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D23’s Major Disney Parks Announcements

July 17, 2017

If you were anything like me your brain was almost exploding after the Disney Parks and Resorts Panel at the D23 Expo. Sure a lot of the announcements had kind of been leaked. But hearing confirmation of the rumors was pretty cool. So here is a run down of some of the bigger announcements and our thoughts on the wheelchair accessibility possibilities.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

The official name for the new Star Wars themed lands at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios was announced. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open with two anchor attractions – one that gives guests the chance to pilot the Millennium Falcon on a customized secret mission, and one that puts guests right in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Both expansions are 14 acres each which will give you plenty to geek out on.

The concept drawing for the Millennium Falcon attraction shows guests sitting in the cockpit. Each guest is going to be given a specific task and everyone will have to work as a team to complete the mission. My guess is that this will be an attraction requiring a transfer since the ride vehicle will probably have lots of movement. My hope is that wheelchair users can get to more than one seat so you don’t get stuck with the same task each time you ride.

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Photo Credit: WDW News

The second attraction will make you feel like you’re on a Star Destroyer inside a hangar bay. Disney says “It’s an attraction built on a scale we’ve never done before.” That sounds really cool! A model of the ride vehicle was available to check out as well. It also looks like a transfer. I would guess that a few of them will have a way for the door on the side to be opened a little wider for wheelchair guests.

Photo Credit: Attractions Magazine

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.

New Attractions at Epcot

Two new attractions were announced for Epcot. The first is a Disney•Pixar’s “Ratatouille”-inspired attraction that will be added to the France Pavilion in World Showcase. It is going to be similar to the 4-D attraction Ratatouille: The Adventure that opened at the Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris in 2014. Looking at the guide map it says the attraction has a specially adapted ride vehicle where you can remain in your wheelchair. You can see a photo of it here at Little Miss Turtle.

Photo Credit: WDW News

It was also announced that a Guardians of the Galaxy inspired attraction will be added to Future World and will take the space now occupied by Ellen’s Energy Adventure at the Universe of Energy. Still working on whether or not I’m exited about it but I do hope the attraction is as accessible as the one it’s replacing.

Photo Credit: WDW News

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

This one hurts my heart a little bit. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be replacing The Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Great Movie Ride has always been a favorite of mine so I am sad to see it go. But the new attraction sounds really cool in the little bit of footage that they showed.

On Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, you’ll step through the movie screen and join Mickey and his friends like never before. The attraction will put you inside the wacky and unpredictable world of a Mickey Mouse Cartoon Short where you’re the star and anything can happen. This zany out-of-control adventure features surprising twists and turns, dazzling visual effects and mind-boggling transformations that happen before your very eyes.

I think it’s going to be something we haven’t experienced before. And it’s about time Mickey has his own attraction! Rumors say that they might use the same tracks as the Great Movie Ride. I don’t know if this means the same ride vehicles or something smaller will be added. It seems like a perfect attraction for a ride vehicle similar to Toy Story Mania.

TRON Lightcycle Power Run

I’m actually really excited about this one. I may be in the minority but I really liked TRON: Legacy. I think it fits well into Tomorrowland and I hope it means that the entire land might get makeover. TRON Lightcycle Power Run is one of the most popular attractions in Shanghai Disney. Since I may never make it there I’m glad that it will also be at Walt Disney World.

I was worried at first since the ride vehicle is made like an actual lightcycle. I figured there was no way it would be easy to experience. But I was reading Tom’s post over at Disney Tourist Blog and he says that 2 of the coaster’s 7 trains have a last row with traditional seating. This probably means that wheelchair users can transfer into those seats to experience the attraction. This will make it something like Expedition Everest which is a much easier transfer since the train sits higher than other coasters.

Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Land’s opening will be here before we know it! Slated to open in the Summer of 2018, the new land will feature two new attractions. “Slinky Dog Dash will be a family coaster attraction where you’ll zip, dodge and dash around many turns and drops that Andy has created to really make Slinky and his coils stretch to his limits.” This attraction sounds like a lot of fun. I’m sure that there will be at least one ride vehicle that has the access door for wheelchair users. I’m hoping that it is also like Expedition Everest so the transfer will be easier.

The second attraction is the Alien Swirling Saucers. It’s designed to resemble a toy play set that Andy got from Pizza Planet. The Aliens will be flying around in their saucers trying to capture your rocket toy vehicle with “The Claw.” My guess is this will be similar to the Mad Tea Party with an access door and maybe a transfer device.

Now we want to hear from you! Have you experienced the Ratatouille attraction at Disneyland Paris or the TRON Lightcycles in Shanghai?  What attraction are you most looking forward to? You can find more of our accessible attraction reviews here.

  • Jonathan
    July 25, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Can’t remember where I heard/read it, but word is that the Alien Swirling Saucers is going to be a reskinning of Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree at DCA.