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Disney Parks Announcements from D23 Expo 2022

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Fan favorites returning, new characters emerging, and WHAT’S BEHIND BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN? The Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products panel at D23 Expo 2022 was full of huge news, so let’s jump in!

2022 D23 Expo at Anaheim Convention Center

Looking for your Happily Ever After or wondering what might exist beyond Big Thunder Mountain Railroad? And most importantly – are you ready to run in Disneyland?!

At D23 Expo 2022, Chairman Josh D’Amaro shared a boundless future for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, and we’re here to bring you the news, updates, and fangirl over our favorites.

runDisney Announcements from D23 Expo 2022

runDisney runner moving towards Goofy and about to give him a high five.

Alright, let’s start with the big announcement that made two of the three No-Guilt Disney Podcast hosts cry: After being gone since 2017, runDisney will be returning to Disneyland in 2024!

We don’t have any details yet on dates, registration, race length, themes, or who we’ll be running as, but stay tuned because you know we’ll have all the details as soon as they are released.

And we’ll be sure to update you with everything we know about runDisney at Disneyland.

Disneyland Resort Announcements from D23 Expo 2022

Avengers Campus Expansion

Teased earlier during D23 Expo by Bob Chapek, D’Amaro gave more details about the expansion of Disney California Adventure’s Avengers Campus.

A new attraction will be coming to Avengers Campus as a replacement for the Quinjet attraction originally announced at D23 Expo 2019.

Inspired by the Multiverse, this new attraction will be a thrilling adventure where guests will interact with heroes and villains that could be from any time or anywhere. They’ll be facing a new villain designed just for the attraction: King Thanos, which is a version of Thanos who defeated the Avengers.

Pacific Wharf To Become San Fransokyo

Concept art of the reimagining of Pacific Wharf at Disney's California Adventure to San Fransokyo.

Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure park will be reimaged as San Fransokyo from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Big Hero 6,” where East meets West and technology meets tradition.

Imagineers are in the early phases of this work, but there is something coming for children of all ages.

There will be a place to meet Baymax, plus new spots to eat and shop.

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Concept art of the play area that will be part of Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway queue.

Additional artwork was shown for the upcoming debut of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway in 2023, along with how it will impact Disneyland’s Toontown.

As guests enter the queue for the attraction, which will be the same as the one in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, they will see a special exhibit created by the Toontown Hysterical Society is celebrating all things Mickey with costumes and props from the toon world.

Additional Disneyland Resort Announcements

  • Hulk will begin appearing in Avengers Campus for a limited time starting September 2022
  • Mando and Grogu will begin appearing in Galaxy’s Edge in mid-November 2022
  • The Magic Happens parade will return in Spring 2023
  • Two new nighttime spectaculars will debut in January 2023 as part of Disney100: a new nighttime spectacular named Wondrous Journeys at Disneyland Park and a new World of Color show named “World of Color – One” in Disney’s California Adventure
  • Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel at the Disneyland Resort will become Pixar Place Hotel.
  • Restaurants Ding Tai Fung and Porto’s Bakery and Café will be coming to Downtown Disney

Walt Disney World Resort Announcements from D23 Expo 2022

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

Tiana's Bayou Adventure model on display at D23 Expo with a screen behind it showing what the attraction will look like at night.

Coming to both New Orleans Square in Disneyland Park and Frontierland at Magic Kingdom Park, we received new concept art for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Slated to open in 2024 on both coasts,

We also learned a little more about the attraction, that it will pick up where the movie left off.

Tiana is searching for an ingredient she needs for a party she’s hosting during Carnival season in New Orleans.

Voice talent from the film that will reprise their roles includes Bruno Campos as Prince Naveen, Michael Leon Wooley as Louis, Jenifer Lewis as Mama Odie, and, of course, Anika Noni Rose as Princess Tiana.

Happily Ever After Returns

Happily Ever After Fireworks at Magic Kingdom being shot from behind the Partners Statue.

If you listen to the No-Guilt Disney Podcast, especially our recent What We Would Change if Genie Was Granting Wishes episode, you know this was met with cheers!

Sometime after the 18-month planned engagement of Disney’s Enchantment, which ends on March 31, 2023, Happily Ever After fireworks will return.

Important to note though – while we know the song is returning, the show will NOT be the exact same as the previous version.

During the announcement, it was specifically mentioned that it will be an “updated nighttime spectacular.” More details to come on the changes.

Be sure to scope out these secret fireworks viewing locations at Walt Disney World.

Epcot Transformation Updates

As part of the years-long re-imagining of Epcot, there were updates and new looks at what’s to come during the Disney Parks panel and at their pavilion on the show floor.

Theresa from the No-Guilt Disney Podcast posing next to the Walt the Dreamer statue, which features him sitting with his hands clasped together and arms resting on his knees.

The World Celebration neighborhood, the central hub which includes Dreamer’s Point and the Walt the Dreamer statue will open in late 2023.

The actual statue that will be placed in Dreamer’s Point was available all weekend for viewing and photo opportunities.

Also opening in late 2023 will be Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, which will be in the World Nature neighborhood.

We were given a look at the scale model of Te Fiti who will be part of the walk-through attraction.

The actual size of this model in the land will be 16 feet tall!

A mossy model of Te Fiti from Moana that will be in the Journey of Water attraction in Epcot.

Remember how I said the runDisney news made two of the No-Guilt Disney Podcast co-hosts cry?

Well, the third one shed some tears too, she just had to wait a little longer.

After a 15-year absence, in 2023 a Figment meet and greet will be returning to Epcot!

It’s not clear if it will be a walk-around character in the style that appeared from 2005 to 2008, or a character that more closely resembles the attraction dragon in size.

But we do know that it won’t be a meet and greet in a static location and guests will “get the chance to meet Figment in person once again out in the park.”

Blue Sky Concepts

Chris Beatty, Josh D'Amaro, and Jennifer Lee standing in front of undersea concept art for a Dinoland U.S.A. retheming.

In a non-news news update, Josh D’Amaro invited Imagineer Chris Beatty and Walt Disney Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee to talk and share potential concepts that could be coming to Disney Parks.

In Disney-speak, Blue Sky is the brainstorming process for attractions and experiences, so none of these ideas are final or official.

But they let us in on potential updates to Dinoland U.S.A at Animal Kingdom and an expansion to Magic Kingdom.

Two ideas for Dinoland U.S.A. involve a Zootopia Metropolis, which could be similar to what is coming soon to Shanghai Disneyland, or a Moana mini-land.

With the removal of Primeval Whirl, I know many of us expected a replacement to be announced for Dinoland U.S.A., but it seems like they haven’t finalized what that will be yet.

Chris Beatty, Jennifer Lee, and Josh D'Amaro standing in front of concept art for a potential expansion to Magic Kingdom featuring Coco and Encanto.

More interesting were the concepts to answer the question, “What exists behind Big Thunder Mountain?”

They shared that some of the ideas include lands based around Coco, Encanto, or, the one that got the biggest reaction, Disney Villains.

These ideas have no timelines, and may never come to fruition. But they are all properties worth having more representation in the theme parks.

Additional Walt Disney World Resort Announcements

  • Tron Lightcycle Run’s opening has been delayed slightly from late 2022 to Spring 2023
  • The Hatbox Ghost will be materializing at Haunted Mansion in 2023.
  • Epcot will be getting a new nighttime spectacular to replace Harmonious in late 2023

Disney Cruise Line Announcements from D23 Expo 2022

Disney Treasure

Disney Cruise Line ship, the Disney Treasure.

The sixth ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet will be called the Disney Treasure and will set sail in 2024.

The Disney Treasure will feature a brand-new design motif — the theme of adventure — which will pave the way for epic experiences that immerse guests in some of Disney’s most legendary stories.

Lighthouse Point

Concept art of Lighthouse Point in the Bahamas, an island for Disney Cruise Line.

At Disney Cruise Line’s new destination on the island of Eleuthera, guests will be immersed in stories
and traditions passed down among generations of local residents.

Disney is working closely with Bahamian artists and advisors to create experiences that represent the country’s natural beauty and rich culture, brought to life through Disney storytelling and the unparalleled service of local cast and crew.

New Ship Itineraries

For the first time, Disney Cruise Line is bringing the magic of a Disney vacation to families and fans in
Australia and New Zealand when the Disney Wonder brings the brand-new “Disney Magic at Sea” cruises beginning late October 2023.

The repositioning cruise will also feature stops in Fiji and Samoa.

Additional Disney Parks Announcements from D23 Expo 2022

Statue of Walt and Mickey on a bench that will be debuting in Hong Kong Disneyland.
  • Hong Kong Disneyland will unveil a new statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in 2023
  • World of Frozen will open at Hong Kong Disneyland in the second half of 2023
  • Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris will be getting a Tangled attraction
  • Duffy and Friends will be getting a show on Disney+

Your Thoughts on the D23 Expo 2022 Disney Parks Announcements

With so much announced for the Disney Parks during the 2022 D23 Expo, we want to know – what are you most excited about? What were you hoping to be announced that wasn’t?

Share in the comments, or come and join the No-Guilt Disney Facebook Group and let us know there!

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