D23 Expo 2017 Summary – Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios

“We are going to show you things that no one has seen outside the walls of our studio.”

That was the promise from John Lasseter—Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer, not to mention a onetime Jungle Cruise skipper—at the start of this afternoon’s presentation in Hall D23 at D23 Expo 2017. Wearing a signature Hawaiian shirt featuring characters from all of the films he’s worked on, John took to the stage accompanied by a “spirit squad” brandishing T-shirt shooters, which they used to lob tees to a crowd who couldn’t have been more eager to find out what’s next for Disney’s three animation studios.

In the coming months and years, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, and Disneytoon Studios will roll out a slate of films that feature familiar faces (and voices) and new characters fans are sure to love. “I’m so excited about our upcoming movies; they are all hilarious, emotional, beautiful, and make you think,” Lasseter said. “It’s a great mix of incredibly creative and surprising new worlds and characters and stories we love returning to. Our filmmakers are putting so much heart into these films—I can’t wait for people to see them.”

Today’s presentation included surprise appearances from the filmmakers and voice talent behind the studios’ upcoming films, exclusive clips, and unforgettable moments that only happen at D23 Expo. If you’re a fan of Disney animation—and aren’t we all?—here are the films that are bound to exceed all Expo-tations!

Untitled Disneytoon Studios Film
According to Lasseter, the folks at Disneytoon Studios aim to elevate storytelling to new heights—literally—with their yet-to-be titled film that explores the future of aviation. Lasseter previewed a “speed test” for fans, and revealed that the film—which is directed by Klay Hall and Bobs Gannaway and produced by Ferrell Barron—opens in theaters on April 12, 2019.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure
We were already shivering in anticipation of this new 21-minute Frozen holiday featurette, opening on the big screen in front of Disney•Pixar’s Coco on November 22, 2017. Kristen Bell returned to the Hall D23 stage for 2017 with an animated clip from the film that audiences would be seeing “for the first time in forever.” The 6,800 fans in Hall D23 let out a collective “Awww” when they saw their frosty friend Olaf once again, followed by a collective gasp when “audio problems” threatened to cut the clip short. Help was close at hand, however, as Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf, was waiting in the wings to surprise the crowd with a live performance of a new song from the featurette, “That Time of Year,” from Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson (who have provided four new songs for the featurette). The full cast is back for Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, including Idina Menzel as the voice of Elsa and Jonathan Groff as the voice of Kristoff. Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton (Prep & Landing) direct, and Oscar® winner Roy Conli (Big Hero 6) produces.

Frozen 2
We have to wait a big longer to learn the final title for the sequel to the 2013 blockbuster Frozen, but the creative team is hard at work on the film, which opens on November 27, 2019. In addition to the returning cast, Frozen directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee and producer Peter Del Vecho are also headed back to Arendelle. Fans were treated to a behind-the-scenes video from a recent research trip the filmmakers took to Norway, Finland, and Iceland.


Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2
Director Rich Moore told D23 fans that the Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 filmmakers knew they had to go “somewhere big” in the follow-up to the film that he described as “a love letter to video game arcades.” That turned out to be the Internet. John C. Reilly is returning to voice Ralph, and Jack McBrayer will again lend his vocal talents to the role of Fix-It Felix. Sarah Silverman—Vanellope von Schweetz—joined Moore and director Phil Johnston on the Hall D23 Stage, and they introduced a new character, Yesss (all those esses are meant to be there). You’ll be hearing Golden Globe winner Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures, Empire) as the character. According to Moore, “If it’s cool, if it’s trendy, if it’s now, Yesss has discovered it and shared it with the world.”

Fans were treated to a “break the Internet” moment in Hall D23, with the debut of a scene from the film that pays homage to the Disney Princesses like never before. After revealing that the original voice actresses behind the Princesses were asked to reprise their roles for the sequence, in an historic, only-at-Expo experience, Auli‘i Cravalho (Moana), Kristen Bell (Anna in Frozen), Kelly MacDonald (Merida in Brave), Mandy Moore (Rapunzel in Tangled), Anika Noni Rose (Tiana in The Princess and the Frog), Irene Bedard (Pocahontas), Linda Larkin (Jasmine in Aladdin), Paige O’Hara (Belle in Beauty and the Beast) and Jodi Benson (Ariel in The Little Mermaid) came together for the largest gathering of Disney Princesses ever.

With Oscar® winner Clark Spencer producing, Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 opens in theaters on November 21, 2018.

Incredibles 2
Lasseter has been waiting for this film “since before there was a D23,” he said, prior to showing a look at the character people have been talking about since the film’s release: Edna Mode. Featuring fashion luminaries such as Zac Posen, Rachel Zoe, Heidi Klum, Kendall Jenner, the video takes a fun look at what the fashion world thinks of the diminutive designer:

Edna Mode Tribute Video

Director Brad Bird (who voices Edna Mode) joined Lasseter on stage, and presented clips that showed off the new animation technology filmmakers are using to bring the super-family to life in the sequel. Actors Craig T. Nelson (Mr. Incredible), Holly Hunter (Mrs. Incredible), Sarah Vowell (Violet), and Samuel L. Jackson (Frozone) were reunited on the Expo stage, joined by newcomer Huck Milner (the voice of Dash). Incredibles 2 is slated to open on June 15, 2018.

Toy Story 4
Josh Cooley, who joined Pixar in 2003 as an intern in the story department on Cars, joined Lasseter on the stage, who revealed that Cooley (who directed the Riley’s First Date? short) has assumed full director responsibilities for Toy Story 4. D23 Expo attendees were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at a day in Cooley’s life at the Pixar headquarters in Northern California and at the making of Toy Story 4, which is slated to open in theaters on June 21, 2019.

Untitled Dan Scanlon Movie
“D23 has become the place to announce new films—which we’re going to do right now,” Lasseter said. Monsters University director Dan Scanlon revealed a few details about a new, original feature in production at Pixar Animation Studios. The untitled film is based on a personal story for Scanlon, who lost his father when he was very young. The director has always wondered, “Who was my father?” The story is set in a world with no humans—only elves, trolls, and sprites—“anything that would be on the side of a van in the ’70s,” said the director. “In the film, we’re going to tell the story of two teenage elf brothers whose father died when they were too young to remember him. But thanks to the little magic still left in the world, the boys embark on a quest that will allow them a chance to spend one last magical day with their father.” Kori Rae (Monsters University) will produce.

Coco
The last film of today’s presentation, but, happily, the next animated film to be released by Disney, Cocoopens in theaters on November 22, 2017. Director Lee Unkrich, co-director and screenwriter Adrian Molina, and producer Darla K. Anderson gave the audience a first look at a clip from the film, which introduces Miguel, who dreams of becoming a musician like his hero, Ernesto de la Cruz, but whose family long ago banned music. A fateful decision leads Miguel to the Land of the Dead. Molina said, “In the end it’s a story about the importance of family, honoring your ancestors, and following your dreams.”

Music is an important part of Coco, and Unkrich promised that the film will feature both traditional Mexican music and new songs created just for the film, as well as a score from Oscar®-winning composer Michael Giacchino (Up, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). The song “Remember Me” was written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, with additional songs co-written by Germaine Franco (Dope, Shovel Buddies) and Molina. Also part of the team is musical consultant Camilo Lara of the music project Mexican Institute of Sound.

The presentation ended with a grand finale, the first-ever public performance of “Remember Me,” performed by Anthony Gonzalez, (who voices Miguel in the film) and Benjamin Bratt, who lends his voice to Ernesto de la Cruz. They were joined by more than 160 performers, including Grammy®-winning Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea and Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles under the direction of Kareli Montoya, and the Grammy-winning Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band. Orange confetti that filled the air suggested the film’s stunning bridge of marigold petals, making a magical, memorable finish to an unforgettable afternoon.

New Theater Inspired By Kansas City’s Willis Wood Theater To Debut at Walt Disney World

A new venue for world-class entertainment is coming to Main Street, U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom Park in Florida. And a first look at the new theater was just unveiled minutes ago at D23 Expo 2017.

If the image of the theater looks familiar, that’s because the new entertainment venue will be based on the iconic Willis Wood theater in 1920s Kansas City, where Walt lived after he left Marceline. And as you can see from the design, it’ll fit well right off Main Street, U.S.A.

“Across Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, we’ve been upping the game in Entertainment with shows like Frozen Live at the Hyperion,” Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts said. “It’s been a huge hit at the Disneyland Resort, and I’m sure many of you have seen it. This new theater at Walt Disney World continues that streak by bringing a new venue for world-class entertainment to the world’s biggest park.”

Ratatouille Attraction Coming to Epcot’s France Pavilion

A new attraction inspired by Disney•Pixar’s “Ratatouille” attraction is coming to the France Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase.

The new attraction will expand the France pavilion and will be similar to the 4Ratatouille: The Adventure which opened at the Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris in 2014.

Guests will be to shrink to Remy’s size and scurry to safety in a dazzling chase across a kitchen with the sights, sounds and smells of Gusteau’s legendary Parisian restaurant.

According to Disney leaders, both attractions will open in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort in 2021.

New Transportation Options Coming to Walt Disney World

A brand new transportation system is coming to the Walt Disney World Resort to add even more magic to your future vacation experiences.

Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts announced at D23 Expo 2017 that the Disney Skyliner will soon give guests a bird’s-eye view of Walt Disney World Resort.

The transportation system will connect Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century and Caribbean Beach resorts and other locations with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot. And many of the gondolas with Disney Skyliner will feature favorite Disney characters.

Another new transportation service featuring vehicles themed to the one-and-only Minnie Mouse was also announced during the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts presentation at D23 Expo 2017.

“Since we’re all about exceeding guest expectations and making every aspect of your vacation uniquely Disney, we’re creating a new point-to-point transportation service in a way that only Disney can do,” Bob said.

The Minnie vehicles will take you everywhere you want to go at the Walt Disney World Resort, and you’ll ride in Minnie’s classic style.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Attraction Officially Opening in Epcot’s Future World

Disney announced at D23 Expo 2017 that a “Guardians of the Galaxy”-inspired attraction will be coming to Future World, replacing the Universe of Energy.

Epcot’s brand new E-ticket attraction will be based on the rockin’ and action-packed world of “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

No further details were announced other than that it would open by 2021, in time for the 50th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort.

The Universe of Energy will have its last day of operation on August 13 2017.

New Adventures Begin at Mission: SPACE in August

Mission: SPACE at Epcot has been a must-do for guests since it opened in 2003, allowing space adventurers to become navigators, pilots, commanders or engineers on a thrilling trip to Mars.

And as it was announced at the D23 Expo, in just a few weeks, guests will be able to enjoy new adventures at Mission: SPACE – an updated Orange Mission and a brand-new Green Mission. (Orange is the more intense training experience, while Green is less intense).

The updated Orange Mission will make an even more visually stunning trip to Mars, while the all-new Green adventure will allow guests to blast off for an orbital adventure around planet Earth.

Chef Mickey’s Relocation to Convention Center Cancelled

Three weeks ago we had reported that Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort would be moving to the resort’s convention center due to the restaurant needing some unplanned maintenance.  Walt Disney World has now announced that Chef Mickey’s will no longer be temporarily relocating to the convention center in late July.

The maintenance that was scheduled expected to begin on July 28th and last through August 13th has now been cancelled, and the restaurant will be operating as normal.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Announced as Name for Star Wars Lands

On Saturday at D23 Expo 2017, Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, revealed the official name of the Star Wars-inspired lands that are currently under construction at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, and shared details on the immersive experiences guests will be able to enjoy when the lands open in 2019

The lands, both called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, will allow guests to visit a remote trading port on the edge of wild space, where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life – and where guests will find themselves in the middle of the action.

The lands will feature two major attractions that put guests in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Each attraction – and even the land itself – will offer guests the chance to immerse themselves in the Star Wars universe like never before.

One attraction will make you feel like you’re on a Star Destroyer inside a hangar bay. It’s an attraction built on a scale we’ve never done before.

The second attraction will give guests the opportunity to fly the Millenium Falcon, piloting the ship, shooting blasters or preparing for hyperspace – all while completing a critical mission. But how you perform on the mission holds even bigger stakes: perform with skill and you may earn extra galactic credits, while bringing the ship back banged up could put you on the list of a bounty hunter. End up on Harkos’s list and you may face a problem if you show up at the local cantina!

Guests will also encounter many familiar faces inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, including BB-8, Chewbacca, members of the First Order and – among many others – Rex, the troublesome pilot you may remember from the previous version of a certain Disney attraction who takes on a new role in this land as the DJ at the cantina.

And speaking of the cantina, here guests will be able to try unique concoctions like blue milk. Nearby, they’ll also be able to acquire trinkets and treasures from across the galaxy.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open in 2019, first at the Disneyland Resort and later in the year at the Walt Disney World Resort. (No further opening dates have been announced yet.)

Disney Plans Unveils for Star Wars-Inspired Themed Resort at Walt Disney World at D23 Expo

After a busy exciting week at Disneyland and the D23 Expo I’m finally back.  Over the next few days I will be publishing summaries of most of the major announcements and made during D23 Expo.

The first will be the announcement of a Star Wars-inspired themed resort at Walt Disney World.”

Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, confirmed that a Star Wars-inspired resort will debut as part of the new Disney 360 vacation concept.

According to Chapek, this revolutionary new vacation experience will be a living adventure that allows guests to immerse themselves in an entirely new form of Disney storytelling.

“It’s unlike anything that exists today.” Bob said. “From the second you arrive, you will become a part of a Star Wars story! You’ll immediately become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with characters, stories, and adventures that unfold all around you. It is 100% immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day, and it will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits.”

Stay tuned for updates as Disney announces them.

Disney MaxPass to Debut July 19 at Disneyland Resort

Today the Disneyland Resort announced that Disney MaxPass will launch July 19 at the Disneyland Resort! Disney MaxPass will help guests to maximize their experience at the Disneyland Resort by providing unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads from the day, and by enabling the convenience of mobile Disney FASTPASS booking and redemption times while in the theme parks through the Disneyland App. If guests are not already registered for a Disney account, registration is fast and simple. Download the app and follow the prompts to register for an account.

Disney MaxPass will be offered for an introductory price of $10 a day. Guests may purchase Disney MaxPass when they purchase their ticket, or as an add-on through the Disneyland App once they enter either theme park. Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders also will have the option of purchasing Disney MaxPass for the life of their current passport for $75. Signature Plus passholders will receive Disney MaxPass at no additional cost, as part of their annual passport entitlement.

Since Disneyland announced Disney MaxPass in January, they have added two additional Disney FASTPASS locations at Toy Story Mania and Matterhorn Bobsleds, bringing the total number of attractions to 16. Guests will continue to have the option of Disney FASTPASS service at no additional cost by obtaining a Disney FASTPASS return time with their park admission ticket at attraction Disney FASTPASS kiosks.

The introduction of Disney MaxPass is part of Disney’s ongoing commitment to providing guests with opportunities to customize their experiences and make it even easier than ever to create unforgettable memories.

Guests are strongly advised to check the day’s FASTPASS ticket availability and other Park details before purchasing Disney MaxPass or using a Park ticket with Disney MaxPass as FASTPASS tickets for your preferred attractions may not be available at the time of purchase or use. FASTPASS tickets are limited and availability is not guaranteed. FASTPASS tickets may be obtained only while you are in the Parks and may not be available for entertainment through Disney MaxPass. An experience that does not have Disney FASTPASS availability at a kiosk will not be available using Disney MaxPass. The Disney MaxPass benefit will expire at the end of the day or when the Passport it is associated with expires, as applicable. Disney MaxPass is nonrefundable, nontransferable, may not be redeemed for cash and is subject to other restrictions. Price, terms, entitlements, attractions and entertainment are subject to change or cancellation without notice. Passholders who purchase the Disney MaxPass benefit may not use the value of any separate ticket media toward the purchase price of Disney MaxPass.

 

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