Disney Rumors You Need to Know for June 2019
Some Disney rumors are so good that you can’t wait to post them. Then, we have months such as this one where an update is certain to cause a wave of hysteria. Please don’t shoot the messenger, my friends. Here’s the latest batch of Disney rumors for June of 2019.
Toy Story Jamboree?
In recent weeks, rumors have persisted that the closure of Country Bear Jamboree is imminent. I had dismissed them as patently absurd until recently. One of the most reliable Disney insiders on the internet indicated that discussions have taken place about the attraction. These conversations call into question the future of one of the most famous attractions in the world.
Apparently, high-level Disney executives want to inject even more intellectual property (IP) into the parks. Believe it or not, the franchise that they’d like to bring to Magic Kingdom is Toy Story, which already has one ride based on Buzz Lightyear there plus some character meeting opportunities. Oh, and there’s that entire themed land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Even though Toy Story is as ubiquitous as any franchise at Disney theme parks, at least one Disney department head wants to add a show based on its characters. Specifically, the idea is to recreate the Woody’s Roundup series shown in Toy Story 2.
While variations of the plan are quite different, the most popular one is apparently a marionette show of some sort, although I presume it would be much more technologically advanced, employing state-of-the-art audio-animatronics. The idea on the table is to put this show in Frontierland in the same space currently occupied by — you guessed it — Country Bear Jamboree.
The outcry on such a move would be extreme. I get angry just thinking about it, and I’m a huge Toy Story fan. It’s nothing against that franchise, merely an indication of the importance of Country Bear Jamboree in the history of Walt Disney World. It’s one of the few attractions at the park that Uncle Walt personally worked on. He’d intended it as a centerpiece of an unbuilt ski resort bearing the Disney name in the 1960s.
One of the most famous Walt Disney stories is that Marc Davis demonstrated part of Country Bear Jamboree to his boss. It would be the last time that the two men spoke, as Uncle Walt passed away soon afterward. Since Disney loved the premise, it’s sacred among Disney fans and cast members alike.
Should executives choose to close Country Bear Jamboree, the outcry would be tremendous. And that’s why I doubt this rumor will come to life. The reason why I can’t dismiss it is that D-23 2019 is less than two months away. It’s when Disney will announce upcoming attractions…such as a new Toy Story marionette show. In other words, Country Bear Jamboree fans will have a nervous couple of months.
From an analytical perspective, I think cooler heads have prevailed for obvious reasons. While I’m sure that Disney wants to emphasize a lot of changes as part of the “50 updates for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary) initiative that’s an open secret, this update isn’t a good one. I mean, it’s not a good one here.
Disney could easily add the show somewhere else and even make more money off of it. The Parks Blog recently announced Roundup Rodeo BBQ, a Table Service restaurant at Toy Story Land. It’ll have natural ties to Woody’s Roundup anyway. So, Disney could easily connect the dots here by adding the show in this area…possibly even this restaurant.
That’s sheer speculation on my point, but Chuck E. Cheese has done very well with audio-animatronic shows over the years. Imagine a Disney one at a Table Service restaurant. Guests would pay any price for it. Even if this idea doesn’t fly, adding a Woody’s Roundup show in a building close to Roundup Rodeo better connects the two premises.
The Other Rumor You’ll Hate
I’m the bearer of bad news this month. The two hottest rumors both involve Magic Kingdom, and they both involve the death of beloved, iconic Disney attractions.
The other troublesome report is that Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room could change. Now, I should preface this by saying that the rumor has bubbled up to the surface many times over the years. In terms of timing, I’m suspicious about that aspect, too.
Tiki merchandise has seemingly become one of the backbones of park economics in recent years. Disney understands how nostalgic fans are about these characters and the style of this attraction. It’s undergone something of a resurgence thanks to this passion combined with better products that tie into the premise. Many new Tiki items make people happy to buy, which is the most effective kind of sales.\
Keeping all of that in mind, in the days leading up to D-23 2017, many insiders felt that the Tiki Room’s days were numbered. Two years later, history is repeating itself. A couple of trusted rumormongers have indicated that the attraction’s about to get replaced.
The idea under discussion is that Disney would re-use the space in one of two ways. The first is that they’d add an overlay to the current presentation, keeping but presumably updating the history audio-animatronics.
You’ve probably guessed what the overlay would involve. Yes, it’s more intellectual property. For years, the standard rumor involved Stitch, but Moana has moved into the lead in recent years. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney combined aspects of both franchises into a single presentation. It’d have more appeal and, from Disney’s perspective, sell more merchandise.
Also, I feel like I should point out from a less cynical perspective that Moana and Lilo & Stitch are two of Disney’s best movies of the past 20 years. Either of them could anchor an extremely engaging show. I’m not sure if a combination of them would be better or a step back from an artistic point-of-view. At this point, it’s speculation based on what’s known about the rumors.
The Tiki rumor isn’t as strong as the Country Bears one. To the contrary, it came and went (again) a couple of years ago and hasn’t been mentioned much sense. That all changed within the past week, and the explanation could be simple. Once Disney soured on altering Country Bears, they may have chosen an alternate attraction.
Then again, executives might have decided that the outcry for closing Country Bears and Tiki Room would be the same. So, they might as well end both at the same time, presuming that the positive news from D-23 would vastly outweigh the negative. Even acknowledging all of these possibilities, I still don’t think Disney would do this if for no other reason than the internal conflict it would cause. Nobody is more loyal to the work of Walt Disney than Imagineers.
Okay, there you have a couple of genuinely scary rumors for this month. I’m sorry to be such a buzzkill, but I honestly believe that cooler heads will prevail on both of these ideas. So, don’t get outraged just yet. Save it until after D-23! But, you know, visit Magic Kingdom soon if you can…just to be safe.
Great news! Disney Parks Blog ran a story on 6/26/19 (the day after this article was originally posted) denying the rumor. Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks, stated:
“Although we won’t address every rumor, we want to set the record straight: there are no plans for our feathered friends to fly the coop any time soon. We’re constantly evolving our stories, but these birds will continue entertaining our guests at the Magic Kingdom Park just as they have done since 1971.”