If you follow Disney on any form of social media, you’ve probably seen “D23” EVERYWHERE. D23 is Disney’s bi-annual convention, where they announce the biggest news of the year. This includes parks, animation, live action movies, Pixar, Marvel, cruise line, you name it. But since this blog is focused on Disneyland specifically, I’m going to cover the Disneyland news from D23. Let’s take a look back at Day 1! (PS – Day 2 is the big day for parks news – stay tuned for another post tomorrow morning.)
D23 = A LOGISTICAL NIGHTMARE
Before I dive into the Disneyland news, I thought I’d share a glimpse into this year’s D23. Why? Because my feed was absolutely overwhelmed with the same complaint, over and over. Guests had a really hard time getting into panels, especially the animation panel. Somehow Disney let in tons of guests that hadn’t queued, leaving thousands who had waited in line stranded outside the doors.
In response, Disney promised these guests reserved seating for either the Disney Studios or the Disney Parks panel. I’ll report back tomorrow with how that plays out.
STAR WARS LAND
One of the highlights of Day 1 came in miniature form. Disney debuted an amazingly detailed model of Star Wars Land, giving visitors a glimpse at the new land’s details, shops, and landscape. The model confirms the Millennium Falcon’s placement in the land, and that Critter Country will have a path connecting to another entrance to the land.
Along with the model, we also got to see the ride vehicle for a First Order-themed attraction.
For more pictures of the model, check out Touring Plans‘ blog post here.
We didn’t get that much news about Star Wars Land today, however. Bob Iger confirmed the land would open before the 2019 D23, which means it would have to open in the first half of the year. I’d be very surprised if we didn’t get more info on Star Wars Land during the Parks panel tomorrow, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
The Pirates of the Caribbean panel celebrated the attraction’s 50th anniversary. The panel featured:
- Disney legends (& Imagineers!) Tony Baxter, Orlando Ferrante, Marty Sklar
- Imagineers Kim Irvine, Luc Maynard, Nancy Seruto
The panel discussed the ride’s origins (a walk-through wax museum), and how the ride grew and changed as technology improved. But the big question on everyone’s minds…were they going to talk about the redhead? (If you missed the news – the auction scene is changing). Well…not at first. They danced around addressing the scene for a while, but were adamant that they consider change to be a positive thing, and will continue to change and add to attractions as they age. The panelists also pointed to Shanghai as an example of dramatic change to the original attraction, in a format that still works and captures the spirit of the original.
Finally, the panel mentioned changes coming to the US parks (specifically, the auction scene), which was received by audience booing. The panel quickly shut the audience down, saying that “Walt was never affected by negative press when it came to new attractions or changes to existing attractions.” Bottom line – no amount of booing/petitions is going to change their minds.
I thought panelist Marty Sklar had an incredible response to the booing. He said he completely understands why people are upset, but said that the park needs change. We wouldn’t want to see the same park in 2017 that guests saw in 1955. While I personally still have mixed feelings about the auction scene change, I think in general, he’s absolutely right.
DAY 2 – PARKS PANEL
As I mentioned at the start of this post, day 2 is the big day for Disneyland fans. We’ve been promised huge updates during the parks panel. I’ll post a Day 2 recap first thing tomorrow morning!