D23 Expo Mark Hamill

10 Things Learned About the Future of Disney From the D23 Expo


D23 Expo

Disney’s D23 Expo ended on Sunday evening, and it was exactly as awesome you hoped it would be. The announcements, the celebrities, the displays, the merchandise, the cosplay… everything was amazing, and if you’re upset that you missed it, well, you should be.

However, before you drop your jealousy all over the comment section, please consider that the Saturday morning panel/session/event of a lifetime featuring the upcoming slate of Disney’s live-action films—the one that featured a ton of awesome stuff that dreams are made of—I didn’t see it. Frankly, I blame the people that were camping overnight in the queue while I chose to spend my Friday night in Trader Sam’s making artwork sink, but mostly I blame their passion and commitment. Also, a press pass and a well-placed Andrew Jackson don’t go nearly as far as they used to, especially if you try to use a real guy named Andrew Jackson instead of a twenty. Needless to say, a few of the items on this list were announced during that life-changing experience that I couldn’t get into, so I’ll apologize now for any cursing that may follow.

10 Things Learned at D23 Expo

10. Transportation at Walt Disney World is about to get a whole lot easier. Two major announcements were made in that regard. First, the Disney Skyliners, a series of character-themed gondolas, will connect Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century, and Caribbean Beach resorts with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot. In addition, vehicles inspired by Minnie Mouse will be available to take you all around the resort—like Lyft, but with more bow and less mustache.

9. Speaking of Walt Disney World… as if the newly opened Pandora—The World of Avatar and the upcoming Star Wars land (more on that later) weren’t enough, they will also see the addition of a dedicated Toy Story land, a version of the popular Tron coaster (as seen at Shanghai Disneyland), the first Mickey Mouse ride, a Ratatouille ride (similar to the one in Disneyland Paris), and a new Guardians of the Galaxy ride that is different than the one recently opened at Disney California Adventure Park (and don’t worry, that Star Wars land will be at Disneyland, too, and Disney California Adventure Park will soon see an inclusive Marvel experience to join the Guardians).

8. I’m a friend of Thor’s, from work (where I eat lunches from the break room that don’t have names on them). This fun green screen video opportunity for Thor: Ragnarok was just one of the interactive experiences available to attendees. The big one, in my opinion, was jumping into Scrooge McDuck’s money vault (as seen on DuckTales).

7. Apparently it’s possible to be a fan of Disney history and human trafficking, so that’s a thing.

6. The panel on Marvel animation highlighted their upcoming slate of television offerings, including the Emmy-nominated Rocket and Groot shorts, a fun new Spider-Man series featuring Marvel’s own Joe Quesada as himself and Patton Oswalt as Uncle Ben, and a new animated Avengers adventure. We also learned that the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy is really good at Mad Libs and that season three of the animated series will tell the whole story behind the new Mission Breakout ride at Disney California Adventure Park.

5. Director Ava DuVernay shared a trailer for the upcoming film A Wrinkle in Time, based upon the Newbery Medal-winning novel of the same name by Madeleine L’Engle, and it was exactly like this:

4. Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World will see the first themed hotel resorts, with Marvel and Star Wars, respectively.

3. Star Wars land has a name! Star Wars: At Galaxy’s Edge will be opening in 2019 at both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. (As an added bonus, the queue for the Star Wars land preview had a looped video that featured my family from our recent Star Wars Day at Sea with Disney Cruise Line—we had no idea it would be there, and now my boys think we’re famous.)

2. The (unreleased) trailer for Disney’s live-action (is it still live-action if there aren’t any people in it?) remake of The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau, will hit you like a ton of trailers for the animated version. It’s the real deal, folks.

1. Avengers: Infinity War, because, duh, don’t you have the internet?

Avengers Infinity Stone D23 Expo

Truth is, there were so many other incredible things about D23 Expo that we didn’t have room for, so you should probably stop what you’re doing and go down that rabbit hole for the next few hours. You won’t be disappointed.

Photos of Mark Hamill by Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks; Photo of the Marvel gang by Disney

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