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D23 Expo 2017 and the Future of runDisney

It’s been a long time since I’ve churned out a Tuesday Ten. Well, okay, it’s been a while since I’ve churned out any column! So I thought that recapping some of the fantastic announcements Disney made at their bi-annual 2017 D23 Event in Anaheim, California and how it can affect running in Disney races was a great way to jump back in. Many great things were announced, so I found myself geeking out at a level I haven’t experienced in quite a while.

Yes, I am a huge Disney nerd. I make no apologies for that.

But once the dust settled and I had a chance to wrap my head around everything that was announced, I was left wondering what this meant, if anything, for runDisney? Although runDisney does not get a moment in the D23 sun, much of what was announced could potentially impact the races for the next few years. So grab some coffee in your favorite Disney mug and let’s chat!

D23 2017 and the Future of runDisney

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

We officially know what the new Star Wars lands at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World are going to be called. More importantly, it was announced that they both will open in 2019, with Disneyland’s version opening first. They also had updated models and photos on display to show what these lands are going to look like.

D23 2017 and the Future of runDisney

If you are remotely a fan of Star Wars, you can’t help but get excited. What makes me even more excited is having these lands open and potentially being part of the race courses we will get to run through at the many races. Imagine photo ops with some of our favorite Star Wars characters, while running past the Millennium Falcon! Now, if we could just get an announcement about Light Side registration!

#D23 and the future of #RunDisney chat! @DisneyD23 #D23Expo @Disneyland #disney Click To Tweet

Marvel Comes to Florida (at last!)

Walt Disney World is finally set to have its first Marvel themed attraction! The Guardians of the Galaxy will be coming to EPCOT, replacing Ellen’s Energy Adventure. We still don’t know much about the ride itself, but we do know that the Guardians chose EPCOT because Peter Quill (Star-Lord) visited as a child.

Image from Attractions Magazine

This opens up a ton of potential for Marvel themed races in Florida. Perhaps they can add another coast-to-coast challenge by incorporating Avengers in Disneyland? Speaking of Marvel and Disneyland, we also were teased with a Marvel expansion at Disney’s California Adventure. So stay tuned and until then, check out this article at Attractions Magazine.

More Marvel

Disneyland Paris is also getting a dose of a Marvel makeover. The Hotel New York is getting a Marvel theme, and will feature the Art of Marvel, which appears to be a gallery style exhibit. Could we see a Marvel theme for an upcoming DLP Half Marathon? How about the potential for adding races there? I could definitely see using Marvel as a draw to get more people to check it out.

Pixar Pier

This one, I’m not so crazy about. Paradise Pier at Disney’s California Adventure is set to get a Pixar theme. Paradise Pier is one of my absolute favorite places, and I am a little concerned about how this one is going to turn out.

However, Pixar is finding quite the home at Disneyland Resort. In addition to the re-theme of Paradise Pier, there will be a Pixar Fest next year that will be highlighted by a new evening fireworks spectacular. Radiator Springs is set to get a Halloween overlay, which will also have its residents in costume. The current Pixar parade is also moving across the street to Disneyland so that the Paint the Night Parade can run nightly at California Adventure.

With all of this Pixar craziness, and the fact that this year’s renamed Disneyland Double Dare is Pixar themed, I can’t help but wonder if this will be a permanent theme going forward. I hate to see Dumbo go ( so glad I got to do it once), but I think Pixar offers so many great options for race weekends, that I wouldn’t mind it if this was the case.

Oh, and if you’re going to be participating in this year’s Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, be sure to check out all of our race recaps, video recaps, and Jammin’ on the Run chats! Many tips posts are coming soon, be be sure to subscribe here and at our YouTube channel.


Walt Disney World just opened its newest DVC, The Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. They are also working on another at the demolished area of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, which will be called The Riviera Resort.

While all of these new resorts will offer more folks the availability to buy in to DVC, it will also add to the number of people that could potentially try for early runDisney registrations. We haven’t seen the frenzy around registrations recently that we were used to not that long ago, but if we do, early registration is going to be important in trying to secure your spot. So start selling your organs and buy your contracts! And if you’re soon signing up for a Disney race, be sure to check out this blog post or Laura’s runDisney Registration Tips video.

New Transportation

Walt Disney World is adding two new modes of transportation for guests to get around the forty-seven square miles of Disney property. One is an elevated gondola system, called the Skyliner, that will transport guests between the yet to be built Riviera Resort, Caribbean Beach, Pop Century and Art of Animation to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The other is Disney’s version of ride sharing services Uber and Lyft, called the Minnievan. These minivans, decked out in Minnie Mouse’s trademark red and white polka dots, will be manned by cast members and have a flat rate. I am hopeful both of these new additions will be available to runners on race days to help alleviate the problems we have seen with the buses in the past.

Three New Cruise Ships

We had heard that Disney Cruise Line was having two new ships coming on board within the next few years. Megan and I recently recorded a Disney Cruise Line podcast (releasing soon, so be sure to subscribe to the Joyful Miles podcast on iTunes or Podbean,) in which we reference that fact.

When they announced a third ship was also in the works, my mind immediately went to Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, and wondered if we would see an expansion of the Castaway Cay 5K. The potential for all of these ships to host a 5K at not only Castaway Cay, but at different locations around the world, seems very likely. Who knows, maybe Disney will find another island to call home?

New Movies

Yes, the parks and resorts got most of the attention last weekend, and rightfully so. However, many new movie projects were discussed as well. Live action versions of the Lion King, Dumbo and Mulan, as well as animated projects Coco, Wreck it Ralph 2 and the Incredibles 2 were all announced.

This also could mean that we are getting a peek into potential race themes, such as they did with theming last year’s Wine and Dine around Beauty and the Beast to promote the upcoming release of its live action version. One thing is certain, runDisney will always have plenty of material to pick from.

Altered Courses

The races have already been affected by the plethora of construction around the Walt Disney World Resort and that does not appear to be ending anytime soon. Given everything we have just listed, as well as everything we didn’t, there are bound to be some disruptions to the courses we have come to know. Hopefully, these disruptions won’t take away from the races, but we will just have to wait and see.

Disney is Committed

I always laugh when people complain about the price of a Disney vacation and that they never do anything new. Well, this weekend put an exclamation point on just how committed Disney is to constantly “plussing” the guest experience. For me, the allure to constantly return to see what’s new, as well as enjoy in my traditional favorites will always have me going back. And if I can run a race while I’m there, you know I will!

Oh, and let’s see if we can get runDisney a panel at the next D23 in 2019!

#D23 and the future of #RunDisney chat! @DisneyD23 #D23Expo @Disneyland #disney Click To Tweet

What about you? Did you follow along with Disney’s 2017 D23 developments as crazily as I did? What are you excited for? What do you hate? Tweet at us or drop us a message on Facebook.

Today, I’m linking up with My No-Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Runs, the ladies behind the Tuesdays on the Run blog link-up. Be sure to check them out for more great posts!

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  1. I might be in the minority, but I’m super excited for more Marvel in the parks- including Epcot!

    1. I’m sure once I see it, I’ll be super excited as well. I did NOT like them re-theming TOT in DL but once I saw your Summer of Heroes video, I might have changed my mind. 😉 Hope to see more videos from you!

  2. Galaxy’s Edge sounds incredible!! I’m not even a huge Star Wars fan but I may have to check it out in Orlando when it opens, my boyfriend would love it!

    1. Yep, that might be what it takes to get my boys back to Epcot. Well, that and Drinking Around the World now that they’re older. 😉

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