Disney Rumors for September 2023
This weekend, The Walt Disney Company will host Destination D23.
Obviously, MickeyBlog will attend several of the D23 events just like we do with so many Walt Disney World and Disneyland projects.
This time hits different, though.
Disney WANTS to announce some huge developments coming to its theme parks. But it may choose not to do so for very good reasons.
So, this Disney Rumors article will evaluate Disney’s tricky position and what would qualify as meh, good, and blockbuster announcements.
Feuding in the Swamps
The state of Florida owes so much to Disney. Before Uncle Walt brought Project X to the East Coast, this area was swampland.
At times, you can still smell the swamp bubbling beneath the surface in parts of Central Florida.
All the new developments in the world cannot hide that acrid aroma.
If not for Disney, Central Florida’s landscape would appear dramatically different as other corporations were hesitant to develop here.
That’s part of the reason why the Florida Feud has never made any sense.
I’ve previously described Florida’s Reedy Creek actions as killing the golden goose, and I stand by that assessment.
Disney has functioned as the brick-and-mortar of Florida’s tourism economy for more than half a century.
The thought of additional upgrades at Walt Disney World should inject euphoria into the hearts of Florida government officials.
Sadly, as you know, it doesn’t. Instead, some of them have picked a fight with said golden goose.
Now, legislators have literally rewritten state laws to punish Disney for exercising its First Amendment rights.
We won’t relitigate that quarrel today, but its ripple effect matters.
A new board controls the newly renamed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, and its members are decidedly anti-Disney.
Previously, Disney could develop its land as it saw fit. Now, that statement may not apply…or it still might. The court system will decide.
Until then, Disney executives must evaluate a challenging predicament.
Can Walt Disney World safely invest billions of dollars in a place where it’s feuding with the government?
Disney CEO Bob Iger has stated that he intends to spend $17 billion on Walt Disney World over the next decade.
Let’s Identify the Meh Announcements
Destination D23 appears to be the ideal time to announce some of those projects. But will Disney do that?
We will find out when Disney Parks leader Josh D’Amaro hosts a parks panel called A Celebration of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
The description for this event promises “an entertaining presentation looking to the future of Disney parks, featuring updates from around the world and some fun surprises along the way.”
Obviously, that sounds like the time when Disney would reveal expansion plans.
Historically, D23 has functioned as a sort of launching pad for new themed lands and attractions. Disney caters to its fans by revealing new projects.
Last year’s D23 skirted that behavior as D’Amaro instead theorized about what lies beyond Big Thunder Mountain.
Otherwise, the most significant announcement involved a King Thanos attraction at Avengers Campus, whose details or ETA we still don’t know.
We’re hoping that Disney does better with Destination D23. However, I’d suggest that you calibrate your expectations.
Most of the biggest theme park reveals have occurred at the D23 Expo. Destination D23 is more of an off-shoot event for fans.
As such, a reasonable behavior for D’Amaro would involve something similar to what Bob Chapek did in 2018.
That’s the last time we had a Destination D23 event, and Chapek held the position of Disney Parks champion, the role now performed by D’Amaro.
In 2018, Chapek revealed tidbits about upcoming shows like Harmonious and the official name for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
Similarly, we finally learned the names of the two attractions at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
In short, Chapek didn’t announce any new projects. Instead, he merely filled in the blanks for existing ones.
That would be what I’d describe as a “Meh” batch of announcements at D23.
What I’d Call Big Announcements
Obviously, I’ve filled a year of Disney rumors with tantalizing possibilities, ones we know that Imagineers have discussed.
Most people believe that sweeping changes are coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and they’re long overdue.
Disney hasn’t added a new ride at this park since Pandora – The World of Avatar opened more than six years ago.
Speculation surrounds the current DinoLand, U.S.A. section of the park, as well as the area that lies beyond it.
Previously, Disney itself has speculated that Moana and Zootopia attractions could populate this area.
Recent photos circulating on social media have shown park officials and high-level Imagineers touring these grounds at Animal Kingdom.
Something’s up here. I consider that statement objective truth. But Disney’s tiff with Florida could complicate the issue.
Park officials could feasibly wait another year for the 2023 D23 Expo to announce this project, even if Disney started performing some of the busy work before then.
So, that’s what I would describe as a “big” set of Destination D23 announcements.
If Disney officials pot commit to new attractions in this part of Animal Kingdom, that’s a big reveal.
In fact, I’ll expand that statement to say that if Disney confirms a new ride anywhere at Walt Disney World, that’s a win.
The win grows bigger if we’re talking about an entire themed land, which is something that frankly should happen at this event.
Walt Disney World runs out of “coming soon” attractions after 2024. It needs new projects underway to entice guests to book future vacations.
A good announcement would involve Disney confirming one or more attractions, preferably E-ticket ones.
What I’d Call Blockbuster Announcements
A couple of months ago, I wrote about a stunning rumor that has gained momentum in some circles.
The gist is that Disney may fill in part or maybe even all of the water surrounding Tom Sawyer Island. Then, Disney would re-theme this space.
When Splash Mountain closed in January, I pointed out the lack of quality attractions in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom.
That’s the primary reason I give this rumor any credence at all. From that perspective, Disney needs…something here.
I’m skeptical that park officials would go this bold, but if they did, I’d definitely describe that as a blockbuster – and potentially controversial – announcement.
Similarly, If Disney flatly stated that DinoLand is closing so that Zootopia City can replace it, that’s a bombshell.
If we receive any revelation about a new themed land, Disney is disregarding its current brouhaha with Florida officials.
Developing new projects right now is more complicated than at any point during Disney’s history.
That’s why I’m bracing for a dull Destination D23 presentation regarding the future of Disney parks…but that name suggests otherwise.
My sincerest hope is that Disney goes bold here. Last year, they spoke about what lies beyond Big Thunder Mountain.
I’m ready to see what that is. Aren’t you?
Keep checking MickeyBlog this week, as we’ll have reporters at the panel. We’ll also be posting breaking news as it happens.
Also, I’ve done since 2017, I’ll provide a recap of all the highlights of this year’s event, along with my thoughts on what they signify about Disney’s future.
Folks, there is a LOT of intrigue with this year’s Destination D23. Stay tuned!
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Feature Photo: Disney