An Immersive Star Wars Hotel and All The Other Disney News You Missed This Weekend
Even the most dedicated Disneyphiles can be forgiven for missing out on a few of the enormous announcements from the Mouse House this weekend. The D23 Fan Expo, which the company holds every other year, was chock full of news about theme park expansions, upcoming films, and casting announcements.
Here’s a quick look at some of the biggest announcements that might have slipped past you.
A Westworld-like Star Wars hotel: After showing a scale model and the first concept images from its 14-acre Star Wars-themed attraction (which is now officially called “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge”), the company announced plans for a Star Wars-themed resort as well. What makes this different than other Disney hotels is the fact that each guest will have their own storyline to live out. It’s a complete immersion experience; guests dress in Star Wars themed attire and even the windows will show outer space instead of the outside world—but we’ll have to wait a bit longer for details like the opening date.
New theme park rides: Several parks are getting new attractions. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will lets guests “step through the movie screen” and join the characters in a cartoon short and visit Toy Story Land starting in the summer of 2018. Epcot is getting Guardians of the Galaxy ride as well as a Ratatouille attraction (in the France pavilion of the World Showcase). Disney California Adventure is adding “what will become an immersive Super Hero universe.,” while Walt Disney World will gain a new roller coaster. Tron, the most popular ride at Shanghai Disneyland, is scheduled to open next to Space Mountain in 2021.
Disney at sea: Disney cruises have become increasingly popular for travelers, so the company announced plans to add three new ships, which will double the size of its fleet by 2023. (The company had previously announced two of the three new seacraft.) Themes of each boat are still being developed.
Plenty of Pixar: The crown jewel of the company’s animation division showed off scenes from Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet, The Incredibles 2, and the upcoming Coco, as well as a new Frozen short.
Augmented Reality: Lenovo and Disney’s LucasArts subsidiary are working together to create an augmented reality headset, letting people engage in lightsaber fights and play Star Wars’ Holochess, among other experiences.
Live action films: The reaction to the trailer to Avengers: Infinity War was said to be overwhelming positive. (It could make its public debut later this week once Comic Con gets underway.) And the trailer for A Wrinkle In Time, adapted from the Madeleine L’Engle novel and starring Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon, made waves.
Casting announcements: In a casting coup, Will Smith will take on the role of the genie in Guy Ritchie’s adaptation of Aladdin.