|by Anthony Falcone||Amusement and Theme Parks, Cruises, Disney||6|
Earlier this year, Disney launched D23, its first official community for Disney fans. For a fee of $75, members receive a quarterly publication and exclusive gifts. One of the coolest perks is a chance to attend California's D23 Expo. This annual event took place earlier this month. Here's the news you missed:
• The much-rumored expansion of Fantasyland at Walt Disney World in Florida is happening. Slated for 2013, Fantasyland will expand into parts of the Magic Kingdom currently used for Mickey's Toontown Fair and will also use dormant land left over from the old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction. The expansion will be princess-heavy, as most of the new attractions will feature the likes of Ariel, Belle, and Snow White. But if princesses aren't your thing, there will now be a circus tent area where the classic Dumbo attraction will be moved to—and doubled in size. (Parents can only hope this signals the end of the hour-long waits in the sweltering, shadeless queue!)
• After years of endless rumors and waiting, Star Tours will be updated at both Disneyland and Disney World. Set to debut in 2011, the new Star Tours will feature scenes from George Lucas's prequel trilogy (we'll let others comment on whether that's a good thing) and—more importantly—will be in 3-D.
• Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim is proceeding with its plans to build Cars Land, scheduled to open in 2012. This six-acre expansion of the park will allow guests to enter the town of Radiator Springs, featured in Pixar's Cars.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE
The Disney Cruise Line also has changes afoot. In 2011, the Disney Wonder will add ports of call in Alaska and the Mexican Riviera. From May through early September, the Wonder will feature 7-night cruises to Alaska. Starting and ending in Vancouver, the cruise will make stops in Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. For the remainder of the year—and bookending the relocation to Alaska—the Wonder will cruise out of L.A. to the Mexican Rivera, making stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, and Cabo San Lucas. For more information, visit disneycruise.com.
Disney buys Marvel: Let the theme park wars begin! (50+ comments)