The number one event for any Disney fan is nearly upon us. A time where Disnerds all over the world are glued to their social medias and attendees are the envy of everyone, D23. Dubbed the Comic Con of the Mouse, this is the main time you can expect announcements, trailers, teases and an idea of what is to come in the future of The Walt Disney Company. For fans this is an event unlike any other time. It’s even more lucrative than Christmas, coming just once every two years.
With the takeover of Disneyland Paris by The Walt Disney Company all but confirmed now, many fans are eagerly looking to what should be the first of the Disney flagship convention with DLP under the Disney Parks umbrella. Will having 100% ownership force Disney into acknowledging the resort? Are we on the cusp of an exclusive announcement of a brand new attraction or show? Could the long awaited Walt Disney Studios expansion masterplan finally be revealed for all to see?
The short answer: probably not.
When it comes to the parks and resorts side of D23 it’s important to remember who their target audience is; US park fans. After all, the majority of people in attendance (especially the Disney Parks events) are the Disneyland and Disney World faithful. The AP holders who love their parks like we love ours. This is why announcements such as Pandora and Star Wars Land have came at D23 of old. Had the convention existed back in the day so too would have California Adventure’s extravagant expansion. As for the Asian parks of Tokyo Disney, Hong Kong Disneyland and, of course, Shanghai Disneyland, they too fail to capture much of the attention at D23. Disney addressed this in wonderful fashion though by launching their own Asian D23 event.
Let’s for argument sake though say Disney want to give Disneyland Paris a platform at this event and want use a segment of their Parks and Resort conference for the European Resort. How do they fill that time? What is there to announce?
We’re pretty much slap-bang in the middle of the 25th Anniversary celebrations (if it isn’t inevitably extended). Right now all of management’s and more importantly, marketing’s, attention is on ensuring everyone knows this is DLP’s birthday and everyone should be coming right away. The very last thing they need right now is the announcement of a new attraction not due until 2021, 2022 etc., causing the less informed and spend-happy American audience to change their minds over when to visit the resort. No, the time to market the future of Disneyland Paris is for the future, the focus now has to be the 25th.
It’s very easy for us to use the buyout from TWDC as a catalyst to run wild with our imagination. A license to think everything is going to change and improvements are already on the way. That simply isn’t the case in reality, no matter how much ownership the company is under, or how much capital is being pumped in, additions and improvements take time. We’ve seen that all too clearly in recent years with Ratatouille and the two years of refurbishments. Even if a brand new attraction or land was to be announced this year for Disneyland Paris, chances are we won’t be clicking the turnstiles for another 5 years.
D23’s purpose and selling point is the future of Disney. To show the world and their fans what’s on the horizon and what to get excited for (or rather, why you should totally be buying those sweet shares). While DLP’s next big thing is certainly something reserved for the future, it’s too far away to be realistically mentioned at the convention, especially since there’s something very big on the way for the world of Disney Parks.
There’s no denying how you look at it, the Disney Parks and Resorts conferencs is going to be the Star Wars Land Show. And so it should be. Construction is starting to become very visual both at DLR and WDW, we still know very little about the attractions coming to the area and there’s a brand new episodic Star Wars just around the corner; now is very much the time to get that hype train into motion. Indeed, with such a huge investment put into the land by Disney into what is the most ambitious park expansion ever done, they need this to be a major success. There’s no doubt anything Star Wars will do well, but nothing pushes a project from ‘success’ to ‘major success’ quite like a expert marketing campaign. That will all start with this D23.
So what do I realistically expect to hear regarding Disneyland Paris? I feel it’s a dead cert that the 25th Anniversary is going to get a mentioned during their Parks and Resorts conferences, hopefully with a nice promotional video to showcase all of the silver festivities involved. The Disney buyout is possible to get a mention too, though I think that more depends on whether the buyout has legally gone through or not by then, for all we know their could be red tape stopping TWDC from making such an announcement.
Lastly, I think Pirates of the Caribbean is going to get a shout out, with its exciting and controversial refurbishment opening this month. This one I’m probably the most confident over happening, since the alterations of the auction scene will be coming to Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. Could D23 be the place we first witness actual footage or photos of the new POTC?
What are your predictions for D23? Do you think Disneyland Paris will have a large presence or once again relegated to the bleachers of the Disney Parks court. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments and on Twitter!