman of the Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products at the time) said, “The new Spaceship Earth will still feature great moments of human history, but instead of inventions and technology, we’ll focus on something that binds us all together — storytelling.”
However, Disney World closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic shortly before this attraction was slated to close for refurbishment. After the parks reopened, we didn’t hear any more updates about this renovation until Disney announced that the project has been postponed indefinitely. For now, Spaceship Earth will remain the same!
Have you seen Canada Far & Wide in CircleVision 360 over in the Canada pavilion in World Showcase? The movie attraction showcases the beauty of that country on huge screens. Well, Disney planned to create another attraction that was very similar to that one in a different World Showcase pavilion — China!
Disney announced previously that Wondrous China would become the next CircleVision 360 film, but since the announcement, we haven’t heard anything about the new attraction. We’re assuming that — like a few other EPCOT projects — this one is on pause for now.
The Play! Pavilion is also an EPCOT project (we told you there were a bunch of these!). This attraction was going to allow guests to participate in new adventures with Disney characters, in both real and virtual experiences. It’s located in the former Wonders of Life pavilion, and Disney has called it a “digital metropolis.”
Some of the experiences that Disney suggested might come to the pavilion include helping fashion icon Edna Mode from The Incredibles “on her quest to rid the world of uninspired style” and competing in a water balloon fight hosted by Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby.
As much as we’d love to design with Edna and have a water balloon fight with Huey, Dewey, and Louie, it doesn’t look like we’ll get to do that anytime soon. The pavilion was originally supposed to open for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary (on October 1st, 2021), but it was delayed. A revised opening timeline has not yet been announced, and Disney didn’t mention the pavilion at all at the recent D23 Expo.
There you have it! There are some attractions that we cannot WAIT to see in the parks as soon as next year, and as for the others, well, we’ll keep our fingers crossed but probably won’t count on them happening anytime soon. We’ll of course keep an eye out and let you know as soon as we hear any updates about these projects. Keep following DFB for more of the latest news from Disney World.
Want to check out more news from the 2022 D23 Expo? There’s plenty to explore — check out our full guide to all the updates and announcements from the entire weekend!
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Which of these projects are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments.
The post HUGE Changes Are Coming to Disney World…Or Are They? first appeared on the disney food blog.