Walt Disney Animation Studios
2019 has already been a record-breaking year for Disney with live-action re-imaginings of Aladdin and The Lion King, but we still have the highly anticipated Frozen 2 to come. At the Expo, Idina Menzel (Elsa), Kristen Bell (Anna), Josh Gad (Olaf) and Jonathan Groff (Kristoff) took to the stage along with new additions to the cast: Evan Rachel Wood as Anna and Elsa's mother, Queen Iduna, and Sterling K. Brown as new character, Lieutenant Matthias.
The big surprise from the Disney Animation Studios panel was the announcement of a new Disney Classic coming to cinemas in 2020. Raya and the Last Dragon tells the story of a lone warrior from the fantasy land of Kamandra, who teams up with a gaggle of misfits to find the last dragon and bring unity back to their world.
Walt Disney Studios
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson arrived on stage in a boat to present Jungle Cruise. He and actress Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns) both announced their own personalised trailers to the crowd, and mentioned that the movie based on the Disneyland ride was influenced by the Indiana Jones series and '80s classic Romancing the Stone.
We don't have long to wait for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, and the stars say audiences should expect "wicked fun" from the sequel. Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning were joined on stage by new additions to the cast; Michelle Pfieffer (Prince Phillip’s mother, Queen Ingrith) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Connal, an ally to Maleficent).
Other treats for the thousands of guests at this panel were a special snippet of the upcoming Mulan, and the first look at Emma Stone as 101 Dalmatians villain Cruella De Vil. Set in the punk rock era of 1970s London, Cruella will give fans a fresh take on the iconic Disney Villain, and also stars Emma Thompson.
Pixar Animation Studios
Avengers: Endgame stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt received a warm welcome when they came on stage to discuss Disney and Pixar's next film, Onward. Director Dan Scanlon explained that this story of two brothers going on an adventure to see if there's still magic in the world was inspired by his own childhood. Onward is released in UK cinemas in March 2020.
The Disney and Pixar presentation also gave us a closer look at Soul, the next film from Academy Award-winning director Pete Doctor (Monsters Inc, Up, Inside Out). Starring Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey, Soul will journey from New York City to never-before-seen cosmic realms and a place where unique personalities are discovered.
As the 'Infinity Saga' came to a close with Avengers: Endgame, the next batch of films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) will be focusing on some characters we know and a few we don't. The first Marvel film to be released in 2020 will be Black Widow, the eagerly awaited solo film starring Scarlett Johansson, Rachel Weisz and David Harbour (Stranger Things). Fans were treated to an action-packed sneak peek of the film and a special hello from some of the cast via video link.
The Eternals was already announced prior to the event, but Marvel Studios' President Kevin Feige announced that Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones) and Gemma Chan (Captain Marvel, Crazy Rich Asians) will be joining Angelina Jolie, among others, in the cast.
As if that wasn't enough, writer/director Ryan Coogler announced that Black Panther 2 will be released in 2022 but couldn't reveal anything else about the sequel to the Academy Award-winning 2018 film.
Of course, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy didn't spill many secrets about Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, but fans at the event did receive a new poster and a glimpse at a sizzle reel which revealed Rey (Daisy Ridley) with a new weapon. Writer/producer/director J.J. Abrams discussed his experience making this film along with the cast, and all they said is this will be a fitting end to the saga that started over 40 years ago.
Disney Parks and Resorts
The Disney Parks “Imagining Tomorrow, Today” pavilion revealed that an all-new Star Wars holiday experience is coming to Walt Disney World Resort. Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will invite guests to embark on a two-night adventure on a glamorous ship and give them a chance to interact with characters.
That's not the only thing coming to Walt Disney World; the first-ever attraction based on Moana will open in EPCOT. Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana will let guests interact with magical, living water in a beautiful and inspiring setting. Elsewhere, a new neighbourhood in the United Kingdom pavilion of EPCOT's World Showcase will be inspired by Cherry Tree Lane from Mary Poppins. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are getting their first ride-through attraction in Walt Disney World Resort in 2020 and Disneyland® California in 2022. Based on the Emmy-winning shorts series, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will take guests on a wacky adventure.
However, if you need a reason to visit Disneyland® Shanghai, a new land based on Zootropolis was announced. Combining the latest technology with new merchandise and immersive storytelling, this is a must for fans of the 2016 movie.
And if that wasn't enough, we finally learned what the Marvel-themed lands coming to Disneyland® California and Disneyland® Paris will be called. Guests at Marvel Campus will become part of an interconnected story spanning from California to Paris to Hong Kong, as Earth's Mightiest Heroes recruit new people to join them. Both parks will also have the opportunity to enjoy the first Disney through attraction featuring Spider-Man. Guests visiting Disneyland® Paris will also have the option of staying in a brand-new Marvel-themed hotel, Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel, opening summer 2020.