EXCITING Disney World Rumors for August
Nobody ever truly knows what’s going on behind the scenes at Disney’s various theme parks. That’s why it’s so much fun to guess! Here’s the latest speculation about all your favorite places. Remember, though! While we want all of these Disney World rumors to come true, a lot of them don’t and the ones that do might not happen for years…except for this first one.
One of the dirty secrets at Walt Disney World is that one of its finest restaurants is also one of its least crowded. Sure, it doesn’t make any sense, but Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is one of the easiest walk-up tables on the entire campus.
Part of the problem may be the price. Artist Point is historically a Signature Dining experience, meaning that it costs more and/or requires two Table Service entitlements on the Disney Dining Plan. Despite the excellent food and theming here, people don’t want to pay that high cost.
Disney’s aware of the situation and has debated a fascinating change. According to the venerable Len Testa at TouringPlans, Wilderness Lodge may do something drastic but wonderful at Artist Point. They might turn it into a character dining meal, at least at dinner. And the characters in question are the original Disney animation favorites, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs!
Yes, the stars of the first animated movie ever could roam from table to table, acting sleepy and dopey but hopefully not sneezy. It’s a wonderful idea that makes a ton of sense. Character meals are among the most booked dining options at Walt Disney World. One with Grumpy would become an instant favorite. As far as Walt Disney World rumors go, this one has strong potential.
Coco vs. Mary Poppins: Who Ya Got?
Despite the occasional YouTube rap battle, Disney characters don’t find a lot of reason to argue…not unless we count the villains anyway. That’s what makes the current behind-the-scenes battle at Epcot so intriguing. Last month, we reported the possibility of a Coco overlay on Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros.
There’s an update to this rumor from an extremely reliable source. Word is that the Coco overlay won’t happen unless it wins a duel with an unknown attraction at the United Kingdom pavilion. Epcot apparently only has enough money for one of them, and they’re learning toward the one at the pavilion that doesn’t currently have an attraction.
From a park planning perspective, this belief makes sense. Placing a new ride at the United Kingdom creates a nice balance on the other side of the World Showcase. Currently, Frozen Ever After and Gran Fiesta Tour pull guests to left from Future World. Something on the right side would even things out. It’s smart.
The rumored attraction is the other reason why Coco’s probably not happening. Mary Poppins would be involved. Since Mary Poppins Returns is poised to remind a new generation of movie lovers about the brilliance of the character, the timing is impeccable. Of course, an attraction might not be ready until 2021 or 2022, which would reduce the freshness of the premise a bit. I consider Mary Poppins timeless, but park planners may disagree.
Which one would you prefer, a Coco overlay at Mexico’s answer to It’s a Small World or a new Mary Poppins ride? It will be exciting to see which of these Disney World rumors come true!
Animal Kingdom’s Got a Show Problem
In recent years, Disney’s tried to pep up Animal Kingdom with new shows. First, they introduced a nighttime spectacle called Rivers of Light. It…didn’t go great. While the show itself is visually stunning, getting the production off the ground was one of the company’s worst debacles of the 21st century. They had to delay the show by a year due to technical difficulties I’m not at liberty to reveal but that are truly inexcusable.
With Rivers of Light now in operation, Disney expected more from the show. They expected that it would drive attendance and increase restaurant revenue thanks to Rivers of Light dinner packages. Despite the halo effect of Pandora – The World of Avatar, attendance has dipped over the past year. For whatever reason, ordinary Disney fans don’t feel enthusiasm for the complex exhibition.
In anticipation of a big change, Disney has quietly explored other options for this set. In some point in a couple of years, they may close Rivers of Light permanently. The potential replacements are shows based on current Disney intellectual properties.
One is Jungle Book, the Disney classic re-imagined as a live-action blockbuster in 2016. The other is an exhibition with a Black Panther/Wakanda theme. Disney would like to introduce this character at Animal Kingdom, but there’s some question about how licensing would work due to the Marvel deal with Universal Studios. Neither of these replacements is a certainty, but the mere fact that they’ve both been discussed is worrisome for fans of Rivers of Light.
Disney’s got one other struggling show at Animal Kingdom. UP! A Great Bird Adventure Show only debuted a few months ago. Despite its newness, park officials have already soured on the product. They lament the quality of the script, noting that it’s tested poorly among park guests. Widespread reports indicate that Disney has requested rewrites, preferably ones that dial up the comedic elements while reducing the amount of awkward conversation.
The Tomorrowland of Tomorrow
Disney recently confirmed that Tomorrowland Speedway will go on hiatus in early 2019. During its downtime, Imagineers will alter the track layout to create the requisite space for TRON Lightcycle Power Run. Rumors suggest that there’s a lot more at play than just this simple change, though.
For starters, when Tomorrowland Speedway returns next summer, it may look different. Some analysts believe that it will feature a new style of ride cart, one that’s thematic with its future neighbor, Tron. These light racers would work a bit differently under the hood, too. They might be electric cars!
The changes at Tomorrowland Speedway are part of a broader but subtle reboot of Tomorrowland. Disney wants its futuristic land to look and feel a bit different. They’re contemplating several changes, which range between modest and significant.
A significant change would be the introduction of a new attraction at the former Stitch’s Great Escape space. Long rumored to become a Wreck-It Ralph ride, this augmented reality experience would turn the least popular attraction at Magic Kingdom into one of the most technologically advanced. The popularity of the rumor seems to rise and fall every few months, but I think we all agree that a Wreck-It Ralph attraction would be warmly welcomed.
Other changes would impact storied Tomorrowland attractions. For example, Carousel of Progress could receive an update soon. The final segment of this show gets modernized from time to time, and the current version with granny playing a virtual reality videogame has grown a bit stale.
Disney’s also toying with the idea of adding new scenes to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. Nobody has leaked information on what form any of these updates would take, though. Personally, I’m a huge mark for the Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow model and would love to see it expanded.
The undeniable part of any potential changes is that they’ll all tie into the concept of Tomorrowland. Disney has emphasized the importance of this theme across the attractions in the area. Expect Tron to become the new focal point of Tomorrowland, with established classics receiving the requisite updates to modernize them. The addition of a Wreck-It Ralph ride would be the most serendipitous of unexpected bonuses.
What do you think of those Walt Disney World rumors? Let us know in the comments!