The 10 Biggest Announcements at Destination D23

From September 8-10, Disney fans around the world waited with bated breath to see what new announcements would come out of Destination D23, which took place at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. 

Described as “the biggest fan event of the year,” Guests celebrated 100 Years of Disney while looking toward the company’s future, and the announcements were just as grand as fans hoped. 



Figment Meet and Greet Begins

Fans of the world’s greatest little purple dragon were thrilled to learn that Figment would be making his meet-and-greet debut in Epcot on September 10. The meet and greet is held in the Imagination! Pavilion, with meeting times taking place between 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Be aware that fans are flocking to meet Figment, so you’ll likely need to be ready to wait to meet him. 



The Past and Future Meet

World of Motion was an opening day attraction for Epcot and remained a staple in the park until its closure in 1996 when it was replaced by Test Track Presented by General Motors. Sixteen years later, the attraction changed again when it became Test Track Presented by Chevrolet.

Now, it appears as though Disney and Chevrolet are looking in the rearview for inspiration for the attraction’s next incarnation. Imagineers are working with Chevrolet to transform the attraction, with changes influenced by the “spirit of optimism” found in the original World of Motion. 



Luminous: The Symphony of Us

Nighttime spectaculars have been in flux at Epcot since the closure of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth in September 2019. Since that time, Guests have seen Epcot Forever come and be replaced by Harmonious, only for Epcot Forever to return again.

Now, an all-new nighttime show is being planned. Called Luminous: The Symphony of Us, will debut in December of 2023 and is said to feature fireworks, lasers, fountains, lighting effects, and music. 



Moana: The Journey of Water Set to Open

Visitors to Epcot have been waiting for the opening of Moana: The Journey of Water since it was originally announced. Original plans saw the Epcot attraction opening during Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary, but a variety of circumstances led to delay.

Now, Guests finally have a firm date of when they’ll be able to visit this gorgeous attraction. It opens on October 16, 2023. Cast member previews and videos from Disney’s social media team have been circulating, and we can honestly say that this is one of the most beautiful locations in all of Walt Disney World.



Changes Being Considered for Animal Kingdom

While no definitive plans have been put in motion yet, Disney also announced that some fairly grand ideas are being considered for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. 

Two of the most significant possibilities involve the addition of experiences inspired by the animated film Encanto, as well as the possibility of the Indiana Jones franchise playing a role in the park.

It was also announced that Walt Disney Imagineering was looking to re-imagine the area currently known as DinoLand USA and that they were looking to the “tropical Americas” for inspiration. According to the official Disney Parks page, “As part of their research, Imagineers are looking at some of the most biodiverse areas on the planet in the regions just north and south of the equator here in the Western Hemisphere – the northern part of South America, stretching up into Central America.” 



 It’s Getting REALLY Tough to be a Bug

Another project discussed at the event was the transformation of the 4D show It’s Tough to be a Bug (located within the Tree of Life Theater) into a show inspired by the hit movie Zootopia. According to the Disney Parks page, “The current concept for the new “Zootopia” experience has guests visiting the different biomes you only glimpse in the film, traveling along with Judy Hopps, Nick Wilde, and other characters.”

However, Disney does note that ideas are still being finalized and to expect more details in the future. 




The Country Bear Musical Jamboree

Opening day attraction and long-time fan favorite The Country Bear Jamboree is getting a facelift as well. While the Country Bears themselves will remain at Grizzly Hall, it was announced that they’ll be performing in an all-new musical review known as the Country Bear Musical Jamboree.

The show will feature Henry, Big Al, and all the rest of the gang performing classic Disney songs that have all been given the Country Bear treatment, featuring a wide variety of genres from within the country music and Nashville tradition. 



 A Pirate’s Life for Me!

It was also announced that a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge will be coming to Adventureland. As Disney Parks notes, “This first-of-its-kind experience will extend the story of Pirates of the Caribbean. Imagineers are in the design process now and more details are coming in the future.”



Another Happy Haunt Arrives

At a previous D23 event, it was announced that the Hat Box Ghost would be making his way to the Magic Kingdom. Since that time, Guests have waited anxiously for his debut, with rumors circulating that the time had come seemingly every time the ride went down. Well, Guests can now mark their calendars, as it was announced that he will make his long-awaited appearance in November of this year and that he will appear near the Mansion’s Endless Hallway.



Ahsoka Joins the Journey

Over in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (as well as around the world at parks like Disneyland and Disneyland Paris), Disney stated that Ahsoka would be joining Star Tours. While no specific date was given, they said to expect her to become a part of the attraction sometime in the Spring of 2024.  

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