The Most Magical Disney Rumors from March 2019
Mickey and Minnie might be running away to other places! You’ll learn about this, how Ralph may wreck Tomorrowland and other exciting possibilities in the latest batch of rumors for March of 2019!
Other Runaway Railways?
While the media obsesses on the impending arrival of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this themed land may not have the next ride to debut at the park. Yes, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run will arrive on August 29th, there’s speculation that Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will debut first.
Park officials are clearly ecstatic about this attraction, which marries conventional dark ride design with unprecedented cinematic immersion. Disney executives have promised that guests will feel as if they’re stepping into a full-fledged cartoon. And they’re so excited that plans are already in place to open other versions of the attractions elsewhere.
Disneyland could be the first place to receive a duplicate version of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The obvious location for this attraction is Toontown, and that’s where rumors persist that it will debut at some point over the next few years. The anchor attraction there right now is Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, a delightful ride based on a great character…but it’s not Mickey & Minnie Mouse. The Runaway Railway would vastly increase traffic in this themed land.
To a larger point, Disney’s plans for their upcoming attraction could be even more expansive. The prevailing belief is that versions of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway could become a part of every Disney theme park. Since there’s never been a ride featuring Disney’s most iconic couple, Runaway Railway is a logical contender to transfer everywhere, just like Buzz Lightyear, Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, Peter Pan, Pirates of the Caribbean, and others before it.
Will Ralph Wreck Tomorrowland?
One of the most difficult rumors to track involves Tomorrowland. As everyone knows, Stitch’s Great Escape! is gone for good. It was a re-theming of a previous attraction, ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. The replacement frequently scored the lowest on park surveys out of all Disney rides. The original presentation, while impeccable, was just too scary for children.
Park planners now face the question of what to do next. The show building that housed these two attractions is now used for Stitch character greetings when it’s used at all. Space at Tomorrowland is incredibly valuable, as demonstrated by the fact that the Walt Disney World Railroad had to close to create room for the upcoming Tron ride. This empty building is a frustration to everyone involved.
Here’s the problem. It’s a small building. While I sometimes lazily refer to Stitch’s Great Escape as a ride, it wasn’t. You sat in one place, and then special effects created the impression that Stitch was on the loose, and ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter was the same way, only with a generic alien rather than the adorable but menacing Stitch.
Since those two attractions didn’t require tracks, the building is too small to retrofit something ride-based. I mean, it’s theoretically possible, but it would be an incredibly complex project. Disney is left with space where an attraction once was, and they want to put a new one there. Their best current option is one that they’ve previously said that they wouldn’t do.
Disney executives have stressed that they won’t build a VR-based attraction. You may wonder about Avatar Flight of Passage. Park officials deem it a flying simulator with augmented reality, no different than Soarin’, at least in theory. Soarin’ films real scenes from various global landmarks, while Avatar explores the fictional world of Pandora, but the structure’s the same.
A ride where you just put on your VR goggles and sit in place doesn’t seem very Disney, at least not to Disney people. But the reality is that they have contemplated an attraction featuring Ralph, the eight-bit star of Wreck-It Ralph and Ralph Breaks the Internet. This offering is different from the one that you may know from The Void, but the existence of that creation is a strike against a possible Magic Kingdom one.
The more significant sticking point is that Ralph Breaks the Internet wasn’t the box office blockbuster Disney had projected. It earned $524 million worldwide, an amount that most studios would envy. For Disney, it’s just okay, and their neutral opinion is problematic. As just mentioned, Tomorrowland space is limited…and valuable. They don’t want to put in an attraction unless they were confident it would siphon traffic out of the walking areas of the park.
Would Ralph do that? Nobody knows, which is why the rumors of Ralph and Vanellope’s presence at Tomorrowland are as yet unconfirmed. The belief is that if Disney wants to announce something, it will happen between now and the end of D-23 in August.
I suspect that if they do decide to convert this space into an attraction, it’ll have more of a Vanellope emphasis than Ralph…but I also suspect that a Ralph-related ride is on the backburner now. Like the rumored Mary Poppins attraction, the film may not have earned enough to justify a permanent park presence.
Star Wars vs. Avatar
No, Disney isn’t making an Alien vs. Predator-style movie or comic book or the like. The title refers to construction plans at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Currently, park strategists are exploring ideas for the next phase of Walt Disney World development.
Executives must think so far ahead on projects that the timeline here will blow your mind. The expansion under discussion would occur after Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens. It’s not even guaranteed to happen before the 50th-anniversary celebration at Walt Disney World, and that’s in 2021! So, we are talking about plans that may be far down the line.
Keeping the delays in mind, the current debate at Disney is which huge themed land expansion they should take on next. The belief is that the two intellectual properties under consideration are Star Wars and Avatar.
Yes, Galaxy’s Edge isn’t even open yet, but Disney’s already deciding how to add more in later years. Obviously, Star Wars Hotel is an integral part of the enhancements. But park planners learned something from Pandora – The World of Avatar. They housed its two attractions in the same building, a decision that had unintended repercussions. When issues arise in that building, both rides must shut down. Also, the park has a bottleneck in this section that has led to disappointing throughput.
To solve both problems at once, Disney intends to build an Avatar expansion at some point. The first step is probably an attraction. Since it’s likely to include elements of Avatar 2, which won’t receive a theatrical release until December of 2020, the third Avatar attraction isn’t expected until 2021. Still, Disney insiders suggest that it will beat the planned expansion to Star Wars Land.
Yes, Galaxy’s Edge will eventually have more attractions, restaurants, and shops than the ones you’ll see during your inaugural visit. The belief is that Disney will continue to update Star Wars Land in phases. As we recently learned, the anchor of phase two is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Star Wars Hotel is almost certainly the centerpiece of phase three. An educated guess places its opening in late 2020 or early 2021. So, the Galaxy’s Edge expansion would come after that.
That may seem like forever away, but we’re already in the spring of 2019. Even though the numbers sound bigger, 2021 is only two years from now. Avatar and Star Wars expansions are both decent possibilities by 2022. It’s not that far down the line, especially considering that Avatar took six years to come to fruition, and Star Wars was almost exactly four years from announcement to its confirmed opening date. Two or three years is nothing, right?!