Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo detailed plans for future lands, attractions and adventures that will be delighting Disney guests for years to come, at the first D23 Expo. Most notable among the announcements were the confirmation of an all-new Star Tours attraction and the largest expansion in the history of Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort.
“Storytelling is the DNA of Disney dreams and we’re always exploring new ways to tell new stories in new places,” Rasulo told a crowd at the Anaheim Convention Center in California before taking them on a “behind-the-magic” tour of their favorite Disney destinations.
Rasulo announced that a new 3-D version of the tremendously popular Star Tours attraction will debut at the Disneyland Resort and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2011. Based on the iconic Lucasfilm “Star Wars” films, the attraction will include immersive new elements that will take guests to many familiar places in the “Star Wars” galaxy.
For Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Rasulo outlined plans for the largest expansion in the history of Magic Kingdom, vastly increasing the size of Fantasyland by 2013. Guests will soon be able to:
- Visit their favorite Disney princess in her castle, cottage or chateau to share a dance with Cinderella; celebrate Sleeping Beauty’s birthday with the Good Fairies; or join Belle in an enchanting story performance in the Beast’s castle library.
- “Be Our Guest” and dine in one of three enchanted rooms inside the Beast’s castle.
- Fly with Dumbo high above brand new circus grounds, twice the size of the existing attraction with a new interactive, three-ring circus tent.
- Journey under the sea with Ariel, the Little Mermaid, in her very own attraction – also opening at Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim in 2011.
- Meet Tinker Bell and her friends in the magical world of Pixie Hollow.
Rasulo provided updates on the multi-year expansion of Disney’s California Adventure including the new World of Color attraction slated to open in the spring of 2010 and the addition of the 12-acre Cars Land scheduled to open in 2012 where guests will literally step into the town of Radiator Springs and its six acres of hand-carved rockwork.
Rasulo noted the progress of several other recently announced projects including the three new lands coming to Hong Kong Disneyland by 2014; the Disney Dream, the new ship being built by Disney Cruise Line; the many diverse itineraries being offered by Adventures by Disney that take guests on 19 unique, once-in-a-lifetime guided vacation experiences; and Disney’s first family destination resort on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.
Rasulo’s keynote presentation was only part of the D23 EXPO experience. Guests were able to discover:
- Never-before-seen models of upcoming Disney attractions.
- Up close and personal visits with Lucky the Dinosaur and Wall-E.
- A preview of the most advanced Audio-Animatronics figures ever created by Walt Disney Imagineering.
- Displays showcasing cutting-edge effects technologies that are being developed for Disney attractions, shows and venues.