This weekend was the Destination D23 event at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and there was TONS of news.
Just in case you weren’t able to hop on the livestream from the event, we’ve put together a list of the BIGGEST news drops you might have missed! And there was a lot of big news, from returning shows to a preview of the “real” lightsaber, so let’s get started!
Disney World Shows
Fantasmic! is returning to Disney World in 2022! The fan-favorite nighttime show will be back in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and it won’t be exactly the same. Disney announced that an entire segment of the show will be replaced with new characters, stunt performers, animation, and more!
We know that it will return in 2022 but Disney has not yet released WHEN in 2022. We’ll be watching closely for more updates!
Festival of Fantasy Parade
The Festival of Fantasy Parade will be back in Magic Kingdom in 2022! This parade features favorite Disney characters like Mickey and Minnie, Disney Princesses, Peter Pan, and more.
Like with Fantasmic!, we don’t have an official timeline yet but Disney did confirm that 2022 is the year for the regular daytime parade’s return!
Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire
In addition to a daytime parade, Magic Kingdom will also be getting an updated Cinderella Castle stage show! Previously this show was called Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire, and it will now be called Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire.
The previous castle show would be performed several times throughout the day on the Cinderella Castle Stage. We do not yet know details about the changes in this show or when it will debut, so keep reading DFB for more updates!
Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade
Magic Kingdom is getting a new cavalcade! The Disney Adventure Friends cavalcade will debut in early 2022 with the most characters ever seen in a Disney cavalcade. Some of the new characters include Clarabelle, Toy Story characters, Elena, Moana, Merida, Miguel, Baloo, and even Nick and Judy from Zootopia!
You’ll be able to catch this new cavalcade a few times a day once it debuts, and we’ll be on the lookout for an official date announcement from Disney!
Finding Nemo Musical
Disney also gave us some updates about the Finding Nemo musical show returning to Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Disney recently announced that the show would be reimagined with a new story but still retain some fan-favorite songs. The reimagined musical will be named Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond and it will be based on the story of Finding Dory, set at the Marine Life Institute.
Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond will debut in Animal Kingdom in 2022, and we can’t wait to see how it turns out!
Disney World Rides
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Update
We have an opening timeline for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in EPCOT! While Disney had already announced that the new indoor roller coaster would open in 2022, we finally got the date a bit more narrowed down. Cosmic Rewind will open in EPCOT in Summer 2022!
Cosmic Rewind will be one of the longest indoor roller coasters in the world, with unique ride vehicles that can spin around so you don’t miss a single detail! We also learned that Xander Gallery will be part of the ride queue…
…and Glenn Close will reprise her role of Nova Prime for the new ride.
We can’t WAIT for this new ride and Summer 2022 isn’t that far away!
Walt Disney World Railroad Update
The Walt Disney World Railroad also received an update, with the Number 1 Engine now refurbished. The Walt Disney World Railroad has been closed in Magic Kingdom since 2018, when it closed due to construction on TRON: Lightcycle Run in Tomorrowland.
There is no official opening timeline yet but we’re looking forward to seeing the Number 1 Engine’s fancy new makeover.
Disney World Restaurants
Connections Cafe and Eatery
Big news! There’s a new quick service restaurant coming to EPCOT’s World Celebration neighborhood called Connections Cafe and Eatery. Disney shared concept art of what looks like a really bright and colorful space!
As soon as we have more details about Connections Cafe and Eatery, you know DFB will share it all with you right here.
Fantasmic! and World of Color
Disneyland got a whole bunch of news! Nighttime shows Fantasmic! and World of Color are both returning to Disneyland Resort. In 2022, guests will be able to catch Fantasmic! at Disneyland Park and World of Color in Disney California Adventure.
Both of these nighttime spectaculars will return in 2022, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for official return dates!
Downtown Disney Expansion
Downtown Disney is getting a major expansion with a multi-year project to add more dining, shopping, and a big, open green area. The AMC Downtown Disney Theater will be demolished and replaced by this new expanded area.
We continue to wait for more updates about Disney’s plans to expand Disneyland parks, resorts, and Downtown Disney with the DisneylandForward proposal.
MagicBands Coming to Disneyland
It’s happening — Disneyland is getting MagicBands! The new MagicBand+ is currently scheduled to debut in Disney World in 2022, and they will also be sold in Disneyland at a future time. The new MagicBand+ will have interactive features like vibrating haptics, lights, and even gesture recognition, and there will be some differences between how the MagicBand+ operates in Disney World and Disneyland.
We don’t yet know if the MagicBand+ will release in Disney World and Disneyland at the same time but we’ll be looking out for more updates!
DVC Tower in Disneyland
Disney released some new concept art of the upcoming Disney Vacation Club Tower in Disneyland! This 12-story tower is currently being built next to Disneyland Hotel, especially for DVC members. With 350 villas, there will also be a new pool, an interactive play area, an outdoor bar, a community hall, and a fitness center. And the outside of the tower will have Tinker Bell details — can you spot the pixie dust?
The theming of this hotel is all about artistry, inspired by Disney animators. You’ll find lots of details of original art, sketching, and more around the hotel.
We’re excited to learn more about this new hotel, so keep reading DFB for more updates!
Hey Disney! Voice Assistant
In a partnership with Amazon, Disney is adding a voice assistant to Disney hotel rooms, and we learned that the Hey, Disney! voice assistant is also coming to Disneyland hotels! This service will be available on compatible Amazon Echo devices, and you can ask for info about the parks, guest services, hotel amenities, the weather, set alarms, and more.
This service will be FREE for Disney hotel guests on both coasts, rolling out sometime in 2022. We can’t wait to try it out!
Technology is really expanding in Disney Parks! With Disney’s Project EXO, this new technology will allow performers to wear elaborate exoskeleton costumes without bearing weight on their shoulders or backs. With a pneumatic assist at key joint areas, the exoskeleton weight goes to the legs instead of the back.
Disney will also begin 3D printing muscles, so we can probably expect some hyperrealistic costumes in Disney Parks soon!
Robot Baby Groot
We also got another sneak peek at Robot Baby Groot, which is currently in development with Disney Imagineers. At Destination D23, Josh D’Amaro, Disney Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, shared a preview of Robot Groot interacting with him and waving.
As of right now, there are no plans for Robot Groot to be placed in Disney Parks, but we’re excited to see how this new technology might be able to change how we interact with characters in the future!
“Real” Lightsaber Preview
And we got another look at the REAL lightsaber! Disney Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Josh D’Amaro, gave us a LIVE preview of the lightsaber. And yes, it is amazing.
This lightsaber will not be sold in the Star Wars hotel, but we’re interested to see where this new technology goes in Disney Parks.
And that’s all the BIG news from Destination D23. What piece of news are you most excited about? Keep checking back with DFB as we wait for more announcements from Disney!
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What are you most excited about for the future of Disney Parks? Tell us in the comments!