The 2015 D23 Disney Parks and Resorts Panel did not disappoint with several well-known rumors being confirmed along with some new ones that were quite the surprise!
Coming in early 2016, Season of The Force will be a new seasonal event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland featuring completely new experiences not seen before at Star Wars Weekend.
Most notably, Disneyland’s Space Mountain will receive a seasonal overlay called Hyperspace Mountain, which will be themed to the Star Wars films and be a part of an X-wing fighter battle.
Opening later this year, Star Wars Launch Bay will take guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and Disneyland park in California into the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as the first six films in the Star Wars saga.
In addition Star Tours: The Adventures Continue will be updated with new scenes from the new Star Wars film!
A completely unique and new land will be added to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Land! Two brand new attractions will be featured.
A currently unnamed family roller coaster will zip and zoom, plunge and coast as it takes guests on a thrilling, toy-filled adventure throughout the new land on the back of Slinky Dog.
Rivers of Light is expected to open in Animal Kingdom in spring 2016, extending the park hours into the later evening for the first time in the park’s history.
James Cameron also made a personal appearance to talk about the new “Avatar” themed land in Animal Kingdom: Pandora.
While no major specifics were given about the boat attraction in Pandora, they did say that Animal Kingdom will become a full-day park with these new additions.
Kilimanjaro Safaris was confirmed to be getting its long awaited sunset tours. Special lighting will recreate the setting sun into the darkness. Two new animals will be added: hyenas and African wild hogs.
Not a shock to many theme park fans who follow the rumor mills, Soarin’ Over The World will debut in 2016 at both Epcot and Disney’s California Adventure.
Stan Lee also made a surprise experience at the D23 Expo. He brought along footage of the new Iron Man Experience opening at Hong Kong Disneyland.
However, the highlight of the presentation was when Bob Weis took the stage to talk about Shanghai Disneyland.
Encouraging D23 attendees to get their passports ready, the new Shanghai Disneyland, opening in 2016, will be the most impressive Disney theme park yet.
The artwork and animation for the new Tron Lightcycle attraction look absolutely incredible!
Roaring Mountain is shaping up to be one of the tallest structures in all of Shanghai and will feature a mythical animatronic beast that will come close to “biting your head off.”
Pirates of The Caribbean will be featured in its own unique land that will have original attractions, shows and dining opportunities.
Want to see dozens more great photos of Shanghai Disneyland concept art and models? Click this link to check out their show floor space at the D23 expo!
A HUGE thank you to the Stephen and Tiffany from the Extended Queue Podcast for all these photos! Check them out over on iTunes, follow them on Twitter and like their Facebook Page! They cover everything from what it’s like to work in a theme park to past attractions like Alien Encounter and the Wonders of Life at Epcot. And yes, they will also be doing a podcast on the 2015 D23 Expo!