For the creative minds at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts (WDPR), every day brings a great big beautiful tomorrow. And for three days at the magical D23 Expo, fans glimpse what that tomorrow might look like at WDPR’s spectacular Carousel of Projects Pavilion.
Even before entering the Pavilion, in the heart of the D23 Expo show floor, guests take in a video highlighting a bit of the magic that WDPR and Walt Disney Imagineering have produced over their exciting past. Images of Walt at Disneyland, Pirates of the Caribbean, Epcot, Star Tours and more splash across a huge circular screen. When that screen recedes, the bow of Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, Disney Fantasy, dramatically comes into view.
Stepping into the Carousel of Projects—inspired by Carousel of Progress, the classic attraction that debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and has made appearances at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom in Florida—guests are presented with a delicious dilemma. What, of this feast for the eyes, to look at first? Many speed toward one of the Radiator Springs Racers’ full-size ride vehicles, complete with blinking eyes, from Cars. This exciting new attraction will debut when Cars Land opens next year at Disney California Adventure. Nearby, guests watch a time-lapse video of the beehive of activity that is a day-in-the-life in the construction of Cars Land.
Whole families head straight for the scale model of the Fantasyland expansion, coming soon to Magic Kingdom, with its full-size prototype of a swinging ride vehicle from Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster. The attraction will debut along with the expanded Fantasyland at the Florida park.
Those who just have to know what they can expect from the new park in China congregate around a model of Shanghai Disney Resort, complete with realistic fireworks and rippling water effects—these are Imagineers, after all! Other Expo-goers stop in for a visit with Destini, the amazing fortune-teller (if you need a visual, think Esmeralda in the Penny Arcade on Main Street, U.S.A.), who “reads” his customers with innovative motion-sensor technology.
But the real Disney fan’s dream come true is the priceless opportunity to talk with the real-life Imagineers working on all that WDPR has planned— “We’re in the middle of the biggest period of expansion in Disney Parks and Resorts history, with major projects going on quite literally around the world,” Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs says. “New ships, new hotels, new rides, new lands, even whole new destination resorts… the array of projects is extraordinary!” After a stroll through the Carousel of Projects Pavilion, we believe it.
By D23′s Marina Draskovic
Click here for more images from the Pavilion.