• D23 Expo could have big impact on Walt Disney World in Orlando

    By: Jamie Holmes , WFTV Web Staff


    CELEBRATION, Fla. - The D23 Expo this weekend in California could have a big impact on the future of Orlando.

    The expo is Disney’s huge fan convention.

    Channel 9’s Jamie Holmes found out the expected announcements will bring the biggest investment into Disney’s Orlando properties in 20 years.

    The D23 Expo is the place where Disney officials make all the big announcements, especially for Orlando.

    "I think it's going to be astronomical growth. The likes of which this city has never seen before,” said Tom Corless, author with WDW News Today. 

    Bloggers have been speculating for weeks on what's coming. 

    Eyewitness News confirmed there will be a huge scale model of Star Wars Land, revealing more of what the attraction will look like at Hollywood Studios. 

    Read: Disney fans surveyed about possible 'Star Wars'-themed hotel

    There will be more renderings of the gondola system that will connect some of Disney's hotels to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

    Read: Disney gets permit to add gondola rides at theme park

    But the biggest news will affect the major overhaul coming to Epcot. 

    "With the permits all filed, at the very least for Epcot, the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' ride replacing the Universe of Energy,” Corless said. 

    Read: Big summer for Disney parks: Pandora and Guardians of Galaxy

    WDW Today said a "Ratatouille" ride will be coming to the France area at Epcot, and Brazil will be the new country added to world showcase. 

    Much of the rest remains rumor, including a "Tron" roller coaster coming to Tomorrowland Speedway at the Magic Kingdom. 

    There's also rumors about the Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios turning into a new Mickey Mouse ride. 

    All of the changes are expected to happen by the year 2021 and coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Magic Kingdom. 

    Read: Construction on Epcot Universe of Energy project to finish by 2021 

    "Between everything Universal is spending and between all the projects Disney is embarking on, I can't imagine what the growth will be,” Corless said. 

    Some parkgoers have started an online petition to keep the Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios and stop any changes to the bride auction scene involving the redhead woman at the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride.

    Eyewitness News will stay on top of the developments coming this weekend. Check back for updates.


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