On Saturday, at Disney’s fan expo called D23, the team at Disney Parks, led by Chairman Josh D’Amaro, announced a slate of updates about Walt Disney World Resort. Some of the updates are a long time coming for Disney and have been teased in the past, while others are brand new, first revealed to fans this week.
Talking on Saturday, D’Amaro spoke about the updates, which also include projects in California and overseas, and acknowledged that the next decade is going to see a lot of new attractions and updates at Disney.
“Over the next decade, we’re going to have more projects underway than at any point in our history. Our sole purpose is to give you more and more of what you love about a Disney experience. And then surprise and delight you with things you never dreamed possible,” D’Amaro said.
Here’s a recap of what’s on tap for Disney’s Orlando resort:
Date reveal for The World Celebration neighborhood
The World Celebration neighborhood in Orlando’s EPCOT theme park, a highly anticipated addition that has been in the works for a number of years, will officially welcome guests starting in December 2023. The space unites two other EPCOT neighborhoods—World Discovery and World Nature.
Brand new Test Track
Also coming to EPCOT is a brand new edition of Test Track, one of the park’s signature attractions that originally soft-opened in 1998. The attraction will keep its sponsor—the Disney team is currently working with Chevrolet, which has sponsored it since 2012, to “reach back into history for inspiration” for the new attraction. Disney promised “more to come” on this in the future.
New nighttime entertainment at EPCOT
“Luminous The Symphony of Us” will debut in EPCOT on Dec. 5, 2023, a new show that will be held nightly in World Showcase Lagoon.
Journey of Water opening
Journey of Water, a walk-through experience inspired by the movie “Moana,” will open within EPCOT’s World Nature neighborhood on Oct 16. The experience will offer guests the chance to interact with water displays and meet Moana, the film’s title character.
New Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge
Disney is bringing a new Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge to Adventureland at Orlando’s Magic Kingdom Park. Not much is known about what the lounge will look like or when exactly it will debut, but Disney said it will be a “first-of-its-kind” experience that will extend the story of Pirates of the Caribbean.
New ghost at Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion
The Hatbox Ghost, an animatronic that appeared originally in the Haunted Mansion at California’s Disneyland but was removed shortly after the debut, is coming to Orlando’s Magic Kingdom Park in late November 2023. The ghost will greet guests as they pass the attraction’s Endless Hallway.
Updated Country Bear Jamboree
The Country Bear Jamboree, one of Disney’s iconic attractions just like The Haunted Mansion, is also getting an update. The characters are staying the same but they’ll be playing new songs in a brand new act coming in 2024. Disney says that starting there, the Bears will be reinterpreting some favorite Disney songs in different genres of country music.
Disney said it is working with Nashville musicians to get the “authentic country sounds.”
A Magic Kingdom expansion
According to Disney, there are future expansion plans in place for the Magic Kingdom that are the “largest ever for the park.” Again, not much was revealed, but Disney said that it is looking to tell stories “Beyond Big Thunder Mountain” similar to what it did in other parks including adding Galaxy’s Edge at Disney Studios and Pandora at Animal Kingdom.
A reimagined Dinoland U.S.A.
Dinoland U.S.A., one of the original spaces at the park when Animal Kingdom opened in 1998, is going to be transformed into a new land inspired by “the tropical Americas” (Disney has yet to reveal an official name.” Not much is known yet, but Disney says that both “Encanto” and Indiana Jones are being considered as inspiration for the updated space.
New show at Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life
It’s Tough to be a Bug, one of Animal Kingdom’s signature attractions will be replaced by a new show based on “Zootopia.” The current concept for the new show will have guests traveling alongside the film’s characters and visiting different biomes from the film. The date of the new show’s opening, and more details, will be “coming in the future,” Disney said.