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Thursday, September 14, 2023

Rankings of ALL Disney World Bulletins & Vacation spot D23 Report Card

Vacation spot D23 was held on the Modern Resort over the weekend, and Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro shared lots of information throughout his presentation, “A Celebration of Disney Parks, Experiences and Merchandise: Yesterday, Immediately and Tomorrow.” This ‘report card’ ranks the entire bulletins for Walt Disney World, and grades the keynote as an entire.

To be blunt, I feel I watched a distinct presentation than many Walt Disney World followers. Should you thought the bulletins have been lame or weak for the Florida parks, this could be the flawed publish for you. At the very least, in case your thoughts is totally made up and you don’t have any curiosity in counterpoints or differing views.

Actually, I used to be bowled over at the entire negativity in direction of D’Amaro’s Vacation spot D23 presentation, together with amongst a few of my pals who have been proper there within the room subsequent to me. It felt like an “am I so out of contact?” second for me. Like Principal Skinner, I additionally assume it’s the kids/everybody else who’s flawed, and can make my case for that right here…

To rapidly recap earlier than we get going, our 2023 Vacation spot D23 Announcement Predictions for Walt Disney World have been the next:

  • Sneak Peek at Tiana’s Bayou Journey Audio Animatronics
  • Moana’s Journey of Water Opening Date
  • EPCOT Overhaul Updates
  • Emotional Leisure
  • Dino-Rama Alternative

That’s it for Walt Disney World.

Aside from ‘Emotional Leisure,’ every part on that record occurred. (Luminous: Symphony of Us just isn’t sufficient to depend for the leisure prediction. The fabric a part of that was a Summer season Nightastic type season of leisure with new, returning, or reimagined spectaculars. That didn’t happen.)

Our prior Vacation spot D23 Want Record did comprise lots extra (together with a reimagining of Journey Into Creativeness for just like the seventh consecutive D23 occasion), nevertheless it additionally famous that it was “overtly optimistic–if even 25% of this finally ends up coming to fruition, I’ll be very joyful.” The batting common for that’s robust to calculate, since a number of issues that weren’t on my radar ended up getting introduced, even when most of what I hoped would occur didn’t.

Largely, our expectations have been tempered as a result of Vacation spot D23 just isn’t the identical because the D23 Expo. It began out as a history-oriented occasion (known as D23’s Vacation spot D) that was completely superior for geeks like us and had perhaps 1-2 newsy objects per yr. It wasn’t till 2018 that it actually grew to become the off-year Expo, and even then, the most important information was the names of the points of interest in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. All the pieces else was updates, opening seasons, or returning/restricted time leisure. That’s actually it.

To additional put issues into perspective, Josh D’Amaro ‘introduced’ that “churros are again” on the final Vacation spot D23. The majority of the presentation was oriented round a return to normalcy, with just a few nuggets of stories in regards to the worldwide parks, Disney Want, Cosmic Rewind, and Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.

Quick-forward two years, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is now on the precipice of closing slightly than opening, and followers have been optimistic a few larger slate of bulletins. And there was not less than some foundation in actuality for that. A lot was mentioned on the D23 Expo with out precise affirmation, and each D’Amaro and CEO Bob Iger have been teasing for months that billions of {dollars} of investments are on the horizon. Given all of that, it’s completely cheap that fan expectations have been greater than regular for a Vacation spot D23 occasion.

In opposition to that backdrop, let’s rank the entire Walt Disney World information, adopted by a abstract and grade for Josh D’Amaro’s presentation as an entire…

N/A. Moana’s Journey of Water Opening Date – This one was an inevitability, and one thing would’ve needed to have gone horribly flawed if it wasn’t revealed. Our prediction known as for a gap date within the second half of October 2023. That ended up being correct, with the earliest attainable second-half opening as attainable: October 16, 2023.

N/A. Figment Meet & Greet Opening Date – Ending with Figment was the plain crowd-pleasing transfer, low-hanging fruit epitomized. I’d’ve most well-liked the Figment Finale be official affirmation of a Journey into Creativeness reimagining, however I’m not stunned that it didn’t occur. As for Figment, debuting his meet & greet earlier than September 22 and giving D23 Members a sneak peek on the character was a pleasant contact.

N/A. Tiana’s Bayou Journey Sneak Peek –  It is a robust one. On the one hand, I feel it will’ve been sensible to spend far more time on Tiana’s Bayou Journey. The Audio Animatronics exhibition on the occasion was extraordinarily underwhelming; I figured it was going to showcase AAs from Tiana’s Bayou Journey and the brand new Frozen points of interest. I feel that Disney hasn’t achieved an awesome job at producing hype for TBA, largely as a result of they squandered lots of the chance by specializing in stuff ancillary to the attraction.

However, Tiana’s Bayou Journey ended up being sidelined throughout Vacation spot D23 as a result of there have been a ton of different–arguably higher–issues to debate. So it’s robust to be “disillusioned” by the shortage of emphasis on this when what was centered on was extra attention-grabbing to me. I simply assume Disney actually must recalibrate their messaging on Tiana’s Bayou Journey. Present us extra nextgen Audio Animatronics!

12. Hatbox Ghost Materializing – Though an replace was anticipated, this will get ranked in final place (slightly than N/A) as a result of it was worse than anticipated. For one factor, Hatbox Ghost isn’t simply lacking the beginning of spook season, he isn’t being put in till after Halloween–someday in November (no date given).

For one more factor, I simply really feel unhealthy for Imagineer Daniel Joseph, who was tasked with getting up there and delivering a line about Hatbox Ghost being an sad hang-out. We’ve attended a few geeky D23 shows by Joseph prior to now, and might guarantee you that he’s one among us.

I recognize the unique motivation for bringing Hatbox Ghost to Walt Disney World as an olive department to provide the followers one thing we wish. However at this level, the corporate has given Florida followers a number of different olive branches…perhaps we’re good on them?

11. Ahsoka in Star Excursions – Ahsoka will develop into a part of Star Excursions: The Adventures Proceed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris in Spring 2024.

This nearly goes unranked for me. We bought burnt out on Star Wars and MCU some time in the past, so we haven’t seen Ahsoka on Disney+ (embarrassingly, I assumed the present was animated till like 3 weeks in the past). Some individuals appear to essentially like it, whereas others passionately hate it…so about par for the course with all issues Star Wars today. However, new Star Excursions locations is an effective factor and I’m impressed that they proceed to replace the attraction even post-Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

10. World Celebration Debut DateAddition by subtraction, child! Or one thing alongside these traces. I used to be dreading one more D23 occasion that hypes up the “countless prospects” of EPCOT and no matter different phrase soup they’d have ChatGPT generate. And sadly, that did occur throughout a later panel at Vacation spot D.

Mercifully, this nonsense was largely withheld from the D’Amaro keynote. Only a fast passing reference to the World Celebration opening in December and thus wrapping up the multi-year transformation of EPCOT. I don’t even assume he stated the phrase “CommuniCore,” which I view as factor. This has gotta be essentially the most underwhelming and anticlimactic 4-year undertaking within the historical past of Walt Disney World. Drawing extra consideration to it will’ve been a foul thought.

9. Asha from Want – What number of instances have I complained about Walt Disney World being sluggish to convey new characters to the parks or declining the advertising budgets for Disney+ reveals or films? It looks as if the message is lastly being heard. (Effectively, besides with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.) From an goal perspective when it comes to what this symbolizes, it’s larger information than it’d in any other case seem on its face.

Personally, I couldn’t care much less about assembly a face character. And actually, I’m greater than a bit bitter that Asha is showing in particular person whereas Valentino is snubbed. However I’m additionally holding out hope that Disneyland will get the large advertising finances for Want, and brings again the “working of the goats” (Google it) as a tribute to the true star of the brand new film. All joking apart, I’m actually excited for Want and hope it lives as much as the 100-year legacy of Walt Disney Animation Studios.

8. Luminous: Symphony of Us – We bought a reputation for the brand new nighttime spectacular at EPCOT and an official debut date of December 5, 2023.

On the threat of being intolerably optimistic, I like that Walt Disney World gave us completely no different particulars about Luminous: Symphony of Us. I’d argue that they overshared when it got here to each Harmonious and Enchantment. Look the place that bought us! Clearly, that wasn’t a direct results of hype…however the large disappointment I felt when watching each for the primary time definitely was not helped by the sense of anticipation.

It’s attainable that that is what Walt Disney World studying a lesson appears to be like like. Now, the why of that’s unclear. The inveterate optimist in me says it’s as a result of they know goes to be a winner with friends; they need the ‘wow’ and natural/viral advertising of individuals seeing Luminous IRL for the primary time and posting it throughout social media.

The extra pessimistic risk is that every part is coming collectively on the final minute and the artistic nonetheless isn’t agency for Luminous. I feel there’s in all probability a bit reality to each. However both method, that is the savvy transfer for Luminous: Symphony of Us, particularly after overhyping Harmonious failed.

7. Past Massive Thunder Non-Information – There are lots of causes to be optimistic in regards to the return of Bruce Vaughn to guide Imagineering. Through the D’Amaro presentation, I used to be reminded of one other: his stage presence. No offense to the opposite Imagineers who have been up there at this or different Vacation spot D23 panels, however so many different Imagineers are both proficient creatives who’re visibly uncomfortable on stage, or converse fluent PR gobbledygook.

Nothing of substance was stated in regards to the Past Massive Thunder enlargement in Magic Kingdom, however Vaughn each contextualized it and stated what lots of followers have been considering in frivolously chiding D’Amaro for the way this was dealt with eventually yr’s D23 Expo. (Clearly, this was scripted and rehearsed, however the sense of self-awareness was good to see.)

It’s fairly clear they’re nowhere close to able to announce the Past Massive Thunder enlargement, so I used to be happy that they didn’t daydream about what characters and movie franchises it may embody. Nevertheless, I used to be joyful to see that it was not less than acknowledged with the above, plus a point out of its scope and scale. This implies it is occurring, however the specifics aren’t settled and the timeline is distant. Clearly, an official announcement would’ve been finest, however what we bought threaded the needle of ‘cheap and applicable’ for me. To every their very own on that, although.

6. Soarin’ Over California Returns – This ranks fairly extremely on the deserves alone. The OG Soarin’ is best than Soarin’ Over CGI, and I’m actually joyful that different Disney followers will be capable of expertise it once more for the primary time since 2016…and even ever. (We’ve achieved it many instances throughout its restricted engagements at Disney California Journey, and can fortunately trip once more at EPCOT.)

Greater than that, it ranks extremely for what it symbolizes. It’s one factor for Disneyland to convey again one thing on a seasonal foundation–that occurs on a regular basis each single yr. It’s one other completely for the flagship trip vacation spot to do it.

Over time, I’ve misplaced depend of what number of instances somebody from inside Walt Disney World has “defined” to me why they couldn’t probably have seasonal overlays or limited-time choices like Disneyland. For the final decade, my rebuttal has been that it’s a lame excuse that perhaps would’ve handed muster years in the past, however not anymore because the Central Florida inhabitants continues to blow up and Disney Trip Membership membership grows. Past that, most first-time vacationers received’t know what they’re lacking and may very effectively find yourself preferring the factor that locals love. (Working example, Haunted Mansion Vacation.)

Seeing Soarin’ Over California return to EPCOT for a restricted run was thus an enormous shock, even when it has occurred quite a few instances at Disneyland. It’s fairly unprecedented for a nonetheless new(ish) attraction to get replaced by an overlay–and on the final minute after vacationers have already booked journeys. It’s unattainable to say whether or not this displays a paradigm shift, nevertheless it’s signal that, taken with different information, leaves me extremely optimistic.

5. Zootopia Tree of Life Present – I like It’s Powerful to Be a Bug. Or slightly, the thought of it. I really don’t watch it that usually–just about simply after I have to kill time at Animal Kingdom (e.g. I’m achieved with the park nevertheless it’s nonetheless too early to Hop to EPCOT).

That cuts to a part of why that is so shocking–that Walt Disney World would announce vital investments in not one, however two stage reveals at Vacation spot D. The opposite motive is that this successfully takes Zootopia out of play for Animal Kingdom, which is big information and really a lot wonderful by me. (Sentiment I’ll come to remorse when it’s time for enlargement at DHS and Zootopia: Sizzling Pursuit is taken off the desk!)

4. Pirates of the Caribbean Tavern – That is one other piece of stories alongside those self same traces. Though our publish about this Pirates of the Caribbean lounge likened it to Oga’s Cantina, there’s one important distinction: demographics. The “Star Wars Bar” appeals to an enormous section of most of the people–just about anybody who has ever dreamed of visiting Mos Eisley Cantina (lots of people).

A lounge based mostly on Pirates of the Caribbean is way more area of interest, aimed squarely at diehard Walt Disney World followers. That is Disney exhibiting as soon as once more that it views the theme parks as their very own mental property, and views Walt Disney World followers as a definite demo to whom it’s price catering. If this have been nearly that candy, candy meals & beverage income, Disney may’ve introduced a bar themed to Kingdom of Planet of the Apes as a tie-in to subsequent yr’s sure-to-be-awesome film.

3. Nation Bear Musical Jamboree Reimagining – Sure, that’s proper, this ranks #3 for me–and comes very near claiming #2. I do know lots of Nation Bear Jamboree followers are huge mad about this, and I can empathize to a level with that snap emotional response. If that continues to be the angle after additional consideration, they’re lacking the forest for the bushes.

That is already turning into an extended publish, so I ought to in all probability circle again to this subject with one other editorial, as extra background about this reimagining is beginning to trickle out. (I believe there’s extra to return, too!) The underside line is that this new can also be much like the Soarin’ and Pirates of the Caribbean lounge bulletins, even when it seems like a intestine punch at first.

Suffice to say, this was the perfect final result of the particular attainable plans for CBJ and by a large margin. Not your or my want record, however what the Walt Disney Firm really would have spent cash to do with this area within the yr 2023. I may rant for 1000’s of phrases about this–and possibly will–however for now, I’ll simply say that some CBJ followers are a bit out of contact. It’s greater than a small miracle that the Nation Bears are sticking round in any respect. I’m not saying it’s important to prefer it, however you do need to inhabit actuality.

2. Take a look at Monitor 3.0 – I cherished Take a look at Monitor 2.0 when it debuted, and thought it was a big replace and enchancment to the unique Take a look at Monitor. However time has achieved it no favors. Not solely has it aged poorly and now attracts unfavorable comparisons to TRON Lightcycle Run, however there’s completely nothing memorable in regards to the attraction. Even I’ve to confess that the unique Take a look at Monitor had way more nostalgic enchantment!

From that perspective, Take a look at Monitor 3.0 might be the information with the least draw back and most upside. To the extent that an replace to an thrilling E-Ticket could be, it’s in all probability the sleeper hit of all the Vacation spot D23. Just about every part that anybody loves about Take a look at Monitor (the thrills) will probably be staying, so there’s little or no threat of this reimagining “messing up” what individuals like in regards to the present trip.

Not solely that, however Take a look at Monitor will get an replace impressed by World of Movement! That’s thrilling information that’s, as soon as once more, aimed squarely at longtime Walt Disney World followers. Whereas it stays to be seen precisely what which means, it’s trigger for optimism. Take a look at Monitor 3.0 is a low-floor, high-ceiling sort of undertaking…and one being paid for by another person, so it’s not even coming on the expense of one other (greater precedence) Walt Disney World undertaking! Win-win!

1. Tropical Americas at Animal Kingdom – That is what Disney listening to you appears to be like like! After final yr’s tease of Moana and Zootopia, there was lots of detrimental suggestions. If I didn’t know any higher, I’d assume that perhaps that was purposeful, with Parks & Resorts and Imagineering wanting or needing some “ammunition” to nix the Zootopia land plans.

That is one other one which’s in all probability deserving of its personal publish. Partly as a result of I “missed” the dialog that occurred within the feedback and I feel there’s lots that’s deserving of rebuttal, clarification, or simply additional dialogue. Partly as a result of I’ve heard extra because the announcement, and it bodes effectively for the Encanto and Indiana Jones ideas which can be supposedly simply “into consideration.”

Within the meantime, I’ll say that identical to Nation Bear ‘Musical’ Jamboree, the Tropical Americas is the perfect final result of the particular attainable plans for Dino-Rama. It’s not what I’d’ve greenlit if I have been in cost (that’d be an really superior dinosaur land), nevertheless it’s the perfect case state of affairs of the believable pitches. (I’d’ve been down with an Oceania space centered round Moana, however not along with Journey of Water. They need to’ve grasp deliberate that higher from the start.)

I don’t understand how anybody can hearken to the entire above bulletins and are available away disillusioned. Any single piece of stories from the highest 4 alone would’ve been the highest story–far and away–at any previous Vacation spot D23. I’ve been attending or protecting the Florida-based D23 occasion since Walt Disney World’s fortieth Anniversary in 2011, and I feel the argument might be made that the information from this one Vacation spot D23 surpasses the entire earlier ones mixed.

My greatest criticism with Vacation spot D23 is that they didn’t focus extra on Tiana’s Bayou Journey, or really present us Audio Animatronics in particular person. Within the grand scheme of issues, that’s a fairly minor quibble given the entire floor that was coated (and it’s actually simply extra about getting their priorities again on monitor with TBA).

It’s not simply the substance of the bulletins–though that’s fairly robust. It’s what was stated and unsaid, the way it was approached, and the subtext of the information. For me, all of that’s much more vital. Presumably larger than it must be, however I’ve good motive for this attitude.

I’ll admit that I’m nonetheless bitter about Walt Disney World’s fiftieth Anniversary. That after in a lifetime milestone ought to have been a celebration of the Trip Kingdom of the World, however felt extra like a advertising marketing campaign for the Disney+ streaming service. For a lifelong fan, the shortage of emphasis on historical past and the wealthy legacy of Walt Disney World was extremely disappointing.

The final year-plus has felt like Disney recognizing and tacitly admitting that they tousled. Not simply that, however endeavor measures to repair these errors. They added the Walt Disney pre-show to Enchantment in direction of the tip of its run, scrapped Harmonious, introduced again Fortunately Ever After, launched Hatbox Ghost, and reintroduced Figment.

All of these bulletins have been made eventually yr’s D23 Expo, and mirrored significant change in considering and willingness to be extra conscious of friends. As we identified on the time, it was an vital philosophical change for the Florida parks–a giant win that in all probability went unnoticed by lots of the identical followers who additionally complained in regards to the underwhelming fiftieth.

Within the time since then–effectively actually, within the time since Chapek’s ouster–we’ve additionally seen the identical with Iger and D’Amaro each immediately tackle visitor satisfaction. The start of the yr introduced 3 Massive Modifications at Walt Disney World to Enhance Visitor Expertise & Worth. Just a few months later got here the announcement of 5 Main Enhancements for 2024 at Walt Disney World. These are good begins, and even acknowledging there’s an issue is greater than we’ve seen prior to now.

The 2023 Vacation spot D23 bulletins additional bolstered that there’s an inside drive to be conscious of Walt Disney World followers. Take into consideration what number of of those bulletins wouldn’t even register with an off-the-cuff viewers in the event that they have been shared on Good Morning America or no matter. A redone trip based mostly on World of Movement? A Barker Hen? “Beloved” bear Audio Animatronics who sing? Bringing again an previous model of a trip…based mostly on California…to Florida?! A huge purple dragon returning because the grand finale!!!

The entire presentation could be borderline incoherent in case you’re only a common client of mainstream popular culture–and Disney Parks are more and more coated in that style. However in case you’re a diehard fan? The substance of this Vacation spot D23 presentation was completely tailor made for you. Each in substance and magnificence.

To that time, the matters that weren’t coated or that got minimal consideration was fascinating. Little or no about Tiana’s Bayou Journey, CommuniCore Corridor, Luminous: Symphony of Us, and so forth., doesn’t imply that these issues aren’t going to occur–they very a lot are! It simply means there was a calculated design to not make them the emphasis, and possibly for good motive. Identical goes with little or no of substance for Disneyland–it doesn’t imply {that a} summer time of leisure received’t be introduced, it simply means this wasn’t the venue or viewers for it.

In the end, I left Vacation spot D23 feeling a lot the identical method that I did after final yr’s D23 Expo: with a renewed sense of optimism about the way forward for Walt Disney World. It’s seemingly an unpopular opinion at this level, however I nonetheless really feel that Josh D’Amaro listens, cares, and will get followers–and what makes us love Walt Disney World. I feel this slate of bulletins vindicates that viewpoint, as this was lots of “we’re listening” fan-centric information.

With that stated, I may recognize the frustrations that exist. A lot of you need to flip again the clock to 2019, undoing the entire harm of the Chapek period. Otherwise you need to see Disney come out swinging, with a blockbuster response to Common’s Epic Universe. To a sure extent, I agree with that sentiment. The corporate is aware of that main funding in Walt Disney World is nice enterprise and one thing that wants to be achieved, but they’re nonetheless slow-rolling it. However I additionally get that Parks & Resorts doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and there are (sadly) different the reason why all of that $17 billion of funding in Walt Disney World can’t and received’t be introduced all of sudden.

Regardless, I be ok with each the near-term and long-term future. There’s nonetheless a ton left on my want record, however the bulletins that have been made have been all not less than constructive or impartial information, and when is the final time that has occurred at one among these occasions?! My general grade for the D’Amaro presentation can be an A- or B+ for Walt Disney World information, with it various relying upon the way you construe the Encanto and Indiana Jones part of the Tropical Americas bulletins–as concrete or nonetheless being into consideration.

Planning a Walt Disney World journey? Find out about inns on our Walt Disney World Accommodations Critiques web page. For the place to eat, learn our Walt Disney World Restaurant Critiques. To economize on tickets or decide which sort to purchase, learn our Ideas for Saving Cash on Walt Disney World Tickets publish. Our What to Pack for Disney Journeys publish takes a novel take a look at intelligent objects to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Trip Guides will assist. For complete recommendation, the perfect place to begin is our Walt Disney World Journey Planning Information for every part it is advisable know!


What are your reactions to the varied bulletins for Walt Disney World on the 2023 Vacation spot D23? What has you most and least excited? Have been any of those bulletins downright unhealthy or detrimental information, in your view? Something you’re hoping does not find yourself coming to fruition? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments? Any questions we might help you reply? Listening to your suggestions–even while you disagree with us–is each attention-grabbing to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas beneath within the feedback!

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