As we all wait with baited breath for the 2nd D23 Expo to start in Anaheim, CA, I can't help but wonder what amazing announcements may come from this ultimate Disney fan event.
If you recall at the last D23 Expo in 2009, Disney shocked everyone when they announced the rumored massive expansion of Fantasyland at Walt Disney World was, indeed, TRUE!
But wait, there was more... Disney also confirmed that Star Tours 2 was finally coming.
So what's in store for this year's Expo? Fantasyland's construction is well underway and should be completed in another 12-18 months or so. The huge expansion to Disney California Adventure is nearly completed as well, so I don't think we'll see anything new about those projects.
While no one (outside of Disney) knows for sure, here's my best guess and a few wish list items:
- Original Hyperion Wharf concept changes into some sort of "World of Color" evening attraction: Disney announced about a month ago that the Hyperion Wharf project was put on hold while they evaluated some "new opportunities." My thought is that Disney realized that just a new shopping/dining area wasn't enough. It need to be "plussed up," and with the recent success of World of Color, something of the sort would be perfect for the former Pleasure Island area.
- Soarin' over... somewhere else: Soarin' is my favorite attraction at Walt Disney World, but, I have to admit, it's time to stop flying over California. With the recent refurb at Star Tours where guests have multiple possible destinations, I think the same concept can and should be applied to Soarin. Sure Disney can keep the original California tour, but add in some additional scenes. Soarin' over the Blue Ridge Mountains, Soarin' over New York City, Soarin' over D.C. (if Homeland Security would permit it), Soarin' over Florida... the possible tours are endless. Having multiple random destinations with a digital projection (no more lint-riddled film) would greatly increase the re-rideablilty of this attraction.
- Grand Floridian DVC resort: This one's all but a done deal. It's been widely reported that Disney is planning to build a DVC resort at the Grand Floridian Resort, so just go ahead and make it official.
- Pirates 5: Another in the "done deal" category. Disney's still raking in the gold from Pirates 4, so a Pirates 5 is a no-brainer and there's word the script already is in development. Don't expect to see Johnny Depp reprise his appearance as Jack Sparrow (sorry, that's Captain Jack Sparrow) like he did in 2009.
- Major addition to Animal Kingdom: This is definitely one from the "wish list," though DAK really needs it, especially where Camp Minnie Mickey is. The lack of genuine attractions is what's really hurting Animal Kingdom. Don't get me wrong, I like this park, but it just doesn't stand up to the other three in terms of attractions.
- A new hand-drawn animated feature: I really hope we hear some sort of announcement in this area. While Princess and the Frog wasn't the most successful of films in terms of box office gross (really a victim of bad timing more than anything else - it was released against Avatar), it was one of the most beautifully drawn and written stories Disney has created in a long time. I would love to see the commitment to hand-drawn animation continue.
- Incredibles 2: It's time for the Incredibles to have another Incredible adventure. While I doubt this will be announced, I do think we'll hear a lot more about...
- Monsters Inc., 2 (prequel): Disney has talked about this already, though there's not much out there right now. Don't be surprised if there's a new trailer or some sort of teaser shown.
- TRON Legacy 2: Speaking of sequels, TRON Legacy was pretty successful and Disney has dropped several hints at continuing the story of Sam Flynn. I suspect we may just hear about a new story involving the son of Kevin Flynn (Sam) vs. the son of his arch rival Ed Dillinger (Ed. Jr.). I think we just may see the return of the dreaded Master Control Program as well.
- D23 Expo 2013 coming to Orlando: When the first D23 Expo was announced, Disney said the Expo would be in Anaheim for the first four years. Well, that was in 2009. In 2013 it will be four year later, so I think will be time for Disney to bring the Expo East.
So there you go, my top ten predictions, however wild and/or unrealistic, for possible announcements at the D23 Expo. What do you think? What other announcements do you expect? Post a comment!