It’s been an exciting day full of theme park news at Destination D23! Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro and Walt Disney Imagineers shared news about some of the new characters and experiences coming to WDW.

Below is a list of the exciting announcements for Walt Disney World Resort theme parks.

A new Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge is coming to Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park in Florida. The attraction will bring back the animatronic Peg-Leg Pete animatronic, too!

This first-of-its-kind experience will extend the story of Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.  Imagineers are currently in the design process and more details will be coming.

Country Bear Jamboree will be getting new songs and the bears will be performing a new act!

Disney Imagineer Chris Beatty told the Destination D23 audience that when the show debuts, the bears will be reinterpreting favorite Disney songs in different genres of country music – like rockabilly, bluegrass, pop-country and other styles. 

Imagineers are envisioning the new take as a homage to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and they’re working with Nashville musicians to get the authentic country sound.  The popular attraction will continue to have the fun and friendly tone and same characters.

In late November, the legendary Hatbox Ghost will be materializing in the Haunted Mansion attraction in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

The iconic grim grinning ghost will appear in the Haunted Mansion attraction as you pass the Endless Hallway, welcoming himself inside from the swinging wake in the cemetery and grinning at passing Doom Buggies.

At Destination D23 2023, it was announced that a new nighttime spectacular at EPCOT called “Luminous: The Symphony of Us” will debut on Dec. 5, 2023. The brand-new show will feature fireworks, fountains, lasers, lighting effects and music. “Luminous: The Symphony of Us” will continue Disney’s long tradition of amazing nighttime entertainment at EPCOT in Walt Disney World Resort.

Next, EPCOT’s Test Track attraction will be given a reimagined update. Chevrolet will continue to sponsor the attraction and will renovate the ride with inspiration from the original World of Motion. The Destination D23 panel told audience members to stay tuned for more details on this project.

Figment, the purple dragon that is the mascot of the Imagination pavilion at Epcot, will start doing meet-and-greets Sunday.

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Star Tours is getting a refresh with Ahsoka, the character played by Rosario Dawson in “The Mandalorian” and now her own Disney+ series. She is joining the experience next year along with other new video clips.

In between the park announcements, we also got to see engaging panels for Marvel and Muppet fans!

It’s quite something to see how the puppeteers handle our beloved Muppet friends!

A new show based on “Zootopia” is being created for the Tree of Life theater at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. The current concept for the new “Zootopia” experience has guests visiting the different biomes seen briefly in the film, traveling along with Judy Hopps, Nick Wilde and other characters. Imagineers are currently finalizing the concept, and more details will be coming in the future.

Also, a new tropical rainforest land is in the works to replace DinoLand in Animal Kingdom. They are considering attractions themed for the hit movie “Encanto” or Indiana Jones for the tropical setting.

Finally, the watery walk-through attraction called The Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, will officially open at Epcot on October 16, 2023.

The Moana-themed Journey of Water attraction is already complete, and media and D23 members attending the weekend convention got a chance to preview the dewy attraction.

Starting September 22, Soarin’ Over California will return to EPCOT’s The Land pavilion.

Soarin’ Over California will play for a limited time as part of Walt Disney World’s Disney100 celebration. Disney has not yet given any indication of how long it will be available.

Photo and Image Credit: Disney

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