D23 EXPO: Star Wars, Toy Story & Avatar Coming to Disneyland

D23 EXPO 2015 - Bob Iger Announces Star Wars-Themed Lands Coming to Disney Parks - Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced at D23 EXPO 2015 that Star Wars-themed lands will be coming to Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif., and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla., creating Disney’s largest single-themed land expansions ever at 14-acres each, transporting guests to a never-before-seen planet, a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life. These authentic lands will have two signature attractions, including the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle. (Disney Parks/Image Group LA)  ROBERT A. IGER (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company)
(Disney Parks/Image Group LA)

When Disneyland expands, it doesn’t mess around. The capper of a busy Saturday at the 2015 D23 EXPO came with announcements of new attractions and worlds coming to Disneyland Parks the world over, from the mouth of CEO Bob Iger himself.

Star Wars Launch Bay Coming to Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort -- This interactive experience will take guests into the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with special exhibits and peeks behind the scenes, including opportunities to visit with new and favorite Star Wars characters, special merchandise and food offerings.  Star Wars Launch Bay will be located in the Animation Courtyard at DisneyÕs Hollywood Studios and in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park. (Disney Parks)
(Disney Parks)

The biggie, of course, is that Star Wars is coming to Disneyland and Disney World in the form of twin 14-acre expansions. But the news was joined by even more of it, in the form of a new Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, and ‘The World of AVATAR’ coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, with James Cameron himself showing up at D23 for the announcement.

The attractions of Star Wars Land are described thusly:

  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue – Later this year, Star Tours will include a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, giving guests a new adventure in the Star Wars galaxy.
  • Star Wars Launch Bay – This interactive experience will take guests into the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, including opportunities to visit with new and favorite Star Wars characters, special merchandise and food offerings. Star Wars Launch Bay will be located in the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park.  Also at Disneyland park, Star Wars Launch Bay will share the space with the reimagined Super Hero HQ, featuring opportunities to meet and take photos with super heroes like Captain America and Thor, as well as experience the returning Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries.  Both experiences will be available for guests later this year.
  • Jedi Training Academy — A favorite of younger fans is reimagined with a new experience that includes new characters and a new villain to battle from the popular Disney XD series “Star Wars Rebels.”
  • Season of the Force – This new seasonal event, beginning early 2016, brings new experiences to both coasts. In Tomorrowland at Disneyland park, guests will explore the Star Wars galaxy with special entertainment throughout the land, themed food locations and more. Guests also will be thrilled to climb aboard Hyperspace Mountain, a reimagining of the classic Space Mountain attraction, in which guests will join an X-wing Starfighter battle. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests will close out weekend nights with a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic score of the Star Wars movies.
Season of the Force Coming to Disney Parks -- This new seasonal event, beginning early 2016, brings new experiences to both coasts.  In Tomorrowland at Disneyland park, guests will explore the Star Wars galaxy with special entertainment throughout the land, themed food locations and more. Guests also will be thrilled to climb aboard Hyperspace Mountain, a reimagining of the classic Space Mountain attraction, in which guests will join an X-wing Starfighter battle. At DisneyÕs Hollywood Studios, guests will close out weekend nights with a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic score of the Star Wars movies. (Disney Parks)
(Disney Parks)

Bob Iger described the “largest single expansion ever,” as authentic, real, with humanoids, aliens and droids occupying a characters-only zone. There will be a CANTINA, creatures, and one of the two signature attractions will take guests inside the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon for an interactive experience that lets you take controls of the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy for a customized secret mission.

Toy Story Land at DisneyÕs Hollywood Studios in Florida -- The reimagining of DisneyÕs Hollywood Studios will take guests to infinity and beyond, allowing them to step into the worlds of their favorite films, starting with Toy Story Land. This new 11-acre land will transport guests into the adventurous outdoors of AndyÕs backyard. Guests will think they've been shrunk to the size of Woody and Buzz as they are surrounded by oversized toys that Andy has assembled using his vivid imagination.  Using toys like building blocks, plastic buckets and shovels, and game board pieces, Andy has designed the perfect setting for this land, which will include two new attractions for any Disney park and one expanded favorite. (Disney Parks)
(Disney Parks)

Toy Story Land is described as followed:

  • Family-friendly roller coaster – All on the back of Slinky Dog, this coaster will zip and zoom, plunge and coast as it takes guests on a fun, toy-filled adventure throughout the new land.
  • Alien saucers attraction – The famous little green aliens from the movie will take guests around for a spin in their very own flying saucers. The music, lighting and sound effects add to the flurry of action, while “The Claw” looms over.
  • Toy Story Mania! – Guests glide into the Toy Story Midway Games Play Set and take aim at 3D objects in a variety of fast-paced games, with an expansion that adds a third track to this popular attraction.
ÒRivers of LightÓ at DisneyÕs Animal Kingdom Ð Expected to open next spring, ÒRivers of LightÓ will be an innovative experience unlike anything ever seen in a Disney park, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. ÒRivers of LightÓ will magically come to life on the natural stage of Discovery River, delighting guests and truly capping off a full day of adventures at DisneyÕs Animal Kingdom. (Disney Parks)
(Disney Parks)

The World of AVATAR:

  • “Rivers of Light” – Expected to open next spring, “Rivers of Light” will be an innovative experience unlike anything ever seen in a Disney park, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. “Rivers of Light” will magically come to life on the natural stage of Discovery River, delighting guests and truly capping off a full day of adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris – This popular attraction will be extended for a new nighttime adventure next spring, where guests will travel through the African savanna amid the magically extended orange glow of the setting sun and discover two species new to the attraction: African wild dogs and hyenas.
  • Pandora – The World of AVATAR – Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests will journey into the magnificent world of Pandora at this new AVATAR-themed land – a world that includes floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest and the winged creatures known as Banshees, giving guests a transformational experience they will never forget.
AVATAR Flight of Passage at Disney's Animal Kingdom -- This E-ticket attraction, the centerpiece of Pandora, allows guests to soar on a Banshee over a vast alien world. The spectacular flying experience will give guests a birds-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of the world of Pandora on an aerial rite of passage. (Disney Parks)
(Disney Parks)
  • AVATAR Flight of Passage – This E-ticket attraction, the centerpiece of Pandora, allows guests to soar on a Banshee over a vast alien world. The spectacular flying experience will give guests a birds-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of the world of Pandora on an aerial rite of passage.
Iron Man Experience Coming to Hong Kong Disneyland Ð When Tony Stark brings his Stark Expo to Tomorrowland at Hong Kong Disneyland, guests will be able to take flight with Iron Man on an epic adventure that pits Iron Man, along with guests, against the forces of evil. This first-of-its kind, E-ticket attraction will include a storyline that takes place in the streets and skies of Hong Kong.  Set to open in late 2016, the experience will also include an area where guests can meet and take photos with Iron Man. (Disney Parks)
(Disney Parks)

And, if you happen to be in Hong Kong Disneyland, you’ll probably want to visit Iron Man and Stark Tower.

Stark Tower in Iron Man Experience Coming to Hong Kong Disneyland Ð Stark Tower joins the Hong Kong skyline in the Iron Man Experience attraction coming to Hong Kong Disneyland in late 2016.  This first-of-its kind, E-ticket attraction will include a storyline that takes place in the streets and skies of Hong Kong as guests take flight with Iron Man on an epic adventure that pits Iron Man, along with guests, against the forces of evil. (Disney Parks)
(Disney Parks)

Let the line waiting begin. The anticipation for the next D23 EXPO has already begun, and it’s not even over yet.