Destination D23 Announcements & Annual Passes Suspended at Walt Disney World

Destination D23 Announcements & Annual Passes Suspended at Walt Disney World

In the wake of an announcement filled D23 weekend we have much to share with you from across the globe. We take you to Paris and Asia, and then to Disneyland and Walt Disney World where we bring a large number of announcements and updates. We also bring news of what’s happening with the Disney Cruise Line and with the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company in 2023. Our update covers not just what was announced but what wasn’t announced. Which brings us to new news that almost all Walt Disney World Annual Passes have been suspended. There is much to cover, so join us for this Disney at Play podcast.

An outline plus photos and video are shown below but our podcast carries narrative of the entire experience. You can find the podcast here on PodbeaniTunesSpotify,  and ListenNotes

Topics we’re covering in this podcast:

International Parks

Avengers Campus Walt Disney Studios Park

At Disneyland Paris, Avengers Campus will open next summer as part of the 30th Anniversary Celebration!  Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will assemble for the next chapter of the Global Avengers initiative and offer incredible new experiences for Super Hero fans, right on the heels of the opening of Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel earlier this year.

Image by Disney.
Image by Disney.

Frozen in Hong Kong Disneyland

“Follow Your Dreams” has returned to the castle stage. But the big activity is construction on a new Frozen themed addition just beyond Fantasyland. It will have two thrill rides attached.

Image by Disney.
Image by Disney.

Zootopia at Shanghai Disneyland

Not much was shared in this update during the park’s 5th anniversary. But they did say that work is moving forward on a Zootopia-themed land. No date for opening seems to have been made.

Image by Disney.

At D23 they shared new footage of the new Audio-Animatronic figures, including Yax the yak! 

Image by Disney.

Disneyland Resort

A number of things are happening at Disneyland:

Three Nighttime Shows Return

Projected to return are three nighttime spectaculars to the park. Announced at D23 was the return of World of Color at Disney California Adventure and Fantasmic! No changes were announced to those shows, only that they would be coming back.

More curious is the potential return of the Main Street Electrical Parade, which Disney Parks social media has had a certain snail running loose around the warehouse with some hints of things to come. The parade initially premiered in 1972 (I was there) and its return would be a perfect 50th anniversary nod to this grand daddy of nighttime spectaculars.

That leaves Paint the Night parade out in the cold…or somewhere else that might be warm…

Downtown Disney Remodel

Disneyland announced a major renovation of a Western portion of Downtown Disney, which was slated for re-construction earlier when a different hotel was planned for the resort. Those facilities were emptied out, the project got scrapped and the pandemic set in. Now the resort is moving forward with a new area that will start construction in January 2022. The multi-year project to reimagine Downtown Disney District will include an even broader collection of shopping, dining and entertainment experiences. More details are coming in 2022! 

Image by Disney.

Disneyland Hotel DVC Addition

D’Amaro shared images from the new Disney Vacation Club tower under construction at the Disneyland Hotel. The hotel’s rooms are themed to Sleeping Beauty, with colors and design elements taken from the animated classic. The DVC tower will have its own themed pool area. There were no other details about the expansion, or what new shops or dining might be added to support the Disney Vacation Club members. And no news was offered as to when these would go on sale.

Image by Disney.

Toontown Facelift

Not announced at D23 per se but more specifically noted on Mickey’s Birthday, November 18th, was that Mickey’s Toontown was going to be closed through much of 2022 in an effort to give the entire land a face lift. This not only includes completing Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, with its hills and mountain facade covering the show building.

Image by Disney.

Disney says “Mickey’s Toontown will transform into a vibrant symphony of sights, sounds, and sensations,” and promises a number of new interactive features throughout the land. At the entrance is a new CenTOONial Park, which Disney says will contain two interactive play experiences, including a fountain with water tables for tactile play. A “dreaming tree” with sculpted roots is one of the new “open, grassy play spaces” designed for “both spontaneous family play and parental relaxation.”

Image by Disney.

There are a missing number of details in this project that haven’t specifically been outlined. The larger view of the project gives hint to a few of them:

Image by Disney.
  • Fountains in Front of Mickey’s home seem to be removed.
  • Fountains in front of Roger Rabbits seems to be removed.
  • No word on any upcoming transformation for Roger Rabbit.
  • Toontown Trolley completely removed
  • Potentially a new pathway could lead through to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge where Chip ‘n Dale’s Acorn Ball Crawl was formerly

I wouldn’t be surprised if November 18th is the projected date for everything reopening.

Walt Disney World

Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond

Image by Disney.

The new show is set in the timeline of the movie “Finding Dory.” When you take a seat in the theater, you’ll find yourself at the Marine Life Institute. As the show begins, we catch up with the fish from Dr. P. Sherman’s office in “Finding Nemo,” who have made their way across the ocean to California. They tell the story of Nemo and how they all got there, incorporating many of the songs and production numbers from the original show. The team is hard at work getting “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!” ready to open in 2022 as is pretty much everything shared during this event. “Somewhere” in 2022.


Image by Disney.

Also reopening in 2022–somewhere–is Fantasmic! There is an entire segment is being replaced with all new characters. There are stunt performers, new animation, water effects and more. Given the oar and its design, I would be guessing Moana might be replacing Pocohantas–or even the dragon segment. Think about it.

The show is also re-starting at Disneyland.

Disney on Broadway Concert Series

Also announced was the return of the Disney on Broadway Concert Series, along with the 2022 EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, taking place Jan. 14 – Feb. 21. Perhaps what’s meaningful here is that this is the first concert series that’s coming back in full since the pandemic.

Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire.

Image by Disney.

Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire will be changed out with a 50th anniversary overlay. It is now called Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire. There is a new opening and closing number. This new version has a new song “Where the Magic Feels Like Home”. New costumes are also a part of the opening and closing.

Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade

Image by Disney.

Later this winter, Disney will introduce a new cavalcade, the Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade, with a lineup of characters all embarking on a great journey through the park. The Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade will feature the most characters of any cavalcade to date, including Nick and Judy from “Zootopia,” Baloo and King Louie from “The Jungle Book,” José Carioca and Panchito from “The Three Caballeros,” Miguel from “Coco,” plus Merida, Moana, The Incredibles, and many more!

Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade

Image by Disney.

And in early 2022, these cavalcades will be joined by the return of the Disney “Festival of Fantasy” Parade. This vibrant and joyous celebration of Fantasyland brings to the streets of Magic Kingdom Park dozens of beloved Disney characters and stories, from the Disney Princess Garden to a carnival of color presided over by none other than Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

Dreamers Point

Image by Disney.

In the future, there will be a new location near Spaceship Earth at Epcot called Dreamers Point with a spectacular view of the park and a new statue of Walt Disney! Disney Imagineers are now working to bring this new statue to life.  

Connections Café and Eatery

Josh also shared the name of a new quick-service restaurant, Connections Café and Eatery, debuting in the World Celebration neighborhood of EPCOT as part of the park’s ongoing transformation.  

Image by Disney.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

This attraction is now slated for Summer 2022. That may suggests that attractions like Tron and others are now being paced at about six months apart. Remember just at Epcot there’s still Moana; What lies in the center of World Celebration; the China film, and The Play Pavilion.

Guests will see Nova Prime in the new Wonders of Xandar “other-world” pavilion at EPCOT, which the Xandarians are currently constructing in the park’s newly renamed World Discovery neighborhood. It’s here you’ll learn more about Xandarians and their advanced technologies, which they’re bringing to us here on Earth – or Terra, as they call our planet.

Image by Disney.

Guests will queue through the Xandar Gallery, which is where you’ll discover more about the Xandarian people, culture and history, including heroes like the Guardians of the Galaxy! It’s all well and good until they show up, of course, and adventure ensues in an intergalactic chase through time and space.

Image by Disney.

 Check out the video below to hear from Academy Award nominee Glenn Close, who for the attraction will reprise her role from “Guardians of the Galaxy” as Nova Prime, the leader of Xandar and commander of the Nova Corps.

Image by Disney.


“Hey Disney!” will begin rolling out in Disney Resort hotel guest rooms across Walt Disney World in 2022. Access will be offered as an optional, complimentary feature during guest stays. “Hey Disney!” will make the services Alexa users know and love – weather forecasts, timers, alarms, etc. – magical with the help of popular characters such as Mickey Mouse, Olaf, C-3PO and many more.

“Hey Disney!” also features an all-new character, the Disney Magical Companion, who will help guests discover more than a thousand magical interactions, such as hearing special greetings and jokes from authentic Disney character voices, asking trivia questions and exploring audio environments inspired by Disney films and destinations. Disney Resort guests will be able to learn helpful information about their vacation (“Hey Disney! When does the next bus to EPCOT depart?”), order room amenities (“Hey Disney! Can we have some extra towels?”) and more.

Image by Disney.

MagicBand+ will come alive at various times with color-changing lights, haptic vibrations and gesture recognition, enhancing the environment’s immersive storytelling. The wearable will allow guests to engage with favorite Disney moments in new ways and discover new interactive experiences, including:

  • Play like a bounty hunter in a galaxy far, far away and find virtual bounties throughout Black Spire Outpost in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • Interact with the “Disney Fab 50 Character Collection,” the golden sculptures spread throughout the Walt Disney World theme parks.
  • Experience nighttime spectaculars in a new way as they see their bands light up and complement the magic in the skies, including the new “Harmonious” at EPCOT and “Disney Enchantment” at Magic Kingdom Park.

MagicBands are also being introduced to Disneyland for the first time.

The Disney Wish

Progress was shown on the Disney Wish, slated for Summer of 2022.

Image by Disney.

Two new show have been introduced for the Disney Wish:

Disney The Little Mermaid

Image by Disney.

There will be a new “reimagined” version of Disney The Little Mermaid. It will have a modern and innovative take on the story and feature dazzling special effects, innovative theatrical design, artistic choreography, and more.

Image by Disney.

Disney Seas the Adventure

Image by Disney.

The Walt Disney Theatre will also host a new show Disney Seas the Adventure. The show will follow Goofy discovering his own inner captain with the help of Captain Minnie and several Disney and Pixar friends. These two shows will be accompanied by Aladdin: A Musical Adventure, which was announced earlier.

Disney 100 Years of Wonder

Image by Disney.

Finally, The Walt Disney Company under the leadership of D23 announced Disney 100 Years of Wonder, aligned with the Centennial anniversary of the Walt Disney Company on October 16th, 2023. This will be kicked off next September at D23.

Post D23 News–WDW Annual Passes Stopped

Disney World has stopped selling new passes for its top three levels: the $1,299 Disney Incredi-Pass, the $899 Disney Sorcerer Pass, and the $699 Disney Pirate Pass. Only the Pixie Dust Pass remains at $399. All three passes remain available for renewals, however. This comes after Disneyland suspended their sales amid, all the while fielding complaints from current Passholders that there are no openings for the month of December.

Join and Help Us Out!

We thank you for visiting and listening to us. We appreciate your patronage and your friendship. To help make these websites and podcasts possible, there are several easy ways you can help:

  1. In addition to the podcast channel you listen to, please visit and and subscribe to our website. That way you get notices of new posts and podcasts coming out.
  2. If you like what we have to offer, please visit iTunes and offer us a favorable rating and even a review. This helps notify others of what we have to offer. 
  3. If you like videos not just of Walt Disney World but of parks throughout the world, visit J. Jeff Kober on YouTube and subscribe there.
  4. Finally, join the Wayfinder Society. For as little as a dollar a month, this Patreon group not only helps to support this podcast and attending websites, but also gives you access to one of our Disney at Play Interactive Guides. 

There are four tiers to our society, two of which are available to all who love Disney and are fans. The second two tiers not only celebrate all things Disney, but focus on best-in-business practices from the happiest and most magical places on earth that can be applied to your own organization. All of them offer unique offerings only available here at Disney at Work and Play. For instance, right now subscribers to the three top tiers can experience a deep dive into Pirates of the Caribbean unlike any other.

And now we’re happy to announce that first Explorer tier is only $1.00 a month. And with that you not only help to support us but will receive access to one of our Disney at Play Discoveries: Pandora World of Avatar: To see a sneak peek at all that’s offered on this truly unique interactive guide, please visit us at the Wayfinder Society. While there you can also get a sneak peek at our Disney at Work Interactive Tour of Disneyland, available to our Navigator and Adventurer levels. We promise you content and experiences you can’t get elsewhere. And your patronage goes to help support these podcasts and posts.

Check out the Wayfinder’s Society to see these two new Sneak Peeks!

Ready to Visit the Disney Parks?

Hopefully this podcast has made you realize you need help and support in planning your next trip to Disney. David and Leah with Out the Door Travel know Disney in ways few do and they can make your next trip on land or sea an exciting one–or at least less stressful! Be sure to contact them as you explore your next vacation, whether it is a Disney theme park vacation, a cruise, or an Adventure by Disney. There is no charge to utilize their services, but it will save you enormous time getting all the details right, and with their insight you can be assured you’re going to experience the best trip possible. Contact them today!

David and Leah Zanolla
(309) 863-5469
Instagram: @otdwithdavid

J. Jeff Kober

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *