It’s a good time to be a Disnerd!D23 Expo brought us a lot of exciting announcements for the Walt Disney Company ranging from movies to theme parks. We’ve compiled a list of all of the important dates every Disney fan should know.
January 12th-February 19th: EPCOT International Festival of the Arts
One of the best times to visit Epcot is during one of their many festivals! Flower and Garden is in the spring. Food and Wine is in the fall. And just last year, Disney celebrated their first ever International Festival of the Arts! With extra snacks and drinks, local and international artists creating masterpieces right in front of you and even selling some of their artwork, as well as culinary artists, performing artists, and more–afterall, there is no limit when it comes to the arts–this is sure to be a colorful, lively time for young and old alike.
February 16th: Black Panther
Ever since Prince T’Challa appeared in Captain America: Civil War, fans have been hungry for this movie. After two years of waiting, wondering if we would learn something about the mysterious young prince, we are finally getting it… and good Lord, does it look like it was totally worth the wait! After the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, T’Challa retruns to his home where he must face an old enemy. The movie stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther along with a killer cast which includes Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. It is the 18th film in the MCU and hopefully the start of something epically awesome.
March-May: Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival
It’s just not spring time in Epcot without the Flower and Garden Festival. Not nearly as crowded as the International Food and Wine Festival in the fall, it’s on a bit of a smaller scale but there’s still just as much to enjoy as you venture around the theme park. Beautiful topiaries can be seen all over the park from World Showcase to Future World. See Mater and Lightning McQueen by Test Track and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (just to name a few!). There are kiosks around World Showcase where you can try specialty snacks and drinks (can anyone say Dole whip with rum?!?!). Special merchandise and even craft shows are available to purchase, meet and greets, and the Flower Power concert series makes Epcot the perfect lace to ring in spring.
March 9th: A Wrinkle in Time
Do you ever find yourself day dreaming about the possibility of fifth dimension? Ever wanted to know how to tesser? Well let Meg Murry explain it to you in A Wrinkle in Time when it hits theaters this spring (just in time for my birthday!). Based on the beloved children’s classic by Madeleine L’Engle and the first in the Time Quartet, this film will take viewers through time and space and reveal an epic battle between the light and the dark. The film is directed by Ava DuVernay and stars Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Peña, Zach Galifianakis, and introduces Storm Reid as our brave warrior, Meg. It’s one of my favorite books from my childhood and one of the movies I am most looking forward to seeing this year… so you know where to find me on March 9th.
April 13th: PixarFest begins in Disneyland
If you’re a Pixar fan, this is definitely the year for you. With movie releases and theme parks opening up all themed around the beloved characters of the Pixar universe, fans might want to head on over to the Disneyland resort in Anaheim this spring for PixarFest. This limited time event is only available at Disneyland in California and will bring an all-new fireworks show, Together Forever–A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular, that will tell the story of epic friendships in Pixar movies and light up the night sky over Sleeping Beauty castle. Guests will also watch the Pixar Play Parade cruise through Disneyland Park which will include the iconic Pixar lamp and characters from Up and Inside Out. There’s also a film festival featuring the famous Pixar shorts such as La Luna, Piper, Lava, The Blue Umbrella, Geri’s Game, and For the Birds and don’t forget exclusive character meet and greets from rare characters that can only be found at this event! Meet Sadness and Joy from Inside Out, Flik from A Bug’s Life, Buzz and Woody from Toy Story, and even Sully and Mike from Monsters, Inc.
April 19th-22nd: Star Wars Half Marathon–The Dark Side
If you’re a Disney fan and Star Wars nerd (like myself) and a runner (unlike myself), this weekend is right up your alley! runDisney has tapped into all of the popular aspects of the Disney company including Tinkerbell, the Princesses, and now, Star Wars. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or this is your first time lacing up your running shoes, there is something for everyone at these races including the Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon, Star Wars First Order Challenge, Star Wars Dark Side 10K, Star Wars Dark Side 5K and the runDisney Kids Races. And, of course, you’ll meet exclusive character from the Dark Side like Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma, and First Order Troopers. It’s guaranteed to be out of this world!
May 4th: Avengers: Infinity War
It’s all built up to this. Ten years have passed since Nick Fury first recruited Tony Stark into the Avengers and now, our band of heroes faces the biggest baddie yet: Thanos. First seen at the end of The Avengers in 2012 and referenced in Guardians of the Galaxy, Thanos is hard at work collecting the Infinity Stones that will allow him to rule over and twist the reality of the universe. This is, hands down, the biggest superhero movie ever with all of our favorite characters from over the last ten years–no seriously, it looks like every single character we’ve seen from Thor and Loki to the Winter Soldier and Falcon, to Doctor Strange and the Scarlet Witch are all here. Place your bets now on who will live to see the next Marvel movie. No doubt, it’s the perfect way to kick off the summer.
May 25th: Solo: A Star Wars Story
While we still haven’t seen or heard anything of Solo (usually by now we would at least have a teaser trailer) but we’re all still anxiously awaiting the next stand alone film in the Star Wars universe. There was a bit of drama early on with the removal of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller as directors and with the ridiculously split reactions to The Last Jedi, Disney is a bit apprehensive with this next movie but that won’t stop Star Wars fanboys and girls from flocking to the theater opening night! The story follows Han Solo and his adventures with Lando Calrissian in his early years. The film is directed by Ron Howard and stars Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson… and, of course, Chewbacca! Here’s hoping we get a trailer soon.
Summer: Pixar Pier at Disneyland
Coming to Disney California Adventure Park, Paradise Pier will transform into Pixar Pier. Once inspired by the turn of the century boardwalks found along the coast of California, it has been rethemed and inspired by Pixar Animation Studios. The Incredibles neighborhood will be there along with the Incredicoaster. On Mickey’s Fun Wheel (the pier’s iconic Ferris wheel) images of Pixar characters will be on each of the gondolas. And at the Games of the Boardwalk, Guests will be able to play midway games inspired by films such as A Bug’s Life, Wall-E, and even the Pixar short, La Luna.
Summer: Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World
This awesome themed area is coming to Disney Hollywood Studios straight from Hong Kong Disney (I just visited last year and trust me: it is so much fun). Get shrunk down to the size of a toy and enter Andy’s backyard and the world of Toy Story with your favorite characters Buzz, Woody, and all of their friends. New attractions will include Slinky Dog Dash–a family friendly roller coaster which zooms all around Toy Story Land–Alien Swirling Saucers, and a new entrance to Toy Story Midway Mania. There will be special character meet and greet locations as well as new food offerings for Guests to enjoy. This is scheduled to open June of this year.
June 15th: The Incredibles 2
After 14 long years, we are finally returning to the incredible adventures of the Parr family! Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, their son Dash, daughter Violet, and baby Jack-Jack are back again with an all new adventure picking right up where we left off in 2004. Mrs. Parr/Mrs. Incredible/Elaseriously… so many aliases) is out fighting crime in Mr. Parr/ Mr. Incredible stays at home with the kids. Jack-Jack continues to show signs of super powers while a brand new enemy, The Underminer, rises up. Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter return as Mr. and Mrs. Incredible as well as Sarah Vowell returning as Violet and Samuel L. Jackson as Frozone. Huck Milner will play Dash and John Ratzenberger The Underminer. Brad Bird also returns to direct. How many of us have been waiting (impatiently) for this?!
July 6th: Ant-Man and the Wasp
There’s no doubt about it: he’s the smallest super hero but he’s ready to take us on another big adventure! Talks for a sequel were already on the table shortly after Ant-Man first premiered but it was officially announced in October 2015. Set shortly after the events of Captain America: Civil War (which you might want to watch before going to the theater to see this one), the sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man, brings us back to Scott Lang and his struggle between his responsibilities as a father and a super hero. Hope van Dyne and Hank Pym return with an urgent (aka: dangerous) mission for him where he and Hope will fight side by side as Ant-Man and The Wasp (title drop). Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Michael Douglas return and newcomers Michelle Pfeiffer and Laurence Fishburne join the cast. I guess this means Ant-Man survives Infinity War?
November 2nd: The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
The holiday season is incomplete without The Nutcracker and director Lasse Hallström is bringing a brand new edition to the tale this year. In this new rendition of E.T.A. Hoffman’s tale, Clara searches for a key to open a box that holds a precious gift from her late mother. At the family’s holiday party, godfather Drosselmeyer gives her a golden thread that will lead her to the key…. which then transports her to another world (of course). Mackenzie Foy stars as Clara, Morgan Freeman is Drosselmeyer, Jayden Fowora-Knight plays Phillip (aka: the Nutcracker), Helen Mirren is Mother Ginger, and Keira Knightley plays the Sugar Plum Fairy. And quite possibly most exciting part of all: Misty Copeland will also be featured in a special performance.
November 21st: Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2
John C. Reilly, and Sarah Silvernman return as Ralph and Vanellope in the sequel to 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph. Set six years after the events in Wreck-It Ralph, the story will tell of Ralph’s adventures on the Internet when a Wi-Fi router gets plugged in at the arcade and he must find a replacement part to fix Vanellope’s game, Sugar Rush. Along the way, the dynamic duo learn new customs and even meet new people such as the Disney princess, including Auli’i Cravalho (Moana), Kristen Bell (Anna), Mandy Moore (Rapunzel), Anika Noni Rose (Tiana), Irene Bedard (Pocahontas), Paige O’Hara (Belle), and Jodi Benson (Ariel). With hilarious nods to classic video games and dozens of pop culture references in the original, there’s no doubt Wreck-It Ralph 2 will deliver on the laughter and tears once more.
December 25th: Mary Poppins Returns
Winds in the east, mist coming in… like something is brewing, about to begin! The sequel(yes, sequel… not remake) to 1964’s Mary Poppins stars Emily Blunt as our favorite nanny as well as Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks, Emily Mortimer as his sister, Jane Banks, and Lin Manuel Miranda as Jack the lamplighter. It’s been 25 years since she was his nanny but Mary Poppins returns to 17 Cherry Tree Lane to help Michael banks after a family tragedy. This film has a stellar cast with Pixie Davies, Joel Dawson, Nathanael Saleh, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep and Angela Lansbury. And rumor has it Dick van Dyke (my grandpa boyfriend) is making a cameo and Julie Andrews has offered her blessing on this sequel. No doubt, it will be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
What are you most looking forward to from Disney this year? Is it the movies? The theme parks? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!
Amanda Woomer-Limpert is a writer/editor for the Geekiverse and a former Disney cast member. Her next Disney trip is only 13 days away.
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