This year’s massive Disney expo, Destination D23 2023, came with an armful of updates about what Walt Disney World will look like in the future. Given that this year marks a big anniversary for the Disney brand, news from the expo was much anticipated. The updates, from Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro, included everything from new character appearances at Epcot to entirely new shows at Animal Kingdom.
Here’s what you can expect to see at Disney World in the coming years:
An opening date for Moana at Disney World
A new Moana-inspired experience at Walt Disney World now has an official opening date of October 16, 2023. Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana will feature a landscaped walking trail with opportunities to play and be amazed by water in similar ways as the animated film. The experience will be in the new World of Nature area at Epcot.
A Reimagined Dinoland U.S.A.
The iconic Dinoland is long due for an update. D’Amaro shared that the area will be reimagined into a new land, inspired by the “tropical Americas,” and the most biodiverse areas on Earth. The land will include new experiences that could be inspired by the film Encanto, which is set in the tropical mountains of Colombia, and Indiana Jones-though it has yet to be confirmed by Disney which, if either, film will be featured most in the reimagining.
A new Zootopia show
Another big update coming to Animal Kingdom? A new show based on Zootopia is coming to the Tree of Life theater at the park. The details have yet to be finalized, but will likely include getting to explore more biomes that you don’t get as much time to spend time with while watching the movie.
Bigger rides are coming to Magic Kingdom
Details here are still sparse, but expect bigger scaled rides at Magic Kingdom, similar to big rides like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios and Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom.
A new character at Epcot
On September 10, Figment began greeting guests at Epcot. He has long been the mascot of the Imagination! Pavillion, but now guests can take a photo with a living, breathing Figment at the park.
Ashoka arrives in Florida
Popular character and the titular role of the new Disney+ show Ashoka will be part of the Star Tours attraction at Hollywood Studios in 2024.
New Jamboree music
The Country Bear Jamboree will be performing new songs at Magic Kingdom. The new songs will entail Disney songs in various country genres. The cast of the Country Bear Jamboree won’t change.
World Celebration is accepting visitors
World Celebration Neighborhood will open in December 2023, at the front of the park. It will connect two other new Epcot areas, World Discovery and World Nature. This has been a multi-year project, which will include the new Moana experience and a new light show that will begin on December 5, 2023.
A new Epcot light show
The new “Luminous: The Symphony of Us” light show will begin at Epcot on December 5, 2023. The new show will be a panopticon of visual effects: fireworks, fountains, lasers, lighting effects and music.
Mexican restaurant chain Mad Mex has dropped a new protein, and it’s one of the most popular street foods in Mexico.
Enter, Chicken Al Pastor. It’s traditionally made with pork and grilled on a spinning rotisserie with a pineapple sitting a top, but Mad Mex has put its own spin on it, serving chicken bathed in an Al Pastor marinade with a touch of juicy pineapple.
You can order the protein-packed filling in your favourite burrito, bowl, quesadilla, nachos, or in a taco.
As always, these things are here for a good time, not a long time. Pop into your local Mad Mex restaurant, order delivery or through the Mad Mex app today.