Now that we have begun 2017, we are sharing what we are most looking forward to from Disney in 2017. What is your most anticipated Disney project for the coming year?
#10 Cars 3 (June 16)
The world of Cars is about the change. The teaser trailer and poster hint that the third installment is going in a new direction. While Cars 2 was criticized as being frivolous, everything we know about Cars 3 points to a much darker story. Will it be too dark for fans of the franchise? We will find out this summer.
#9 DuckTales (Summer)
Nostalgia is all the rage on TV these days with Fuller House already on Netflix, That's So Raven returning to Disney Channel, Muppet Babies slated for Disney Junior, and DuckTales arriving on Disney XD. One would hope that the folks at Disney XD understand how beloved the original series as well as the classic Carl Barks stories that inspired it all. Nostalgia series have to walk the fine line between needing to be fresh while not being alienating to classic fans. We will find out if DuckTales can be a fresh yet familiar series when it airs on Disney XD.
#8 Iron Man Experience (January 11)
Marvel is going international. With the Iron Man Experience opening at Hong Kong Disneyland, the smallest castle park gets to be the first to offer a full-fledged Marvel attraction. Designed with Hong Kong in mind, the attraction will be based in the city to give the park its own unique experience. It will also be the first step in a Marvel mini-land that will transform Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters as well as a large-scale attraction schedule to open in 2018.
#7 Beauty and the Beast (March 17)
The tale as old as time is being retold and this time it's live-action. The full-blown musical hopes to bring the classic moments as well as new elements to one of the most beloved Disney animated classics ever. Featuring the classic songs alongside new tunes written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice as well as boasting an all-star cast, Disney hopes it will replicate the success of 2016's The Jungle Book. But will the world of live-action Disney adaptations of Disney classics?
#6 Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout (Summer)
Among the most controversial announcements made last year was that Disney California Adventure's Tower of Terror was going to be transformed in a Guardians of the Galaxy themed experience. While the debate will continue as to whether this is the right move or not, we are excited to get a new Disney attraction to experience. Naturally, once it opens, the debate will shift to which attraction was better.
#5 Star Wars Celebration (April 13-16)
The largest gathering of Star Wars fans comes to Orlando. While this event will likely serve as the kick-off to promoting Episode VIII, it will also serve a different function: the fan community will be able to come together to remember and commemorate the contributions Carrie Fisher brought the galaxy far, far, away.
#4 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5)
Who can resist Baby Groot? If the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is any indication, we should expect to get our fair share this summer. James Gunn returns with his quirky take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and this time he is bringing Disney Legend Kurt Russell along for the ride.
#3 D23 Expo (July 14-16)
The D23 Expo returns, and while it is too early to guess what celebrity appearances and announcements will be made, the true highlight will be the chance for the Disney fan community to unite and celebrate Disney. While I am sure there will be full slate of presentations and experiences, the best part about the D23 Expo is the small surprises that you discover while being enveloped by the entire Disney organization.
#2 Star Wars Episode VIII (December 15)
What else is there to say about this one? While we can't wait to find out what happens next in the Star Wars Saga, we know that it will be a bit bittersweet with this being Carrie Fisher's final performance. Soon the build-up will begin as teasers and tidbits are rolled out. While the excitement may not reach The Force Awakens levels, we all hope Episode VIII will be the "Empire" of this new trilogy of Star Wars films.
#1 Pandora - The World of Avatar (Summer)
Presuming Pandora does not follow in Rivers of Light's footsteps, the biggest Disney Parks project to open this year will be the next piece to expand the operation of Disney's Animal Kingdom. It will also show us if Disney is able to create an "immersive environment" that can rival Universal's Harry Potter experiences. Although not as high-profile nor as highly anticipated as the Star Wars Lands, Pandora was designed to be Disney's first "themed environment" based on a film-franchise. The results will either give us confidence or concerns regarding Disney's ability to pull-off a Star Wars Land that will meet our expectations.