August marks the fourth month of the Diamond Jubilee, and the party shows no signs of slowing down. The castle is still covered in its sparkly diamond overlay, which looks especially beautiful at night (but it’s hard to fully capture in a picture!).
Though there was little in the way of refurbishments in August, the month was anything but quiet. The Anaheim Convention Center hosted D23, the annual Disney expo, and with it came tons of announcements about upcoming movies, Adventures by Disney travel choices, and of course, big changes to Disney Parks.
D23 EXPO ANNOUNCEMENTS
This year’s D23, which ran from August 14th – 16th, brought major announcements about Disneyland’s future. After much speculation, Disney confirmed plans for expansion and released a few details about what attractions are heading to the park in the next few years. The following is a breakdown of the Disneyland-related announcements from D23:
- Star Wars Land – The biggest change to Disneyland will be the addition of Star Wars Land, which will be a 14-acre land in the rear of the park. Big Thunder Ranch will be leaving Frontierland, and this space will likely serve as the entrance to the new land. Disney recently purchased land on the other side of Harbor Blvd, which will be used as office space, so that the backstage area behind Big Thunder Ranch can now be incorporated into Star Wars Land. The land will have two attractions: a Millennium Falcon ride and some sort of battle attraction, though no specific details have been released just yet. Here is some Star Wars Land concept art released at D23:
- Star Wars Launch Bay – Starting in late 2015, Tomorrowland visitors will have access to a behind-the-scenes tour of the newest Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. This exhibit will include artifacts from the film, digital displays of filming, and opportunities for character meet and greets. The Launch Bay will be located in the former Innoventions building.
- Season of the Force – Spring 2016 will be a special season for Disneyland, and it will be known as the Season of the Force! Like Halloween time at the park, a number of attractions will have special overlays, and Disneyland will host exclusive entertainment and merchandise. The only specific detail announced for Season of the Force is “Hyperspace Mountain”, an overlay for Space Mountain that will take riders into an X-Wing battle.
- Super Hero HQ – When Innoventions closed in March, Disney did not announce its replacement. Fan speculation ran wild for almost six months, until we learned Tomorrowland’s largest building would soon house Super Hero HQ, the Marvel epicenter of Disneyland. Super Hero HQ will be home to the Avengers, including Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America, and have a number of interactive exhibits and character meet and greet opportunities.
The Golden Horseshoe now has new entertainment: The Silver Dollar Six! This street performing band plays periodically from the second story balcony, so Frontierland travelers now have live music as they navigate the Wild West.
California Adventure now has another special Diamond Picture Spot, in A Bug’s Land. This Picture Spot uses an optical illusion to make some guests look tiny, while others are much bigger, all in the same photo!
And finally, Luigi finally seems to be on his way back to Cars Land. Though the walls are still up around his tire shop, Disney has at least given a rough time table of when Luigi will be back home: spring 2016.