Wednesday, October 4, 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 plenty of information throughout his presentation, “A Celebration of Disney Parks, Experiences and Merchandise: Yesterday, At the moment and Tomorrow.” This ‘report card’ ranks the entire bulletins for Walt Disney World, and grades the keynote as a complete.

To be blunt, I feel I watched a distinct presentation than many Walt Disney World followers. For those who thought the bulletins had been lame or weak for the Florida parks, this is likely to be the improper put up for you. Not less than, 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 buddies who had 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 suppose it’s the kids/everybody else who’s improper, 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 had 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.

Except ‘Emotional Leisure,’ the whole lot on that listing occurred. (Luminous: Symphony of Us just isn’t sufficient to rely for the leisure prediction. The fabric a part of that was a Summer time Nightastic model season of leisure with new, returning, or reimagined spectaculars. That didn’t happen.)

Our prior Vacation spot D23 Want Listing did include rather a lot extra (together with a reimagining of Journey Into Creativeness for just like the seventh consecutive D23 occasion), but it surely additionally famous that it was “overtly optimistic–if even 25% of this finally ends up coming to fruition, I’ll be very blissful.” 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 had 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 possibly 1-2 newsy objects per 12 months. 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. Every thing 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 only some nuggets of reports concerning 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 reasonably than opening, and followers had been optimistic a few larger slate of bulletins. And there was not less than some foundation in actuality for that. Lots 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 had been increased than regular for a Vacation spot D23 occasion.

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

N/A. Moana’s Journey of Water Opening Date – This one was an inevitability, and one thing would’ve needed to have gone horribly improper 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 apparent crowd-pleasing transfer, low-hanging fruit epitomized. I might’ve most popular the Figment Finale be official affirmation of a Journey into Creativeness reimagining, however I’m not shocked 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 good 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 executed an important job at producing hype for TBA, largely as a result of they squandered plenty of the chance by specializing in stuff ancillary to the attraction.

Alternatively, 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 “disenchanted” by the dearth of emphasis on this when what was targeted on was extra attention-grabbing to me. I simply suppose 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 (reasonably 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 an additional 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 up to now, and might guarantee you that he’s considered one of 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 would like. However at this level, the corporate has given Florida followers a number of different olive branches…possibly we’re good on them?

11. Ahsoka in Star Excursions – Ahsoka will grow to be 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 obtained 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 folks appear to actually like it, whereas others passionately hate it…so about par for the course with all issues Star Wars nowadays. However, new Star Excursions locations is an efficient 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 strains. 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 suppose he mentioned the phrase “CommuniCore,” which I view as factor. This has gotta be probably the most underwhelming and anticlimactic 4-year venture within the historical past of Walt Disney World. Drawing extra consideration to it will’ve been a nasty thought.

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

Personally, I couldn’t care much less about assembly a face character. And truthfully, I’m greater than a little 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 and marketing price range 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 obtained 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 might argue that they overshared when it got here to each Harmonious and Enchantment. Look the place that obtained us! Clearly, that wasn’t a direct results of hype…however the large disappointment I felt when watching each for the primary time actually was not helped by the sense of anticipation.

It’s attainable that that is what Walt Disney World studying a lesson appears 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 company; they need the ‘wow’ and natural/viral advertising and marketing of individuals seeing Luminous IRL for the primary time and posting it throughout social media.

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

7. Past Massive Thunder Non-Information – There are plenty of causes to be optimistic concerning 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 had 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 communicate fluent PR gobbledygook.

Nothing of substance was mentioned concerning the Past Massive Thunder growth in Magic Kingdom, however Vaughn each contextualized it and mentioned what plenty of followers had been pondering in flippantly chiding D’Amaro for a way this was dealt with ultimately 12 months’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 growth, so I used to be happy that they didn’t daydream about what characters and movie franchises it might embrace. Nonetheless, I used to be blissful 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 greatest, however what we obtained threaded the needle of ‘cheap and acceptable’ 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 blissful that different Disney followers will be capable of expertise it once more for the primary time since 2016…and even ever. (We’ve executed it many occasions throughout its restricted engagements at Disney California Journey, and can fortunately journey once more at EPCOT.)

Greater than that, it ranks extremely for what it symbolizes. It’s one factor for Disneyland to deliver again one thing on a seasonal foundation–that occurs on a regular basis each single 12 months. It’s one other fully for the flagship trip vacation spot to do it.

Over time, I’ve misplaced rely of what number of occasions 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 possibly 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 gained’t know what they’re lacking and would possibly very nicely find yourself preferring the factor that locals love. (Living proof, 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 occasions 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 inconceivable to say whether or not this displays a paradigm shift, but it surely’s signal that, taken with different information, leaves me extremely optimistic.

5. Zootopia Tree of Life Present – I like It’s Robust to Be a Bug. Or reasonably, the thought of it. I truly don’t watch it that usually–just about simply once I must kill time at Animal Kingdom (e.g. I’m executed with the park but it surely’s nonetheless too early to Hop to EPCOT).

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

4. Pirates of the Caribbean Tavern – That is one other piece of reports alongside those self same strains. Though our put up about this Pirates of the Caribbean lounge likened it to Oga’s Cantina, there’s one vital 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 primarily based on Pirates of the Caribbean is rather 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 had been nearly that candy, candy meals & beverage income, Disney might’ve introduced a bar themed to Kingdom of Planet of the Apes as a tie-in to subsequent 12 months’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 plenty 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 attitude after additional consideration, they’re lacking the forest for the timber.

That is already turning into an extended put up, so I ought to in all probability circle again to this matter with one other editorial, as extra background about this reimagining is beginning to trickle out. (I believe there’s extra to come back, too!) The underside line is that this new can 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 listing, however what the Walt Disney Firm truly would have spent cash to do with this house within the 12 months 2023. I might 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 must inhabit actuality.

2. Check Observe 3.0 – I liked Check Observe 2.0 when it debuted, and thought it was a big replace and enchancment to the unique Check Observe. However time has executed it no favors. Not solely has it aged poorly and now attracts unfavorable comparisons to TRON Lightcycle Run, however there’s completely nothing memorable concerning the attraction. Even I’ve to confess that the unique Check Observe had rather more nostalgic enchantment!

From that perspective, Check Observe 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 might be, it’s in all probability the sleeper hit of the complete Vacation spot D23. Just about the whole lot that anybody loves about Check Observe (the thrills) can be staying, so there’s little or no threat of this reimagining “messing up” what folks like concerning the present journey.

Not solely that, however Check Observe 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 meaning, it’s trigger for optimism. Check Observe 3.0 is a low-floor, high-ceiling form of venture…and one being paid for by another person, so it’s not even coming on the expense of one other (increased precedence) Walt Disney World venture! Win-win!

1. Tropical Americas at Animal Kingdom – That is what Disney listening to you appears like! After final 12 months’s tease of Moana and Zootopia, there was rather a lot of destructive suggestions. If I didn’t know any higher, I’d suppose that possibly 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 put up. Partly as a result of I “missed” the dialog that occurred within the feedback and I feel there’s rather a lot 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 nicely for the Encanto and Indiana Jones ideas which are 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 might’ve greenlit if I had been in cost (that’d be an truly superior dinosaur land), but it surely’s the perfect case state of affairs of the believable pitches. (I might’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 take heed to the entire above bulletins and are available away disenchanted. Any single piece of reports 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 overlaying the Florida-based D23 occasion since Walt Disney World’s fortieth Anniversary in 2011, and I feel the argument may very well be made that the information from this one Vacation spot D23 surpasses the entire earlier ones mixed.

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

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

I’ll admit that I’m nonetheless bitter about Walt Disney World’s fiftieth Anniversary. That when in a lifetime milestone ought to have been a celebration of the Trip Kingdom of the World, however felt extra like a advertising and marketing marketing campaign for the Disney+ streaming service. For a lifelong fan, the dearth 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 enterprise 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 had been made ultimately 12 months’s D23 Expo, and mirrored significant change in pondering and willingness to be extra aware of company. As we identified on the time, it was an necessary philosophical change for the Florida parks–an enormous win that in all probability went unnoticed by lots of the similar followers who additionally complained concerning the underwhelming fiftieth.

Within the time since then–nicely actually, within the time since Chapek’s ouster–we’ve additionally seen the identical with Iger and D’Amaro each immediately handle visitor satisfaction. The start of the 12 months introduced 3 Massive Modifications at Walt Disney World to Enhance Visitor Expertise & Worth. A number of 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 up to now.

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

The entire presentation is likely to be borderline incoherent in the event you’re only a common shopper of mainstream popular culture–and Disney Parks are more and more coated in that trend. However in the event 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 many others., 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 purpose. Similar goes with little or no of substance for Disneyland–it doesn’t imply {that a} summer season of leisure gained’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 manner that I did after final 12 months’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 plenty of “we’re listening” fan-centric information.

With that mentioned, I may recognize the frustrations that exist. Lots of you need to flip again the clock to 2019, undoing the entire injury 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 executed, 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 explanation why all of that $17 billion of funding in Walt Disney World can’t and gained’t be introduced unexpectedly.

Regardless, I be ok with each the near-term and long-term future. There’s nonetheless a ton left on my want listing, however the bulletins that had been made had been all not less than optimistic or impartial information, and when is the final time that has occurred at considered one of these occasions?! My total grade for the D’Amaro presentation could 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 accommodations on our Walt Disney World Inns Critiques web page. For the place to eat, learn our Walt Disney World Restaurant Critiques. To economize on tickets or decide which kind to purchase, learn our Ideas for Saving Cash on Walt Disney World Tickets put up. Our What to Pack for Disney Journeys put up takes a novel have a look at intelligent objects to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Journey Guides will assist. For complete recommendation, the perfect place to begin is our Walt Disney World Journey Planning Information for the whole lot you should 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 destructive 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 once 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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