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What’s New At Disney Parks And Resorts? Info On Star Wars Launch Bay, Toy Story Land And More #D23Expo

While attending the D23 EXPO 2015 in Anaheim, California, I learned about a variety of Disney parks and resorts updates. The crowd was SCREAMING and losing their mind… and I was right along with them. As a guest of Disney, I was privileged to attend these panels and hear the exclusive news FIRST alongside 7,500 of Disney’s BIGGEST FANS. The people in the room were a mix of media and FANATICS – people slept outside overnight to reserve their chairs. I was blown away.

AVATAR Flight of Passage at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek opened up the presentation with an update on Pandora – The World of AVATAR. People were dying to know about the E-ticket attraction – AVATAR Flight of Passage.

The biggest takeaway for me from this section of the event was when James Cameron said he hoped families would sit and picnic all around the park and not just rush around from ride to ride. The actual PARK was the experience – not the restaurants, rides and shops. It’s going to be the entire THING. I got SO excited hearing this!!!! With vacations, families just rush/rush/rush. It’s nice to hear this world is being built with a different notion in mind.

More Details:

  • 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 – 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.

Um … I just sang #happybirthday to James Cameron. What? Amazing. #avatar #D23Expo #disney #crazy

A video posted by Vera Sweeney (@verasweeney) on


Oh and we also sang James Cameron Happy Birthday! –> Here’s the video!!!

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 Disney’s Hollywood Studios and in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park. (Disney Parks)

Then — we went right into Star Wars!

Star Wars Enhancements & New Experiences
This section actually almost made me cry. I kept thinking about how much my children are going to FALL IN LOVE with this new world. I mean, to be absolutely submerged into this reality – I can only imagine what a child is going to feel. (what I am going to feel)

Full confession – I teared up the first time I walked through Harry Potter’s world at Universal Studios because I saw how magical it all really was. I have a feeling this is going to be a BILLION times more powerful for my little ones. I mean – think about going to eat in a restaurant and then having creatures sitting right next to you or serving you OR floating around in a tank behind the bar. I mean – the possibilities are endless!! Here’s more information on the updates:

  • 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.  Located in the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park. 
  • 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 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 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. (Disney Parks)

  • 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.
Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida -- The reimagining of Disney’s 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 Andy’s 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)

Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida

To infinity and beyond… at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Toy Story Land is in the works – CAN YOU STAND IT???!!!  This new 11-acre land will replicate Andy’s backyard.  Guests will think they’ve been shrunk to the size of Woody and Buzz as they run around building blocks, plastic buckets and shovels, and game board pieces. So exciting!!

What to expect:

  • 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.

And as if that wasn’t enough – next year, guests at Epcot in Florida and Disney California Adventure in California will get to enjoy the new Soarin’ Around the World! I wonder where they are going to take us!!!

* Disney invited me to LA to attend D23 and cover the panels. All opinions are my own.

Vera
Vera Sweeney, mom, blogger, social media influencer and New York resident, is the founder of LadyAndTheBlog.com. She is considered one of the top female digital influencers in today’s social media space. Her lifestyle and parenting brand helps busy women stay on top of the latest trends in fashion, food, family and travel.