The 9 biggest announcements from D23 this year

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Over the weekend, fans of all things Disney were treated to some very big news about the future of all its properties, including Walt Disney World here in Central Florida.


There is a lot to be excited about for the future of all things Disney, whether it be Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar or theme park attractions. The next two years will be very busy for Central Florida as attractions will be added, updated and completed across Walt Disney World.

We’re breaking down the top 9 biggest announcements.

See our gallery of D23 below:

TRON Lightcycle / Run opening announced

Guests at Magic Kingdom will be able to enter the grid when TRON Lightcycle / Run officially opens in spring 2023. The family-friendly thrill ride will allow guests to climb aboard a Lightcycle and race through a dark, computerized world, Disney said.

SEE: 1st full-speed launch test for Magic Kingdom’s TRON Lightcycle/Run ride

Walt Disney World will open a new "TRON" roller coaster in Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland. (Artist Rending - Source: Walt Disney Company)

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opening announced

Splash Mountain is getting a facelift in the form of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which now has an official opening date of late 2024. Guests will join Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen and their friends as they host a party at Tiana’s Place for the people of New Orleans, and try to find the missing ingredient, Disney said.

During the expo, some models and concept renderings were shared of the upcoming attraction.

READ Splash Mountain to be rebranded as ‘Princess and the Frog’ ride at Disney World, Disneyland

EPCOT transformation

EPCOT is undergoing a major multi-year transformation. It will reach a major milestone when the World Celebration neighborhood opens in late 2023. The neighborhood and central location in the park will include a lush green space, the Communicore Hall and Communicore Plaza, the home to festivals and more. It will also be home to Dreamers Point, which will feature the new Walt Disney statue called “Walt the Dreamer.”

SEE: Disney’s new Moana-inspired attraction, Journey of Water, begins taking shape

Journey of Water opening announced

Also slated for EPCOT later in 2023, Journey of Water, inspired by Moana, will open in World Nature. The walkthrough attraction will allow guests to explore the story of water on our planet, and guests will be able to interact with water throughout the attraction.

New nighttime shows

An updated version of the nighttime spectacular “Happily Ever After” returns to Magic Kingdom in 2023, Disney said during D23.

SEE: EPCOT’s newest night-time show ‘Harmonious’ will take Disney’s vision ‘to the next chapter’

New addition to Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion is getting one more happy haunt to add to the mix. The Hatbox Ghost, a popular character at the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland in California, will materialize in the Orlando attraction next year.

Speaking of Haunted Mansion, Disney gave an exclusive look at an upcoming movie based on the attraction starring Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson, LaKeith Stanfield, Jared Leto, Tiffany Haddish, Winona Ryder, Danny DeVito and Jamie Lee Curtis, who rolled onto the stage during the D23 announcement in a “Doom Buggy.”

A trailer was shown at D23, but has not made its way online yet. “Haunted Mansion” is set to be released March 10.

Animal Kingdom expansion

Details were scarce, but Disney announced at D23 that attractions based on Moana and Zootopia are coming to Animal Kingdom.

Guests can also expect projects surrounding Coco, Encanto and iconic Disney villains to find their way to Magic Kingdom, Disney said at D23.

READ: Disney+ subscribers can save on select Disney resort stays this holiday season

New Disney cruise ship

During D23, Disney shared its first look at its next Disney Cruise Line ship, Disney Treasure. It will begin setting sail in 2024 and is the second of three new ships planned through 2025.

See video of the Disney Treasure below:

Movies and TV

Disney has plenty of big titles coming to the big and small screens. At D23, Disney shared first look at some of its biggest upcoming movies and TV shows, including “The Little Mermaid,” “Hocus Pocus 2,” “Wish,” “Disenchantment,” “Peter Pan and Wendy,” a new season of “The Mandalorian,” Pixar’s “Elementals” and “Inside Out 2.”

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.