Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro Reveals Projects In The Works At Destination D23

One of the most anticipated panels of Destination D23 took place this morning at the celebrated D23 event that takes place at Walt Disney World, and featured Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products chairman Josh D’Amaro teasing what’s to come in the Disney Parks around the globe (or even at sea!). And it all starts with a performance of songs from Hercules, featuring Broadway’s Michael James Scott.

From there, D’Amaro took the stage and highlighted recent openings at Disney Parks and launched into what’s to come. With a little help from The Muppets, of course.

First up, we got an update to the Hatbox Ghost that is set to be installed in Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion, featuring Gonzo and Uncle Deadly.

As for his controversial location, well according to Imagineer Daniel Joseph, he’s an un-happy haunt, so he doesn’t need sympathetic vibrations. He can show up when he wants and where he wants. And that will happen in November of this year.

The Country Bears will also see a new catalog of songs for them to perform, familiar Disney tunes it seems, and will debut at Magic Kingdom in 2024.

Nearby in the Magic Kingdom, a new lounge experience was revealed by Imagineer Chris Beatty, themed to Pirates of the Caribbean.

EPCOT’s central area, now known as World Celebration, will also be complete in December of this year, the same time that the park debuts a new nighttime spectacular, Luminous – The Symphony of US.

Disney Cruise Line recently acquired a massive new ship that will explore a new market in Asia, and no it’s not the recently revealed Disney Treasure. This acquired ship’s new name was unveiled and will sail the seas as the Disney Adventure. They also gave a quick look at Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point.

Then, the presentation went to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where we spent a good portion of time and sent the internet and social media into a frenzy. Walt Disney Imagineering’s Chief Creative Officer Bruce Vaughn arrived on stage and revealed not only a Zootopia based attraction in the works for The Tree of Life Theater (read: It really IS tough to be a bug right about now), but that they had their sights set on Dinoland USA once again. At previous D23 events, the hypothetical idea of retheming the area was tossed around, naming Moana and Zootopia as potential stories to bring to life in this area. Instead, Vaughn and D’Amaro explained – well, there’s an Africa section at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and an Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and revealed that this new area would fit right in – the Tropical Americas.

D’Amaro suggested they were still exploring what stories could be told in this new area of the park, but the house band helped out a bit by playing music from Encanto and Indiana Jones before they duo showed a map of the new area… which after looking at for a moment, you can see an Indy-esque temple where Dinosaur currently sits, Encanto’s Casita in the Dinoland area, and new themes for the Restaurantosaurus and the Boneyard complex.

With that, D’Amaro started wrapping up the presentation, bringing crowds of Cast Members on stage.

As a stage full of cast members grew, D’Amaro pulled Dave Goelz up front, teasing that he has a special connection with Figment (he is the voice of Figment in the latest iteration of the attraction, Journey Into Your Imagination with Figment) prompting some in the audience to get very excited for a surprise last minute announcement. No, Goelz will not be reprising his role for some major new attraction, instead – Figment as he will appear in a meet and greet at EPCOT’s Imagination pavilion ran on stage, and it was revealed that EPCOT guests can meet with the fan-favorite character starting tomorrow, August 10th.

For more about each of the projects, click the corresponding links throughout the page, and for more coverage of Destination D23 this year, check out our page here.

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Tony Betti
Originally from California where he studied a dying artform (hand-drawn animation), Tony has spent most of his adult life in the theme parks of Orlando. When he’s not writing for LP, he’s usually watching and studying something animated or arguing about “the good ole’ days” at the parks.