By Beth Deitchman
For a Disney fan, it’s hard to find a more exciting place to be than Anaheim, California, during a D23 Expo. Last week, fans filled the Anaheim Convention Center to celebrate the magic, wonder, and adventure of Disney—and to find out what’s next—during D23 Expo 2019.
And what does the future hold, across the worlds of Disney? In the coming months and years, we can look forward to slinging webs with Spider-Man and strolling along Cherry Tree Lane in Disney theme parks; streaming new adventures for beloved characters, such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Lizzie McGuire, on Disney+; and discovering new favorite characters on the big screen, among them a mythic dragon and the brave warrior who sets out to find her. And that’s just a taste of the new magic that was revealed during D23 Expo 2019—the biggest and best Expo yet!
One Day at Disney
Ricky Strauss, president, Content & Marketing for Disney+, and Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts unveiled a spectacular collaboration from Disney Publishing Worldwide and Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+. The new 224-page coffee table book and documentary series One Day at Disney will shine a dazzling light on the creative forces in front of the cameras and behind the scenes at The Walt Disney Company. Click here to learn more about the book and series launching on December 3.
The Super Hero-themed lands Disney Parks, Experiences and Products is building at Disney California Adventure and Disneyland Paris will be called Avengers Campus—and guests who visit these campuses will become part of an interconnected, global story spanning from California to Paris to Hong Kong, as the Avengers recruit new extraordinary people to join them. Among the exciting offerings being assembled for Avengers Campus are the first Disney ride-through attraction to feature Spider-Man, and Pym Test Kitchen, where Pym Technologies is using the latest innovations to grow and shrink food. Guests can suit up alongside their favorite Super Heroes at the Avengers Campus, beginning in 2020 at Disney California Adventure park and later at Disneyland Paris.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser
We’ve got a really good feeling about this all-new Star Wars vacation experience coming to Walt Disney World Resort. Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser invites guests to embark on a two-night adventure aboard a glamorous starship. During this first-of-its-kind vacation experience—which includes a “spaceport” day on Batuu at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge—you’ll interact with characters and become an active participant in immersive stories that unfold over the course of an unforgettable galactic journey on board the starcruiser (to be called the Halcyon).
The Return of Obi-Wan Kenobi
In a Force-filled moment that literally brought fans in Hall D23 to their feet, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy welcomed Ewan McGregor to the stage to announce his return to an iconic role in an untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi series from Lucasfilm for Disney+.
Lizzie McGuire is Back
“It is so great to be home,” Hilary Duff said to 6,800 ecstatic fans in Hall D23 who learned that she is reprising the role she made famous in an all-new Lizzie McGuire series from Terri Minsky, who created the original series.
Even More Streaming Magic from Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios President (and proud D23 Member!) Kevin Feige announced three new live-action series that originate from Marvel comics, which are currently in development for Disney+. Stay tuned for more details about Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk.
Kermit the Frog, Here
The Muppets are coming to Disney+! Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and the gang will appear in their first-ever unscripted short-form series, MuppetsNow.
Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur Announced for Disney Channel
Disney Channel will soon have a new smartest character when Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur lands on the network. Executive producer Laurence Fishburne announced the new original animated series on Saturday during the Disney Television Animation panel, which featured the world’s smartest amphibian, Kermit the Frog.
Ryan Coogler—director and co-writer of the only Marvel Studios film to be nominated for an Oscar® for Best Picture—joined Feige to reveal that a sequel to Black Panther is officially in the works. The film is slated for release on May 6, 2022.
Soul-ful Casting News
Pixar’s upcoming film Soul journeys from the streets of New York City to the never-before-seen cosmic realms and “The You Seminar,” the fantastical place where we all discover our unique personalities. Pixar Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter, who directs Soul, revealed the film’s stellar cast during The Walt Disney Studios presentation in Hall D23. Jamie Foxx stars as Joe Gardner, a middle-school band teacher whose true passion is playing jazz; while Tina Fey is 22, a soul-in-training who has an unexpected encounter with Joe when he accidentally finds his way to the “The You Seminar.” Together, they embark upon finding a way to get Joe back to Earth, making him think again about what it truly means to have soul. Rounding out the cast—and joining Foxx and Fey today—are Ahmir Questlove Thompson as Curly; Phylicia Rashad as Libba; and Daveed Diggs as Paul. Soul will also feature original jazz music from globally renowned musician Jon Batiste and an original score from Oscar® winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross from Nine Inch Nails. Soul opens in U.S. theaters on June 19, 2020.
Introducing Raya and the Last Dragon
A stunning new fantasy-action-adventure from Walt Disney Animation Studios is slated for release on November 25, 2020. Directors Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins (Big Hero 6, Frozen), producer Osnat Shurer (Moana), and writer Adele Lim (Crazy Rich Asians) joined Jennifer Lee, Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios, on stage to set up the film, which introduces Raya, a lone warrior from the fantasy kingdom of Kumandra who teams up with a crew of misfits in her quest to find the Last Dragon and bring light and unity back to their world. Awkwafina lends her voice to Sisu, the Last Dragon, who was left on Earth in case dark forces return to the world, and Cassie Steele voices the lead character, Raya.
New Magic at Disneyland Park
The new Magic Happens parade is coming to Disneyland park, featuring stunning floats, beautiful costumes, and beloved Disney characters from Moana, Coco, and Sleeping Beauty, along with a new song produced in partnership with singer-songwriter Todrick Hall. Mickey Mouse and his friends will lead the way down Main Street, U.S.A. when the parade debuts next spring.
Wish Come True
Disney fans in Hall D23 were the first to learn the name of the first of three new ships coming to the Disney Cruise Line fleet. Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Bob Chapek revealed that the Disney Wish will set sail in January 2022, and Rapunzel will grace its stern. He also said that guests can look forward to a signature island experience that celebrates nature and the spirit and culture of The Bahamas at a new Disney port of call located on the breathtaking island of Eleuthera at a place called Lighthouse Point.
The Timeless Transformation of Epcot
Chapek thrilled the crowd inside Hall D23 with exciting updates about the transformation that’s underway at Epcot. Epcot will stay true to its original vision while bringing timeless Disney storytelling to life with the magic of possibility. The park will be unified with four neighborhoods that each celebrate a unique aspect of what makes Epcot so special: World Showcase, World Celebration, World Nature, and World Discovery.
Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke received a standing ovation when he made a surprise appearance on the Hall D23 stage to help announce that World Showcase will welcome the first attraction inspired by Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane, which will join the United Kingdom pavilion as an entirely new neighborhood.
For another first—but far from the last—Chapek announced the first-ever attraction based on the Walt Disney Animation Studios hit film Moana is coming to Epcot. When Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana opens, it will let guests interact with magical, living water in a beautiful and inspiring setting.
And the thrilling, family-friendly Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind attraction will feature the first reverse launch into space when it opens in the World Discovery neighborhood in Epcot.
You can check out our recap of this unforgettable presentation here.