It was only 2 short years ago at the last D23 Expo that we were blown away when rumors came true about the Star Wars Hotel, a Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster, a TRON Roller Coaster, and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway replacing the Great Movie Ride.
Now we are only days away from the 2019 D23 Expo and we’re waiting on the edge of our seats to find out what exciting new enhancements and upgrades are coming to the Disney Parks. I thought it was appropriate then to create a list of the Top D23 Expo Rumors to whet your appetite while we’re waiting.
Before we get into all the good stuff, if you are looking for D23 Expo General Info, then we made a huge guide with schedules, ticket information and everything you need to know.
Now I know these projects are only rumors at the moment, but last year the list we made was quite long, but still the great majority of things actually came true. We correctly guessed: a Illuminations Replacement show, the TRON and Guardians roller coasters, a Marvel Land in Disney California Adventure, the Disney Skyliner, Club 33 in Disney World, a Star Wars Hotel the Ratatouille ride and a Mickey ride in Hollywood Studios.
That’s not to say all the rumors came true last time. We’re still waiting on a Journey Into Imagination replacement (more on that later), and a Mary Poppins attraction in Epcot, but the rumors right before the Expo are a good indicator of some of the things that we can expect to be announced.
Now I’m sure we’re going to get some new information on all the attractions they already announced last time, and a lot of those things are going to be on display in the Disney Parks Imagining Tomorrow, Today pavilion on the show floor. Make sure to stop by and check it out.
However my favorite part of every Expo are the brand new announcements about new attractions and park enhancements both in the Domestic and International Disney parks.
There are so many rumors out there right now it’s hard to keep track of everything, and the Disney has been really hush-hush about it all in the recent months, even more so than before the last D23 Expo. I feel like Disney has really been trying to keep a tight lid on the announcements this time around, so it’s hard to know for sure what will get confirmed
Just to be clear, I don’t have any inside info from any Disney execs, and these D23 rumors are still unconfirmed. Some of them probably won’t get announced here or at all, but some of them have very strong legs and it’s only a matter of time before Disney makes the announcement. My goal is to look at all the rumors and talk about which ones I think we might hear about and which ones we won’t.
Also In this post we’re going to focus on rumored announcements related to the Disney theme parks mostly, not the films. I’ll have separate articles about all the Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar-related stuff I thin we’ll hear about. I thought the best way to organize this list was to put everything in order of park location, that way it’s easy to keep track of.
For sure there will be some BIG announcements made that we really have no idea about yet, and that’s what makes it so fun and exciting. So here are my Top 2019 D23 Expo Rumors…
Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration
Disney will definitely be making announcements about their plans for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World at D23 Expo 2019. The rumor that’s been going around for years looking ahead to 2021 is that Disney will do 50 “Magical Enhancements” to Disney World for the 50th anniversary.
These enhancements could include new attractions, but will most likely be small refurbishments to the existing rides and shows to bring them up to date and fix any of the existing problems. Things like broken animatronics, new effects, paint jobs…things like that will probably be the focus.
That’s not to say we won’t get new rides announced for the parks, but if they are a part of the 50 enhancements they will be a small part, the majority will be smaller things.
Since we do have the 50th anniversary coming up, Disney’s Magic Kingdom should be a big part of the improvements with a lot of changes in the coming years.
There are a lot of rumors, but nothing concrete and solid to grab hold of. Disney could make a number of different moves here and maybe ones that we haven’t thought of yet either. Most of the E-Ticket attractions are old and in need of upgrades to keep them up-to-date.
Really the only thing we are sure of at this point is that a TRON roller coaster is getting built in Tomorrowland and the front gate security check/entrance is being totally re-done to make it a faster and smoother guest experience. We will probably get an update on TRON and maybe some more concept art, but seeing as how the attraction already exists in Shanghai, there isn’t much Disney can announce to surprise us here.
There has been some unprecedented banter lately between Disney and another fan website for rumors to the Country Bear Jamboree and Enchanted Tiki Room, but Disney has shot down those rumors. Supposedly the Country Bear Jamboree was going to close and get a Toy Story make-over, while the Tiki Room would be getting Moana with either small additions to the current show or a total overhaul. Again though, it would be highly unlikely we hear anything about those projects as Disney has made it clear those changes aren’t happening.
Outside of those there are a few others that seem possible. It’s been well over a year since Stitch’s Great Escape was closed in Tomorrowland (not that I’m complaining) yet there has been no updates about the long term future of that space. For a while it looked like Wreck-It Ralph was coming in there, but it didn’t turn out to be as big of a franchise as Disney was hoping and it looks like they’ll go a different way now. Will we find out which way that is?
First in Fantasyland It’s a Small World might be getting some Disney characters added, much in the same way they are in the Disneyland version. I wouldn’t hate this change, but I think it’s important they add them in the same Mary Blair style the current characters are. Let’s hope it takes less than the 10 months the Disneyland version was closed for.
Disney recently refurbished the Tomorrowland Speedway track, but the cars are in serious need of an upgrade. I don’t think they’ll say anything but it would be nice to learn something about the long term future of this ride.
Finally getting a Nighttime Parade to return to the Magic Kingdom is #1 on a lot of guests’ minds and I think this one has a good chance of getting announced. There’s really no reason why the crown jewel of the theme park capital of the world doesn’t have a nighttime parade and hopefully D23 Expo 2019 is where that gets cleared up.
If we are really thinking pie-in-the-sky rumors, there’s always a rumor about a new ride coming to Adventureland. For a while it was a Moana-themed version of the Fire Mountain coaster, but nothing has materialized from that as it was deemed too scary for MK guests. While it would be awesome to hear about a new E-Ticket attraction besides TRON, I don’t think we’re gonna get that for the Magic Kingdom this year.
Epcot is going to be at the center of the Parks, Experiences and Products presentation as Disney has already said they will be showcasing all the changes coming to Future World and World Showcase. Let’s talk about what we know so far and what else we might learn:
Epcot’s Future World will be almost unrecognizable in a couple years from now as the whole area and layout is changing. The entrance is going to be totally different with the Leave a Legacy Monoliths taken down and a whole new design for the entrance. Maybe we’ll get more concept art for this area.
We also know that a bunch of Future World locations are closing down starting next month. The Fountain of Nations, Innoventions, Club Cool and Character Spot are all going away, but we don’t know much about their replacement. For sure Disney will be sharing more concept art and details about what’s coming in their places.
Epcot hasn’t been known to be very kid-friendly, but that is going to change. The Wonders of Life pavilion is being transformed into the Play Pavilion which will feature Disney IP aimed at the park’s younger demographic. Details are scarce so we should hear what IP’s will be included like: Wreck it Ralph, Zootopia, the Incredibles and more.
We’ll probably get an update on Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and perhaps an opening date (Summer 2020?). I really hope they show more concept art on the space I the back of the France pavilion as it has the potential to be the most beautiful area in Epcot.
New films for China, Canada and The Land Pavilion have been announced already as well as a Beauty and the Beast Sing-a-long. To top it off it would be really nice to get an update to Impressions de France too!
I’m super excited to eat in the new Space Restaurant which is being built next to Mission:SPACE, but we really haven’t heard much about it since the last D23 Expo and don’t have any more concept art, not even the official name. All of that info should be coming during the Expo.
We know that 2 Illuminations replacements are coming to Epcot, one: Epcot Forever which debuts October 1, and the second, long-term replacement we still don’t have a name for or opening date. What kind of technology will these new shows utilize? We’re sure to find out at the Expo.
That was quite an exhaustive list of changes that we already know are coming to Epcot, but what about what we don’t know? Here are the ones that are getting the most attention:
A replacement for Journey Into Imagination was something I was pretty sure about getting announced 2 years ago, but here we are at the 2019 D23 Expo and we still haven’t heard anything. Yet the rumors persist and insiders are adamant that Figment’s ride is on the chopping block. The only question is whether he will appear in the replacement attraction. Here’s hoping he does and is a big part of it.
A pavilion for a New Country in World Showcase is a rumor that never dies, even though we haven’t had a new country since 1988. Over the last couple years the countries discussed included Spain, India, and the most likely of the group, Brazil. The latest rumors don’t include an attraction but we’d still be happy to sit down at an all-you-can eat Brazilian Steakhouse! I think this one is better than 50/50 and I just have a feeling it’s time Epcot does add a new country to World Showcase.
One of the bigger and definitely more exciting projects would be a big refurbishment to the Spaceship Earth ride. This wouldn’t be a simple show scene update but a much bigger project that would change some of the scenes, the queue, pre-show and post-show. If this is happening, the Expo would be a great place to let us know about it!
One of the more popular rumors over the past couple years has been a Mary Poppins-theme ride in the UK pavilion. This seemed like it would definitely happen, but a disappointing box office from Mary Poppins Returns seems to have cancelled those plans. Could we hear about this at D23? Maybe something different in that space?
Lastly in the far-out category, a few months back we saw rumors online about The Land and The Seas pavilions getting completely removed with new buildings coming in their place. Well in a similar to the Country Bear Jamboree and Tiki Room, these rumors were shut down quickly by Disney. Some think they could still happen, but there is no real evidence of that so don’t get your hopes up in hearing anything about them.
Hollywood Studios has been the park getting the most attention over the past couple years with Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land coming in, but even with those changes, it still needs more.
We know Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is coming, but we still don’t know when. We’ll likely get an opening date as well as more concept art for the ride.
Toy Story Land was criticized when it opened much in part to the budget cuts, reducing the quality of the final product. Disney has already seen the need for an upgrade, and they announced the Roundup Rodeo BBQ to try to add to the dining options back in April. We might hear more about this, including if it’s going to have any show elements to it.
Originally when Galaxy’s Edge was being planned, it had a sit-down restaurant with a show element incorporated into it. Most likely due to budget constraints it got put on hold for the first phase of Galaxy’s Edge, but now it seems that a Star Wars Restaurant is back on the table in the works. Seeing as the media is bringing down Galaxy’s Edge lately for low attendance in Disneyland, it would make sense for Disney to announce something else to give it a boost.
Fantasmic! is due for an upgrade in Hollywood Studios and it would be a big upgrade to the nighttime entertainment there.
These next 3 are less likely than the first one, but would be big upgrades for the Studios. An expansion pad is available for one more new attraction in Toy Story Land, but would Disney pull the trigger on this yet? Most likely not. For now we’ll probably just see Roundup Rodeo BBQ come in and have further expansion sometime in the future.
Supposedly once Galaxy’s Edge is complete, attention in The Studios will go toward the area that is now occupied by the Star Wars Launch Bay, Voyage of the Little Mermaid and the offices and cast member area located behind there. There is A LOT of real estate back there and logically would be perfect for another themed land. The long-time rumor is Monsters Inc. with a like-themed roller coaster, but nothing solid has come out about it in years. Is this the time Disney shares their plans?
We know that Disney still has big plans for the Indiana Jones franchise, and they have been debating how best to use him in the parks. Some rumors have pegged him in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but the most recent ones have him coming to Hollywood Studios instead. Would it be a re-do fo the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular or a totally new attraction? We might find out soon…
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is not super high on the priority list for Disney right now as it’s in relatively good shape with Pandora: The World of Avatar becoming a huge success with guests. However that doesn’t mean Disney should just sit back and do nothing. There are a few interesting rumors for the park, but very little details or substance and mostly blue sky at this point.
The only thing we know is changing is the entrance to the park. It’s getting a new tram drop-off point and the entrance will be more convent for guests. Nothing exciting but necessary.
This is where we get into more uncharted territory. Dinoland USA is one of the more unpopular lands among Disney fans and it’s been rumored to go bye-bye for years now. With the recent troubles that Primeval Whirl has could this area be re-themed to let’s say South America? If Indy doesn’t end up in Hollywood Studios, this would be another likely landing place for him.
Seeing that the newest version of The Lion King has already brought in over $1.3 Billion at the Box Office and is one of, if not the strongest franchise in the company, it would make sense to work it into the parks more. One rumor is that we could see a Lion King dark ride come into Animal Kingdom. I would absolutely love that but we haven’t heard much about it so I don’t know how realistic it is. It would be good to strike while the iron is hot though.
Pandora: The World of Avatar has been a smashing success and there is still one more expansion pad connected to that land which could fit another attraction. Seeing that Disney has already announced 4 more Avatar films in production, it’s 100% that we’ll be seeing a new ride in Pandora at some point. A new ride here would be based on something from the new films though so we will most likely have to wait a couple of years for the announcement.
Lastly we can wonder what is going to happen long-term with Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Yes they just did some refurbishment to it recently, but it’s nothing substantial and you still have to figure there is a longer-term plan for that land. Since a Zootopia land is coming to Shanghai, it could also make sense here. I think it’s a long shot for D23, but hearing about a future project in the area would be amazing.
Besides the current resorts being built in Walt Disney World (The Cove, Riviera Resort, Reflections and Star Wars Hotel) there hasn’t been much noise recently about any other new hotels. A new resort could be announced, but most likely we’ll just hear more about the existing projects.
There are a couple rumors about dining changes coming to some resort restaurants. We already know about the Beauty and the Beast-themed bar coming to Mizner’s Lounge in the Grand Floridian, but some unconfirmed rumors are Citricos changing into a Victoria and Albert’s Bistro or an Incredibles Steakhouse taking over The Wave. I guess those are possible but they are nothing more than rumors at this point.
I don’t know if they’s talk about it at the Expo, but it seems pretty sure that we’ll be getting a new Electric Water Pageant at some point. This would be the perfect spot for drones since it’s over a lake and it’s only a matter of time before new changes come.
Lastly let’s talk about the possibility of a new Resort on the Seven Seas Lagoon. Rumors about a new resort here have been going on for decades, but due to the land being unstable for building, nothing has gotten past the planning stage. I don’t think we’ll see this announced, but that would certainly be big-time news.
Last year was a big year for Disney transportation announcements as we found out about the Minnie Vans and the Disney Skyliner. Could we get more this year?
I don’t have to tell you what bad shape the Walt Disney World Monorail system is in and really how much longer can we go when the currently model is from 1989?? It would be great to hear about a new monorail system, but sadly I don’t think we’ll get that this time.
Another possibility that’s been circulation around now for a couple years are self-driving cars at both domestic resorts. The infrastructure is already in some areas of the Disney World property, but is the technology in the cars/buses ready yet?
Disneyland/Disney California Adventure
There haven’t been as many potential announcements for the Disneyland Resort as in Disney World, but there are a couple big ones.
We know that a Marvel Super Heroes Land is coming to Disney California Adventure, but details about it have been slow coming out. Thankfully that will will one of the main points in the Disney Parks show pavilion where they will get into more details about it. The Spider-Man attraction, Ant-Man micro-brewery and the Doctor Strange show all look like they are happening, but we don’t have a date yet. It was supposed to be 2020, but it’s looking more and more like 2021 all the time.
Even though the Hollywood Studios version isn’t open yet, Disney has already announced a version of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway for Disneyland Park to be put into Toontown. When is it coming and what differences will it have?
There is still at least one big E-Ticket attraction coming to the Marvel Land we have heard absolutely nothing about, and that’s the Avengers Coaster. Supposedly there were problems with the revolutionary ride system and they had to go back to the drawing board. Let’s hope they have an update at D23 as this is one of the possible attractions I am most excited for coming up.
Disney Cruise Line
Last year we didn’t get a whole lot of detail but we found out about 3 new ships coming to the Disney fleet. Since then though we really haven’t learned anything and considering that the first of those ships is coming in 2021, it’s very likely that we will hear more about those projects.
Also since the last expo Disney has purchased a new island in the Bahamas which it’s going to be used for a new “Castaway Cay-like” island. Disney hasn’t yet said anything about what is going on that island though, the theme, or if it might include a hotel where you could stay overnight. We’ll definitely hear more soon.
5th Park in Walt Disney World
I left this one for last because we are really in pie-in-the-sky territory here, but one of the rumors is a possible 5th theme park coming to Walt Disney World. You can read our article where we get more in-depth about whether a 5th Gate is possible or not. On Saturday afternoon Disney has a panel for a “Secret Walt Disney Company Project” which has lead many into speculation mode.
The timing could be right because Universal is gaining ground on Disney after they announced a 3rd theme park in Orlando (they are saying 4th including Volcano Bay) and you know Disney isn’t going to want to give up ground and be outdone by them. That’s why we are as close as ever to getting another theme park. Most likely it’s something else and not a 5th gate, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Those are my Top Rumors for the D23 Expo 2019. It’s going to be an awesome event, make sure to stay tuned to Ziggy Knows Disney as I’ll be there with live updates giving you up to the minute coverage from the D23 Expo!
- D23 Expo Guide – Everything You Need to Know about the Expo!
- D23 Expo News and Announcements – All the Announcements from the Expo
- D23 Expo First Timer Tips and Tricks – Everything you need to know BEFORE going to the D23 Expo.
- Star Wars at D23 Expo (Coming Soon)
- Marvel and Phase 4 at the D23 Expo (Coming Soon)
- Tour of the D23 Expo Show Floor (Coming Soon)
I want to know what you think about these top rumored announcements for the D23 Expo 2019…
- Which one is most likely to come true?
- What are some other announcement you would like to see made?
Let us know in the comments section below!
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