2015 D23 Expo Day 1 Round Up
This year’s D23 Expo has been eagerly anticipated on so many fronts with many of Disney’s business units having major projects in the works. Disney parks, Pixar, Disney Animation, Disney Interactive, and Star Wars are all expected to have important news releases and teasers this weekend. The first day of the convention did not disappoint! Here is a round up of what we’ve seen so far.
There are some important films in Disney’s queue for the next few years that will be seeking the same success as Frozen.
Zootopia – March 4, 2016 – I don’t know what to make of this film yet.
Moana – Nov. 23, 2016 – Teen Moana sails off to complete an ancient quest and teams up with demi-god Maui (Dwayne Johnson).
Gigantic – date – Disney’s new take on the classic Jack & the Beanstalk fairytale. Music will be written by duo Kristen and Robert Lopez of Frozen soundtrack fame.
Frozen 2 – Release date and info not yet announced.
There was once worry that Pixar would be consumed by Disney’s Animation arm, but that has not been the case. They have their own major releases coming up on the big screen.
The Good Dinosaur – Nov. 25, 2015 – Story centered around an apatosaurus named Arlo and his pet human boy named Spot; self-discovered storyline.
Finding Dory – June 17, 2016 – In this much awaited sequel to Nemo, Dory joins her friend Marlin in search of clues to her past.
Coco – release date unknown – Set in the backdrop of Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration, a boy explores family relationships and memory.
Toy Story 4 – June 16, 2017 – The next installment of the Toy Story franchise will be centered around the romance of Woody and Bo Peep. It’s not exactly clear when in the Toy Story universe this will take place.
Cars 3 – date and info not yet announced.
Incredibles II – date and info not yet announced.
Riley’s First Date? – The new short will be shown during the D23 Expo and included as a bonus feature in the digital HD & Blu-ray releases of Disney·Pixar’s “Inside Out,” which will be available digitally Oct. 13 and on Blu-ray Nov. 3, 2015
Arguably the largest project in the Disney parks pipeline right now is Disney Shanghai, but more eagerly awaited is news from the US parks. While we are still waiting for news of major changes to Hollywood Studios, Disney did confirm one bit of Orlando news Friday. The rumored Jungle Cruise themed restaurant in AdventureLand. Construction has been under way, and visible, of the refurbishment and backside connection to the Diamond Horseshoe for a while now. The Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen promises to be a real treat with multiple themed dining rooms staffed by Jungle Cruise skippers. The new restaurant is expected to open in late Fall 2015, so keep an eye out for menu previews soon! A Disney Parks panel is set to take place on Saturday and we’re anxiously waiting for some good news!
Here is a great video from MouseSteps.com of the Disney parks pavilion featuring Disney Shanghai and AvatarLand models. Shangahi is worth keeping an eye on due to all of the exciting new rides, like Tron Light Cycles, but also some re-imagining of current Disney parks rides like Buzz Lightyear and Pirates of the Caribbean. These could provide hints of future upgrades or even new attractions in the works for US parks.
The Muppets, who will be returning to TV sets September 22nd on Disney’s ABC Network, held their own panel at D23 Friday. The new show will be presented as Miss Piggy’s late night talk show in the mockumentary style akin to the original show we grew up watching. Filming is already in progress and we can expect a series of new Pigs in Space shorts to precede the new show.
There were some notable additions to the Disney Legends hall of fame. Composer Danny Elfman, George Lucas, and in a surprise appearance at the end of the show: actor Johnny Depp. Other inductees include Andreas Deja (animator), Eyvind Earle (artist), Carson Van Osten (artist), Julie Reihm Casaletto (1st Disneyland Ambassador) Susan Lucci (All My Children star), and George Bodenheimer (former ESPN Exec).
Watch for more updates as the D23 Expo moves into the weekend. We’re expecting some new Star Wars: The Force Awakens details and hopefully some Hollywood Studios updates.