Every little thing we discovered at Disney’s parks panel on the 2022 D23 Expo

A masked family walks past Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

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Disney’s theme parks are recovering after the coronavirus pandemic closed their domestic and international locations in 2020.

Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Products division is growing in revenue and the company is seeing steady increases in visitor numbers, room nights occupied and cruise ship travel.

During its most recent earnings, Disney announced that its new Genie+ and Lightning Lane products helped boost average ticket revenue per capita for the quarter. These new digital features have been introduced to curate the guest experience and allow park-goers to skip-the-line at major attractions.

The company said it’s been able to bring back in-park experiences like character meet-and-greets, theatrical performances and nightly events at Disneyland, which has allowed it to increase capacity at its parks, CEO Bob said Chapek back then. Since reopening after the first round of pandemic closures in early 2020, Disney has limited visitor numbers and introduced a new online reservation system to help control crowds.

The company continues to add new features and attractions to its theme parks and cruise lines, which Josh D’Amaro, director of Disney’s parks, experiences and products division, outlined at its D23 Expo on Sunday.

Disneyland resort

D’Amaro welcomed The Mandalorian Executive Producer Jon Favreau on stage to announce that the Mandalorian will be appearing domestically with an animatronic grogu in Galaxy’s Edge as part of his costumed characters, used for meet-and-greets and interactions are available. He arrives in November.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced Friday that California-based Disneyland will be getting a third attraction on its Avengers campus. The ride is based on the multiverse and drivers will fight against villains from different universes including King Thanos.

Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige appeared in person, while Mark Ruffalo, who portrays the Hulk, appeared via video to reveal that Hulk will be at the park as part of a meet-and-greet opportunity. Developed as part of Project Exo, the version of Hulk will arrive at the park next week.

(LR): Jonathan Becker (Research and Development Imagineer), Josh D’Amaro (Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products), Richard-Alexandre Peloquin (Research Engineer Imagineer).

Christian Thomson

Pacific Wharf at Disney California Adventure is transformed into San Fransokyo from Big Hero Six and offers a chance to meet Baymax, the helpful health robot. Also, the Paradise Pier Hotel will become the Pixar Place Hotel.

Downtown Disney will add several new restaurants including Porto’s Bakery and Cafe and Din Tai Fung.

Disneyland’s Toon Town land is getting a version of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction from Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida, along with a number of cosmetic updates and a new children’s playground. These updates are expected in 2023.

Tiana’s bayou adventure, replacing Splash Mountain, is set directly after the events of Princes and the Frog and follows Princess Tiana on her quest to find a missing ingredient for a carnival party. The ride is scheduled to reopen in late 2024.

A model of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which will reinvent Disneyland’s Splash Mountain, is on display during the Walt Disney D23 Expo on September 9, 2022 in Anaheim, California.

Patrick T Fallon | AFP | Getty Images

D’Amaro said music will be a big part of the ride and the film’s cast will return to lend their voices to the attraction. Anika Noni Rose, the voice of Tiana, took to the stage to sing “I’m Almost There” and “Dig a Little Deeper” from the 2009 animated film.

Walt Disney World

D’Amaro announced that Disney is in the process of creating a new nighttime extravaganza for Epcot to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary. Additionally, Journey of Water, inspired by “Moana” announced back in 2019, will open in late 2023.

Also coming to Epcot is Figment, the fan-favorite purple dragon, who will return to the park for meet-and-greets in the future.

Also, the Hatbox Ghost will appear in the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World next year.

D’Amaro shared footage of his test ride of Tron Light Cycle Run, noting that the ride at Magic Kingdom is scheduled to open in Spring 2023.

Disney cruises

Disney’s sixth cruise ship is called “Treasure” and celebrates Walt Disney’s spirit of adventure. The Great Hall is inspired by Aladdin and features a statue of Jasmine and Aladdin riding the magic carpet.

D’Amaro said the Disney “Wonder” will now travel to Australia and New Zealand starting in October 2023.

The company is also opening a new island resort in the Bahamas called Lighthouse Point. D’Amaro said that 90% of the electricity consumed at this site is provided by solar power.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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