Well, that is a wrap for D23 2022. It was certainly an experience. There were highs (Happily Ever After), lows (no more Harmonious,) and everything in between, but after we stopped to really let it all sink in, we asked ourselves, “wait, that was it?” It’s not that the announcements were bad per se, but we just wanted…more. Everyone’s a critic, as the saying goes, so we put on our Imagineering hats and thought about what we would’ve done if they had put us in charge. There’s nothing we would take away from what they announced, but we would’ve added a thing or two. Check out our ideas and see how they compare to what you’d like to see.
At 2019’s D23 Expo, a project for Spaceship Earth was announced that would reimagine the aging attraction. The new update was to Include new scenes and storyline. Rather than focusing on communication throughout human history, the ride will focus on the shared human experience—a subtle but substantial difference.
In 2020 the project, which was initially scheduled to begin in May of that year, ground to a halt. Before long, it was announced that the project was stopped indefinitely. That was the last we heard about it.
This project should’ve been resumed. The creative work has already been done on it, so why not bring it to reality? It’s been 15 years since the project has had any meaningful changes or updates. Before that, the ride was updated every 4-8 years. It’s time.
Resuming the project would have also given fans confidence in the company. We no longer believe their promises. To earn back that trust, they need to do what they say they’ll do. This would have been one easy way to do that.
Journey Into Imagination
Fans have been clamoring for a reimagining of Journey Into Imagination With Figment for years. To say that the current iteration of the ride is unpopular is an understatement. It has been one of the most hated Disney revamps in history, partially because the original was so very beloved by fans. We can’t help it! We just miss Dreamfinder, darn it!
In fact, the original reworking of the ride was so unpopular that they quickly updated the story to add Figment to the ride. The ride has also been plagued by mechanical malfunctions in recent years as it has seemed all but abandoned by Disney. Many have said that the new Figment meet and greet is a test to see if Figment is popular enough to invest in the ride. Figment can still move merch, though, so we think that question has already answered itself.
Rumors have swirled for years that the ride would be restored back to its original condition, and it absolutely should be. With all of the work being done in EPCOT, how much sense does it make to leave an aging, malfunctioning ride the same?
Disney needs an answer to Universal’s new park and they need to do it soon. Sure the expansion at Magic Kingdom is a nice stopgap, but it is not enough. Universal will soon equal Disney in its number of parks. That means Universal will no longer be a sideshow to the main event; it will become a main event unto itself.
When Wizarding World was opening, and Disney asked about whether they felt threatened, they were fond of saying “a rising tide floats all boats,” meaning more people visiting Orlando would mean more guests for everyone. That may have been true at the time, but I don’t think it is true anymore.
Disney needs a new Park. There hasn’t been a new Park opened in the United States since 2001. Before that- 1998,1989,1982, 1977, and of course Disneyland in 1955. Is the era of Park building gone? Did we live through a Golden Age and didn’t know it? I refuse to believe that. I think Disney has it in them to do it again, and I think the time to do it is now.
Walt Disney World Railroad
Tron has a projected opening, shouldn’t the Railroad as well? It closed to accommodate the construction. Cast Member training has begun. The track repositioning has been done. We really expected a reopening date at D23. We can only assume the Railroad will reopen around the same time as Tron (next spring), but we had hoped to hear a much earlier date.
Ok, so this one KIND of happened, but a six-episode TV show is not the same as a meet and greet, which is what we were really hoping for. We had such high hopes that Duffy would return to EPCOT, given his popularity in overseas parks. We have missed him. He has been featured in various parades at Disney Parks worldwide and even had his very own meet and greet at EPCOT until 2015. That means they likely already have the materials they need to bring a meet and greet back. We really thought it would happen. If we ran the Parks, it would’ve.
On every Disney trip, there are certain rides that I skip 100% of the time. Tomorrowland Speedway is one of those rides. It’s not that I dislike it, there’s just nothing special about it. I can just find a speed-regulated go-cart ride at just about every rinky-dink little amusement park in America, including one nearby that only costs $5 (and even that is probably an overcharge for what you get). I’ve been hoping for a very long time that Disney would rework it and make it a “must do” instead of a “must don’t.” A Sugar Rush overlay would have done just that. We love to feel like we’ve actually stepped inside of our favorite movies (that is one of the reasons Be Our Guest is so popular). Giving the Speedway a Sugar Rush makeover would have “plussed” the experience in a way that made guests excited to ride again.
What do you think of these ideas? Were you looking forward to anything in particular from the announcements? Let us know in the comments!