D23 Expo Highlights & My Favorite Announcements

D23 took place at the Anaheim Convention Center July 14-16 and in case you don’t know what it is, it’s like a Comic-Con but all Disney. And yes people do dress up as their favorite Disney characters too! D23 is where Disney makes lots of announcements for upcoming movies, attractions, park updates, and more. It’s one of my favorite times of the year and always have my eyes glued to the computer, hitting refresh a million times to find out what the announcements are. If you’re a Disney fan like me then you know what I’m talking about.

Check out these D23 Expo Highlights and find out what my favorite announcements are at the bottom!

Movies

COCO

Unkrich, co-director and screenwriter Adrian Molina and producer Darla K. Anderson shared details about the original story with the crowd. In theaters Nov. 22, 2017, COCO introduces Miguel, an aspiring musician whose family long ago banned music. Desperate to prove his talent and follow in the footsteps of his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, Miguel makes a fateful decision and finds himself in the Land of the Dead, where he meets his extended family and charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal). Together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.

OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE

This new FROZEN holiday featurette running about 21 minutes long hits the big-screen in front of Disney•Pixar’s COCO on Nov. 22, 2017.

INCREDIBLES 2

INCREDIBLES 2 director Brad Bird—who lends his voice to Edna—joined Lasseter on stage to welcome to the festivities the voices of Mr. and Mrs. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (newcomer Huck Milner) and Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson). Bird revealed details of the upcoming caper, which puts the family into an expanded universe that includes new allies and a brand-new villain. “‘Incredibles 2’ is really a family film, it’s just that the family happens to have super powers,” said Bird. “They may have super speed or super strength, but they experience the same problems as any family.” Disney•Pixar’s INCREDIBLES 2 hits theaters everywhere on June 15th, 2018!

RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ follow-up to 2012’s WRECK IT RALPH leaves the arcade behind, venturing into the expansive universe of the internet—which may or may not survive Ralph’s not-so-light touch. Outcasts-turned-BFFs Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) and Vanellope von Schweetz are reuniting with Fix-It Felix (voice of Jack McBrayer) and Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch). Filmmakers revealed a new character, Yesss, an algorithm who plays an important role in Ralph and Vanellope’s journey within the internet. Golden Globe®-winning actress Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) lends her voice to the character. “Yesss is a new character who owns the website Buzzaholic,” said Henson. “Yesss knows about everything cool and on trend. And she does spell her name with a triple ‘s.’ Yesss is very savvy, smart and sexy.” Produced by Oscar® winner Clark Spencer, RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2 hits theaters on Nov. 21st, 2018!

UNTITLED DISNEYTOON STUDIOS FILM

John Lasseter kicked off the presentation by announcing Disneytoon Studios’ original new animated movie, “Untitled DTS Film.” Directed by Klay Hall and Bobs Gannaway, and produced by Ferrell Barron, the theatrical feature film explores the future of aviation—taking moviegoers to the edge of discovery in the air—and beyond. “Untitled DTS Film” opens in theaters on April 12th, 2019!

TOY STORY 4

John Lasseter invited Pixar’s Josh Cooley (“Riley’s First Date?” short) to the stage, revealing that Cooley has assumed full director responsibilities for TOY STORY 4. The pair brought with them a behind-the-scenes look at a day in the director’s life at the Northern California studio. Produced by Jonas Rivera (“Inside Out”), TOY STORY 4 is slated for release on June 21st, 2019!

FROZEN 2 (TITLE TBA)

Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, and produced by Peter Del Vecho, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ feature-length follow-up to 2013’s Oscar®-winning film FROZEN is slated for theaters on November 27th, 2019! Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel and Jonathan Groff are reprising their roles in an all-new story. John Lasseter, Bell and Gad shared with FROZEN fans a behind-the-scenes video showcasing the filmmakers’ recent research trip to Norway, Finland and Iceland.

UNTITLED DAN SCANLON MOVIE

Director Dan Scanlon, who helmed Pixar’s “Monsters University,” joined Lasseter to share a few details about an all-new original feature film currently in production at Pixar Animation Studios. According to Scanlon, who lost his father at a very young age, the film is inspired by the question he’s always asked: who was my father? The story is set in a world with no humans—only elves, trolls and sprites—“anything that would be on the side of a van in the ’70s,” said the director. “In the film, we’re going to tell the story of two teenage elf brothers whose father died when they were too young to remember him. But thanks to the little magic still left in the world, the boys embark on a quest that will allow them a chance to spend one last magical day with their father.” Kori Rae (“Monsters University”) will produce.

A WRINKLE IN TIME

Meg Murry (Storm Reid) is a typical middle school student struggling with issues of self-worth who is desperate to fit in. As the daughter of two world-renowned physicists, she is intelligent and uniquely gifted, as is Meg’s younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), but she has yet to realize it for herself. Making matters even worse is the baffling disappearance of Mr. Murry (Chris Pine), which torments Meg and has left her mother (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) heartbroken. Charles Wallace introduces Meg and her fellow classmate Calvin (Levi Miller) to three celestial guides—Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling)—who have journeyed to Earth to help search for their father, and together they set off on their formidable quest. Traveling via a wrinkling of time and space known as tessering, they are soon transported to worlds beyond their imagination where they must confront a powerful evil. To make it back home to Earth, Meg must look deep within herself and embrace her flaws to harness the strength necessary to defeat the darkness closing in on them. A WRINKLE IN TIME opens in theatres everywhere on March 9th, 2018!

THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS

The film largely takes place in a strange and mysterious parallel world—home to Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. But it’s the ominous Fourth Realm where Clara must take on a tyrant called Mother Ginger as well as a gang of mice who’ve stolen a coveted key from Clara. Said Bailey, “The Mouse King is made up of thousands of mice—a cutting-edge CG creation. But we wanted him to move in a way that would be wonderfully surprising and incredibly cool, so we called on Lil Buck to provide the style of dance that defines the character. He is so talented and the way he makes this character move is unbelievable.”

Los Angeles-based dancer Lil Buck hit the stage at D23 Expo 2017 to demonstrate the kind of street dancing—called jookin—that informed the way his character moves in the film. The performance earned a standing ovation. THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS open in theatres everywhere on November 2nd, 2018!

MARY POPPINS RETURNS

P.L. Travers first introduced the world to the no-nonsense nanny in her 1934 children’s book “Mary Poppins.” However, the subsequent adventures of Mary Poppins remained only on the pages of the seven other P.L. Travers’ books…until now. MARY POPPINS RETURNS is drawn from the wealth of material in these additional books. The film also stars Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks, Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks, Julie Walters as the Banks’ housekeeper Ellen, with Colin Firth as Fidelity Fiduciary’s William Weatherall Wilkins and Meryl Streep as Mary’s eccentric cousin Topsy. Angela Lansbury appears as the Balloon Lady and Dick Van Dyke as Mr. Dawes Jr., the retired chairman of the bank now run by Firth’s character. MARY POPPINS RETURNS is directed by Rob Marshall. The screenplay is by David Magee and the screen story is by Magee & Marshall & John DeLuca based on The Mary Poppins Stories by P.L. Travers. The producers are Marshall, DeLuca and Marc Platt with Callum McDougall serving as executive producer, and the music is by Marc Shaiman with songs by Shaiman and Scott Wittman. MARY POPPINS RETURNS opens in theaters everywhere on December 25th, 2018!

DUMBO

The film stars Colin Farrell as Holt Farrier, a former circus star and war-veteran charged with the care of a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock of an already struggling circus. Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins were cast as Holt’s children, who discover that Dumbo can fly. Danny DeVito portrays circus owner Max Medici who tries to capitalize on the novelty. And Michael Keaton is persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere who swoops in with aerial artist Colette Marchant, portrayed by Eva Green, to make Dumbo a star. Katterli Frauenfelder, Derek Frey, Ehren Kruger and Justin Springer are producing from a screenplay by Kruger. Filmed entirely in England, DUMBO is utilizing state-of-the-art visual effects to portray the big-eared elephant and many of his animal counterparts. DUMBO flies into theaters everywhere on March 29th, 2019!

THE LION KING

Alan Horn joined Sean Bailey to surprise the D23 Expo crowd with a special look at director Jon Favreau’s new live-action take on Disney’s 1994 classic animated film THE LION KING. The technology team behind the movie are introducing all-new filmmaking techniques that promise striking visuals never before seen on the big screen—bringing celebrated characters to life in a whole new way.

Favreau, who was behind 2016’s blockbuster live-action remake of THE JUNGLE BOOK, joined Bailey on stage. “This is a story that belongs to everyone who grew up with the original film,” said Favreau. “I wanted to demonstrate that we could be respectful of the source material while bringing it to life using new techniques and technologies. We wanted to do something special for the D23 Expo audience and give them a first look at what we’re up to.” THE LION KING roars into theaters everywhere on July 19th, 2019!

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

In Lucasfilm’s STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of THE FORCE AWAKENS join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is written and directed by Rian Johnson. Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman are producing, with J.J. Abrams, Tom Karnowski and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI opens in theaters everywhere on December 15th!

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR

An unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR brings to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time. The Avengers and their Super Hero allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR opens in theaters everywhere on May 4th, 2018!

Sean Bailey confirmed and revealed new films underway at the studio:

MULAN

A live-action take on Disney’s 1998 feature, which will be helmed by Niki Caro (“McFarland, USA,” “Whale Rider”).

JUNGLE CRUISE

A live-action nod to the popular theme park ride. The studio is working with Dwayne Johnson, recently heard as Maui in MOANA, on the project.

ALADDIN

Directed by Guy Ritchie, with Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Will Smith as the Genie.

Disney Parks

  • Star Wars Lands will open at Disneyland in 2019 and later in that year at Disneyworld and be called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
  • TRON ride expected to be in Magic Kingdom in 2021 in time for the 50th anniversary celebration.
  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will have more hidden Mickey’s than any other attraction and the first-ever Mickey-themed ride-through attraction located in Hollywood Studios in 2021.
  • Epcot is getting a few new attractions such as the Guardians of the Galaxy ride opening 2021 and Ratatouille ride based off the 4D attraction in at Disneyland Paris.
  • Pixar will take over part of Disneyland with some changes such as the Paradise Pier changing to Pixar Pier along with new fireworks and entertainment plus Paint the Night Parade returns all starting in 2018.
  • Toy Story Land opening at Walt Disney World in 2018.
  • Mission Space will be a full-service restaurant.
  • New Star Wars luxury hotel coming to the Hollywood Studios resort area.
  • New Transportation systems at Walt Disney World featuring Minnie van point-to-point system and Skyliner to travel in between multiple Walt Disney World parks.
  • Disney’s first Marvel-themed resort hotel will open in Disneyland Paris.
  • Disney Cruise line is adding 3 new ships.
  • Disney Riviera Resort will open the fall of 2019 near Epcot.

My Favorite Announcements

Who am I kidding? All of these announcements presented at D23 Expo were my favorite but these ones stood out to me the most and I cannot wait for.

Movies

  • Coco
  • Incredibles 2
  • Toy Story 4
  • Mary Poppins
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • Avengers: Infinity War

Disney Parks

  • Star Wars Land
  • TRON Ride
  • Toy Story Land
  • Star Wars Hotel
  • Pixar Take Over at Disneyland

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