Top 8 Rumored D23 Expo Announcements

5. The Great Mickey Ride (Walt Disney World)

Even as a huge fan of the Great Movie Ride, I’m excited at the prospect of the Great Mickey Ride. I’d go as far as to say I’m more excited about this than anything else on the horizon for Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

I’m sure Star Wars Land will be mind-blowing, but I’m ready for Mickey Mouse to finally get his due. If the rumors we’ve reported about the Great Mickey Ride come to fruition, this will be the mega E-Ticket attraction that Mickey Mouse deserves.

Honestly, it does not seem like now is the time to announce this. As long as massive amounts of capex are being spent on Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land, I don’t see a third project beginning until those projects are nearly finished. The question is: if not now, when?

Toy Story Land opens in 2018 and Star Wars Land opens in 2019, and if Disney wants to keep Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ momentum going after that, the “sweet spot” for beginning construction on the Great Mickey Ride would be in early 2019. Prior to then, Great Movie Ride will need close (possibly as early as late 2018?), which would be an obvious sign that the Great Mickey Ride is replacing it.

With the next D23 Expo occurring after these dates, it seems like the 2017 D23 Expo is a good time to announce the Great Mickey Ride, perhaps at the tail end of a presentation concerning the current developments at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that looks forward even further, tying everything together with a name change for the park and the debut of a new flagship attraction.

4. Epcot “Major Transformation” (Walt Disney World)

By now, pretty much every Walt Disney World fan knows that Parks & Resorts chairman Bob Chapek teased at a D23 event last fall that he had told the Imagineers to “dream big” at Epcot, promising a “major transformation” that would stay true to the park’s original vision while offering something “timeless, relevant, and family friendly.”

If you weren’t aware of that, perhaps you’ve heard one of the literally dozens of rumors/wishful thinking predictions concerning Epcot’s future. We recently wrote about the rumors most likely to come to fruition in our 8 Huge Epcot Rumors post.

Since that post, nothing has really changed. All of those projects are still on the table for Epcot, with varying degrees of probability as to what will end up being greenlit. If you want more info on each of the rumored projects, refer to that post.

It’s anticipated that this “major transformation” of Epcot will occur in phases, with no park-wide makeover akin to Disney California Adventure’s reimagining. As the Walt Disney World park that currently has no major projects either underway or recently completed, it makes a lot of sense to announce a few things for Epcot at the 2017 D23 Expo.

My guess is that the Ratatouille dark ride in France, a new country in World Showcase, and perhaps updates to the Land pavilion could all be announced at the 2017 D23 Expo. It also would not surprise me if smaller stop-gap enhancements (that could debut within a year) were also announced. If Chapek chooses this as the Expo to “go big” on Epcot, we could get even more than that.

3. Super Hero Land (Disneyland Resort)

Marvel Land (albeit not by that name!) at Disney California Adventure is another future development that is a foregone conclusion. Much like the Epcot “major transformation” above, this is something that has been hinted at by Bob Chapek and Imagineers who worked on Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT, and it’s a matter of when, not if, at this point.

While it originally seemed this Marvel Land was the next phase of development for Disneyland Resort after Star Wars Land, it now appears that this expansion could begin before Star Wars Land is finished. The problem that faces the resort is that, no matter when construction begins, it won’t finish before Star Wars Land opens.

This winter has demonstrated the capacity problems that are plaguing Disneyland, and these will only be exacerbated once Star Wars Land opens, as added demand will far (far) outpace added capacity. Price increases, eliminating Annual Pass tiers, and monthly payment plans would all help, but what’s truly needed is something big to pull crowds away from Disneyland, and into Disney California Adventure.

That cannot be the Marvel Land in 2019, but Star Wars is not going to see a precipitous decline in popularity any time soon, so getting this Marvel Land open ASAP in Disney California Adventure is a top priority.

In light of that, it also would not be a surprise if more is announced for Disney California Adventure, particularly additions and entertainment that can open much sooner. Paint the Night moving to DCA, a new World of Color, seasonal events, and other attraction overlays all seem like viable candidates. On Page 3, we’ll cover the two most likely things, including what I consider to be the worst case “announcement.”

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