Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland continues to be the focus for a freshening up. As noted in the last Rumor Round Up, Stitch's Great Escape is said to change, as well as possibly the Tomorrowland Speedway. A Joffrey's Coffee kiosk recently opened in Tomorrowland that has a retro look to it, which could give light to some of the possible upcoming changes to Tomorrowland. Disney is testing new PhotoPass opportunities at the Magic Kingdom with props near the Tangled restrooms. As first reported on the Disboards, near the Tangled restrooms guests are given a floating lantern prop to pose with. Disney announced this photo opportunity has been extended indefinitely. We could very well see more of these opportunities pop up elsewhere.
Epcot According to several sources on the wdwmagic.com forums, Ratatouille from Disneyland Paris is set to come to France with a completion date of 2019. Construction would begin this year in order for that to happen. This of course is just one of several rumored changes that are still said to be coming to Epcot as part of the changes Bob Chapek hinted at during the D23 Destination D event last November. In addition to the changes we have previously discussed here, a new country is said to be coming to World Showcase, according to WDWMagic sources. What the country will be is still unknown at this time. As for the long rumored Guardians of the Galaxy makeover to the Universe of Energy, it is still supposed to be happening, however the timeline has been pushed back a bit according to members of the WDWMagic forums. The projected completion would be by 2021. This would be a roller coaster attraction.
Hollywood Studios Not much has changed on the Hollywood Studios front. As noted in recent aerial photos, the first track pieces near the station of the Slinky Dog Coaster have been installed. Bob Iger noted during the latest earnings call that both Star Wars lands (Walt Disney World and Disneyland) would open in 2019. Rumors on WDWMagic still suggest they won't open together and are about 3-6 months apart. One poster on WDWMagic even suggests that long term plans for Hollywood Studios have Toy Story Land as a potential Star Wars expansion area.
Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light has debuted despite a few small technical hiccups. The show is 'as is', despite some mixed reviews. The floating lanterns that were part of the original show are rumored to eventually debut in the future, if they can get them to work properly, according to WDWMagic sources. Pandora: The World of Avatar will open May 27th, 2017 right in the speculated window. A press event begins May 23rd and concludes May 25th, according to internal Disney communications and media invites sent out. On May 24th, Animal Kingdom closes at 3:30PM, leading many to believe the media will get a look at Pandora-at-night that day. Soft openings are expected prior to the opening, however guests should not expect them as many times soft openings are not announced in advance.
Walt Disney World Resort Permit documents discovered by members of the WDWMagic forums have revealed that Disney has filed for what appears to be a new gondola transportation system. This system would run from Hollywood Studios to Caribbean Beach (which would have two stations) and then to Epcot. The biggest piece of evidence for the gondolas is the buildings that would allow the gondolas to make a turn. Several other sources on WDWMagic have said the Gondola system will happen and open before Star Wars Land. The permits indicate that the project will start construction this year and end in 2019. Caribbean Beach would have two stations, a DVC station which would also be a turn building, and the main station which would allow transfers to Hollywood Studios and then back to Epcot. Even more permits recently filed by Disney show a new overlook at the bridge that connects Art of Animation and Pop Century. That overlook is directly in line with the other buildings in the gondola permits. Notices of commencement have already been filed for prep work in areas of each gondola building, which means work will begin very soon if it has not already. Disney announced recently that Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs will be seeing expansions and upgrades. At Coronado Springs a new 15-story hotel tower is being constructed that will have roof top dining and executive suites. In addition to that, new dining options would be added elsewhere at the resort. According to WDWNT and others this will result in Coronado Springs becoming a Business Class Deluxe resort instead of a moderate. Work has already begun on this project and will conclude in 2019. Caribbean Beach is getting a major expansion and upgrades to their dining and retail offerings. Permits filed show a large tower and several other buildings being built on the Caribbean Beach property. This will result in several existing rooms being torn down. Disney has only announced that there will be new dining and retail that will be completed in 2019. According to several sources at WDWMagic this is going to be Disney's next Disney Vacation Club venture. Disney does not tend to announce new vacation club projects in advance, for example Bay Lake Tower was well under construction before Disney officially announced it. The added transportation and amenities are also leading to speculation that Caribbean beach will become a deluxe-like hotel. Finally, we are quickly approaching the Walt Disney World Resort's 50th anniversary. A source on WDWMagic forums has indicated that Disney is looking to do 50 enhancements to the Walt Disney World Resort in celebration of the anniversary. It is unclear if this would just be the four theme parks, or include water parks and resorts. Things that would be included in these enhancements.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad effects
- New Walt Disney World Railroad scenes
- New ending for Carousel of Progress
- It's a Small World gets Disney Characters like Disneyland
- Tower of Terror gets new enhanced effects in the drop shafts
- Peter Pan, Haunted Mansion, Spaceship Earth, American Adventure, and The Seas with Nemo and Friends are also being considered