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D23 Expo 2022 Review

D23 Expo 2022 Review

Bridget Waldman | @californiadisneybliss

After a three year long hiatus, the moment finally arrived. D23 Expo landed in the city of Anaheim, just steps away from Disneyland, and I got to experience the whole shebang for the first time!

The D23 Expo is the ultimate Disney fan event, celebrating the Walt Disney Company and revealing everything coming from the house of Mouse in the not-so-distant future. The Expo is 3 days and is held every 2 years. Guests come from all over the world to attend and some even spend weeks, if not months, creating unique cosplay costumes. Each day panels are held at the convention highlighting
Disney celebrities, disclosing upcoming new movies, celebrating new and old Disney Legends, and, the highlight of the Expo, announcing what’s to come to the Disney Parks all over the world.

Shopping is a huge draw of the Expo, with opportunities to buy unique Disney collectibles, special limited merchandise, and new clothing yet to hit the parks.
What I was most impressed with at the D23 Expo was the vibe on the Expo floor. Walking around the large convention hall, you could feel the excited energy of everyone eager to experience all the Expo had to offer. A huge smile was on my face as I walked past scores of visitors dressed up as their favorite Disney characters, friends reuniting at the event frantically talking about the new Disney merch item they scored, and groups discussing speculation on what was to be announced at the event. These were my people and I felt at home in the madness.

The Expo wasn’t too crowded and wait times were never long for the different exhibits and shops. The entire event was seamless and easy to navigate, especially with the D23 Expo app connecting you to all the information one would need, including an effortless way to reserve a virtual spot for the main Expo

Panels could be reserved before the Expo began in a lottery of sorts. Unfortunately, I did not get the panels I was most hoping for, but still had such a fabulous time. There is so much to see and experience at the Expo even without the panels, and I highly recommend a 3-day pass for future D23 Expos.

Probably the most anticipated panel is the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products presentation, where all the Disney Park announcements and updates for the next two years are announced. And this one was a doozy. I’ve summarized all the main announcements right here:

Disneyland Resort:

  • Disney’s 100th celebration starts at Disneyland in January.
  • Disneyland will get platinum-themed decor and character costumes in celebration of Disney’s 100th year.
  • Magic Happens is returning in Spring 2023.
  • World of Color to have a new concept: “World of Color One” and will feature Encanto, Coco, Moana, and more, in late January.
  • New Disneyland fireworks show “Wondrous Journeys” to debut in late January.
  • A Mandalorian and Grogu meet & greet will start in November.
  • Hulk to greet guests in Avengers Campus starting next week.
  • Avengers Campus will get a new third attraction where you will battle a new villain, King Thanos.
  • Pacific Wharf to be reimagined into San Fransokyo from “Big Hero Six.”
  • Paradise Pier Hotel reimagined into a Pixar theme, renamed Pixar Place Hotel, and will have a Finding Nemo splash pad.
  • Downtown Disney to have a new restaurant: Porto’s Bakery & Cafe.
  • Run Disney to be back at Disneyland in 2024.
  • Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will open in late 2024.

Walt Disney World:

  • The nighttime spectacular “Happily Ever After” to start in 2023.
  • Hatbox Ghost is coming to the Haunted Mansion.
  • Epcot will get a new nighttime show next year.
  • Journey of Water will open at Epcot in late 2023.
  • Figment the Dragon will be greeting guests in 2023.
  • Tron Lightcycle Run opening Spring 2023.
  • Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will open in late 2024.
  • Animal Kingdom’s Dinoland may transform into the worlds of Moana and Zootopia.
  • Early concept shared of a Villains, Encanto, Coco-themed set of lands.

Disney Cruise Line:

  • A new Disney Cruise Line ship was announced. This new ship, the Disney Treasure, will be adventure-themed and set sail in 2024.
  • The Disney Wonder will now be heading to Australia and New Zealand.
  • More images shared of Disney’s second island destination, Lighthouse Point, in the Bahamas.

International Disney Parks:

  • Hong Kong Disneyland will debut a new Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statue.
  • Disneyland Paris will get a Tangled-themed attraction.
  • Space Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland undergoing a transformation for Tomorrowland that will be complete by 2027.

These new announcements had the panel crowd roaring with excitement and enthusiasm. There is so much to look forward to for any Disney fan, whether that be in the parks, in the theater, or in the stores. The D23 Expo was a momentous success, and I am already planning for the Expo’s return in 2024!

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