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Rumor Rundown (continued)

Epcot

NEW! Soarin' movie to change to a global theme. By late 2009, both DCA and Epcot should be showing a new movie to Soarin' that has a global theme, rather than being focused only on California.

NEW! Garden Grill to remove character dining and discontinue lunch service, starting October 2008. The dinner service will remain. It can only be concluded that Disney is looking to shave costs and save money, not to improve the Guest experience, with this decision.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

NEW! Monsters Inc attraction next to Toy Story Midway Mania. The "Pixar Studios" section of the park should receive another major attraction right next door (note: this is possibly the 2010 E-Ticket mentioned below). More detailed rumors point to the new ride as an inverted roller coaster (suspended from above, feet dangling) themed to the chase scene with Doors in the factory from Monsters Inc.

UPDATED! E-Ticket in Disney's Hollywood Studios by 2013. Hinted at for some time even to the CMs, this new E-Ticket is likely to be a smaller version of DCA's Radiator Springs Racers, to replace the Backlot Tour, and bring complete PIXAR-ification to the corner of the park from Narnia over to the Big City sets..

UPDATED! Star Tours revision. Anthony Daniels made unofficial mention in an interview of doing work for this attraction, to open in 2009, so it seems all but certain. Certain members of ILM have also mentioned their participation. Polarized glasses will be used for a 3-D effect, and some rumors call for three Audio-Animatronics figures. Apparently, the closed Body Wars attraction, where the simulators are identical, has been used for some time to create, test, and adjust the synchronized movement of the cabin to the movie.


Time for something new, I wager.

"Meet Mickey" new home. The Sorcerer Mickey meet and greet may be moving into the Disney Animation building, where it's rumored to receive its own permanent backdrop from Fantasia for picture-taking.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Rivers of Light. The Rivers of Light is an idea for an after-dark parade at Disney's Animal Kingdom. This park will finally have a reason to stay open after the animals return home at dusk. Millions of dollars have reportedly already been spent in infrastructure. It is unknown if the parade would use the same parade route already in use (despite its name, it's not a water-based parade).

Hotels and Other

Bay Lake Tower = DVC Suites at the Contemporary Resort. Still unannounced, a new building will be replacing the now-razed North Wing of the Contemporary, to house only DVC Suites. It will connect via breezeway to the 4th floor "grand canyon concourse" and thus has easy access to the restaurants. Filings with local government at first implied the name will be Kingdom Tower, but the correct name appears to be Bay Lake Tower.

Rumors and Speculation

Projects that are being considered (Note: some may never occur)

WDW-Wide

NEW! Walt Disney World to start online restaurant reservations. More than one online rumor points to restaurant reservations soon to be available at Disneyworld.com (and presumably, layoffs at the phone reservations centers).

NEW! Discovery Island (Treasure Island) possibly re-themed for pirates. Reportedly, officials are looking into using the onetime bird sanctuary, an island off Fort Wilderness, for a separate-ticket pirate adventure.

UPDATED! Disney's Jungle Trek / Boutique park for theme park #5. Some online sources claimed Disney was investigating a ‘boutique' park, meaning very high entrance fees ($250 or more per person), very limited maximum attendance, and personalized attention. SeaWorld has a boutique park in the form of Discovery Cove, the dolphin encounter. This rumor has been seen before for Discovery Island, the former mini-zoo in Bay Lake that now sits empty.

One idea had been to use this island for a pirate-themed park. The newest ideas claim that land north of Animal Kingdom (and south or west of the TTC and MK) could be used for this. That makes sense, given the recent construction of Western Way at great expense, so far for nothing. Western Way will feed into Flamingo Crossings, but if a park were located here the road would make even more sense. One possible idea for a theme floated was "Night Kingdom", to appeal to adventure and outdoors-oriented patrons, with such experiences as close animal encounters and zip lines. This rumor calls for the Adventurer's Club to close at Downtown Disney and a similar facility open up elsewhere to be the entry point for Night Kingdom.

As of July 2008, however, plans for Night Kingdom appear to have been changed to Disney's Jungle Trek, with some downsizing of food and venues, but an all-day operation that puts through several "shifts" of visitors on a series of encounters designed to last just five hours (and cost $300 per person).

FastPass possibly going premium. Disney has filed a patent for FastPass technology on cell phones that implies people staying at Disney hotels could receive priority use of the FastPass system, perhaps even making reservations a day in advance.

Magic Kingdom

Space Mountain to get new effects. Rumored changes to the attraction during the 2009 rehab (which starts in January 2009 and lasts an astonishing fourteen months) include a new loading zone (with security gates) and a new star field effect. Other reports call for even more dramatic re-theming.


It's about time for new effects, n'est-ce pas?

Rumors persist that a sound system will be added to the new rockets, and it seems certain the new rockets will feature side-by-side seating. Although the track is to be replaced entirely, the track layout is rumored to stay the same.

E-ticket for MK's 40th Anniversary. In 2011, when MK turns 40, a new e-ticket may be in the offing, but details and concepts are still highly speculative (ideas include old favorites, like Fire Mountain).

SpectroMagic replaced for 40th Anniversary. Long-range planning suggests SpectroMagic may leave in 2011, possibly for Hong Kong Disneyland. There is a possibility the MK may get instead TDL's Electrical Parade, Dreamlights.

Tomorrowland restaurant to replace dormant Skyway building. One report calls for the Skyway building and the large quad area, sometimes used for temporary stages, to be used for a futuristic eatery; think of the Pan Galactic place in TDL.

Adventureland Veranda restaurant to reopen as Tortuga. The long-dormant eatery may be re-opened with a pirate theme (hence the name Tortuga). Timeline unknown.

Adventureland make over to Pirates. One idea being considered is to transform all of Adventureland to Pirates, which could mean a new tiki room show (that would be universally welcome!) and the replacing of the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse with a pirate ship play area. One report even calls for a new outdoor roller coaster.

Epcot

Russian pavilion. One online report claims that a long-ago vision for a pavilion dedicated to Russia could again be on the drawing boards for the intermediate/long term future.

Imagination Pavilion. Permits filed recently suggest the upstairs area of the Imagination post show may be receiving a facelift.

Thrill ride at Tokyo pavilion. This long-delayed project may have new life again. Some online reports call for a new concept (not the bullet trains, or Matterhorn-style Mt. Fuji), and claim Joe Rohde has been involved.

Test Track upgrades. In 2009, Test Track will be used to experiment with version 3.0 of the technology, which is needed for DCA's Radiator Springs ride. Some of the ride system upgrades may stick around for Orlando, too.

Canada Raft Ride. Some early rumors are pointing to a Kali-style raft ride for Canada, a concept long considered but possibly gaining new traction now.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Ratatouille Restaurant. One report online mentions the possibility that Ratatouille may move into DHS. Would this be part of Pixar Place and thus a new facility? I hope so. If not, an obvious candidate for location would be the Studio Catering Company (sometimes known as Flatbread Grill) by the soon to be gone tram tour. Or they could take over an existing table service location; if so, my guess would be Mama Melrose.

Lights Motors Action re-theme to Cars. One online rumor points to an extension of Pixar Place all the way to the back of the park by re-theming Lights Motors Action to Lightning McQueen and his gang.

Great Movie Ride changes. One online report is calling for several changes: Star Wars was one idea floated to replace the Alien scene. Also, Tarzan may be on the chopping block, as well as the bank robbery and gas-fueled explosion.

Jack Skellington Halloween Party. Disney's Hollywood Studios is being considered for its own Halloween party to appeal to a more adult audience than Mickey's Not So Scary party at the Magic Kingdom.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

NEW! Yeti stuck in permanent "B" mode. The enormous Audio-Animatronic yeti at the end of Expedition Everest was deemed so important to the ride that a provision was made for when the robot broke; the creature would freeze in its spot, but strobe lights would create the illusion of movement, and the ride would not have to be shut down.


Is the lunge a thing of the past?

Reportedly, the yeti has been in B-mode for weeks and months on end now, supposedly because the concrete fountain on which he is mounted has become irrevocably cracked. Designers or construction laborers somehow didn't account for the repetition of such incredible forces, and now the figure cannot be used as designed. No word yet on what the permanent solution may be.

Australia. Inside sources are mum, but there is a large amount of land cleared in DAK, as visible on recent Google satellite maps. Could this be Australia? Long rumored, but if it comes, it should hopefully also provide a walking path out to Conservation Station.


I welcome your additions and corrections; simply e-mail me at the link below.

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© 2008 Kevin Yee


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Kevin's Disney Books

Kevin is the author of many books on Disney theme parks, including:

  • Mouse Trap: Memoir of a Disneyland Cast Member provides the first authentic glimpse of what it's like to work at Disneyland.
  • Tokyo Disney Made Easy is a travel guide to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySeas, written to make the entire trip stress-free for non-speakers of Japanese.
  • Magic Quizdom offers an exhaustive trivia quiz on Disneyland park, with expansive paragraph-length answers that flesh out the fuller story on this place rich with details.
  • 101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland is a list-oriented book that covers ground left intentionally unexposed in the trivia book, namely the tributes and homages around Disneyland, especially to past rides and attractions.
  • 101 Things You Never Knew About Walt Disney World follows the example of the Disneyland book, detailing tributes and homages in the four Disney World parks.

More information on the above books, along with ordering options are at this link. Kevin is currently working on other theme park related books, and expects the next one to be published soon.

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