What You Missed: A Walt Disney World D23 Expo Recap

Four Parks
Credit: Disney

If you were like us, you were having a hard time keeping up with all the announcements from Josh D’Amaro today during the D23 Expo. We will help you with a quick D23 Expo recap for Walt Disney World.  

Take a look at some of the big announcements that are coming in the future to Walt Disney World.

Credit: Disney

Happily Ever After Returns

The announcements started big with a live performance from the beloved Jordan Fisher singing the beloved song “Happily Ever After.”  Following the fantastic and heartfelt performance, D’Amaro announced that the highly popular nighttime spectacular “Happily Ever After” would return to Magic Kingdom in 2023.  

With Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary wrapping up around the end of March 2023, we anticipate that Happily Ever After will return soon.

This 18-minute show quickly became a favorite fan winning over their hearts with fantastic music from beloved Disney and Pixar films. We are thrilled to have this show return to Magic Kingdom in 2023.


Credit: themeparktourist.com

DinoLand To Get Major Upgrade

Most Walt Disney World fans will agree that DinoLand in Disney’s Animal Kingdom was lacking.  Even though the story behind this land is genuinely part of Disney’s storytelling, it is probably time for some upgrades.

Nothing concrete was announced from Disney, but during the D23 Parks and Experience panel, information was released that some basic plans have been discussed for this land. In these initial plans, it seems that both Moana and Zootopia could be seen in the replacement.

Nothing more was announced, leaving us to think about all the unique ways this could happen in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Will Dinosaur stay and be rethemed?   Will we be able to ride on Moana’s boat with her?  

We know the Disney Imagineers will transform this land into something truly spectacular.

Figment is Back!

That’s right, Figment lovers! This adorable purple dragon will be back again in EPCOT to greet Guests.  

Disney fans who have been around for a while will remember when Figment and his friend Dreamfinder used to meet friends in the Park.

If the popularity of all things Figment indicates how this meet and greet will go, fans better prepare to wait in line.

We can’t wait to see this adorable purple dragon in all his magic again in EPCOT. What a fantastic way to add some fun to EPCOT’s 40th-anniversary celebration.


Credit: Disney

New Nighttime Show in EPCOT

This October 2022, EPCOT will celebrate 40 years. As part of this celebration, Guests can enjoy an all-new nighttime spectacular. Promising to be “Disney’s best nighttime show yet,” we are excited to see what is created.

Harmonious, the current evening show at EPCOT, has only been around since last September.  We weren’t told whether Harmonious would return after EPCOT’s 40th-anniversary celebration. 

Moana Attraction EPCOT

All Images Credit Disney

EPCOT Updates

If you missed it, we also learned that Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, will be opening in late 2023. This attraction will be an interactive walk-through attraction showing the importance of water.

We also know that in late 2023, the World Celebration neighborhood will finish its transformation with in arrival of the new statue called “Walt the Dreamer.”  The sculpture features Walt Disney himself as he looks over EPCOT.

So many great things have already come as part of EPCOT’s transformation, and we are excited to see these as well.

Villians land

Credit: Disney

What’s Beyond Big Thunder Mountain

Finally, the last big announcement (more of a tease) was thoughts and ideas regarding an expansion in Magic Kingdom. These were presented as “what if” options, but we would be thrilled if they came to be.

Ideas included villains, Encanto, and Coco as possible themes to be featured in a Magic Kingdom expansion. It was clear that this was all in a very early stage of planning, but it provided some excitement. It is always fun and exciting to see how they plan to bring more magic to Guests.

Those are some of the enormous Walt Disney World announcements from the D23 Expo. We hope you feel all caught up and are just as excited as we are for everything that will be coming to Walt Disney World in the future.

What are you the most excited for?





About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.