2022 D23 Expo Predictions & Rumors

September 8, 2022

The 2022 D23 Expo is simply days away, and rumors are flying about what’ll be introduced for Walt Disney World and Disneyland. This submit seeks to separate the credible from the wishful considering, with our predictions for what’ll really be introduced by way of returning leisure, new points of interest, overhauls, and growth.

Relating to this yr’s D23 Expo, followers are divided–and understandably so. Many have had their enthusiasm for all issues Walt Disney World and Disneyland tempered over the course of the final two years attributable to cutbacks, worth will increase, venture cancellations, and the widely gradual tempo of all the things.

That is truthful. Tasks that have been introduced on the final D23 Expo have been delayed indefinitely or quietly cancelled. Others are nonetheless taking place, however are taking ceaselessly to be constructed. One of many issues we would possibly get on the 2022 D23 Expo is a gap date for TRON Lightcycle Run. This can be a cloned curler coaster inside a principally empty warehouse that was introduced 5 years in the past. It’s tough to fault followers for not getting enthusiastic about initiatives introduced this yr that may perhaps be constructed and might open by 2027.

Then again, there’s additionally motive for cautious optimism. Since reducing again park investments throughout the closure and subsequent downturn, the corporate has been ramping up initiatives as soon as once more. Within the newest quarterly outcomes, Disney revealed that capital expenditures (CapEx) elevated from $2.5 billion to $3.8 billion–the corporate revealed that this was primarily attributable to greater spending at Disney Parks, Experiences and Merchandise.

In the course of the earnings name Q&A, Disney’s CFO reiterated plans to take a position much more in its theme parks. She stated that investments can be ramping again up after being turned down the final two years. It’s unclear what this implies or the place the spending will happen (one other new cruise ship and relocated company places of work will even issue into it), however there are essentially extra unannounced initiatives within the pipeline to ensure that that to be true.

An enormous slate of bulletins on the 2022 D23 Expo would thus make a point of sense. The final time that occurred was the 2017 D23 Expo, which revealed an enormous slate of additives, most of which have now come to fruition. With that venture cycle now wrapping up–and not contributing to CapEx numbers–it can quickly be time to start out the following growth part.

On high of that, the journey business is proving surprisingly resilient. Disney’s theme park enterprise continues to outperform, and traders have begun to take discover of its success. This coupled with Wall Road souring on streaming (at the least a bit) means Disney might lastly begin to wager larger on its theme parks. (All classes realized again in 2009, proving but once more that historical past repeats itself!)

However, I’m coming at this from the attitude that the aforementioned ramping up remains to be a piece in progress, and plenty of specifics received’t but be able to share. Which means that this yr’s slate of stories is not going to be on par with 2017. Right here’s hoping that’s mistaken, and my expectations are unnecessarily low.

With that stated, these are all simply enjoyable hypothesis. They’re undoubtedly not credible predictions, knowledgeable reporting, and even what I wish to see introduced–simply what I believe will occur. I’ve no clue what shall be introduced and am not attempting to current this as a scoop. I’m ready with baited breath identical to everybody else.

Anyway, listed below are the bulletins I believe we will anticipate on the 2022 D23 Expo…

Leisure Encore!

One of many safer bets is that the Disney Parks, Experiences and Merchandise panel will function a section about new and returning leisure. This will likely or will not be the end result of an emotional montage highlighting how far the parks have come since reopening. That actually will depend on what number of precise new additions there are to announce and whether or not they should kill time.

No matter recaps, there really is rather a lot taking place on the leisure entrance. Fantasmic ought to get a return date at Walt Disney World. It’s a near-certainty that Disneyland Resort will get at the least one parade, and probably two, in 2023. (Magic Occurs and an evening parade are the most definitely bulletins. One would be the performers from “A Christmas Fantasy” Parade; the opposite can be freshly-cast.)

Disney100

Disney100, or the 100 Years of Surprise is the a hundredth anniversary celebration of the Walt Disney Firm, which was based in 1923. The celebration will start on the 2022 D23 Expo and proceed all through 2023. Though Disney100 is billed as beginning with this weekend’s D23 Expo, it’s unclear when the park celebrations will start in earnest. Most likely subsequent yr after Walt Disney World’s fiftieth Anniversary ends–maybe Memorial Day?

There’s probably overlap between the final section of the presentation and the Disney 100 portion. (To be clear, these distinctions are ours–they’re predictions, not ensures or leaks.) Our expectation is that leisure returning this yr or early subsequent is basically dealt with individually from reimagined or new nighttime spectaculars for Disney 100.

We’re, maybe foolishly, optimistic that Disney100 will proper some wrongs of the World’s Most Magical Celebration. Key to that shall be leisure. At Walt Disney World, the logical choice is bringing again an ‘prolonged’ model of Fortunately Ever After, full with projections on Foremost Road and a pre-show celebrating 100 Years of Surprise.

Including counter-programming to Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios would additionally make sense, and a “new” nighttime spectacular may very well be created comparatively simply by remixing the previous projection reveals to one thing that pays tribute to Walt Disney-era animation and reside motion movies. If Orlando management is anxious about alienating first-timers with an excessive amount of nostalgia, inserting this because the secondary present at DHS is comparatively low-risk.

Being much less allergic to spending cash on new leisure, it’s probably that Disneyland will obtain a brand new fireworks present and probably way more. Whereas I’m not essentially anticipating any of this, I wouldn’t be in the slightest degree shocked to see segments added to Fantasmic or World of Colour for Disney100, and new floats for the daytime and evening parades additionally aren’t outdoors the realm of prospects. Particular character cavalcades and costumes are additionally a given.

Past that, the time has probably come for brand new stage reveals on each coasts. Encanto appears so apparent, and there are unused venues in each Disney California Journey and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s additionally potential that character enhancements to Avengers Campus Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge shall be lined right here. Earlier than you query what this has to do with Disney’s a hundredth Anniversary, I ask you: is something extra wondrous than Child Yoda?!?

Worldwide Updates

It’s a certainty that there shall be standing experiences and new idea artwork for initiatives at worldwide parks which can be already underway. These embrace the Walt Disney Studios Park growth at Disneyland Paris, Arendelle at Hong Kong Disneyland, Zootopia at Shanghai Disneyland, and Fantasy Springs at Tokyo DisneySea.

Although Disney normally glosses over the Japan parks because it doesn’t personal them, it wouldn’t shock me to see precise consideration given to Fantasy Springs because it’s far and away essentially the most formidable venture. The WDSP additionally ought to be highlighted given its long-term, transformational significance for Disneyland Paris.

DCL Updates

Disney Cruise Line has been laying the groundwork for shifting considered one of its ships to Australia, which might occur as quickly because the Fall 2023 season. Different prospects embrace hyping up the Disney Want, MagicBand+ information, and an replace on Lighthouse Level.

Listening to extra about Disney Cruise Line’s different new ships can be a chance. Nevertheless, that is likely to be untimely if the corporate nonetheless needs to attract consideration (and bookings) to the Disney Want. Maybe this shall be restricted to the title of the following new ship to affix the fleet, with a devoted reveal sooner or later. (That strategy labored effectively in creating pleasure for the Want.)

EPCOT Overhaul Updates

Domestically, there are particulars in regards to the overhaul of EPCOT that probably have been held again for the D23 Expo. Whereas I’ve already expressed my hope that Disney bets larger on CommuniCore Corridor & Plaza, I believe it’s extra probably that we see new idea artwork for what’s really deliberate for the inexperienced areas within the recently-released idea artwork.

The present idea artwork has plenty of clone-stamp greenery; that ought to be changed with actual element. Right here’s hoping for an announcement of the Big EPCOT Grime Pit™️ Expertise: Dig & Dredge Discovery!

Joking apart, the corporate will play to the gang and emphasize Dreamers Level and the statue of Walt Disney, naturally. (A lot simpler to honor his legacy by erecting a statue than really constructing stuff of substance.)

A gap season for Moana’s Journey of Water likewise is smart given the place that venture stands. One other wildcard is the Play Pavilion, which has not acquired any official updates in ages, however continues to have building permits filed. I’d wager on information in regards to the Play Pavilion, and probably a gap season.

Lastly, my extra out-on-a-limb prediction right here is {that a} reimagining of Spaceship Earth is revealed. That attraction wants an in depth refurbishment ultimately; they may as effectively replace the present scenes throughout the downtime.

Tiana’s Bayou Journey Particulars

It’s now been over 2 years for the reason that shock information that Disney would retheme Splash Mountain to an attraction impressed by the Princess and the Frog. The announcement clearly got here prematurely and at a far earlier stage of growth than regular–there was solely a single piece of high-level idea artwork, a obscure premise of the attraction, and quotes from Imagineers and different concerned events.

Since then, Disney has revealed…principally simply the trip title. There have been different minor particulars and reporting about WDI analysis journeys, however nothing that may be thought of materials. It’s probably that’ll change on the 2022 D23 Expo, as that is the one main venture within the pipeline for 2024 or past as of proper now.

Disneyland Updates

Over at Disneyland, extra particulars in regards to the Downtown Disney growth, Disneyland Lodge DVC, and Paradise/Pixar Pier Lodge appear probably. There’s additionally the treehouse previously occupied by Tarzan, which many are assuming will obtain an Encanto overlay. If latest rumors I’ve heard are appropriate, the idea is likely to be way more thrilling for diehard followers (particularly these of interconnected, worldwide story motifs).

The massive factor is more likely to be the reimagining of Toontown and opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. My wager is on extra idea artwork for each, and a gap month or season–however not a particular date.

I do not anticipate to listen to something about DisneylandForward. As soon as once more, I believe many individuals have misinterpret what that truly is. There is no such thing as a there there–it’s primarily about zoning and land use. When followers say, “Disney will construct X as a part of DisneylandForward,” they’re basically misunderstanding the initiative. It’s not a venture, it’s public approval to provide Disney better autonomy over what they will construct–in the event that they so select.

Dino-Rama Substitute

During the last couple of years, there have been a ton of rumors about Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The 2 hottest of those have revolved round Indiana Jones and a clone of the Zootopia Land that’s being constructed at Shanghai Disneyland coming to Animal Kingdom.

I’ve expressed doubts about each rumors previously, and that continues to be the case at this time. I do assume one thing shall be introduced for Dino-Rama, however that it’ll most likely be a curler coaster. The Excavator is a basic unbuilt Walt Disney World attraction that also generates buzz in fan circles. Whereas I wouldn’t anticipate that actual idea to be resurrected, it wouldn’t shock me if one thing that pays homage to it’s introduced.

Actually, one other curler coaster doesn’t do a ton for me. I believe Animal Kingdom has extra want for one more family-friendly indoor attraction, however the park has a number of wants. Except for a nighttime spectacular, that is most likely the one that may be addressed most shortly (ought to Disney so want)…and folks love thrill rides.

An addition to Animal Kingdom simply is smart. That is now the Walt Disney World park furthest faraway from its final huge growth, it’s the park individuals spend the fewest hours in per day, and Disney already demolished Primeval Whirl. The picnic house that changed it’s an improve over the trip (addition by subtraction, child!), but it surely received’t stay empty ceaselessly. One thing is coming, and sooner quite than later. Right here’s hoping it’s an attraction with each Indiana Jones and dinosaurs!

Way forward for Tomorrow

Disney loves storytelling, and that extends to the presentation of its panels. As such, my expectation is that there’s a “Way forward for Tomorrow” (or one thing like that) section that begins with a feel-good introduction by Walt Disney highlighting Progress Metropolis and a quote about shifting ahead.

I might anticipate the section to then take a tour of Tomorrowlands all over the world, beginning with the worldwide parks and what’s being accomplished there. Tokyo Disneyland’s new House Mountain may very well be highlighted, in addition to potential enhancements at Disneyland Paris or Hong Kong Disneyland.

Disney might then “zoom in” on Walt Disney World, providing a take a look at the upgrades already made to Tomorrowland, with extra particulars about what’s on the best way. This might embrace extra for Carousel of Progress and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, amongst different points of interest.

Different wildcards embrace Buzz Lightyear’s House Ranger Spin and Sew’s Nice Escape, each of that are ripe for upgrades or outright substitute. Then there’s TRON Lightcycle Run. I’ve gone on document with my prediction as to the “most definitely” opening date for TRON Lightcycle Run in December 2022. If that’s correct, I might anticipate a particular opening date on the D23 Expo. If it’s inaccurate, I’d anticipate they announce that it’ll open in Spring 2023 (no particular date, simply the season).

For many Expo attendees, the spotlight of the section will probably be Disneyland. Previous to the parks closing, Disney teased “A Nice, Massive, Stunning Tomorrowland Entrance Coming Quickly to Disneyland.” That was probably step one in a deliberate, lengthy overdue transformation of Tomorrowland at Disneyland that paid homage to the previous.

Over the course of the previous couple of months, I’ve had plenty of conversations in regards to the Tomorrowland transformation at Disneyland and rumors of what it’ll entail. All of those have been second hand–I don’t have any inside data on the venture–however I’ve heard sufficient that I’m moderately assured one thing shall be introduced. There’s merely an excessive amount of smoke for there to not be fireplace.

With that stated, on the subject of the rumors that I might contemplate credible (or as credible because it will get on the subject of the perpetual rumors of a Tomorrowland transformation), there may be nonetheless no consensus. Sure points of interest have come up repeatedly as returning or being overhauled, however the specifics are fuzzy.

Given this, my suspicion is that the main points are usually not finalized and Disney received’t be prepared to provide us detailed idea artwork on the D23 Expo. As an alternative, I’d anticipate one thing just like the high-level EPCOT overhaul bulletins of 2017 or 2019, with an aerial overview leaving plenty of room for interpretation and alter.

My hope is that this consists of some specifics, and I’d personally go nuts if the return of the PeopleMover is amongst them. Regardless of what I’ve heard, I stay skeptical that shall be introduced. Disneyland followers have been burned extra occasions by that than have EPCOT followers and “rumors” of Journey into Creativeness’s return.

At this level, I’ll consider it after I see it. Actually. I received’t even belief an official announcement. Plans can change, and lots of have in the previous couple of years. Till there’s precise ahead motion on these wonderful trains, I’ll stay skeptical.

Actually, I might’ve been rather a lot much less skeptical had I printed this one week in the past, previous to the announcement of Star View Station Lounge. If the Innoventions/Tremendous Hero HQ/Star Wars Launch Bay constructing is not demolished, that calls into query the veracity of a few of what I’ve heard. Or at the least underscores that rather a lot is unsettled and the Tomorrowland transformation timeline is prolonged.

Saying the triumphant return of the PeopleMover is one surefire technique to get huge applause from Disneyland-centric D23 Expo viewers, restore some goodwill that has been eroded the previous couple of years, and assure visits from loyal followers. Whereas I’ve misplaced hope for the return of Figment and Dreamfinder, I’ve a glimmer of hope for the PeopleMover. If Disney executives are actually involved about all of this stuff (and perhaps they aren’t!), it’s the logical time to do one thing that ought to’ve been accomplished a decade in the past.

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Your Ideas

Care to make it fascinating by inserting your personal “bets” about what shall be introduced on the 2022 D23 Expo? Do you assume it is going to be a time for large attraction bulletins, or will principally give attention to particulars about initiatives which can be already underway or which have occurred already? Any shock bulletins you assume is likely to be potential? Clearly, none of us know what the longer term holds for the D23 Expo (until you’re a Disney govt or Imagineer…through which case, please tell us what’s going to occur! 😉 ), however I believe it’s enjoyable to take some guesses and see who ‘wins’ simply the identical. We’ll revisit this submit in a month and whoever received essentially the most proper will win…bragging rights!

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