Saturday, August 15, 2015

What a Day at D23 : Star Wars Land, Shanghaî Disneyland, Parks and Resorts Projects, and more

What a day! Almost everything expected was announced, except a Marvel land - they probably keep it for the D23 Expo in 2017!
Dozens of posts below, three huge articles not to be missed about Shanghaî Disneyland, Star Wars lands, DHS Toy Story land, HKDL Iron Man Experience, and more await you on Disney and more with high-res artworks and videos, and more coming tomorrow! in the meantime don't miss today's three articles:

Parks and Resorts Pavilion Shanghaî Disneyland presentation:

Star Wars Land High-Res Artworks:

Disney Parks and Resorts Projects Presentation - Now Updated with new artwork and videos! :

One more thing: no opening date was announced for the Star Wars Lands opening at DL and DHS but from what i've read it seems that they're planning to break the ground in 2017 which, considering the huge construction works needed,  should mean a Star Wars land opening not earlier than 2019!
See you tomorrow!

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Announces New Lands, Entertainment and Experiences at D23 EXPO 2015 - Updated with More Artwork and Videos!

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Announces New Lands, Entertainment and Experiences at D23 EXPO 2015

Star Wars, Toy Story Land, Pandora – The World of AVATAR, Soarin’ and Iron Man among new experiences coming for guests

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Aug. 15, 2015) – Today, Disney announced a line-up of new attractions and entertainment coming to its theme parks around the world during the D23 EXPO 2015 in Anaheim, Calif. 

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek gave 7,500 lucky fans a behind-the-scenes look at what’s to come.  He was joined by Imagineers working on these projects as well as legendary filmmakers James Cameron and Jon Landau who shared new details about Pandora – The World of AVATAR including the names of the land and E-ticket attraction – AVATAR Flight of Passage.  Fans also got a chance to see Marvel legend Stan Lee in a cameo appearance where he posed as an unsuspecting fan during Iron Man’s dramatic entrance. 

Among the many announcements Chapek shared were new and enhanced Star Wars experiences coming later this year to the Florida and California theme parks, plans for a new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and more details on Pandora—The World of AVATAR, which is already under construction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Chapek also shared that Soarin’ Around the World will make its U.S. film debut at Epcot and Disney California Adventure taking guests to new places around the world.  Additionally, fans got a preview of exclusive video of the first Marvel attraction planned for Disney parks, coming to Hong Kong Disneyland in 2016.

“From Disneyland’s 60th anniversary celebration to the anticipation of Shanghai Disney Resort, we’re in the midst of unprecedented growth and expansion around the globe,” said Chapek. “With these new announcements, we continue our legacy in creating innovative attractions, worldwide entertainment, and magical lands that take our guests into the worlds of stories they love.”

In addition to these announcements, Chapek talked about the exciting news announced earlier in the day by Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger for plans to bring Star Wars-themed lands to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando and Disneyland park in Anaheim.  Each 14-acre land will transport guests to a never-before-seen planet with two signature attractions, including a customized secret mission on the Millennium Falcon and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle. 

Read D&M Star Wars Land special article with high-res artworks of the land HERE !

Here below are all details on each project and if you want to watch the full presentation here is the whole thing filmed by Mouse Planet!

Star Wars Enhancements & New Experiences
From a new Star Tours adventure to Star Wars Launch Bay, from a new Jedi Training Academy to "Season of the Force,” soon guests will be part of both new and enhanced experiences at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

·         Star Tours – The Adventures Continue – Later this year, Star Tours will include a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, giving guests a new adventure in the Star Wars galaxy. 

·         Star Wars Launch Bay – This interactive experience will take guests into the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, including opportunities to visit with new and favorite Star Wars characters, special merchandise and food offerings.  Star Wars Launch Bay will be located in the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park.  Also atDisneyland park, Star Wars Launch Bay will share the space with the reimagined Super Hero HQ, featuring opportunities to meet and take photos with super heroes like Captain America and Thor, as well as experience the returning Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries.  Both experiences will be available for guests later this year.

·         Jedi Training Academy — A favorite of younger fans is reimagined with a new experience that includes new characters and a new villain to battle from the popular Disney XD series "Star Wars Rebels."

·         Season of the Force – This new seasonal event, beginning early 2016, brings new experiences to both coasts.  In Tomorrowland at Disneyland park, guests will explore the Star Wars galaxy with special entertainment throughout the land, themed food locations and more. 

     Guests also will be thrilled to climb aboard Hyperspace Mountain, a reimagining of the classic Space Mountain attraction, in which guests will join an X-wing Starfighter battle. 

     At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests will close out weekend nights with a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic score of the Star Wars movies.

Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida
The reimagining of Disney’s Hollywood Studios will take guests to infinity and beyond, allowing them to step into the worlds of their favorite films, starting with Toy Story Land.  This new 11-acre land will transport guests into the adventurous outdoors of Andy’s backyard.  

Guests will think they've been shrunk to the size of Woody and Buzz as they are surrounded by oversized toys that Andy has assembled using his vivid imagination.  Using toys like building blocks, plastic buckets and shovels, and game board pieces, Andy has designed the perfect setting for this land, which will include two new attractions for any Disney park and one expanded favorite.

·         Family-friendly roller coaster – All on the back of Slinky Dog, this coaster will zip and zoom, plunge and coast as it takes guests on a fun, toy-filled adventure throughout the new land.

·         Alien saucers attraction – The famous little green aliens from the movie will take guests around for a spin in their very own flying saucers.  

The music, lighting and sound effects add to the flurry of action, while “The Claw” looms over. 

·         Toy Story Mania! – Guests glide into the Toy Story Midway Games Play Set  and take aim at 3D objects in a variety of fast-paced games, with an expansion that adds a third track to this popular attraction.

Here is the video filmed by The DIS of the Toy Story land announcement for Disney Hollywood Studios during the D23 Disney parks an dResorts presentation at D23.

After Dark at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Pandora – The World of AVATAR
As part of the largest expansion in the park’s history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will immerse guests into the world of Pandora, and the entire park will transform after dark with new nighttime entertainment experiences, offering guests longer days than ever before to experience this one-of-a-kind theme park.

·         “Rivers of Light” – Expected to open next spring, “Rivers of Light” will be an innovative experience unlike anything ever seen in a Disney park, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. “Rivers of Light” will magically come to life on the natural stage of Discovery River, delighting guests and truly capping off a full day of adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

·         Kilimanjaro Safaris – This popular attraction will be extended for a new nighttime adventure next spring, where guests will travel through the African savanna amid the magically extended orange glow of the setting sun and discover two species new to the attraction: African wild dogs and hyenas. 

Here is the video filmed by The DIS during the Parks and Resorts presentation yesterday, with the great Imagineer Joe Rhode!

·         Pandora – The World of AVATAR – Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests will journey into the magnificent world of Pandora at this new AVATAR-themed land – a world that includes floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest and the winged creatures known as Banshees, giving guests a transformational experience they will never forget.

From yesterday's Parks and Resorts presentation at D23 here is the video filmed by The DIS of the Avatar land announcement with James Cameron in person!

  AVATAR Flight of Passage – This E-ticket attraction, the centerpiece of Pandora, allows guests to soar on a Banshee over a vast alien world. The spectacular flying experience will give guests a birds-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of the world of Pandora on an aerial rite of passage.

Soarin’ Around the World in Florida and California
Next year, guests at Epcot in Florida and Disney California Adventure in California will journey to far-flung lands and fly above some of the world’s most unique natural landscapes and man-made wonders when the new Soarin’ Around the World makes its U.S. debut. 

Go behind the scenes with this short video making-of of Soarin' Over the World!

Iron Man Unveiled for Hong Kong Disneyland
Iron Man landed at D23 EXPO today for a special appearance, and soon Hong Kong Disneyland guests will have the opportunity to meet and take photos with the Super Hero himself. 

Set to open in 2016, Iron Man Experience will be the first Marvel attraction at any Disney park, taking guests on an epic adventure over the streets and in the sky above Hong Kong.  The adventure will begin at the new Stark Expo where guests board the Iron Wing to take flight and battle Hydra alongside fan-favorite Avenger, Iron Man.

And here is the 30 sec preview of the simulator ride movie of Iron Man Experience opening next year at HKDL!

Come back tomorrow for a video of the full D23 Parks and Resorts presentation!

Pictures: copyright Disney

Star Wars Lands Officially Announced for WDW DHS and Disneyland - High-Res Artwork !

That's it, Bob Iger just announced officially Star Wars lands for WDW DHS and Disneyland and it'll be the biggest land ever built!

"Bob Iger announced to an audience of more than 7,500 fans that Star Wars-themed lands will be coming to Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif., and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., allowing Star Wars fans to step into the stories from a galaxy far, far away.

Ambitious plans to bring Star Wars to life in the two parks include creating Disney’s largest single-themed land expansions ever at 14-acres each, transporting guests to a never-before-seen planet, a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life.

“I am thrilled to announce the next chapter in the long and exciting history between Disney Parks and Star Wars,” said Iger. “We are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single themed land expansion ever. These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet, including an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.”

These authentic lands will have two signature attractions, including the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle."

Here is the short Star Wars  Land teaser shown during the Parks and Resorts D23 Presentation...

...And here are some additional artworks shown during the Parks and Resorts presentation at D23! They show different scenes inside the land or even rides ( the one with the Storm Troopers ) as well as a great live music "Cantina" bar & restaurant!

D&M take: It looks impressive, though i was not expecting this kind of architecture. No opening date was announced for the Star Wars Lands opening but from what i've read it seems that they're planning to break the ground in 2017 which, considering the huge construction works needed,  should mean a Star Wars land opening not earlier than 2019!

Edited 16 / 8 : Some thoughts about the new Star Wars land: At first i was impressed because of the scope of the project ( looks huge, etc… ) and the more i think about it the less certain i am about what i feel about it. First, i understand why they choose to create a new planet, but at the same time it will be more difficult to enjoy the place than if it had been a planet we already knew as i think what Star Wars fans would like is to be « teleported » on a planet they loved in the previous movies to have the feeling and pleasure «  to be there ».  So, the fans won’t have this feeling here, except if this new planet is introduced in the upcoming movies of the new trilogy. The only place so far which is a reminiscence of a loved place in the previous trilogies is the cafe looking like the famous Tatooine cantina.

I also have a problem with the mountains which have a kind of Avatar / Pandora look / feeling with the vegetation going down these pillars of rock. Because of the verticality of the set, it will create a special mood for the guest walking down there but it certainly don’t look like a place which gives you a « cosmic » feeling that a Star Wars land should give. And nothing futuristic in it. But the chosen decor should work well for the transition when you’ll come from the woods in the back of DL Frontierland where they will built it.

That said, Universal didn’t did this mistake, they reproduced faithfully the places that fans loved in the Harry Potter movies, but it's true they didn't had the choice of environment. I can understand that, with Star Wars, they had so many planets that instead to choose one and eventually make fans who would have liked another planet than the one chosen angry they decided to create a new one, but i’m not sure it’s not a mistake. They have enough materials in the Star Wars movie that they should have built a full theme park with different lands / planets, but there, in addition to the cost and needed place - a problem that could have been resolved - probably entered the corporate paranoid question: what if Star Wars is not anymore popular in 15 - 20 years? Which of course doesn't have any sense considering how hugely popular SW is since 35 years and this with two trilogies / six films released only...

Now the only thing to do is to wait till they build it and see the result. But i sincerely hope this new planet will be introduced in a future movie, one way or another so fans will have the feeling to be « at home » …

And what are your thoughts about this new Star Wars land?

Let's end with the video of the full star Wars Land presentation during D23 Parks and Resorts event, filmed in HD by Inside the Magic!

Artwork: copyright Disney

D23 Expo Parks and Resorts Pavilion : Part One : Shanghaî Disneyland

In this first report about D23 Expo we'll have a detailed look at the fantastic Disney Parks and Resorts pavilion which this year include a phenomenal presentation of Shanghaî Disneyland with artworks, models, costumes for each land, and more. There is also one about the Avatar land that we will explore in a separate article. As usual Andy Castro from Dateline Disneyland is D&M photographer for everything about D23 Expo and i can't thanks enough Andy for his precious pictures. 

So, let's have a closer look at Shanghaî Disneyland starting with the map of the park.

Before entering the park - just like at Hong Kong Disneyland - Shanghaî Disneyland guests will find a fountain, this one with Mickey in his glorious early days in "Steamboat Willie", and here is a picture of the model.

Next, we'll have a closer look at Mickey Avenue, the entrance street of Shanghaî Disneyland. By the way, don't forget to click on the pictures you wish to see them in bigger size.

In front of SDL castle and at the exit of Mickey Avenue will be the Gardens of Imagination!

Let's move now to Adventure Isle to have a closer look to the Roaring Rapids ride as well as Camp Discovery...

Right next door to Adventure Isle is Treasure Cove and a brand new Pirates of Caribbean ride version!

There it is, you got it, the first SDL Pirates of Caribbean attraction poster! And if you want to know what awaits you in the ride, just have a closer look at the poster!

The video below will show you a few seconds of Shanghaî Disneyland Pirates of Caribbean ride from the simulation movie used by WDI Imagineers!

Fantasyland will have many unique elements including the unique Journey to the Crystal Grotto boat ride, a different Peter Pan's Flight, and much more!

Let's move to the Tomorrowland section and the Tron Lightcycles motorbike coaster!

The Shanghaî Disneyland Hotel as well as the Toy Story hotel also ha da special presentation.

The Toy Story Hotel Courtyard will feature the "Tin Toy" rocket sculpture below.

We'll end by the Disney Town presentation, SDL shopping, dining and entertainment area!

On Disney and more i've covered essentially the D23 Expo announcements about Parks or Imagineering but there was more so make sure to follow Andy Castro others updates on D23 Expo either on his Dateline Disneyland page HERE or on Mice Age HERE.

All pictures: copyright Andy Castro - Dateline Disneyland