Friday, August 21, 2015

D23 Expo Announcements and Reactions

        As pretty much everyone knows, the D23 Expo was last weekend in Anaheim. I couldn't go, but I'm almost glad that I couldn't. All of the coverage that I saw of it, mostly through Instagram and Disney's blogs, made it seem exceptionally crowded and packed with a ton of things to see and do. Frankly, I probably would have had more than one panic attack had I been there, not mention I would have spent all of my money on the exclusive and limited edition merchandise, so being at home with my cats wasn't so bad.
        So many exciting things were announced and it's all a bit overwhelming so I'm focusing on what I found most interesting and sorting it all into a few categories.
  • Star Wars Expansions: This has been a long time coming, and with the new movies fast approaching, it was something that I don't think could be stopped. Now I'm not the biggest Star Wars fan (I haven't seen the movies since I was very little and, frankly, don't even remember them that well) but I'm still excited for these lands. It'll be a new challenge for the Imagineers and I'm curious to see just how immersive the lands are. It will be interesting to see what exactly we lose to gain these lands, especially at Disneyland. Before the official announcement I know that there was talk of losing Toon Town, but now it seems like we'll only be losing Big Thunder Ranch and some of the backstage areas nearby. It's sad that we won't have the seasonal events in the Ranch anymore, but I'm really excited to see what new rides and other sorts of attractions Disney has in store for us.
  •  Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios: While I've only been to Disney World once, I'm still always intrigued by any news from that resort. This land sounds like a ton of fun and a great way to show off the Imagineers' theming capabilities!
  • Pandora: The World of Avatar: Ever since it was announced, I haven't been thrilled with the prospect of this land. I personally didn't like Avatar that much and I don't think that it matches the tone of Disney very well, but I understand that it's got a ton of potential for immersion. The art shown this weekend certainly makes it all seem exciting but I'm still very skeptical.
  • Soarin' Around the World: I have extremely mixed feelings on this new version of Soarin' Over California that will feature new footage from all over the world. I absolutely adore Soarin' as it is, but I've also thought that it needed to update its footage for a long time. I don't think that this change will ruin the theming of the newly redone Grizzly Peak Airfield in California Adventure, as I've seen some people say, because it's still aviation themed. That being said, though, I do hope that they'll end the ride by focusing in on California and arriving at Disneyland.
  • Disney Animation: I've been quietly optimistic about Zootopia for a long time. It just sounds like fun and I'm always happy to see Disney balancing fairytale and non fairytale films. We didn't get much news about it though which is disappointing but understandable considering it's coming out in only a few months. Moana, meanwhile, is something that I am bursting with excitement for! It just sounds absolutely fantastic, with the directors of some of my favorite Disney movies directing and with an amazing setting and concept I have very high hopes for this movie. I'm also just so, so happy to see Disney still working on adding diversity to their films. The last movie to talk about for Disney Animation Studios is Gigantic, which we still don't know much about. One thing we do know, though, is that it's about a human boy and a young giantess. I get the feeling that this movie is going to be a lot about friendship and if Wreck-It Ralph is anything to go off of, that'll be amazing.
  • Pixar: A lot of the news surrounding Pixar was about the footage shown from The Good Dinosaur which was apparently fantastic. I'm trying to keep my hopes low after having a lack luster experience watching Inside Out, but I'm still excited. Of all of Pixar's up and coming films many of them are sequels. There was a line of posters at the expo showing a poster for all of their announced movies that are still in production, and most of them were sequels. I trust Pixar to make good sequels, but I'm worried that they'll overwhelm the original ideas that will also be debuting. The other original idea that was discussed was Coco which has something to do with Dia de Los Muertos. Not much is known, but it's supposed to be another great high concept film, so I'm hopeful.
  • Live Action: Frankly the only thing I really care about from the news about further live action films is that ORLANDO BLOOM WILL BE BACK FOR PIRATES 5! (This is all I've wanted since I saw On Stranger Tides.)
Merchandise: Not a ton to say here but there is supposed to be a ton of new merchandise coming this fall (some from Tokyo!) and it all looks very intriguing. I haven't ben thrilled with a ton of the merch that Disney has sold for a long time, so anything new is exciting.

Overall, an incredible amount of exciting news was shared at D23 and the future of Disney looks very bright.

All of the pictures and news discussed here can be found on the Disney blogs.

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