The announcements were part of a slew of updates given by Bob Chapek, Disney’s chairman of parks, experiences and consumer products, during Destination D, a gathering of the D23 fan club, at Disney’s Contemporary Resort on Saturday. His speech included details about Epcot additions and shows as well as other happenings at Hollywood Studios.
Galaxy’s Edge, scheduled to open in the fall of 2019 in Florida and in the summer at Disneyland in California, is touted as an all-immersive experience that eventually will extend into a specialized “Star Wars” themed hotel. Chapek showed film footage of construction, some interiors and a computerized simulation of the finished land, all set to original music composed by John Williams, who was revealed to be working on the project with Disney.
The “Star Wars” land and its adjacent hotel constitute “the most immersive experience we’ve ever created,” Chapek said. “Think of it like a cruise aboard one of the most luxurious starships in the galaxy.”
On Rise of the Resistance, visitors will be taken hostage. “When your rescue team arrives you’ll end up in a full scale battle between the First Order and the Resistance, facing off with none other than Kylo Ren himself,” Chapek said.
Chapek’s speech, which last about 40 minutes, revealed names and plans for nighttime spectaculars at Epcot. The current Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, is scheduled to wrap up next year. It will eventually be replaced by a lagoon show listed as “a worldwide celebration of Disney music.” Highlights from the show, presented as in its earliest stages, showed characters from “Moana,” “Brave,” “Dumbo,” “Mulan,” “Tangled,” “Hercules,” “Peter Pan,” “Pocahontas” and “Frozen,” among others.
That show is expected to debut in 2020, Chapek said, and in between those spectaculars will be a limited-time evening show called “Epcot Forever,” which will concentrate on music from that theme park’s attractions, past and present.
Other Epcot developments shared Saturday included the addition of a “Beauty and the Beast” singalong in France, the name of the previously announced Ratatouille ride (Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure) and updated footage for the “O Canada” film.
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a new nighttime show called “Wonderful World of Animation,” will debut on the park’s Chinese Theater on May 1. It will be part of the 30thanniversary of Hollywood Studios.
Chapek said Disney is “just about one year away” from opening Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride inside the Chinese Theater, which previously was the home of the Great Movie Ride.
Other bits from Chapek’s speech:
• The 900-unit hotel being constructed where the River Country stood will be called Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Lodge.
• Mickey’s Soundsational Parade will return to Disneyland in January.
• Interactive moments in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be achieved through the Play Disney Parks app.
• A capsule that will be part of the Disney Skyliner gondola transport system was displayed. The Skyliner is scheduled to open next fall.
News Source: Orlando Sentinel.