By the D23 Team
Everyone has a reason to celebrate the new year—whether you’re picking up a new hobby, planning new adventures, or just excited to stop writing “2020” as the date on everything, the new year holds the promise of a new start. Over at D23, we can’t help but celebrate the new year for another reason: A new year means new Disney experiences! From can’t-miss movies to exciting theme park milestones, here’s what we’re most excited for in the world of Disney in 2021:
Upcoming Films from Disney, Marvel, Pixar, and More!
The new year brings a bounty of opportunities to escape into the world of a movie. And there are so many worlds to explore this year—from the Italian Riviera to the fantasy world of Kumandra to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Walt Disney Animation Studios has two films slated for release in 2021. On Investor Day 2020, Disney Animation announced that Raya and the Last Dragon, featuring the voices of Kelly Marie Tran as Raya and Awkwafina as Sisu, will be available on Disney+ with Premier Access in most Disney+ markets, at the same time as it is released in theaters, on March 5, 2021. And Encanto, which includes new songs by Emmy®, Grammy,® and Tony Award® winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, is slated for theaters in November 2021.
In June, Pixar Animation Studios is slated to debut Luca, a new original feature film that celebrates the universal theme of friendship. The film is set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, where a young boy—Luca—experiences an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta, and endless scooter rides. He shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply held secret: They are sea monsters from another world just below the water’s surface.
2021 also brings us a rollicking thrill-ride down the Amazon in Disney’s Jungle Cruise, starring Dwayne Johnson as wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff and Emily Blunt as intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton, who has traveled to the Amazon jungle from London determined to uncover an ancient tree with healing abilities that could alter the future of medicine. Frank is enlisted to serve as Lily’s guide on her journey through the lush rainforest, and as the unlikely duo embarks on this epic quest together, they face innumerable dangers, supernatural forces, and escalating stakes—with Lily and Frank’s fate, and perhaps mankind’s, hanging in the balance. And Oscar® winner Emma Stone takes on the wickedly wonderful role of Cruella de Vil in Disney’s Cruella, a look at the rebellious early days of one of the most notorious—and notoriously fashionable—villains. Cruella also stars Emma Thompson, Paul Walter Hauser, and Joel Fry, and is directed by Craig Gillespie.
Upcoming releases from Marvel Studios include Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow; Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, starring Simu Liu, Tony Leung, Awkwafina, and Michelle Yeoh; and Eternals, starring an incredible ensemble cast that includes Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, with Kit Harington, Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie.
In The King’s Man, among the films coming in 2021 from 20th Century Studios, one man must race against time to stop a collection of history’s worst tyrants and criminal masterminds who are plotting a war to wipe out millions. The film’s cast includes Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Harris Dickinson, Daniel Brühl, Djimon Hounsou, and Charles Dance. The upcoming animated feature Ron’s Gone Wrong is the story of Barney, a socially awkward middle-schooler and Ron, his new walking, talking, digitally connected device, which is supposed to be his “Best Friend out of the Box.” Prepare for an action-packed journey that demonstrates for both Barney and his robot BFF how wonderfully messy true friendship can sometimes be. Free Guy stars Ryan Reynolds as a bank teller who discovers he is actually a background player in an open-world video game, and decides to become the hero of his own story—one he rewrites himself. The mystery thriller Death on the Nile sees Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot’s Egyptian vacation aboard a glamorous river steamer turn into a terrifying search for a murderer when a picture-perfect couple’s idyllic honeymoon is tragically cut short. Five-time Academy Award nominee Kenneth Branagh directs and stars as the beloved detective, joined by an all-star cast of suspects that includes Tom Bateman, four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders, and Letitia Wright. And later in 2021, the eagerly awaited adaptation of the original Broadway musical West Side Story, from Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg, explores young love and tensions between rival gangs the Jets and the Sharks on the streets of 1957 New York—and it’s sure to make Disney fans’ hearts sing.
And you’ll want to keep a steady supply of popcorn in the house throughout 2021. Among the eagerly anticipated films coming to Disney+ are Flora & Ulysses, a delightful comedy-adventure based on the Newbery Award–winning book about 10-year-old Flora, an avid comic book fan and a self-avowed cynic, who rescues a squirrel with unique superhero powers; Sneakerella, a music-driven modern fairy tale set in the avant-garde street-sneaker subculture of New York City, which stars Chosen Jacobs as El, an aspiring sneaker designer from Queens who dreams of becoming a ‘legit’ creative force in the industry—a dream he pursues with a little nudge from his best friend, along with a sprinkle of Fairy Godfather magic; Diary of a Wimpy Kid, based on the popular book series, which comes to Disney+ in 2021 as an all-new animated film; and Night at the Museum, which has a new twist when it arrives on the streaming service: This time it’s animated!
Television Fun in 2021
The new year always holds so much promise… and for 2021, no truer words have been spoken. There are tons of fantastic new shows and specials to look forward to on your television (or streaming device of choice) from around the worlds of Disney. ABC will welcome several new
series that are sure to delight, including Call Your Mother, starring Kyra Sedgwick; Rebel, inspired by the life of Erin Brockovich and starring Katey Sagal; and the brand-new game shows The Chase (hosted by The View’s Sara Haines and featuring three of Jeopardy’s greatest players) and The Hustler (hosted by Craig Ferguson). Over at National Geographic, they’re getting ready to premiere Genius: Aretha, starring Cynthia Erivo, while Disney Channel is prepping their cool new mystery/time travel series Secrets of Sulphur Springs. And this is all on top of new episodes from some of your favorite series, such as ABC’s The Bachelor, black-ish, The Conners, and A Million Little Things; Disney Channel’s BUNK’D; Disney Junior’s Mira, Royal Detective; Freeform’s Good Trouble and grown-ish; FX’s What We Do in the Shadows; and much, much more.
If all that wasn’t enough, hop over to Disney+ in 2021 for new, totally binge-able series we can’t wait to see. As announced during the 2020 Disney Investor Day, Disney Television Studios is currently in production on several live-action series set to debut on Disney+ in 2021: The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, Turner & Hooch, Big Shot, Doogie Kameāloha, M.D. (working title), Just Beyond, and The Mysterious Benedict Society. Our friends at National Geographic will also be debuting a new, unscripted series, The Secrets of the Whales, narrated by Sigourney Weaver and executive produced by James Cameron.
If you have a penchant for Pixar, check out Pixar Popcorn, which debuts in January, and stay tuned for fall 2021 when the Up spin-off Dug Days premieres. Plus, the highly anticipated animated series, Monsters at Work, is set to debut next year, further exploring the world originally established in Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University. Anyone feeling especially nostalgic should keep an eye out for The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, the revival of the original groundbreaking animated series The Proud Family. Need something super-powered for your queue? Marvel Studios has you covered with the highly anticipated series WandaVision, kicking off in January, followed later in the year by The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and Loki.
Anyone who binged all of The Mandalorian season 2 is wishing they could make the lightspeed jump to December 2021, when The Book of Boba Fett debuts. Boba Fett’s journey will continue, set within the timeline of The Mandalorian and star Temuera Morrison as the titular bounty hunter, along with Ming-Na Wen as Fennec Shand. If that wasn’t enough intergalactic fun for you, make sure you tune into Star Wars: The Bad Batch, a new animated series debuting later in the year, which follows a unique group of clones in the aftermath of Order 66.
So, pop some corn, snuggle into your favorite spot, and get ready to enjoy…
Milestone Anniversaries and Enchanting New Attractions at Disney Theme Parks
Our friends at the Disney Theme Parks have been hard at work creating new magic to share with the world in 2021. While Disneyland Resort is currently closed, we are looking forward to exploring Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure next year, where we can channel our inner Super Hero alongside The Avengers, The Guardians of the Galaxy, and more! Over at Disneyland Park, we’ve already seen a sneak peek of the renovated Snow White’s Enchanted Wish attraction, set to reopen next year.
At Walt Disney World, we’re excited to step into the future as EPCOT’s historic transformation continues, including the opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in the France pavilion! Additionally, our nights are about to be brighter with the addition of the new nighttime extravaganza, Harmonious, one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created.
At Disneyland Paris, Disney’s Hotel New York is undergoing its largest refurbishment ever, an ambitious reimagining that will transform the property into Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel when it reopens next year. It will be the very first hotel dedicated entirely to the celebration of Marvel art, with one of the largest publicly viewable collections of Marvel artwork in the world. If you’re headed into the parks, keep an eye out for the wheel-y cool, new Cars attraction coming to Walt Disney Studios Park, where guests will be invited on a trip to discover wacky roadside attractions and local natural wonders while meeting some fan-favorite Cars characters!
2021 will also mark several milestone anniversaries at Disney Parks around the world. In October, Walt Disney World Resort will celebrate its golden anniversary—50 years of making magic! We’ll be joining the excitement with our D23 Collector Set Celebrating 50 Magical Years, which will be included with all new and renewed D23 Gold Memberships in 2021. Additionally, Disney California Adventure and the Downtown Disney District will be celebrating their 20th anniversaries in January, while Shanghai Disneyland will ring in its 5th anniversary in June. Hong Kong Disneyland has already started celebrating its 15th anniversary with the debut of the Castle of Magical Dreams last month, and will continue the celebrations into the new year.
A Most Magical Celebration with D23, and More!
D23 continues to bring an unprecedented number of experiences and fun to our members, including a fantastic array of Gold Member-exclusive virtual events. When permitted, we’re excited to continue many of our other fan-favorite experiences, adhering to local safety guidelines, including guided tours of The Walt Disney Studios lot and our Magical Screening Series. Plus, all year long we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World with our D23 Collector Set, Celebrating 50 Most Magical Years of the Walt Disney World Resort.