For the first time ever, Disney brought everything Disney under one roof, even if that roof was a very large one. Disney hosted the D23 Expo (D for Disney and ‘23 for the year the Disney Company started) at the 800,000 square foot Anaheim Convention Center September 10-13. The Expo covered Disney animation, movies, TV, and most of all the Disney parks.
Because I could not be there this year and my overwhelming interest in everything to do with Disney parks, I spent as much time as I could following the happenings on the internet. Thursday and Friday were busy days for D23; but Saturday was the day I looked forward to most. Saturday was the day that D23 had scheduled a lot of time to discuss plans for Walt Disney World.
Rumors have been flying around the internet for months about the two big projects that might be coming to WDW and to the trill of us park lovers both where officially announced on that Saturday.
The first is the reworking of the Star Wars attraction at Disney Hollywood Studios. Star Tours has always been one of the great rides at Disney, but the ride is getting dated. I can remember that a few years ago when I was watching the pod racing scene from the first of the three new Star War movies I told my wife; “They should remake the Star Tours ride with this as the theme.” While after years of waiting, the dream is coming true and during my 2011 trip to the World I will be experiencing it in 3D.
The other big news is that the first major expansion to the Magic Kingdom in over 20 years will be starting later this year.
Map of new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom
The most popular land in all of the Magic Kingdom, Fantasyland, will be growing much larger in size and adding several new attractions.
The big new “E ticket” ride, Journey under the sea with Ariel, The Little Mermaid that is already under
Little Mermaid attraction in the new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom
construction at Disney’s California Adventure will be coming east. Also to
Dumbo's Tent at the new Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom
be constructed is a new twin-Dumbo ride that will be part of a new interactive, three-ring circus tent. There will also be a meet and greet area for Tinker Bell and her friends. Plans call for a Disney Princess castle, cottage, or chateau where you can 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.
Another big addition to the Magic Kingdom will be a new restaurant to be themed around Beauty and the Beast to be named “Be Our Guest”. Here you will be able to dine at a counter service restaurant during the day and enjoy table service at night in one of three enchanted dining rooms inside the Beast’s castle. Additional table service dining is much need in the Magic Kingdom.
I know that I soon will be working with Ears of Experience to plan a trip to next year’s D23 Expo and looking forward to them planning trips for me to see the new attractions coming to Walt Disney World.
Welcome Gil to the Ears of Experience Team!
Gil and his wife Vicki are big Disney Park fans. It started with trips to Walt Disney World while they where in college and has continued throughout their lives.
Gil served in the USAF for 21 years and would take the wife and two kids (Mary and Mike) on Disney Vacations between each assignment. They where stationed outside of LA for four years and everyone that came to visit them had to have a trip to the “Happiest Place on Earth”.
When he retired on the East Coast from the USAF and the children got older, they wanted to bring friends along to share their now every other year family trip to Walt Disney World. In order to accomplish this, a membership in the Disney Vacation Club (Boardwalk Villas) was purchased by the family.
Now that he has two grandchildren (Violet and Tyler); additional DVC points have been added and they make annual trips to WDW. Two of his friends also have joined the DVC and this year they will be having an early December Magical Gathering of 27 family members and friends.
Vicki and Gil still do some traveling to the other Disney Parks and with their June 2009 trip to Hong Kong they have been to all five Disney Resorts. The two of them also celebrated a wedding anniversary on a cruise on the Disney Magic. The plans for the next few years call for a trip to WDW for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, a second cruise and a trip to Shanghai is already in the planning stages.