Welcome to the July installment of Rumor Round Up. You can read March’s edition here. There are some new and juicy rumors floating around these days so lets get to it!
Disclaimer that none of the things mentioned in this article are official and may not ever happen.
An interesting rumor came out stating that the Muppets are going to be coming in some form to Liberty Square on the second floor of The Hall of Presidents. There aren’t many details surrounding this rumor but a scrim was put up around the second floor of The Hall of Presidents just a few days after this rumor came out. That scrim is now down and curtains are over the windows of the Heritage House in Liberty Square. Testing is beginning soon according to sources.
The Magic Kingdom toll plaza area is getting some major work. Permits were filed to add major additions and improvements to the roads entering and exiting the Magic Kingdom. Also in the works but not shown in the plans is an entire new Toll booth plaza. This road work seems to be part of a much larger project in that area.
Epcot, the second Walt Disney World theme park is set to get some major updates according to rumors.
First up we have the Universe of Energy pavilion. If the cards fall the way I have heard the pavilion could close as early as this year for a complete renovation taking out the current attraction and theme altogether. The new theme would become Guardians of the Galaxy, a popular film among Marvel fans. You may also remember the rumors regarding Guardians of the Galaxy going into Tower of Terror. It appears those plans were scrapped after Walt Disney World officials complained, but Guardians of the Galaxy is still set to go into Tower of Terror in Disney California Adventure. The Universe of Energy Pavilion building would stay while the inside is completely gutted out and a brand new attraction would be put inside. The rumors show a completion in 2020 just after Star Wars Land opens.
Next up is the moving of the Leave a Legacy stones in front of Spaceship Earth. The stones which many Disney fans call an eye sore are set to be moved for a new entrance look at Epcot.
Also in the realms for updates that could start this year is Innoventions, it has been a collection of empty areas with a few meet and greets. Sum of All Thrills is said to close before the end of the year which means they could get a start on whatever is coming to the empty areas of Innoventions by the end of the year. I have not seen any specifics as for what is coming.
Mission: SPACE is said to get some minor updates but keep the same theme. The ride would get some nice updates during a refurbishment to bring it up to today’s speed and technology.
If you remember back to one of my previous rumor round up articles I mentioned an over $3 billion budget given to WDW. $350 million of that was supposed to go to Epcot which would cover some of these additions but not all. Not all of these changes are approved so some of them may not end up happening but sources seem pretty confident right now that Disney executives see a need to update some of Epcot.
A budget for Epcot could soon be approved though as The Walt Disney Company executive board is said to meet before Summer’s end in Orlando to look over things and possibly approve major additions. The last time the board appeared in Walt Disney World the Hollywood Studio’s plans were approved.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
April’s big closures came and went. Walls now surround the Streets of America and where the Backlot Tour once was. The Premiere Theater that was home to things like the Frozen Sing-a-long and The Hunchback of Notre Dame show has been completely demolished along with Catastrophe Canyon, a scene in the Backlot Tour, and now creative costuming is almost completely gone.
What is most interesting is the concept art that has been showing up on the walls. Over near the end of Pixar Place a new image of Toy Story Land has shown up. This image however shows a significantly changed Slinky Dog Coaster as well as no more Al’s Toy Barn gift shop and the planned additional restrooms are gone. These cuts are said to bring the land’s budget from $400 million to around $268 million. Permits have been filed for this land to start putting in footings for land infrastructure.
Star Wars Land or Star Wars Experience as Disney is calling it will go where Lights, Motors, Action once sat. The only thing left of that show area is the grand stand seating. The land is said to have two major attractions set to rival the best attraction in the world. The battle attraction where you fight stormtroopers will be the first real trackless ride Disney has built in the United States. The Millennium Falcon attraction will use a ride system similar to Forbidden Journey in Universal’s Hogsmeade.
Muppets Courtyard is set to be expanded as construction on the new Muppets restaurant continues. The rumored name for the new quick service is Pizza Rizzo and is where the old Pizza Planet quick service was. No word on a possible opening but permits suggest it will be completed later this year.
Permits for a new entrance to the parking lots at Hollywood Studios were filed. This also came along with permits for major road reconfiguration in the area. Construction has already begun on an access road for construction vehicles in the backside of Hollywood Studios.
Apparently, current Disney’s Hollywood Studios Vice President Phil Holmes is visiting Disneyland and Walt Disney Imagineering to check out how those parks are run and to get a look at where the work stands on Star Wars Land. Disney executives want Walt Disney World’s parks to be run more like Disneyland’s parks according to these rumors.
Rivers of Light was set to open April 22nd, 2016 but was struck with major technical difficulties apparently and will be delayed until they can fix that. Most rumors suggest it won’t be ready until September at the earliest. Rivers of Light can’t come soon enough either since Jungle Book: Alive with Magic is not getting good reviews.
Avatar construction continues and is rumored to open in mid 2017.
ToonTown in Disneyland will be going away for a major Fantasyland expansion. That expansion is for a new major Frozen addition. This Frozen addition is the same ride planned for Tokyo DisneySea. Roger Rabbit seems to be on the safe side though with the ToonTown closure.
Fantasmic 2.0 will be coming when Fantasmic returns to Disneyland in mid 2017. This version will be massively upgraded and refreshed according to sources.
Disneyland Resort will be getting a new President according to sources. Mary Niven the current Vice President of Disneyland Resort Operations will succeed Michael Colglazier as the next Disneyland President.
The brand new Disney park is now open. Overall response has been good and a phase 2 for Shanghai is in the works and moving forward at lightning speed. This phase 2 will include a Marvel coaster, an Alice in Wonderland trackless ride, and an Expedition Everest clone.
There was an interesting observation made in some aerial photos at Disneyland Shanghai. It appears that there may be a version of Toy Story Land similar to what is in Disneyland Paris. It’s been said that Toy Story Land was delayed and will come to the park later. No actual attractions for the land have been built yet but you can see the start of the green army men parachute attraction in photos.
That is it for this installment of Disney Rumor Round Up!