The Latest Disney Rumors You Need to Know
Sure, anyone can keep up with the Disney news of the week. You only need to read MickeyBlog News to do that. Sometimes, you want to know what MIGHT happen, though. The Walt Disney Company always has projects under discussion, many of which never come to fruition. Some do, though. You can impress your friends by telling them about these giant plans well in advance. They’ll think you’re a savant when your suggested rumor becomes a reality. Here are a few juicy tidbits and latest Disney rumors for this month.
Scheduling the Knowns
One of the topics that we do know for a fact is that Disney currently has a few major construction projects underway. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, they’re constructing a new themed land, a connecting hotel, an anchor attraction, and a gondola system. That is a LOT of simultaneous construction, but word has begun to leak on the progress of each one.
We recently learned that the Walt Disney World version of Star Wars Land won’t open until the fall of 2019, several months after the Disneyland themed land debuts. While some people suggested that The Walt Disney Company delayed this project to coordinate it with the opening of Star Wars Hotel, that’s apparently not the case. Disney wants to create a second hyped event when the new resort debuts, and so they will carefully space it at least a year after Star Wars Land. In fact, you shouldn’t feel surprised if Star Wars Hotel gets pushed all the way back to 2021.
Skyliner ETA Mid-2019?
The news about the Disney Skyliner is much better. Reports earlier this year indicated that the project was behind schedule. Imagineers supposedly weren’t adding the required foundations at a steady pace. Due to this inaccurate reporting, many feared that the Skyliner might get pushed into 2020.
Well, the project is now visible for all to see since Disney can’t exactly hide a gondola system in the sky. And the news is very, very good. Some of the sections have come together much quicker than expected. The prevailing wisdom now is that the Disney Skyliner will debut in the fall of 2019, but some optimists have suggested that it might be ready next summer! At a minimum, the system should work by the time that Star Wars Land opens or, at the very least, soon afterward.
2019 Will Be the Biggest Year Ever at Hollywood Studios
Finally, I also have great news about the other major attraction coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As you know, Toy Story Land has two, and Star Wars Land will have two. Then, there is the replacement for The Great Movie Ride. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is the first attraction ever for the star couple in the Disney family.
While progress on Runaway Railway was initially slow due to the unprecedented digital projection technology in place, it’s now proceeding along at a strong pace. This ride should also arrive during the late summer or early fall of 2019. That puts its timeline slightly ahead of Star Wars Land and on a par with the Disney Skyliner. My idle speculation is that Disney might space these three events out over a six-month period. Whatever dates that they set, however, 2019 is clearly the year of Hollywood Studios.
Huge Changes at DinoLand USA?
Earlier this year, we learned that Pandora – The World of Avatar was a massive triumph for Disney. Disney’s Animal Kingdom was historically a child-friendly park that had fewer guests per capita than anything at Walt Disney World. The situation changed dramatically in 2017, when the arrival of Pandora caused a traffic surge at the park. Traffic increased 15 percent, an incredibly impressive feat. It’s that much better when we remember that the immersive themed land didn’t open until halfway into 2017.
We’ve previously discussed how the popularity of Pandora has caused an odd situation at the park. Guests tend to go left toward The World of Avatar when they enter Animal Kingdom. They neglect the themed land to the right, the oft-criticized DinoLand U.S.A. One is the most technologically advanced themed land on the planet; the other is a carnival area for dinosaur enthusiasts.
In recent years, speculation has centered on impending changes at DinoLand U.S.A. One rumor hinted that this section might become Indiana Jones Land, an idea that makes sense for two different reasons.
First, Disney owns the Indiana Jones intellectual property now, and they’ve planned a fifth movie in the franchise. While that film was recently delayed until 2021, the symmetry works out even better that way. Imagineers would have three years to repurpose some or all of DinoLand U.S.A. Second, DINOSAUR is an attraction that has almost the same design and core mechanics as Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland. It’s an easy conversion if Disney chooses to do that.
But this section is about Pandora. Let me explain a developing Plan B. According to noted Disney expert Jim Hill, park officials have at least evaluated the possibility of converting DinoLand USA to a second Pandora themed land. It would work similar to the twin Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter at Universal Resort Orlando, only those two sections are technically in different parks. At Animal Kingdom, Pandora would comprise the eastern and western sections of the park in this scenario.
Disney may not be ready to commit to this idea quite yet, but that time could come very soon. On July 27th, Fox shareholders will vote on Disney’s offer to purchase most major corporate assets. Comcast wants to buy key parts of Fox as well, meaning that the outcome of this vote is still in doubt. Should Disney win, they will own the Avatar license, same as with Indiana Jones.
Avatar 2 is currently scheduled for release in 2020. You can connect the dots from there. Disney could ostensibly use new characters, sets, and ideas from the movie as the basis for a second Pandora. It would even work well from the perspective that the current one is set in the future, long after the war. Disney could use an earlier timeline from the upcoming movie sequels if so inclined.
In short, fans of DinoLand USA in its current form should savor it while they can. Disney has (at least) two strong ideas on the table to convert the land. Both of them would integrate well with upcoming movie releases, presuming that Disney acquires Fox.
Then again, other reports suggest that an Indiana Jones attraction may become a part of the next Hollywood Studios expansion after Star Wars Land’s completion. Disney does want that park to emphasize a few beloved intellectual properties, so that idea makes sense, too. This is what it’s like to be a Disney park planner. You have a wealth of potentially great ideas but can only pick a handful at a time.
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