Disney Parks, Experiences and Products has announced its plans and panels for the upcoming D23 Expo in September 2022. With pavilions, panel presentations, and retail stores, fans can buy things, see interesting displays, and be the first to learn never-before-seen details of new themed lands, attractions, shows, and more.
The Disney Parks and Experiences Wonderful World of Dreams pavilion invites attendees to step into the new stories, attractions and adventures Disney Imagineers are bringing to life around the globe. Fans will discover behind-the-scenes glimpses of the Tiana’s Bayou Adventure attraction coming to Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, the transformation of EPCOT, new Frozen-themed experiences, Disney Cruise Line, live entertainment and more.
Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro will take to the Hall D23 stage Sunday, September 11, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. for A Boundless Future: Disney Parks Experiences and Products. This is the flagship Disney Parks & Resorts panel, and will share a look at new details of highly anticipated projects in development around the world.
We are hoping that the Parks & Resorts panel covers more than what’s mentioned above. Transformation of Tomorrowland and Fantasyland expansion at Disneyland, TRON Lightcycle Run opening date for Magic Kingdom, Dino-Rama replacement at Animal Kingdom, Avengers Campus Phase 2, Figment & Dreamfinder, and more are all on my “wish list.”
Throughout the weekend, fans can dive deeper into the world of Disney through several special panel presentations during the 2022 D23 Expo:
Inside Look at the Society of Explorers and Adventurers (Friday, Sept. 9, 10:30 a.m., Backlot Stage)
An inside look at the continuing development of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers — what it means in the Disney parks and how these stories continue to grow. Disney Imagineers are joined by Julie Kagawa to talk about her first two books in a series of novels that tie into the lore of S.E.A.
This could be awesome if it focuses on the origins of S.E.A. and how Imagineers have worked to weave it into some of the world class attractions in Asia and beyond. My worry is that it’ll be less that and more a chance to promote the new books.
A Peek Behind the Curtain at the Walt Disney Imagineering Illusions and Special Effects Development Lab (Saturday, September 10, 10 a.m., Walt Disney Archives Stage)
Learn about the legacy of Walt Disney Imagineering’s Illusions and Special Effects Development Lab, including the work created by Yale Gracey for the Haunted Mansion and other early projects, plus a behind-the-curtain look at the present-day magical process that is so unique to Imagineering.
There was a similar panel to this at the last D23 Expo, and it was fantastic. One of the highlights of the entire weekend. Even if this covers some of the same ground, it’s a must-see for me. Really looking forward to this one!
Uncovering Treasures from the Marty Sklar Collection (Saturday, September 10, 12 p.m., Walt Disney Archives Stage)
Join Walt Disney Imagineering Ambassador Bob Weis and Leah and Leslie Sklar, the wife and daughter of the late Disney Legend and Imagineer Marty Sklar, as they discuss some of the treasures they’ve discovered while going through Marty’s collection from his more than 50 years with Walt Disney Imagineering.
Another must-do for me. Legendary Imagineer Marty Sklar was always a highlight of D23 panels and he has left a colossal void. I can only imagine what his family has found in his collection, and they plus former head of WDI Bob Weis should provide an interesting panel. Another top priority for me.
Dreaming, Designing and Bringing to Life the Disney Wish (Saturday, September 10, 4 p.m., Backlot Stage)
Disney Imagineers fresh off the launch of the newest ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet — the Disney Wish — talk about their experiences bringing this ship to life. From the wondrously themed spaces and imaginative kids clubs to the first-ever Disney attraction at sea, the ship brings to life fantastical stories you know and love like never before.
I already attended a few panels like this on the Christening Cruise and, suffice to say, I will be sitting this one out. Perhaps it’ll be different, but expect this to be a glorified infomercial for the new ship.
Walt Disney Imagineering: 70 Years of Making the Impossible, Possible (Sunday, September 11, 1 p.m., Premiere Stage)
For seven decades, the magic-makers at Walt Disney Imagineering have blended limitless imagination with cutting-edge technology to create groundbreaking experiences that bring together families and friends to create lifelong memories. Join Imagineers past and present as they discuss the core elements of storytelling and innovation that bring dreams to life for guests from all around the world.
Very much wishful thinking, but I hope the “past” Imagineers discuss working with what they had, making lemonade out of lemons, and being resourceful to overcome limitations in technology. There’s way too much focus on “innovation” via cutting-edge technology these days (insert old man yells at cloud graphic). It often feels like the tail wagging the dog, with the end result being underwhelming.
Disney Parks Through the Decades: A Disney Ambassador Perspective (Sunday, September 11, 4 p.m., Walt Disney Archives Stage)
Join a conversation with Disney Ambassadors spanning the decades, including 1966 Disney Ambassador, Connie Lane, and 1971 Walt Disney World Ambassador, Debby Dane Browne. From representing Walt Disney at Disneyland in the 1960s, to opening Walt Disney World: experience the history of Disney Parks like never before.
If you’ve never seen one of these Disney Ambassador conversations before, this is probably worth attending. We’ve done a few of these now; it was interesting the first time, but definitely diminishing returns since.
The World of Duffy & Friends Revealed (Sunday, September 11, 4:15 p.m., Hyperion Stage)
Disney Imagineers discuss the origin and continuing popularity of Duffy & Friends, including the newest friend who has become a global phenomenon — LinaBell!
Another panel that sounds awesome, especially if Imagineers from the international parks are present and can share some of their stories. There are some amusing anecdotes about Duffy’s development and also good business lessons to be learned.
Part of me also wonders if the U.S. Disney Parks & Resorts division is seeing the enduring popularity of Duffy and his posse at Tokyo Disney Resort and the other international parks, and wants another shot at that sweet, sweet merchandise revenue. The last time Disney tried importing Duffy, it was a colossal failure, so hopefully they take the time to learn what makes the Duffy Phenomenon at Tokyo DisneySea fun and special if they’re going to take a mulligan on it.
If you’re into standing in line to buy stop, D23 Expo is the place for you! Fans will be able to shop for new and limited-edition merchandise from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic, plus items celebrating Disney100 and D23 Expo. Attendees can visit the D23 Expo Marketplace for a new retail experience with products from shopDisney.com and Disney Parks.
The Walt Disney Imagineering Mickey’s of Glendale shop is returning to D23 Expo this year, this time with three unique retail spaces tailored to different categories and experiences: Mickey’s of Glendale Main Store, Mickey’s of Glendale Pin Store and D23 Expo Shop x Mickey’s of Glendale. That’s three times the lines to stand in!!!
Guests at D23 Expo will also get first access to DisneyMe, a new digital avatar in the Play Disney Parks app. This experience empowers guests to express their Disney style by creating their own unique DisneyMe. To celebrate the launch of DisneyMe as part of Disney Uncharted Adventure on the Disney Wish, guests at D23 Expo will be invited on a quest that can only be completed at the Expo. Attendees will uncover specially designed Disney Wish and D23 Expo digital clothing and accessories for their DisneyMe around the show floor.
Starting in September, D23 Expo guests will need to download the latest Play Disney Parks app to be ready to create their DisneyMe and join the DisneyMe D23 Expo Quest during the convention.
If you’re planning on attending the event, see our 2022 D23 Expo Survival Guide. If you aren’t going to be there in-person but plan on following along from home, see our 2022 D23 Expo Announcement Predictions for Walt Disney World and Disneyland to see what we’re expecting–and to make your own guesses.
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What do you think about the Parks & Resorts panel lineup at the 2022 D23 Expo? Expecting any big attraction announcements, or will the event mostly focus on details about projects that are already underway or that have happened already? Any surprise announcements you think might be possible? Obviously, none of us know what the future holds for the D23 Expo (unless you’re a Disney executive or Imagineer…in which case, please let us know what’s going to happen! 😉 ), but I think it’s fun to take some guesses and see who ‘wins’ just the same. We’ll revisit this post in a month and whoever got the most right will win…bragging rights!