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Photo TR: D23 Expo 2015


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Over the course of this past weekend I was able to represent Theme Park Review at the bi-annual D23 Expo. This event is the official Disney Fan exposition, with representation from almost all branches of The Walt Disney Company. This event is almost always a forum for major company announcements (as this year surely was) and there was plenty to see and do during this year's expo!

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Welcome to the D23 Expo show floor!

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First up was a visit to the Alpha Centauri Expeditions vacation presentation...

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Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE for short) is the company bringing guests to Pandora for out of this world vacations.

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You'll be able to take a boat ride in Pandora - The World of AVATAR to witness the bioluminescence of this world.

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The land's other attraction will be a Soarin'-style ride on the back of a flying Banshee.

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These vacation ads are great!

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I love these!

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There are plenty of photo ops on the show floor to take in.

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Featured on the show floor were costumes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, including this soon-to-be-iconic chrome armor that belongs to one of the film's antagonists, Captain Phasma.

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Guests can see the full lineup of John Lasseter's infamous Hawaiian shirts.

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Pixar had a booth on the show floor.

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A teaser poster for the upcoming Finding Nemo sequel, Finding Dory.

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Zootopia had a photo op on the floor as well.

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With the Shanghai Disney Resort was the main focus of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Pavilion. New details about the resort's hotels

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A full sized space pod from Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy could be found on the show floor.

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Inside of the ACE pavilion a giant model of Pandora - The World of AVATAR can be found.

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Notice the military-looking installation on the bottom right of the model. That is the former RTA facility that ACE has taken over for its space tourism business.

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The timeline of this new land takes place well after the original film (though an exact amount of time would not be shared) that implies that all disagreements with the local Na'vi have been resolved and humans are now welcome guests on Pandora.

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Towards the back of the land nature masks the entrances to both of the attractions in the realm.

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To give you a sense of the scale they're going for with Pandora - The World of AVATAR.

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We even had the chance to chat with Walt Disney Imagineering's Joe Rohde, the lead Imagineer behind Disney's Animal Kingdom Park and the AVATAR project.

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The antagonist of Roaring Rapids at Shanghai Disneyland is the giant Q'araq, the Guardian of the Water.

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Adventure Isle at Shanghai Disneyland will feature the "Young Adventurer Training Camp," an interactive dig site!

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A look at some more of the details in Adventure Isle.

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The entrance marquee for Roaring Rapids, the land's signature E-Ticket.

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Treasure Cove at Shanghai Disneyland will feature the Siren's Revenge, an activity-filled, full-sized pirate ship!

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Some more details within Treasure Cove.

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Advanced animatronics are being developed for Treasure Cove's attractions, including this character from the Pirates of the Caribbean films!

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Some cast member costumes for the Alice in Wonderland Maze attraction.

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Details from the Alice in Wonderland Maze.

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The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train that recently opened at the Magic Kingdom in Florida is also coming to Shanghai Disneyland.

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Fantasyland will be very different in Shanghai Disneyland.

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The Voyage to the Crystal Grotto attraction will take guests on a boat ride through iconic Disney film scenes in the shadow of the Enchanted Storybook Castle.

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One of the many animated scenes that will be experienced during the Voyage to the Crystal Grotto attraction.

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Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue is a combination of Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and Toy Story Midway Mania.

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The ride will feature digital and physical targets in a fully rendered, interactive environment.

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The Tron Lightcycle Power Run is the park's signature coaster and the anchor for a very new approach to Tomorrowland.

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A new take on the classic Astro Orbiter ride, Jetpacks will allow guests to ascend and descend in a unique seating platform.

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Back at the ACE preview, you can see guests hiking under Pandora's floating mountains.

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ACE's founder Marshall Lamm may look familiar... He is actually Jon Landau, producer of AVATAR.

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The video presentation shows guests enjoying the sights, sounds and feelings of Pandora while on the ground.

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Notice this cast member's name tag is themed to ACE, not to Disney Parks.

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More of the floating mountains.

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The video also teased unique food options for guests to enjoy on Pandora.

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More food...

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Hand-crafted accessories were also teased in the video.

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And more unique food!

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I'm not even sure what these are...

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Or what this is, but it must be significant if it was included in the video.

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Bioluminescent plants confirmed!

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(Continued)

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Mickey Avenue will serve as the entry experience to Shanghai Disneyland. Individual storefronts will below to recognizable Disney characters who each bring their personalities to the stores.

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One of the exhibitor booths on the floor actually had two of the old Peoplemover cars in perfect condition!

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The first major presentation of the event was the Disney Legends Awards ceremony, hosted by Disney CEO Bob Iger.

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The ceremony included a surprise performance by Richard Sherman and Ashley Brown singing "Kiss Goodnight" from the Disneyland 60th Anniversary Celebration.

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Two stars from dancing with the stars danced to the the tune of Once Upon a Dream.

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Susan Lucci accepted the award this year...

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Along with Danny Elfman! Oingo Boingo fans in the audience went wild!

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George Lucas was the biggest name of the Legends Awards for the year... During his speech he admitted that Jar Jar Binks was a character inspired by Disney's own Goofy.

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The Walt Disney Parks and Resort Pavilion featured lots of behind the scenes footage on the creation of the park, including this footage of the making of the new Soarin' over the Horizon attraction.

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Pre-visualization models of Treasure Cove give a good idea of how expansive this land will be.

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The theater where the new Jack Sparrow themed stunt show will take place.

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Even more Treasure Cove details.

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A model of Treasure Cove was built after the pre-visualization.

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Construction is heavily under way at Shanghai Disneyland...

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A drone flyover video at the pavilion shows off just how much is already complete...

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With a year left to go construction is in the detailing stage for facades and exteriors.

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The main show building for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in Treasure Cove.

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From concept...

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To modeling...

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To creation.

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More Treasure Cove concept art.

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A new ride system has been developed for Shanghai Disneyland's variation of the attraction, Peter Pan's Flight.

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It remains to be seen what the differences are in this new system based on this video alone.

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Behind the scenes footage of the Tron Lightcycle Power Run coaster reveals an insane level of detail throughout.

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Guests will face off against the yellow team in a lightcycle battle on The Grid.

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A quick glimpse at the testing Walt Disney Imagineering has been doing in the famous DISH room for Tron.

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It looks like this is the foundation for the helix seen in the concept visualization above.

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Production of actual pieces of theming is already under way.

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You can see in this shot that the ride system for the Jetpack attraction is already installed in Tomorrowland.

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Concept art for the Marvel experience at Shanghai Disneyland hadn't previously been shown before the D23 Expo.

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An overview of the Marvel space.

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Presumably the stations in which guests can control virtual Iron Man suits, like they do in California at the Iron Man Tech exhibition at Innoventions.

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A previously unseen piece of concept art for the Star Wars Launch Bay that will be coming to Shanghai Disneyland, Disneyland Park and Disney's Hollywood Studios over the next few years.

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It looks like there will be a themed dance party like elecTRONica in Tomorrowland at Shanghai Disneyland.

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A look at the fabrication of the Tomorrowland entrance sign for Shanghai Disneyland.

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A good look at the track for the Tron Lightcycle Power Run before the ride structure was built around it.

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Milestones in the construction of Tomorrowland...

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A construction milestone for Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue.

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Johnny Depp was a surprise award winner at the Disney Legacy Awards this year.

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James Monroe Inglehart (Genie in Aladdin on Broadway) performed a rendition of the Oogie Boogie Song in tribute to Danny Elfman.

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Ne-Yo performed a cover of Friend Like Me in tribute to Robin Williams, another Disney Legend.

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Next up was the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Presentation, where division president Bob Chapek took the stage to announce new projects and details for known projects for all of the resorts around the world.

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Earlier that day Bob Iger announced at the Disney Studios Live Action presentation that a Star Wars Land would be coming to Disneyland Park and Disney's Hollywood Studios. This land would be 14 acres in size with a fully immersive design for attractions, food and beverage and theming.

 

It was promised that cast members would be alien and themed as such, and roaming creatures would be found in this unique spaceport world. This creature is one example of an alien beast guests will be able to see in the new world.

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The conceit of this project is that a new world in the Star Wars canon has been created specifically for this expansion to avoid the pitfalls of continuity questions the challenge of existing expectations based on guest familiarity with established Star Wars locales.

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But just because the world is new to the franchise, it doesn't mean that familiar characters won't appear here. Two signature attractions will be built for the land including a ride behind the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon and a ride putting guests in the middle of a battle between the First Order (the renamed Empire) and the Resistance (the renamed Rebel Alliance).

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Later this year a new sequence featuring worlds and characters from Star Wars The Force Awakens will debut at Star Tours: The Adventure Continues attractions around the world.

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The Jedi Training Academy experience at Disneyland Park and Disney's Hollywood Studios will be reimagined with new characters & a new villain to battle from the Disney XD series Star Wars Rebels.

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Star Wars Launch Bay will host character meet & greets and new food options. Star Wars Launch Bay will be located in the former lower floor of Innoventions at Disneyland Park, the former Magic of Disney Animation building at Disney's Hollywood Studios and a purpose-built venue at Shanghai Disneyland.

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A new seasonal event, Star Wars Season of the Force will debut at Disneyland Park and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

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(Continued)

 

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In Disneyland Park, Space Mountain will receive a seasonal overlay in the form Hyperspace Mountain putting guests in the middle of an X-wing battle.

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Seasons of the Force will feature a new Star Wars fireworks spectacular on weekends during the event.

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New audio is being recorded specifically for the offerings at this event.

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Another surprise of the event was the announcement of Toy Story Land coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

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This new land will feature a Little Green Men-themed ride using the Mater's Junkyard Jamboree ride system to whip guests away from The Claw.

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The major addition for Toy Story Land is the family coaster themed to the Slinky Dog.

 

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Here's a look at the Sven animatronic currently being developed for the Frozen Ever After attraction replacing Maelstrom at Epcot.

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The Royal Sommerhaus will expand the borders of the Norway pavilion at Epcot with the rest of the pavilion receiving slight updates in preparation for the debut of Frozen Ever After.

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Plenty of new things on the way for the Walt Disney World Resort!

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More details on the Rivers of Light nighttime show at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park were shared including information on how the show starts out small and humble but gradually expands to be towering water screens along Discovery River.

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New projection mapping effects will transform the Tree of Life in the evening at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park.

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Next James Cameron and Jon Landau joined Joe Rohde onstage to discuss Pandora - The World of AVATAR and to confirm the title of the signature banshee flight attraction, AVATAR Flight of Passage.

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It was confirmed during this presentation that Disneyland Paris' 25th Anniversary celebration is already in the works!

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Next up was a look at the Iron Man Experience coming to Hong Kong Disneyland next year.

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Guests will visit the new Stark Expo in Hong Kong and board the Iron Wing to fly alongside Iron Man...

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They will take a short flight to the new Stark Tower in Hong Kong.

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Notice the giant arc reactor atop the Stark Tower.

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Hydra has unleashed an army of robots upon Hong Kong and it is up to Iron Man and the Iron Wing to save the day!

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More concept art from the attraction.

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The presentation even included a live cameo appearance by Stan Lee.

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And Iron Man even joined in the festivities!

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Mickey Avenue features a mix of new designs and architecture rooted in Disney history.

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A great look at the Tron Lightycle Power Run trains.

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The topping off ceremony for Raging Rapids.

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Enchanted Storybook Castle will feature an interactive experience themed to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

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More of the Star Wars The Force Awakens costumes from the show floor.

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Costumes from the upcoming Alice in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass.

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I'm hoping these unique food and beverage options actually debut with the park!

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A model of one of the faux storefronts guests will see along Mickey Avenue.

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The entrance marquee for Treasure Cove.

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Enchanted Storybook Castle will feature hand-made tile murals depicting notable Disney Princess film artwork.

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Winnie the Pooh Hunny Pot Spin is a new take on the classic tea cup-style flat ride.

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Shanghai Disneyland's "Dumbo The Flying Elephant" attraction will be located in the Gardens of Imagination.

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The entrance to the Shanghai Disneyland preview space at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Pavilion.

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The Pandora model glows under the blacklight to show a whole new level of detail.

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I can't wait to experience this in person!

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It looks like some unique water features will exist within this space as well.

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Following the announcement of the Disney Animation Studios film Gigantic, this display was unveiled on the show floor.

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Time to go inside of the ABC studio...

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To visit the set of Up Late with Miss Piggy!

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We watched the new Legendary Yoda, a cool, new consumer animatronic with a lot of neat movements & dialogue.

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There's actually a robot builder's club that built a fully functioning Wall-E... But can it love?

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Next up was a demo of Disney Interactive's new Playmation product line.

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Starting with a Marvel themed experience, Playmation aims to inspire active play in real life with videogame-style accessories.

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This Iron Man-inspired piece allows wearers the ability to deflect attacks from targets along with being able to fire upon those targets using special triggers within the fitted glove.

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The experience requires the wearer to dodge attacks, which can become quite the physical activity.

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Achievements and missions are stored within an associated app.

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New opponents and missions can be unlocked when figures are purchased to add to the playing collection.

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Here is the high resolution concept art from what was announced at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Presentation.

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Rivers of Light at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park.

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Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

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The new Stark Tower as seen during the Iron Man Experience at Hong Kong Disneyland.

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Star Wars Launch Bay coming to Disneyland Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Shanghai Disneyland.

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AVATAR Flight of Passage at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park.

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Another scene from the Iron Man Experience at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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(Continued)

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Over at the Disney Interactive presentation it was announced that Big Hero 6 is the subject of a new land in Kingdom Hearts 3. The story of this land will explore what happens to the original Baymax (SPOILER ALERT) that was lost in the portal towards the end of the movie, if the Darkness of Kingdom Hearts fame were able to get a hold of him.

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Announced for mobile platforms during this presentation was Disney's Magic Kingdoms.

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This will be a park-building game with plenty of new content coming in the future.

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A home installation, premium version of the Namco Bandai arcade game Star Wars Battle Pod was announced!

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The Darth Vader edition of the Playstation 4 was announced as well.

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The lineup of new playsets coming to Disney Infinity 3.0.

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The Disney Infinity 3.0 Marvel Battlegrounds play set has been announced! It features a 4 person multiplayer mode.

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In addition to the Disney Infinity space coming to the Disney Dream during its upcoming dry dock, a Castaway Cay toy box will debut in Disney Infinity 3.0.

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It was announced during this presentation that Spot from Disney - Pixar's The Good Dinosaur will get his own figurine.

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Zootopia is the inspiration for two additional Disney Infinity figurines.

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Limited light-up editions of Star Wars Disney Infinity characters will come out next year for the game.

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The Ultimate Unlock for Disney Infinity 3.0 was revealed to be a Keyblade from Kingdom Hearts.

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A sneak peek of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens play set was also shown.

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The Walt Disney Archives presented a huge exhibit on the history of Disneyland during the D23 Expo. Unfortunately due to long lines I was unable to experience it myself.

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I love this!

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The former D-Tech Me technology from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is now in the hands of the Disney Store.

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Guests sit in from of a 3-D cam to have their faces mapped for use in the creation of their signature figure.

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The Good Dinosaur will also have a large lineup of merchandise for public consumption.

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You could get a personalized Coke-Cola mantic

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Who's your friend who likes to play?

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More from Zootopia.

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Do you want to eat a Frozen cake?

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A Tsum Tsum dress for anyone who thinks that would float their boat.

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You could even have your hair made in the style of Tinkerbell.

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These Tron/Tomorrowland costumes look incredible!

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A look at the pamphlet given out at the ACE Pandora presentation.

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And some more detail....

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The inside of said pamphlet.....

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And the ACE satchel.

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The goodies inside.

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The scene waiting for the main presentation in Hall D23... This was the view at 5:00 AM.

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Check out this Jungle Cruise cosplay!

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Dick Van Dyke sighting!

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My favorite acquisition from the exhibitor space at the D23 Expo was the purchasing of these two Tiki Baby statues from the Enchanted Tiki Room.

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Another look at Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue.

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The Jetpack attraction in Tomorrowland at Shanghai Disney Resort.

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A look at one of the original, here is the rough master plan for Tomorrowland as shown at D23.

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A physical model of Tomorrowland has been built already.

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If this concept art is anything to go by, Chevrolet will sponsor the Tron Lightcycle Power Run attraction.

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Intergalactic Imports will be Tomorrow's main shop.

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The Stargazer Grill is the largest dining venue in the park.

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The queue for Tron Lightcycle Power Run will be full of detail.

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The full lineup of Pixar films yet to come.

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I love this photo op!

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An Ocean Sunfish spotted at the Disney nature booth on the D23 Expo show floor!

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Since the last Expo I joined in at 4 years ago, it was amazing to see a new system in place to help queuing for the side representations not on the main stage.

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How did I end up here?

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Any fans of Disney Infinity out there?

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Thanks again to TPR for allowing me to indulge in my fun at the D23 Expo 2015. I can't wait to come back two years from now to see what else is announced. Overall it was a great time--something that I recommend for everyone, whether you are a casual fan or an uber-Disney nerd like me!

Edited by jedimaster1227
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Disney is ABSOLUTELY INSANE (in a good way ;0)! Good for them to update the park to the actual future! It's amazing seeing the progress they've made so far, even though they only announced the park just a while ago! The front coaster looks awesome too! Nothing negative to say!

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I may be in the minority here but I was more excited for the Disney Infinity 3.0 offerings than some of the movie announcements. Nothing beats the Theme park/Resort announcements but it really sounds like Disney Infinity 3.0 is going to kick some major @$$. Disney Infinity 2.0 Marvel sets weren't that great but the Toy Box was insane. Plus, with my son now getting into games and Disney stuff like that, it's awesome to see his face when he gets to pick out the next character to play on screen.

 

Jimmy "Seriously awesome report Adam!!!" Bo

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^ Unfortunately, I cannot find at least 1 GIANT rubber duckie in all that stuff (theming) in Andy's back yard!

But then I figured, he doesn't play with those much, as he's getting older, right?

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