Top 10 announcements from Destination D23 on Saturday

by W. Andrew Powell

Disney Parks shared lots of news all week long, and they saved some exciting announcements for the fans today at the first full day of Destination D23 events.

The special fan event kicked off a day of panels, news, and previews of existing projects with Josh D’Amaro, the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

“There are bound to be a few surprises before we are done today,” he said to the crowd. “The theme of this year’s event is all about our Disney 100 celebration… few companies have ever reached such a huge milestone.”

There were special appearances by the Muppets and voice actors Anthony Gonzalez, Jodi Benson, and Ashley Eckstein, plus lots of team leaders behind every aspect of Disney.

From the news that came out, there were 10 big announcements so far. Read on and let me know in the comments which news has you the most excited. Watch for more news, videos, and photos from Destination D23 in the coming days.

10 – Two characters will start meeting guests soon. Ahsoka is coming to Star Tours at parks around the world starting next spring. The fan favourite character, who you can also see in the new Disney+ series, Ahsoka, is currently doing meet and greets in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Park.

As well, Asha from the upcoming new movie Wish will arrive at EPCOT, Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris for meet and greets.

9 – Country Bear Jamboree will be updated with new songs and during the presentations they previewed a fantastic version of the “Bear Necessities” that was worked on and recorded in Nashville. The new show will bring country and bluegrass to a new soundtrack.

8 – The Hatbox Ghost (who they confirmed on stage is not the 1,000th “happy haunt” by the way, as he’s an original ghost who left some time ago) will make his debut (or I guess that’s “return”) at The Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom in November 2023. They previewed a little footage of how the special character will look as his head appears in and out of the hat box.

7 – Close to Pirates of the Caribbean, the area will get a new “watering hole” (which must be a bar or restaurant, perhaps) featuring a special parrot – Peg-Leg Pete. From the way they talked about the character, it sounds like the parrot will be telling stories, but we’ll have to wait and see.

6 – Two new areas in EPCOT will open soon: World Celebration will open at EPCOT in December and Journey of Water, inspired by Moana (which I previewed last night), will open on October 16. Soarin’ Over California will also return to EPCOT for a limited time starting on September 22.

5 – EPCOT will also reimagine Test Track once again thanks to the partnership with Chevrolet. Disney teased images of what looked like trackless cars that we’ve seen on other rides at WDW (but that’s just my guess from the video). The team is researching back to the original World of Motion attraction, they said.

4 – Disney Cruise Lines will launch a brand new ship for Singapore, the Disney Adventure. We’ll have to wait for more details but it sounds like DCL will have lots of cruise options in the next few years.

3 – D23 will return in 2024 as D23: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event for a week long event ending with the shopping, exhibits, panels, and presentations from August 9, 10 and 11. The event will take over the Honda Center for major exhibits, there will be a baseball game at Angel Stadium at the start of the week, and a special day at the park.

2 – Dinoland at Animal Kingdom will be reimagined as part of the South American region and it will include both an Encanto area, and an area featuring Indianna Jones. There was no timeline for this project, but the top down artist rendering they showed off was impressive.

Also at Animal Kingdom, a special Zootopia show is being created for the Tree of Life.

1 – And on October 15 for the Disney 100 celebration, D23 will host the Royal Anniversary Ball at Walt Disney Studios in Los Angeles. Tickets for the very special event will go on sale starting on Tuesday, September 12th, and the event will include props and items from the archives, entertainment, and Disney characters.

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