Fascinating Disney Rumors for October 2019
Another month is in the books, and a few tantalizing rumors are percolating. Behind the scenes, Disney officials have expressed some concern about the bottom line. When Disney’s worried about money, the consumers usually benefit because cast members and Imagineers get more creative. Let’s take a look at some possibilities in the latest edition of Disney Rumors.
Is a Magic Kingdom Nighttime Parade in the Plans?
Former Disney executive Dan Cockerell has become one of the most respected voices in the Disney community. As a former longtime executive, he’s still in the loop on many upcoming plans, but he keeps enough distance that he’s reliably neutral in presenting what he knows.
A while ago, Cockerell possibly said too much in confirming that Magic Kingdom would receive a new nighttime parade. As Disney fans know, the park hasn’t hosted an evening event like this in more than three years, excluding holiday fare. Guests have clamored for one for a while now, especially in the wake of the return of Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland.
According to Cockerell, park officials had targeted 2021 as the natural launching point for a new nightly presentation. However, since he left the company, the situation has apparently changed. The prevailing belief is that Disney won’t introduce an entirely new nighttime exhibition as part of the 50th-anniversary proceedings. That doesn’t mean that we’re not getting a parade, though.
Return of the King
Some insiders are confident that Main Street Electrical Parade will travel east once again. The philosophy involves the sentimentality of an event like a 50th anniversary. Park officials may have settled on the idea that retro will play better than original. Also, parade floats that already work come at a much cheaper price than ones that don’t.
Disney could feasibly save a lot of money by hosting a 50th-anniversary celebration complete with Main Street Electrical Parade. Since the presentation dates back to 1972, it would celebrate its own half-centennial in June of 2022.
Insiders believe that the 50th-anniversary festivities will last more than 12 months. So, a June 2022 timeline would match well, giving fans of Disney history a second birthday party in the middle of the primary celebration. Also, retro merchandise has sold exceptionally well at the parks in recent years. The 50th birthday within a 50th birthday seems like a marketer’s dream product line.
Finally, Disney officials have no doubt heard the outcries of Walt Disney World fans. When Disneyland recently regained Main Street Electrical Parade, many Orlando enthusiasts expressed jealousy over the turn of events. Executives could give the people what they want, sell a ton of merchandise, and save money by not producing a new nighttime parade. This particular rumor makes sense for myriad reasons.
If Main Street Electrical Parade does return in 2021, it may be a bit different than you remember. Disney’s apparently considering a couple of additions to tie it together with the half-centennial theme.
The Status of Disney’s Cursed Nighttime Presentation
Disney doesn’t fail often. And even though it certainly happens occasionally, I’m not prepared to cede that Rivers of Light qualifies. The nightly presentation at Disney’s Animal Kingdom brightens every park guest’s evening thanks to its show-stopping visuals.
Despite its luscious scenery, Rivers of Light has seemed cursed since the beginning. Disney felt forced to delay the show for the body of a year due to a behind-the-scenes snafu. I’m not at liberty to say what happened, but it was equal parts disastrous and really, really funny.
Once the show finally debuted in early 2017, guests expressed tremendous disappointment. Part of the problem came down to expectations. The 10-month delay naturally led guests to believe that something special was in the offing. Once they watched the presentation, these people stated in surveys that they’d expected much more.
Part of the problem stemmed from the confusing nature of the story. During the earliest version of the show, two elder shamans relayed a story to their mentees, as the dazzling floats lit up the night. Everyone agreed that the entire affair was pretty. They just didn’t get the story.
What Changes Have Happened/Could Happen?
After a short period, the show’s producers eliminated half of the shamans in the story. Later, they took the people out altogether, a pretty strong demonstration that nobody was quite sure where to look during the presentation. Since viewers preferred the floats, Disney made them the focal point and threw out everything else.
Barely two years later, park officials rebooted the presentation as Rivers of Light: We Are One. It incorporates ideas and footage from Disney movies. The special effects are once again spectacular, but survey scores indicate that the show still isn’t very popular.
Now, rumors have come out that Animal Kingdom wants to reboot Rivers of Light once again. The prevailing belief is that Disney will add even more theming, possibly tying animal characters from popular movies into the proceedings. The current inspirations are Brother Bear and Disney’s African Cats, which aren’t exactly the classics.
Could Rivers of Light add more elements from The Lion King and Bambi? Or have the show’s producers figured out a way to bring the humans back and make them relevant? We’ll find out over the next few months.
Let’s close this edition with a few tidbits that might impact your vacation planning. We’re starting to get a firmer idea of when certain Walt Disney World attractions will open to the public. None of these dates are finite yet, but you should get a better idea of the timeline.
The belief is that Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will debut in the spring of 2020. April seems like the most reasonable month at the moment. Disney wants this attraction open in time for the summer since so much of the park will be under construction during that timeframe. Executives want the new rides working to attract guests and siphon off traffic from off the park’s main pathways.
Similarly, Remy Ratatouille Adventure is targeting a summer 2020 launch. June seems like the likeliest timeframe right now. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is still scheduled for 2021 and probably won’t launch earlier. Similarly, Tron Lightcycle Power Run has made significant progress, but it’s not going to be ready until 2021, either.
So, guests who visit later in 2020 will have two new rides awaiting them at Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The following year, a pair of roller coasters will debut at Walt Disney World as part of the 50th-anniversary celebration.
Stay tuned to MickeyBlog in case any of these attractions unexpectedly changes its opening date timeline.