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WDW Radio # 744 – Destination D23 Debrief: Recap and Reflection

Destination D23 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort was a weekend full of not only looking back on Disney Parks and Studios history, but a peek at what’s ahead as well. This week, we’ll debrief the event, recap what was announced, and reflect on what’s to come… and what may not be.

Welcome to another exciting episode of WDW Radio! In this episode, our host Lou Mongello is joined by special guests Andrew Mylin, Caleb Joshua Hill, Dan Spadora, and Beci Mahnken as they dive deep into the D23 Recap Nation. From new attractions to exciting developments, we’ve got all the inside scoop on what’s happening in the world of Disney.

First up, get ready to be enchanted by the upcoming Disney animated film, Wish, as we reveal a special character named Asha who will be featured at Epcot, Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris. And speaking of transformations, prepare to be transported to a tropical paradise as Dino Land USA in Disney’s Animal Kingdom undergoes a stunning makeover, inspired by Encanto and Indiana Jones.

But are these transformations confirmed or just blue-sky plans? We’ll weigh in on the debates and discussions we’ve heard and give you the inside scoop based on conversations with insiders. Plus, find out all about the exciting new Zootopia show coming to the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. While some hoped for a Zootopia Land, we’ll explore why this unique experience is being introduced in a different way.

We were lucky enough to attend a preview event at Destination D23, where we got a firsthand preview of the highly-anticipated Journey of Water attraction at Epcot. While we found it cool, we’ll discuss whether it’s a game-changer or worth waiting in line for hours. And as we explore the world of Epcot, we’ll also touch on the promises that didn’t come to fruition and what the future holds for the park.

But the excitement doesn’t stop there! We’ll take a closer look at the Magic Kingdom’s largest-ever expansion, including a new Pirates of the Caribbean themed lounge in Adventureland and updates to the beloved Country Bear Jamboree. And get ready to meet the Hat Box Ghost in the Haunted Mansion, who can come and go as he pleases.

Throughout the episode, we’ll give you a taste of the incredible experiences and announcements from Destination D23, including behind-the-scenes stories, special guests, and captivating performances. And stay tuned as we reveal exciting plans for D23, the ultimate Disney fan event, coming in 2024. Plus, we’ll fill you in on the latest happenings at Disney parks around the world, from Tokyo Disney’s Fantasy Springs to Disneyland Paris’ Frozen themed land.

It’s a jam-packed episode full of Disney magic, insider information, and a few surprises along the way. So join us as we explore the world of Disney like never before. Don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review WDW Radio on your favorite podcast platform. You won’t want to miss a single episode of the magic!

Thanks to the members of the WDW Radio Nation for joining me this week.

The key moments in this episode are:

[00:00:01] – Introduction,

[00:04:10] – Epcot Announcements,

[00:08:34] – Listener Reactions to Epcot Announcements,

[00:12:20] – Epcot Opening Hours,

[00:15:06] – Other Parks at Destination D23,

[00:15:45] – Epcot Experiences,

[00:16:57] – Excitement for New Attractions,

[00:19:30] – Figment’s Design,

[00:20:35] – Changes in Disney’s Animal Kingdom,

[00:23:24] – Zootopia in Disney’s Animal Kingdom,

[00:31:36] – New Country Bear Jamboree,

[00:32:54] – Hat Box Ghost in Haunted Mansion,

[00:34:10] – Reaction to Changes,

[00:37:29] – Alcohol in Magic Kingdom,

[00:38:51] – Blue Sky vs. Reality,

[00:47:09] – Thoughts on Overseas Attractions,

[00:48:14] – Disneyland Hotel Opening,

[00:50:06] – Disney Cruise Lines Updates,

[00:51:32] – Disney’s Lookout Key at Lighthouse Point,

[00:56:29] – Once Upon a Studio Film,

[01:03:51] – D23 Day at Angel Stadium,

[01:04:41] – Excitement for D23 Expo,

[01:06:07] – Solving the Waiting Problem,

[01:08:09] – Future Announcements at D23 Expo,

[01:11:27] – Conclusion and Thank You to Listeners,

[01:18:46] – “Introduction and Announcement of Group Cruise”,

[01:19:36] – “Booking Information and Newsletter Subscription”,

[01:20:09] – “Additional Services and Coaching”,

[01:20:48] – “Mouse Fan Travel and Community Support”,

[01:21:10] – “Wrap-up” and Call to Action”,”

Timestamped summary of this episode:

[00:00:01] – Introduction,
Lou Mongello welcomes listeners to the WW Radio Show and introduces the topic of discussing the recent Destination D23 event at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

[00:04:10] – Epcot Announcements,
Lou discusses the announcements made at Destination D23 regarding Epcot. Topics include the reimagining of Test Track inspired by the original World of Motion, Figment starting to meet guests, the opening of Journey of Water inspired by Moana, the debut of the new nighttime spectacular called Luminous: Symphony of Us, and the completion of World Celebration in December.

[00:08:34] – Listener Reactions to Epcot Announcements,
Andrew shares his thoughts on the Test Track reimagining and its tie-in with General Motors’ focus on electric cars. Lou mentions the possibility of the Tomorrowland Speedway also transitioning to electric vehicles.

[00:12:20] – Epcot Opening Hours,
Dan expresses his desire for Epcot to be open longer, citing his recent visit to Destination D23 and the limited operating hours. Lou acknowledges the importance of extended park hours for guests.

[00:15:06] – Other Parks at Destination D23,
Lou briefly mentions that there were also announcements and discussions regarding other parks at Destination D23, including Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. Further details are not provided in this episode.

[00:15:45] – Epcot Experiences,
The speaker discusses how Epcot has become a more experiential park with interactive attractions like the Journey of Water and model trains. They express optimism about the park’s future and the completion of new experiences.

[00:16:57] – Excitement for New Attractions,
The speaker mentions the anticipation for the removal of world of walls and the introduction of new attractions like Sornover California and the refreshed Test Track. They express excitement about experiencing these new additions.

[00:19:30] – Figment’s Design,
The speaker questions the size of Figment’s head in the new design of the character. They provide an explanation that the design is meant to reflect the audio animatronic figure rather than the walk-around character.

[00:20:35] – Changes in Disney’s Animal Kingdom,
The speaker discusses the transformation of Dino Land USA into a tropical Americas-inspired land. They mention the inclusion of Encanto and Indiana Jones-inspired experiences. There is some debate among guests about the confirmation of these changes.

[00:23:24] – Zootopia in Disney’s Animal Kingdom,
The speaker mentions the development of a new zootopia show in the Tree of Life theater at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There are differing opinions among guests about whether this show is enough or if a full Zootopia Land should be added.

[00:31:36] – New Country Bear Jamboree,
The Country Bear Jamboree is getting updated with new Disney songs in different genres of country music. Imagineers are working with musicians in Nashville to achieve an authentic country sound while maintaining the fun and friendly tone of the original.

[00:32:54] – Hat Box Ghost in Haunted Mansion,
The Hat Box Ghost is coming to the Haunted Mansion, and there was some concern about where he would fit in the storyline. However, it was clarified that the Hat Box Ghost has always been there and can come and go whenever and wherever he pleases.

[00:34:10] – Reaction to Changes,
Some fans are resistant to changes in classic attractions like the Country Bear Jamboree, but others recognize the need for updates to appeal to new generations. The addition of new songs and figures can bring fresh life to beloved attractions.

[00:37:29] – Alcohol in Magic Kingdom,
The addition of alcohol in Magic Kingdom has been a topic of discussion and controversy. While some argue that it goes against Walt Disney’s vision, others see it as a way to enhance certain areas and provide more options for guests.

[00:38:51] – Blue Sky vs. Reality,
The announcements made at D23 Expo about upcoming attractions may have been intentionally vague to gauge fan reactions. However, these announcements are in fact happening, and further clarification will be provided in the future.

[00:47:09] – Thoughts on Overseas Attractions,
The conversation starts with a discussion about overseas attractions, specifically Disneyland and Ahsoka. The focus is on Tokyo Disney Seas and the excitement for upcoming attractions, such as Tangled and Peter Pan.

[00:48:14] – Disneyland Hotel Opening,
The discussion shifts to the reopening of the Disneyland Hotel in Paris, set for January 25, 2024. The hotel will undergo a transformation celebrating Disney’s royal stories and characters. Concept art and more information are available on the blog.

[00:50:06] – Disney Cruise Lines Updates,
The conversation turns to Disney Cruise Lines, specifically the new ship named Disney Adventure. The ship will be based in Singapore, marking the cruise line’s debut in South Asia. There is speculation about whether there will be gambling and a casino on board.

[00:51:32] – Disney’s Lookout Key at Lighthouse Point,
The discussion moves to Disney’s new island destination in the Bahamas, now officially known as Disney’s Lookout Key at Lighthouse Point. The name change reflects the larger island it is a part of, and the focus on theming, design, and Bahamian culture.

[00:56:29] – Once Upon a Studio Film,
The hosts express their emotional reaction to the film “Once Upon a Studio,” a tribute to 100 years of Disney animation. The film brought tears to their eyes and received a standing ovation. They emphasize the need to see it and recommend bringing tissues.

[01:03:51] – D23 Day at Angel Stadium,
Four days before the event, there will be a D23 day at Angel Stadium. It will be a separate ticketed event and transportation logistics are being discussed.

[01:04:41] – Excitement for D23 Expo,
D23 Expo is expanding to four days and promises an improved guest experience. There are high expectations and anticipation for the event.

[01:06:07] – Solving the Waiting Problem,
The organizers are working on solutions to reduce waiting times and allow more people to enjoy panels and attractions. The logistics of moving thousands of people between venues are being considered.

[01:08:09] – Future Announcements at D23 Expo,
Some previously announced projects like Spaceship Earth overhaul and the Play Pavilion may be saved for the bigger stage at D23 Expo. There is speculation about the role of Bruce Vaughn in the company and executive movements in the future.

[01:11:27] – Conclusion and Thank You to Listeners,
Destination D is a more intimate and calming event compared to D23 Expo. The love and support from the WWDO Nation are appreciated. The trivia question winner will be announced next.

[01:18:46] – “Introduction and Announcement of Group Cruise”,
Lou Mongello announces a group cruise that will take place in February 2025, coinciding with WW Radio’s 20th anniversary. The cruise will be a seven-night western Caribbean cruise, departing from Port Canaveral and stopping at various destinations.

[01:19:36] – “Booking Information and Newsletter Subscription”,
Lou Mongello encourages listeners to visit WW Radio’s website for more information on the group cruise and to book their spots early. He also encourages listeners to subscribe to the WWDo newsletter for weekly updates and a free copy of his book.

[01:20:09] – “Additional Services and Coaching”,
Lou Mongello promotes his website, LouMongello.com, where he offers keynote speaking, coaching, and mastermind groups for entrepreneurs and businesses. He also mentions upcoming events and retreats.

[01:20:48] – “Mouse Fan Travel and Community Support”,
Lou Mongello thanks Mouse Fan Travel, his exclusive travel partner, for their support over the years. He encourages listeners to visit their website for expert advice and assistance with booking Disney vacations. He also expresses his gratitude for the support of the WW Radio community.

[01:21:10] – “Wrap-up and Call to Action”,
Lou Mongello asks listeners to help spread the word about the show by sharing links on social media. He also encourages listeners to rate and review the show on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. He concludes by expressing his love and appreciation for the listeners and wishing


What are your thoughts and reactions to the Destination D23 announcements? Share your thoughts in the WDW Radio Clubhouse at WDWRadio.com/Clubhouse, or call the voicemail at 407-900-9391 (WDW1) and share your story on the show.


Episode Transcript

Click Here To Read The Full Podcast Episode Transcript

Lou Mongello:

You. This past weekend, destination D 23 was held at Disney's Contemporary Resort. And as part of this biannual event, D 23, the the official community for Disney fans, celebrates some of those beloved moments and memories from the past hundred years of the Walt. Any company with behind the scenes stories, special guests, panels, presentations and performances, not just looking back at the past 100 years, but what is to come and what D 23 likes to call the company's boundless future. Clearly some intentional words were used there. In addition to that, there's also shopping opportunities. And really it's an event surrounded by community. And it's one of my favorite D 23 events because it's so very different than the wonderfully overwhelming D 23 Expo, which happens on alternating years. So I thought we would do tonight is on our monthly wWdo Nation chat. We would look at some of the takeaways from Destination D and react, reflect, and in a sort of what could be out of control roundtable, we're going to give it a shot anyway. And what I'll do is I'll sort of talk about some of the things that happened and were talked about at Destination D 23, specifically as it refers to Walt Disney World. And then I welcome you on the call, members of the nation family to jump in and let's just really get right into it because on Saturday they really wanted to open up the weekend with a bang. And Parks Experiences and Products chairman Josh Tomorrow presented what was called a celebration of the Disney Parks experiences and products yesterday, today, and tomorrow. So I thought we would go park by park and get a little bit of your thoughts about what was announced. And I want to preface this by saying that I'm always fascinated first as a fan because that's what I am first, and then as someone who likes to sort of sit back and watch and sort of take the temperature of the room as these things happen. Because I think we as Disney fans come into these events with expectations that we set on our own, sometimes possibly unrealistic, sometimes very wishful and hopeful thinking. And I think in the spirit of this event specifically, they're often rooted in this wonderful passion, but more importantly, sense of nostalgia and sentiment that we have for Walt Disney World. And I thought we would start in Epcot, where a lot of the announcements surrounded and in no particular order, and I'm just going to sort of go through these quickly. And then I would love to hear from anybody who has thoughts about the Epcot announcements specifically. So I want to sort of lead with the big purple dragon in the room because if you had asked me to put money on it, I was very much expecting, hoping and wishing for and predicted on the live show last week that we would get an announcement about the Imagination Pavilion, specifically Figment and Dreamfinder. Sort of we got the fact that Figment is going to start meeting guests this week on September 10 to lines that were only almost as long as the Figment popcorn bucket itself. The popcorn bucket garnered six hour lines. Figment himself had about three or four hour lines. But again, in this spirit of nostalgia, something that nobody was talking about, I don't think anybody expected, was the announcement that Test Track is undergoing a Reimagining inspired by the original World of Motion. And I thought this was fascinating on a number of levels. Relatively speaking, Test Track is not that very old. It opened in 1999. It had a reimagining a number of years later. And before I wanted to sort of mention this specifically right after Imagination, and then I'd love to sort of take your thoughts specifically about these two before you start getting upset. And I think a lot of people were disappointed that we didn't hear something more about a Reimagining and an update of the Imagination Pavilion. We have to keep in mind, too, when I thought about this as I stepped back and took a little bit of a broader look, that this Pavilion, the Test Track Pavilion, has had a long standing corporate sponsor, which is it's GM Chevrolet behind the Pavilion. Know, let's admit it has deep pockets. And I think it's important that they keep their messaging and this attraction updated especially to reflect what not just the messaging of technology in the automotive industry, but specifically what Chevrolet and General Motors are doing. A couple of other mentions of what was announced in Epcot was the Journey of Water, inspired by Moana, is going to open on October 16. Previews are going on now. We also found out that Moana is going to make her first appearance in it's not Future World anymore in world nature near the Journey of Water. On the same day, World Celebration is going to start welcoming guests in this new neighborhood in December, which is what they say sort of completing the park's transformation soren over California. The original is going to return temporarily from September 22 as part of the Disney 100 Celebration. And we now know that the name of the new nighttime spectacular is going to be Luminous the Symphony of US. And that's going to debut on December 5. I see a few of you in the Chat already mentioning that you are looking forward to the smell of orange groves returning, but I'd love to hear your thoughts specifically about what we heard in Epcot. Andrew, I know you have raised your hand and I'm trying to figure out where you are so I can unmute you. There you go, Andrew.

Andrew Mylin:

Mylan so working with GM, we kind of had an email come out early in the week telling us to watch for some changes at Epcot. And the biggest thing that we see GM pushing is electric cars, especially with I want to say it's 2035. We're going to produce nothing but majority electric cars. Just seeing how they're going to impact that in a test track I think is going to be pretty cool. And then with Imagination Pavilion at the end of it, when he's like, so I want to talk about my purple friend for a minute, and everybody's like, yes, here we go. You can meet a meet and greet. I was like, oh, okay. But yeah, the whole test track thing, I'm looking forward to, just from a GM employee perspective, just how deep they're going to push this electric car.

Lou Mongello:

And Andrew, it makes perfect sense, right? I mean, I think now is the time. Now is the best time, maybe even almost a little bit overdue, to really focus on not just where we are currently, but in the very near and distant future in terms of this movement and progression towards electric vehicles. If you look at the concept art from the updated test track, you can see that the ride vehicle looks more modern, it looks more sleeker. It almost has a little sort of Tesla ish feel to it. But the background is actually what I find very fascinating. It's lush, it's green, it's very sort of natural and environmental. There's that sort of bright sunlight behind you. So I think it is not sort of trying to hide the fact that the environmental impact of sort of moving away from gasoline powered vehicles is very much going to tie in to the attraction. And it makes sense because it's always been sort of the mission and the message of not just that Pavilion and from Epcot and Animal Kingdom, but I think the Disney parks as a whole.

Andrew Mylin:

I think you look at the speedway, the electric cars, GM might start pushing to do something a little bit more because just being a car guy. And when we go down there, I always look to see all the vehicles that Disney has that are Chevrolet and GM products. And I've always wondered, will the next step be? Will the speedway turn into electric cars? Or theme to that with the bolt and the Volt and everything else we have?

Lou Mongello:

Yeah, there were rumors for years, especially right, about Pre COVID. There was a very strong rumor that the Tomorrowland Speedway was going to get updated. There were talks about Honda coming in as a potential sponsor and transforming everything to electric vehicles. There were also photos of vehicles that had come over from Tokyo that were supposedly parked backstage. Obviously, the timeline for a lot of things got very disrupted. It would not surprise me to see that type of a change almost happen in conjunction as well. I would almost have to imagine that that plane is in flight as well. In terms of as much as I love the sort of smell right, the speedway, from a nostalgia right, we have this sort know, our olfactory senses are the ones most closely tied to memories and sort of there's something about the sound and the smell of the speedway that reminds us of our childhood. But times and vehicles are obviously changing as well. Dan Spadora no, I was just going.

Dan Spadora:

To say that I just want to see Epcot open more than it currently is. So I was there this weekend at the Destination 23. It was an awesome opportunity and we did get a preview and I know cast members have too of the Journey of Water and I thought it was very cool. It's not a game changer to me and so far I know, like someone mentioned in the chat too, not wanting to stand online for four or 5 hours to meet Figment. I also, in the same vein, wouldn't stay for a few hours to do Journey of Water, but I think when things are open and the crowd's less than and they're more spread out across all of Epcot, it'll feel great, it'll feel natural, it'll feel more appropriate. But right next to the Journey of Water between Imagination and there is that what's it called? The Festival. It's that looks like a stage setup. I forget what that area? Celebration. It's in the center area. Once that opens, I feel like I almost want to see more open that's currently in the works before we even get Blue Sky dreaming about what could come to the Imagination Pavilion because the promise of Epcot. That was in the Odyssey preview center a few years back. Obviously it didn't come to fruition the way they had dreamed for various reasons. Mary Poppins is, you know, caput to play Pavilion same as far as I'm aware. Guardians is fantastic, no doubt about that. But until we have, I feel like more general cohesion and until that neighborhood reality at least gets its first steps, it's almost tough for me to imagine what could be next until the dust settles on what is still in the works. They said it was going to be ready by December, is that right?

Lou Mongello:

Yeah. So be super impressed. What part are you talking about?

Dan Spadora:

Right next to Journey of Water, that building that used to be where Starbucks and that open air used to be where Mickey's meet and greet was.

Lou Mongello:

Yeah. They say World Celebration neighborhood will welcome guests in December and it says Completing for the Park's transformation. So I think it's a multi phase. I think there's very much epcot is not just in a state of becoming, but becoming what's next. And I think it is redefining itself, not just in terms of nomenclature, getting away from future world to World Celebration and now of these different neighborhoods, but as these different elements open. And I think you're right about Journey of Water, it is not an e ticket attraction. We need to book a vacation specifically to see it. But what I think it does is it changes the dynamic of that area. Right. It's very much an attractor, especially for kids as well as adults. It adds a kinetic element. It adds, love it or not love it, it adds an IP element, which is very much an attractor for families and young kids. We saw that with frozen versus Maelstrom. Again, sort of having to bury a little bit our sentimental feelings for an attraction that not many people rode, which was Maelstrom, in lieu of something that is very much a guest satisfier. As these walls come down and as Dreamers point and some of these other areas do start to open and we get a better sense of what the reality versus concept art starts to look and feel like and I think see where the guest flow is. Right. How do guests react and interact with these new environments is going to be fascinating.

Dan Spadora:

And just one last point on that. I think Journey of Water to me strikes me as the largest Epcot version of what that playground area is as you head towards test track. Our kids almost grew up on that thing. It was only there for a handful of years, but we have good memories. Or in Germany, the model trains they're both attractors that get a population of folks there. Journey of Water is more interactive. I really hope I'm an optimist, that things stay working properly because there's a lot of moving parts in there. But it does make Epcot more of that experiential park where there's a lot of little things to do all around the park that are not just designed to capture time and attention, but just build that experience, that vibe, that feeling of what it is to walk through Epcot. It's very special and I just can't wait to see it be more complete.

Lou Mongello:

I agree. And I think that it is something that is not an attraction that you have to line up for, get a lightning lane for, do a virtual queue for. It's just something to experience. And especially in the hot summer days again, I was able to go through an Imagineering preview and really sort of watch how guests were interacting with the space, what was the guest flow looking like. And it wasn't just kids who were enjoying it, but adults. And to that point, someone who I know is going to love that specifically because of all of the young, wet, screaming children there is Becky Menken from Mouse Fan Travel.

Beci Mahnken:

You had to tie that in there.

Lou Mongello:

Didn'T just it's called a segue.

Beci Mahnken:

I wanted to just yeah, okay, that works for me. But you're anyway, there's this is really exciting because finally seeing all of the world of walls come down and knowing what's coming, it's going to really encourage people to return for a return visit to see what all the new things are. And there's a couple of things. For one, I'm really excited about spelling the orange groves again, that's very cool that they're going to bring sornover California back the test track in particular. I didn't see that one coming. And I guess I should have the sponsorship. I know people, some people hate the sponsorships personally because it was kind of how Walt started with Disneyland to begin with. I like it. I like the fact that there's a sponsor with some deep pockets that can bring their technology and storytelling in to the product. And I haven't ridden Test Track in a while because honestly, it just kind of became I've done it so much, it kind of needs the refresh. So I'm happy there. I would like to ask a question though, because Figment, the cute little purple dragon that we all love so much, obviously, like you said, we wanted to hear more. Who knows what will come down the pike later on? But I only saw pictures of him. I haven't had a chance to see him in person. And is his head that little? I just want to know.

Lou Mongello:

So if you remember years ago there was a figment meet and greet, a sort of life size figment meet and greet in that sort of upper part of the pavilion area by the jumping fountains. If you look at the images of that figment and this figment side by side, they are different. What I've come to understand is that this figment is meant to be representative of the Audio Animatronic figure. So his proportions, while they might look, quote unquote, off versus what we saw before, or what you might see from a walk around character, the design and the intent is to sort of mirror and mimic the Audio Animatronic version, which is a little bit sort of a little bit more pointy. He's a little bit more somebody said in the chat that he's a little svelte, he's been working out. So if some of the proportions look off, it is meant to be sort of a larger, almost exaggerated version of the Audio Animatronic figure.

Beci Mahnken:

Okay, that helps me embrace it a little bit better. But all I could think about when I first looked at it was our balloon at Expo.

Lou Mongello:

I received a number of texts and emails and direct messages with the image of the balloon.

Beci Mahnken:

That was fantastic. Well, I'm excited to hear the things that are coming and can't wait to experience them when they actually come to fruition.

Lou Mongello:

The last thing I want to mention about Epcot before I move over to the next park is that we saw for the first time asha from the Disney animated film that's coming, which is called Wish, which we got a little preview of, which is gorgeous from a visual perspective. She is going to be featured at Epcot and Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, so we'll be curious to see when that comes. We don't have a date for that as yet. I want to move on because the day after Saturday, and especially on Sunday, I think the area that people were talking about most in the hallways, outside in the queue was over at Disney's Animal Kingdom, because if you remember back at Expo, we got some sort of blue sky, right? Very early, Imagineering concepts of some changes that might be coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom. Here we learn that Walt Disney Imagineering plans to transform Dino Land USA into a, quote, tropical Americas inspired land. Along with that, we did see some concept art which looks beautiful. It's very lush. It's very green. It has an entrance plaza and a carousel, a new fountain. You see changes to Restaurantosaurus. But what we see coming on, sort of the two sides are experiences that are inspired by Encanto and Indiana Jones in this Reimagined land. Now, this is where it got very interesting, because the language that was used on stage, the language that was used in the releases, the language that I saw being used in hallway conversations by some people on the Imagining team, clearly lawyers, were, you know, it may feature experiences inspired by Encanto. And the most fascinating part that I saw was on Sunday morning, not once, not twice, but at least three times, I walked into conversations either among media folks or guests in line, debating, borderline, arguing. Is this confirmed? Is it not confirmed? Is it still blue sky? Is this a Faye compli? Is this plane in flight? Or is Disney sort of trying to take the temperature and gauge guest reactions? My understanding is that this transformation into the tropical Americas and Encanto and Indiana Jones are happening. Right? I don't want to use the word confirmed because I haven't seen the word confirmed used. But from the folks that I spoke to, that seems to be what is coming. And you can find some of the concept art online, especially the Encanto area. I mean, it looks know and again, it's a very sort of distant dimensional view, but it really sort of looks like it came out of the film. And as an Indiana Jones fan, maybe not so much the last couple of movies, but as an Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark fan, it's appropriate for the Tropical Americas and South America because Indiana Jones, being the adventure that he maybe in the future she is, is sort of appropriate anywhere. And some of his adventures have taken place in the tropical Americas. A couple other things, just quickly. In Disney's Animal Kingdom, we saw that a new zootopia show is in development for the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom. To be clear, this is inside the theater. This is not a projection show. I think there was some confusion initially that this was going to be a projection show for all of you. Tough to be a bug fans that are about to start writing your petitions like you did for Maelstrom, this too has been announced. This is something that is definitely going to happen. And again, there were some fascinating conversations that I was listening to and participating in among guests in terms of zootopia coming to, you know, if you want to make Disney fans lose their mind, tell them that something is changing. And while some people had hoped for a Zootopia Land coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom, possibly to replace Dino Land USA, other folks know why are we getting sort of just this little taste of zootopia in terms of a show in a theater as opposed to what we're getting overseas, which is a fully realized dimensional and from what I understand from some of the folks that have worked on it, a spectacular like, jump off the screen experience in the land of zootopia overseas. So those are sort of the big announcements for Disney's Animal Kingdom, Zootopia, and Indiana Jones and Encanto. I'd love to sort of hear any thoughts. Karen St. Pierre, you have your hand raised.

Beci Mahnken:

I'm not really sure how I feel about this because I really love Harrison Ford. He's my favorite. But what does Indiana Jones have to do with Animal Kingdom?

Lou Mongello:

Well, I think, Karen, it's this idea of you have this land that is going to be reimagined to, again reflect the tropical Americas, and not just these sort of two specific IPS. But if you look at the concept art, there's that entrance plaza, the fountain, it looks like there's shopping areas and pathways. It looks like there's something that appears to be a carousel as well. I think these are going to be sort of anchor attractions in a land that is meant to reflect the overall place and space of the tropical Americas. Chris Alger.

Dan Spadora:

I just had a quick question, actually, when it comes to the Indiana Jones overlay of dinosaur, was there any indication that they were going to bring anything new to Animal Kingdom? Because I know that the track of dinosaur is the same as Indiana Jones. Or were they just going to take what they already have existing and just bring it to the Walt Disney World?

Lou Mongello:

So we had the same question and we could not get a definitive answer. Other know sort of know there's there's amazing things that are coming. Just wait until you see it's not necessarily what you expect. I don't know what that means. It's very easy to sort of replicate the attraction that is out in Disneyland, which I love. It's spectacular. And while the track and the vehicles might be the same, it is a vastly different experience than dinosaur is. That being said, there's a part of me that would like it to be something new, right? Create a new adventure that's not even based off something in the films, but based off the fact that Indiana Jones is an adventure and you create this new storyline that exists in the tropical Americas, in South America somewhere. Because I like having reasons to go and visit and experience attractions in different parks. I never want sort of any of the parks or any of the lands necessarily be carbon copy or mirrors of one another. So I have a reason to go get my cozy cone and experience some of the other attractions in other parks. All right, let's move on quickly because we have a lot to get there. Let's move over to Magic Kingdom, where this over the past year or so, what was sort of alluded to at D 23 Expo, this blue sky concept of this area really an island behind Big Thunder Mountain. Is it going to be Encanto themed? It is going to be villains themed. It is going to be Coke like, what is this sort of going to be? What Josh said is that Magic Kingdom is in the process of undergoing its largest ever expansion with new attractions, restaurants, dot, dot, dot and more. And from what I understand, what we got this past weekend is really just sort of the tip of a much, much larger iceberg. So let's sort of talk about just what we heard. And again, these first two really came out of left field. I had never heard any discussion about either of these. The first is that a Pirates of the Caribbean themed lounge. Calm down. Becky Manken is coming to adventureland in Magic Kingdom. They say this first of its kind experience is going to extend the story of Pirates of the Caribbean. Imagineers are in the design process now. So this is happening. More details coming soon, although they did reveal one small detail, which is raise your hand if you remember the Barker bird, the original Barker bird that stood outside over the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean in the early 80s. He was known as Peg Legged Pete for a little while. He made his way over after they took him away, which I was sad about. They put him over for a short period of time. In the world of Disney Store in downtown Disney, Disney Springs, he is making a welcome return. The question is, well, I think there's a few questions. One, the question I got on Saturday was, where is this going to go? I think the initial assumption was that this is going to replace Tortuga Tavern. And while that was my sort of initial default, I wonder, does this go into the location where the Pirates League once was? You remember the Pirates League? It was sort of the pirate version of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. If you come out of the exit of Pirates into the gift shop, as every good Walt Disney World attraction should, that sort of closed off room to the right, which was when Pirates opened in the 70s, was part of the original gift shop. It eventually became the Pirates League, where you can get your pirate makeover. That area has been shuttered for a long period of time. I wonder, dare I say dare? Dare. That I actually think it's going to go in there. They talk about this being an extension of the story, maybe even an extension of the attraction of Pirates of the Caribbean. I wonder if that's where it goes. It did start to beg the question, if you are going to call this a Pirates of the Caribbean themed lounge, are we starting to take the next step in potential evolution? Maturation change of Magic Kingdom that we saw a few years ago with the introduction of beer and wine at places like Be Our Guest, obviously Club 33. Will this lounge be sort of that first foray into or sort of the next location, like Skipper Canteen in terms of serving alcohol? I think when you say a lounge, that's sort of what I would expect it to we'll move on and then we'll sort of touch on everything. The other announcement that we got, again, did not see this coming is that Walt, the Country Bear Jamboree in Walt Disney World, they didn't specify disneyland is going to be getting new songs and a new act in 2024. It is going to be called the Country Bear Musical Jamboree. It's going to debut in 2024 and the Bear Band is going to perform Disney songs in different genres of country music. And the Imagineers are working with musicians in Nashville to achieve that authentic country sound. It's going to maintain the fun and friendly tone of the original. Trixie is going to be there. Big Al is going to be there. Liver Lips is no longer Liver Lips. I noticed if you look at the concept art, his name has been changed. It's like Roger, like it's no longer liver lips. I guess because people with Liver Lips got very upset. So again, this is one of those classic attractions which some people love and want to preserve. Others say Walt said it's not a museum, it is meant to be updated. Give me your thoughts on the Country Bear Jamboree getting new songs, getting either updates to songs. I'm assuming there's going to be new songs being written. We did hear sort of a rearranging of one of the songs in the little video preview that we got at Destination D. But give me your thoughts on the Pirates of the Caribbean Lounge and Country Bear Jamboree coming to Magic Kingdom. The last little other bit of news was we already knew that the hat box ghost was coming to the Haunted Mansion. We've heard sort of confirmation about where he's going in the mansion, which again makes some Disney purists and fans question. But we got clarification, because when we heard that the hat box ghost was going to be placed in the endless hallway portion of Magic Kingdom, nerds like myself were like, well, wait a minute. He can't be there, because Madame Leota, when she you don't see any ghosts in Haunted Mansion until Madame Leota, in the next scene in the seance room, delivers her incantation, which summons the spirits inside the mansion. They actually addressed this. Thankfully so in the panel on Saturday saying that the Hat Box Ghost has always been there and he just has the ability to come and go whenever and wherever he pleases. So they were able to sort of imagineer their way around potential inconsistencies in the story. So we have three classic beloved. They're not all original, but sort of old school Walt Disney World attractions that are know, some people, they don't like their things getting played with, right? They don't like their toys being touched, whether it's meant to be updated or not. Give me any thoughts that you might have. Caleb joshua Hill.

Caleb Joshua Hill:

Hi. So with Country Bear Jamboree, I remember seeing again the social media going crazy. There was one person that was, like, losing it. He's like, oh, don't touch my bears. Oh, Romeo. Are you kidding me? But Libertz was actually like that. He was like Elvis in the Country Bears vacation Hodown, which is one of the seasonal things that they did during that time. And I think it's cool that they're doing this kind of music for Disney music. And then the Hat Box Ghost, I'm very excited for that as well because I know I've experienced that either. But man, these are really cool things that are coming to Magic Kingdom.

Lou Mongello:

I think so, too. Caleb if you notice, none of these, the Lounge and the Hat Box Ghosts, they're not sort of in any sort of significant way altering the attraction. I think the Country Bears is another one of those attractions that we as longtime fans and nostalgics have, again, very deep rooted sentimental feelings. We all tell the story going with our moms or dads or uncles or kids and having those moments and memories and what. Big Al and Trixie, they sort of mean something to us. But you also have to think about a newer generation that might be looking for music and figures and attractions that might need a little bit of love, attention or updating for a new generation. We're starting to see that more and more even in terms of seeing some attractions that are becoming updated to become more interactive. And I think what we're going to see over time be more personalized as well. I see some people dan Spadora in the Chat is screaming, the canon. The canon, right. You cannot C-A-N-N-O-N. It's the canon and it's the storyline that we as know, know and love so much. L'Oreal Oliveri says I will miss blood on the saddle. There seems to be a lot of questions. Is Blood on the Saddle I mean, look, if you go and look and listen to some of the lyrics in the Country Bear Jamboree, they might need a mama don't. Whoop little buford. Maybe you should just shoot him instead. It's probably not in this day and age what we and what kids want to hear. I saw a couple of the questions about Tortuga Tavern. May be having more room. Kim that is true, but I think you absolutely need Tortuga Tavern to remain an accessible and open counter service location. Magic Kingdom. The supply and the demand for food in Magic Kingdom is very, very high. If you don't believe me, go in August and see sometimes how long the lines are. So that's why I started to think that the Pirates League might make more sense, because you're not going to cannibalize a food location, but instead you are adding on another place to act as a right. Let me anybody else? Becky, you have your hand raised.

Beci Mahnken:

Well, yeah. You got to go back to the lounge for a minute.

Lou Mongello:

I was shocked you weren't going to comment on the you know, I had.

Beci Mahnken:

To circle back around to that.

Lou Mongello:

After Becky went to her kitchen and got some rum, she's really sort of investing in the conversation.

Beci Mahnken:

I love that he needs some rum. Sometimes it's interesting because, yeah, they're kind of slow boiling the toad a little bit about introducing alcohol into the magic kingdom. And we've seen it happen in some of the other parks, obviously, epcot animal Kingdom, and it really has kind of enhanced some areas where people can go in and relax a little bit, have a beverage, whether it be alcohol or non alcohol. I like the fact that they're thinking about something that's going to be a theme that is going to be very popular from the get go. But my question is, please distinguish this for me. Was this blue sky or is this real? Because, again, I'm having a little difficult time trying to interpret as well. And I'm not exactly sure that being the libra that I am, part of me loves hearing the blue sky about what possibly could come. But then I get really excited about it. And then if it doesn't come, it's kind of disappointing. But yet I still like to hear it. So I'm not sure what side of the fence I fall on.

Lou Mongello:

So my understanding is that and we'll talk specifically about are all these are in flight. These are absolutely happening. I think the Disney's Animal Kingdom stuff was possibly unintentionally vague and without sort of naming anybody. There were conversations I had with folks afterwards, not just guests, but those from Disney, and there was confusion about the confusion. Like, oh, well, no, I've been working on this project. This very much is happening. And again, people were taking out their phones and the good little lawyers that they were like, no, he used the word considered. No, he used the word he didn't say confirmed. My understanding is that all of the things we've discussed so far are in fact happening. Right. This is not blue sky. But that being said, I think it was a brilliant move on their part at D 23 Expo to start talking about some of these blue sky concepts, because what are you able to do because Disney can then sit back and listen and watch and read the room. In terms of fandom, what do the know Disney purist nostalgics feel about this thing? What does the family, the quote unquote family from Idaho that comes once every five years, how do they feel about this? Would this be an attractor? I think talking about behind Big Thunder Mountain Island and just sort of throwing out some very vague concepts was intentional and I think very smart because before you start going down that long, very expensive road, you can sort of do a little focus group of seeing how people respond to it rather than announce something and then have to sort of quietly back off and we'll talk about some things that were announced and for one reason or another did not come to pass. I think they were very deliberate in terms of the terminology that was used here, but I think it was possibly vague and I think we'll start to get additional clarification and sort of cementing some of these things as actual announcements.

Beci Mahnken:

Imagine the awesome rum drinks that they'd be able to serve there.

Lou Mongello:

Well, and people in the chat are talking about that. So Dan Spador says, I think the alcohol in Magic Kingdom has been unveiled. Responsibly the tavern might be a different know Dan. It's really interesting because when we talk about alcohol and I remember the internet uproar when Magic Kingdom was coming in, walt wouldn't have wandered it that way. I'm not so sure that that's necessarily the I think I don't know how else to put this. I think Magic Kingdom is sort of treated with a little bit of a different type of reverence and respect. And I don't mean that eckpod or anything else is disrespected, but nobody's drinking around the world in Magic Kingdom, right? Nobody's getting like Viking hats on or pirate hats on and getting T shirts and fake tattoos with checklists of places that they need to drink from. And by the way, if you see somebody with a Viking hat on, it's probably not going to end well for them in Epcot, but to each his own. I have not seen that in Magic Kingdom, and I think due in part because you can't sort of just walk around the parks with an icy cold beverage in your hand, much to Becky Chagrin. So I think the way and where and how alcohol is served there is different than it is in places like Epcot. And I think that's why it's treated sort of different there because it did come in to be our guest with beer and wine and I have not seen anybody sort of stumbling around Magic Kingdom other than from the oppressive heat in the summer. All right, let me move on because we just have a couple of things that I want to get to and I'm going to hit the next couple of ones relatively quickly over at Disney's hollywood Studios unless I miss something. The only sort of thing that was referenced there was that ahsoka, Tano is now going to be joining Star Tours and she's a walk around character now in Galaxy's Edge, but she is going to be joining the Star Tours attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disneyland Park and Disneyland Paris in the spring. It's what this attraction was built for. It is why they sort of use this screen based technology so they are able to update it just like they did when the adventures continue. Speaking of characters and characters that we love and adventures that we want to go on, we got a little hint at D 23 expo of what was coming to Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure Park. We now got more vehicles, sorry, more information about the vehicles and some concept art of what is coming to Avengers Campus. And we see that there's a new ride vehicle that is going to incorporate elements of Tony Stark's time suits with Zandarian jump points and wakandan technology, which is a great way to write yourself into being able to talk about anything you want in this attraction that is going to be located in between web slingers and Guardians of the Galaxy mission Breakout. We did not get a name for the attraction. We did not get a timeline for the attraction. What we do know is that the primary villain is going to be King Thanos. So we had seen that in some of the concept art. Now we just have a little bit of more information about what this looks like. Six or eight person ride vehicle is going to look like and just staying within the theme parks. But internationally, we did see that Tokyo Disney's Fantasy Springs is going to include Rapunzel's Forest, Peter Pan's, Neverland, and Frozen Kingdom, which is opening in 2024. Disneyland. Paris is transforming. Walt Disney Studios park with the frozen themed land. We got updates on Zootopia at Shanghai Disney, including the new attraction, entertainment, merchandise, and Yay themed food. And we also got a sneak peek of the Frozen themed land at Hong Kong Disneyland, which is World of Frozen. Becky Manken we have to go back kate we have to go back to all of the overseas parks because we.

Beci Mahnken:

Have to add that to the list because the list is still getting longer every time we talk.

Lou Mongello:

I know there is a lot to see clearly not just domestically, but internationally as well. So, thoughts about ahsoka, California Adventure and some of the overseas parks. While I'm waiting for you to raise your hand, I will just take a look again into the chat. Dan Spidora again, I appreciate your conversation and your insight. I was surprised. The show emphasized Hercules live music, but nothing about that property beyond that. When they brought out the muses and when they brought out somebody, come and sing some music from Hercules, I'm like, this is it. We're getting like a Hercules themed show. We're getting a Hercules themed we didn't. But who knows? Maybe it's a hint for something that's coming somewhere else. But in any event, the Muses were spectacular. Josh Olive says it seems like California Avengers attraction is going to be a simulator type ride. Do I think that's accurate? It appears to be it appears to be some sort of a motion simulator attraction. But I do believe, based on the attraction vehicle and the size of the show building, Josh, that I don't think it's going to be something like a static Star Tours where you're just in a vehicle and the vehicle sort of moves much like it does. Star Tours is more of an enclosed 40 or 42 or so person attraction vehicle. I get the sense that this is going to be something on either a trackless system or maybe hopefully maybe it's a new type of ride system that we have not seen before. So any thoughts very quickly on anything that we've seen overseas? Disneyland or ahsoka, coming to the attractions? Caleb.

Caleb Joshua Hill:

So this is Tokyo also? Or is this just the stuff in Hollywood studios?

Lou Mongello:

Any of the above? Anything that we talked.

Caleb Joshua Hill:

So all the stuff from Tokyo Disney Seas, Fantasy Springs I'm really excited about, especially the Tangled and the Peter Pan. I know you love Peter Pan. That is going to be amazing. I'm hoping the attraction has a lot of amazing audiomatronics, kind of like the ones at Beauty and the Beast. But I'm just really excited because the Tangled I love Tangled, I love Rapunzel, love just all the characters. So I'm excited for these really cool attractions. They just do better than us in America, I just tell you. So it's amazing. This is going to be a really cool experience and hopefully I can see it in the future.

Lou Mongello:

Yeah. And a couple of people in the chat, including Dave and Shelley, asked about the Disneyland Hotel opening back up. I believe that you're referring to just Disneyland Paris, just released today when we're recording more information and some concept art, I posted on the blog over@wwradio.com a full article about what's to come, as well as all of the concept art that was revealed. And the hotel is set to reopen its doors on January 25, 2024, in nothing short of a monumental transformation of this resort into this one of a kind, very immersive journey celebrating Disney's most beloved royal stories and characters in style. You'll see everything from Sleeping Beauty to Rapunzel, from Tangled in the 487 extensively designed rooms. So some of the other stories include cinderella, snow White, Little Mermaid, beauty and the Beast, aladdin, Princess and the Frog Moana and Raya in The Last Dragon. And if you look at some of the concept art, it is absolutely spectacular. Once again, as if I needed yet another reason to go. We are going to go back to Disneyland Paris, actually, right after our abd. Becky says it looks elegant and fun. Lori Oliveri goes right to my heart and to the food, and she says, those desserts and Dan's door again. You're right, Dan. The guest rooms are beautiful and I love the fact that they really sort of took this resort down to the Studs, as it were, and sort of rebuilt it from the beginning. I hadn't had a chance to stay there the first time I went to Disneyland Paris. It was closed, obviously for renovations when I was there last time. But I'm looking forward to seeing what January has in store. Let's quickly move on to a couple of other things we did hear from Disney Cruise Line specifically, and again, we had all the Disney treasure news coming out just about a week or so ago. But here the focus was on the new ship and the new name, which we now know from Disney Cruise Line President Thomas Maslow as the Disney Adventure, which is meant to evoke the spirit of exploration, taking families on a fantastical voyage across a sea of Disney pixar and Marvel stories. This ship is going to be in Singapore, and Disney Cruise Line and the Singapore Tourism Board are collaborating to home port this brand new ship for at least five years beginning in 2025, marking the cruise line debut in South Asia. And he talked about how Singapore was specifically chosen because of its very strategic location right there's. World class airports and port infrastructure. There's a thriving cruise hub there in Southeast Asia. In addition to going out for the cruise, there's 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The ship is being built in the Meyerworth Shipyard in Germany, and again, we know it is going to launch in 2025. We don't have a time as to when that is going to happen. We also heard about Disney's new island destination that is being developed in cultural collaboration with the Bahamas and it has been referred to as Lighthouse Point in the past. It is now officially known as Disney's Lookout Key at Lighthouse Point. And I think it's a lot of people say, why are they changing the name? Why are they making the name longer? This is not a private, is it's? Why the name is Lookout Key at Lighthouse Point and it is part of a much larger island that Disney has exclusive access to. It is again, very intentional in terms of its theming and design and sort of the tribute to the beauty of nature and seeing the inspiration. And again, this reflection of the Bahamian culture is really important to Disney and certainly to the government as well. Becky says longest name ever. Can you leave Lookout Key for other spots at Lighthouse Point? I do not know. I have a feeling, Dan, there's probably going to be so much to do. You're not going to want to or have time to go anywhere else. But I'll be very curious to see and obviously there was a lot of questions about this ship that we still don't have answers to. And I think one of the questions that continues to come up is that in the Asian culture, and especially in cruising culture, casinos are a featured, almost a requisite part of the cruising experience. And the question is whether or not there will be gambling and a casino on board this ship because it is something that may be not just expected but almost sort of in demand by the Asian culture. We don't know, right? It's just know is this going to be sort of the first foray into doing that or is Disney going to sort of say, it's just not part of what we do at Disney and hopefully the culture and the guests will be able to adapt, know this idea of not having a casino on board. Becky, I know you and I have talked about this a lot. You said, look, as long as there's a bar, I don't care about gambling. But how do you sort of, you.

Beci Mahnken:

Know, you're really setting me up here, aren't you?

Lou Mongello:

Of course.

Beci Mahnken:

Well, the thing that you have to understand about why we are speculating that there will be gambling is that it is part of the culture in Asia. So the cruise lines are going to be much more successful if they do have gambling on board because that's one of the pastimes of Asian culture when they vacation. I can't imagine that they wouldn't have gambling on board this ship if they are going to be successful over a five year term. And it was incredibly poignant when they released the press release when it came out that they had purchased the ship. They were very clear in that press release that said this is not intended for the United States market or for the American market. So they were almost telling us there that there was going to be something different about it. And I believe, and I may be wrong, I'm just going on a limb here. I'm going full manifesto and saying I think there's going to be gambling on the ship.

Lou Mongello:

Yeah, I agree. I think so as well. And although it may not be necessarily directed towards an American market, we're obviously going like, we need to go and see what this ship and what this experience is going to be like when.

Beci Mahnken:

It does launch, especially given the design. I mean, this ship is huge. It's 208 gross tonnage. So the largest ship afloat will be 250. So it's going to be in that realm of some of the largest ships afloat, which is very telling because there's going to be a lot of beds that they're going to have to fill to keep the ROI up on that particular ship.

Lou Mongello:

Forget the beds. Imagine the food. I'm salivating and sweating about the potential like the food you're going to want.

Beci Mahnken:

To do back to back to back to back to back. I can just see now until all of a sudden you're going to outgrow all of your clothes and you need to get off the ship just to buy new clothes because they won't be able to fit.

Lou Mongello:

Is that where WDW radio moomus are being introduced in 2024? Just a couple of other things I wanted to mention. Not from a Disney Parks perspective, but it's something that bears mentioning because the most impactful, the most beautiful. And this is not me being hyperbolic in my description, but I said before this event that there's an opportunity here for Disney to really touch on and tug at our heartstrings and get us excited and get us emotional again. Right? Look, you don't have to raise your hands. We've all gotten choked up, gotten a little weepy visibly, like sobbed at the sight of a castle or a corn dog or a Disney movie. I will tell you and Dan, you hit it Once Upon a Studio, which is this short, animated and live action film that has not been confirmed where and how it is going to be released, whether it's going to be released in cinemas along with Wish and or on Disney. Plus, there was not a dry eye in the house. There was a five minute standing ovation for the producers when this was over, men, women, children, everyone was weeping. I mean, like full blown tears streaming down. Now, mind you, I'm a crier, it doesn't matter. But this touched on the simplest elements of our love of Disney animation and fandom across the past hundred years. You will find and you will see and hear something in this that will touch you. And the audible gasps. And there were people around me sobbing, like sobbing with joy at what they saw. It is the perfect tribute to 100 years of the company and 100 years of animation. And it was absolutely spectacular. And anything that I say cannot articulate it, but just wait until you see it. Bring tissues. A couple of things I wanted to quickly mention. Just going back to the parks, specifically going back to Josh Tomorrow, who I love, by the way, the man is, and I've had occasion, including this past weekend, to see him not just on stage, but in private, off stage. The man that you see on stage is as passionate and positive and genuine as the person you see on stage. He is beloved by Disney fans. And I see why. And the man just exudes. He radiates this joy that clearly comes from a place of passion. And I watch the way he talks and interacts in the parks. And at these events, he goes over and talks to every cast members and shakes their hands and gives them hugs and looks at every when you talk to Josh tomorrow, you are the only person in the room, whether you meet him in the parks or you see him at an event. And I think he's a fantastic speaker. I think he's a fantastic presenter. And he highlighted that the Disney's focus. And by focus I mean not just focus attention, but focus financial on increasing projects over the next decade to enhance the Disney experience. He talked in some conversations on stage and off stage about the massive attention and investment that is going to happen over the next decade. He says there's going to be more projects underway than at any point in Disney history. And to quote he says, our sole purpose is to give you more and more of what you love about a Disney experience and then surprise and delight you with the things you never dreamed possible. I take him at his word. And this investment in not just bringing things for the sake of bringing things or focusing on the latest IP, but really wanting to go or maybe go back to this idea of exceeding guest expectations and making guests fall back in love, or fall in love for the first time with the parks. I know some people. It's in an unenviable position when you're a corporation like this because you can never please everybody, right? If you change something, you upset the people who are the sentimental nostalgics. If you don't change something, then it gets stale and look what everybody else is doing. Everybody else is updating. You announce something and then for one reason or another, it doesn't happen. And all of a sudden you kind of have egg on your face and you have to backpedal. And I would never, ever want to be in either of those positions. One thing he did talk about in terms of looking forward was D 23 2024, the ultimate Disney fan event. The Word Expo is no longer in the name, but this is an event that Becky, you and I have been to not just as guests but as exhibitors since the very first one. It is the thing that we look so forward to every other year. We've been waiting, like not so very patiently for some sort of acknowledgement of what was coming. And they're doing some things differently next year. In addition, just taking the Word Expo out of the name, it is now back. Remember the first year? It was four days. It is now back to four days. And it kicks off at Disneyland on August eigth. Right? So the first day of the Expo is going to take place at Disneyland. They did not talk about specifics as to what this is going to be. Is it going to be sort of a D 23 takeover? Is it going to be an after hours event? We have no idea. But it is going to kick off at Disneyland on August eigth. And then the Anaheim Convention Center is once again going to host the sort of the Fan Expo from the 9th through the 11 August. But evening events are going to be at the honda center. Now the Honda Center is not across the street. The Honda Center is when there's no traffic, which doesn't happen in Anaheim, no traffic. It's about a ten minute drive. It's about 3 miles away, but it is a full blown arena. So they want to sort of, my guess is obviate some of the issues that have happened in the past, which is not being able to get into Hall D 23 for some of the bigger presentations, waiting online for hours, camping out overnight, how they are going to move guests there. I don't know what that is going to be or look like as yet. That may be what I'm most curious about. But I do like the fact that they have expanded this event to be during the entire week instead of just the traditional weekend time frame. And according to the folks at D 23, it's because of some several planned yet unannounced activities that they've come up with for this grand celebration. One thing that they did talk about was D 23 Day at Angel Stadium on August 4. So four days before the event actually starts, they're going to have a D 23 day at Angel Stadium, which is close by. That's all we know. We know what the dates are. We know that tickets go on sale in the spring and that is going to be the day at Angel Stadium. It is going to be a separate ticketed event. A few of you are talking about getting from point A to point B. We're going to need a stretch, make it a super stretch at the very least because there's going to be thousands of people that have to get across. Becky, you and I haven't had much of a chance to talk about this other than we know we have to go and we're already starting to sort of think about our plans. But the thing that excited me most was one, D Twenty three is coming back and two, it is expanding again to four days. And my sort of read of the room and again, conversation that I had outside of the presentations with some folks from D 23 and from the expo side, is that they have listened, they have learned from past events, they very much pay attention to guest feedback. And this is going to look and feel not just different, but based on what they've been doing, what they believe is going to be an improved guest experience at D 23.

Beci Mahnken:

And I am so intrigued by this. I think that's what it's exciting because we don't have all the answers. It's great to know that's coming back because obviously several of us were wondering if that was going to be the case. So knowing it's coming back, even though, again, it is the hashtag longest name ever, I'll still call it Expo. It's going to take a while to change my side there, but I'm very intrigued by this other venue. And yeah, immediately in my brain, I'm going, how are you going to move all of those people from one venue to another? There's not like an underground train or something.

Lou Mongello:

They're going to take drones and they're going to pick us up and just.

Beci Mahnken:

Move us, plop us down there. But I love the way that they're thinking outside of the box because we know that it's a challenge. There's a ton of people. Everybody wants to see the same panels. There's tons of lines, there's tons of waiting. You miss out on other exciting things going on because you need to wait in line for 3 hours to get into the panel you want to see. So I'm hoping that this situation or what they're coming up with is a solution to that problem that will allow more people to enjoy those panels and things that we're all excited to see. I'm just really curious about the logistics of it. And as a logistics person, that's the thing is like, that's great, but how are we going to do this thing?

Lou Mongello:

Dan says build a new people mover. Dan, they've got ten months to build a people mover from the convention center to the Honda Center to get we.

Beci Mahnken:

Need a four way skyliner that goes from the convention center there to the parks and then back to our hotel, like right in front of the door.

Lou Mongello:

It is after four days. It's a lot of imagine to move.

Beci Mahnken:

Imagine how your feet are going to feel after four days.

Lou Mongello:

So, all right, just very quickly, because I know we shocker. We went a little long. There were a lot of things that we did not hear about. And I believe, I hope, I wish that maybe these are being saved for the bigger stage, for the bigger venue at D 23 Expo. Right. We haven't heard about some previously announced projects like the overhaul of Spaceship Earth, the Play Pavilion. The understanding seems to be that the Mary Poppins attraction probably won't happen. What's happening over in the China Pavilion and other things that have been sort of alluded to I do think that they are going to wait for I keep wanting to call it a D 23 expo, but that and josh Olive journey into imagination. They're going to hold for the event that is going to bring a significantly larger number of Disney fans to what's? Sort of like the Disney version of Comic Con. Right. It is the place where the attention is brought. My overall impression of Destination D is it's very different by design. It's very intimate. It has a great flow. Everything takes place in one room. As opposed to Expo, where you're frantically trying to get online, figuring out what to see, what you're going to miss. Getting the Expo floor mean doing it there's a lot. But as I want to do when I attend these things, I'm not just sort of watching what's happening in front of me. I like to sort of look around, and I loved the room and the energy and the love of Know. I talked about Josh and this mission of going forward and the expansion into the parks. And one thing I think that people didn't talk about that they should really sort of keep their eye on for a number of reasons, is that when Josh was talking about the updated plans for Disney's Animal Kingdom, the returning chief creative officer, Bruce Vaughn, joined Josh on stage to talk about those plans. Josh was previously the chief creative executive at Imagineering when he joined in 1993, worked on a number of different projects, including the original update to Spaceship Earth. So maybe the timing is appropriate, but he also did a lot with feature animation and TV and theatrical and music and Internet consumer products. I mean, he did a lot, and he was actually at Airbnb for a while doing some experiential creative product stuff there. But he has been brought back. I think he was CEO or CCO of Dreamscape Immersive, where he worked on virtual reality technologies for a number of years, and some location based entertainment. I think the addition and sort of the reintroduction of Bruce Vaughn is not an accident, and I don't think the timing is not very strategic, not just in terms of what he's bringing to plans for Disney's Animal Kingdom. And Walt Disney World and the Disney Parks, but possibly even a larger role in the company as there know executive movements that are probably going to happen over the next few years. But Josh is full steam ahead on updates and improvements, and you could almost tell that he wanted to reveal more than he could, but the lawyers and the PR people are, like, waving him off. Josh, you can't say this. You can't even go down a different road because you're starting to sort of tread into territory that we're not ready to talk about. Dan says Destination D is very calming by comparison. It's an intimate sort of love letter, I think, to not just Disney theme park fans, but fans of the archives and animation. And whether it's Becky Klein or Diego Paris or some of the other Imagineers, I loved seeing Steve Vagnini and Don Hahn on stage once again. They had great musical performances. I mean, there was something really for everyone for this event. So if you haven't been yet, I highly suggest you come back, hopefully when it returns in 2023. Five to Walt Disney World. Anybody else? Any final thoughts? Any final comments? Any questions before we call it a night? If not, I will obviously post this in the clubhouse@wwradio.com. Clubhouse and would love for you to be part of the community and conversation. And all of you, I won't call out all of you by name, but everybody who is here from the wWdo Nation. All right, I'll call you out by name. Why not Andrew and Caleb and Lori and Angelo and Lisa. Dave. It's like romper room in here. They never said lou in romper room. I'm still devastated to this day. Kim. Brian karen josh. Good seeing you. Kevin, Kerry, Elizabeth and Grace, thank you all very much, not just for being here tonight, but for being part of our nation family. I love and appreciate you and cannot wait to see you at the next event and certainly on our next call. If you weren't all on mute, they can't hear you going wild with applause, but thank you. Yay. Yay.


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