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With the recent announcement of Universal’s new theme park. The newest gate announcement since 1999 for the Disney competitor, does that set the stage for an even bigger announcement from Disney?
Is Disney going to finally announce that fifth gate?
What can we expect from D23 in Anaheim that starts on August 23?
We have some answers and a lot of speculation for you on all of that. So much in fact, that we had to turn this into a two part series. Let’s jump right in.
D23, Disney’s bi-annual convention where The Walt Disney Company takes center stage for worldwide announcements regarding what is coming to all of the Disney parks as well as every other aspect of the company, is taking place in Anaheim, California from August 23 to August 25.
This convention is where Disney typically makes the biggest announcements for the company and especially for the future of their theme parks.
With the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World coming up in 2021 and the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company in 2023, we have high hopes and even higher expectations from the worldwide leader in theme parks and film.
First things first, let’s get this out of the way. This article is what we hope, expect and believe will happen/be announced at D23. This post is full of predictions, assumptions and our thoughts.
Here is what we know we will be hearing more about at D23.
We know that Epcot is gearing up for a massive overhaul of nearly the entire park. From the entrance to World Showcase and pretty much everything in between, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow is getting a brand new look.
Currently under construction is the entrance area and parking lot area with scrim up around the Monorail exit and entrance to the park. The monoliths on the right side of Spaceship Earth have already been removed and removal for those on the left side is set to begin on August 6.
Scrim and walkways are under construction in future world and between the Land and the spine where the new water and floral elements and beer garden will be located.
Several new attractions are also currently under construction. Guardians of the Galaxy, which is going in where Ellen’s Energy Adventure once stood and the new Ratatouille attraction in the France pavilion are underway.
We fully expect to learn even more about what to expect from the Epcot overhaul currently taking place and the even larger amount of work scheduled to begin in September of this year.
We expect to see new and updated renderings and perhaps a full-scale model of what Epcot will look like once the work is complete. We also expect to hear more about what Spaceship Earth will look like following the massive ride renovation set to begin in January 2020.
In addition, we anticipate an official announcement and first looks and details regarding the Brazil pavilion coming to Epcot, with an expected opening timeline of 2022.
Marvel Themed Lands:
New Marvel themed lands have already been announced for Disneyland California Adventure, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong. There are a few caveats to the construction and naming of these new lands. Under the agreement Disney signed to acquire the rights to Marvel, they cannot actually name a park using the word “Marvel”. We are likely to find out what the name of these new lands will be and see some additional details fleshed out regarding even more details than what we have already learned.
Due to the agreement Disney signed to get the rights to Marvel, Disney cannot build a Marvel themed land east of the Mississippi for at least the next four years. Disney purchased Marvel Entertainment in 2009, however, the rights to the characters in theme parks at the time did not transfer to Disney in their purchase. The current contract remains with Universal and will not expire for the next four years.
Bringing a Fifth Gate to Walt Disney World:
The biggest of the big announcements are likely to come from the 90 minute presentation that takes place on August 25. This is where, if we are going to get an announcement of a fifth gate at Walt Disney World, it will likely happen. Any new land coming to the existing parks are likely to be announced here as well.
Do we expect a fifth gate announcement at the 2019 D23 convention? Drum roll please…. Maybe. I know, I know, that was anti-climactic but hear us out. If Walt Disney World is going to get a fifth gate and it is going to be open in time for the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company, which would be the ultimate way to celebrate such a milestone, that announcement will have to come at this year’s D23.
For those who are confused and wondering what the heck a fifth gate means. It’s a fifth theme park for Walt Disney World. We believe a fifth gate is in the works and if it is Disney’s goal to have said gate open in time for the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company in 2023 and there is no possible way that Disney, the perfectionists that the are and the amount of time, accuracy and detail that goes into lands, attractions and most certainly entire theme parks could not be done in two years. It would have to come at the 2019, D23 if Disney is planning to do it and would want to use this opportunity and platform to make the announcement.
It would also come on the heels of the official announcement that Universal is building a new theme park. The first for them since 1999. Walt Disney World has not opened a brand new theme park since 1998, with the opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We encourage you to read our blog post highlighting the announcement Universal recently made for Universal’s Epic Universe, the newest theme park coming to the Orlando area.
Walt Disney World Monorails:
One really important item that we hope, expect, anticipate, want to hear about, that hasn’t been receiving the buzz from the Disney community is the future of the Walt Disney World Monorails. The current Monorail trains in service at Walt Disney World are past their 30th birthday. That makes them the oldest Monorail trains in existence for Disney. The typical lifespan for these types of trains, the Bombardier Mark VI, is around 20 to 25 years.
When the trains were purchased, these trains cost Disney $3.5 million. There are currently 12 trains running for Disney. In today’s dollars, the trains would cost around $8 million per train and Disney would most likely replace the entire fleet. That’s a lot of money but for the second most utilized Monorail system in the world, it’s an investment Disney will eventually have to make and a worthwhile investment for the company.
We are hoping for a new announcement regarding the iconic Disney mode of transportation and the replacement of the old trains with shiny new ones at this year’s D23.
Be sure to be on the lookout for part two of this series and even more exciting information on what we can expect and are hoping for at the 2019 D23 expo.
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