The Biggest Disney Rumors for July 2021
I will start this month with a confession. I’d planned several entirely different topics based on what I’ve heard and read lately.
Unfortunately, the sudden return of COVID-19, particularly the Delta variant, has disrupted at least some of these discussions.
Disney had just announced a D-23 event at Walt Disney World this November. It was supposed to be a triumphant moment.
Of course, that could still happen, as Disney has plenty of exciting announcements it could make.
This month’s Disney Rumors comes with more uncertainty than I’d expected a week ago, though.
The Brightline Brouhaha
Generally, state transportation negotiations take place in backrooms, shadowy places hidden away from voters and reporters.
Politics play an integral part in such conversations, as the squeaky wheel often needs and gets greasing.
You’re old enough to understand how the world works, especially when hundreds of millions of dollars are on the line.
Still, you never expect such conversations to occur in transparent settings. That’s at least partially what happened a few days ago, though.
The Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFEA) held a meeting to approve an expansion between Tampa and the Orlando International Airport (MCO).
The public setting belied the conspiratorial nature of the conversation, though.
The Walt Disney Company and NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast, are waging a silent war over the future of Central Florida.
Both parties seek to control the track route for the Brightline station in the greater Orlando area.
Disney had previously announced and agreed with Brightline on a Disney Springs locale that’s not in question.
The debate lies in how the path connects to MCO. Brightline had plotted a course along state road 417.
Meanwhile, Universal executives acquired plenty of land near the Orlando Convention Center. They plan to build Universal’s Epic Universe there.
So, Universal started petitioning local politicians to move the path of the train tracks to State Road 528, a tollway close to International Drive.
Universal has correctly deduced that it’ll gain more tourism by being the stop before Walt Disney World.
Also, people attending conferences at the convention center may stop at Epic Universe to blow off steam.
Disney is STAUNCHLY opposed to this idea, which would apparently disrupt some of its post-Magical Express plans.
The hot rumor right now is that Universal’s proposal has picked up steam. Meanwhile, the CFEA delayed its decision to *ahem* weigh options.
The Plans for D-23
Do you remember the 2017 and 2019 D-23 Expos? I would hope so since they occurred during the last four years.
Alas, the past 18 months seemed to take 10 years. So, I understand if you’ve forgotten these small moments of pure, unbridled joy.
During the events, Disney officials would go on stage and announce grand plans for new additions to the Disney empire.
We’re talking about E-ticket attractions, spectacular resorts, and even the occasional cruise ship. I’ll have more on that last one in the next section.
Well, Disney recently confirmed that it would host a previously delayed D-23 event at Walt Disney World.
Destination D23 will take place at Disney’s Contemporary Resort from November 19th through the 21st.
Executives targeted this date as a way to rebuild momentum after the bleak times of the Age of Coronavirus.
Park officials want to state terms about upcoming projects, including opening dates. For example, I still expect that Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will highlight the event.
Some lucky Disney cast member will state when the hotel finally opens to the public, with advanced sales starting soon afterward. We already know that it will be sometime during Spring of 2022.
Similarly, Disney wants to reveal when Tron Lightcycle Power Run and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will debut, presumably in 2022.
The company might even have some tricks up its sleeve about Walt Disney World transportation.
I’d also expected some insight about the PLAY! pavilion and Journey of Water at EPCOT.
Disney executives prefer these splashy events as the best times to garner headlines about upcoming park amenities.
Sadly, the new state of emergency in Orange County, Florida, could disrupt those plans.
Disney won’t cancel the event or anything. Still, it may hold some cards close to the vest rather than announcing them as originally intended. And that would suck.
What’s the Plan for Disney Cruise Line?
Do you know who has had a rough go of it lately? I mean, I could list many professions here, but I’m specifically referencing Disney Cruise Line (DCL) strategists.
In March of 2020, out of an “abundance of caution,” DCL canceled all cruises for that month. We haven’t had an official cruise since then.
DCL has taken a month-by-month approach throughout the pandemic, which has meant more than a dozen depressing announcements about cruise cancellations.
However, a recent test cruise went off without a hitch, allowing DCL to commit to a full-fledged return to the high seas.
Several pitfalls still exist, not the least of them being the sudden, exponential spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
So, even now, DCL strategists remain in a constant state of limbo as they plan a murky future.
Still, some recent developments hint at what will come next for Disney’s upcoming cruise ship. Here’s a recent DCL teaser:
Disney has posted several of these in the lead-up to next year’s debut of the Disney Wish. So how big a deal is the new cruise ship?
Consider that Disney spent $940 million on its “newest” active ship in the fleet, the Disney Fantasy. It’s one of the ten most expensive cruise ships ever.
The Disney Wish should cost more than $1 billion to complete. Estimates go as high as $1.4 billion. So obviously, DCL has a lot on the line here.
The Latest, Greatest Disney Special Effects
Disney plans to tip the scale in its favor by introducing special effects like we’ve never seen before.
Some of the scenery at places like the Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge will cause guests to suspend their disbelief for a while.
They’ll honestly believe that they’re drinking at a cantina flying through outer space.
The wall they face utilizes digital projection in a manner that will become a staple of home living in a couple of decades.
Disney already uses “The Volume” for filmmaking. Now, it’ll go mainstream on the Disney Wish and could become a staple of theme park visits soon.
Yes, I tricked you. This rumor isn’t really about Disney Cruise Line. The Black Box technology I’ve previously mentioned applies the same ideas.
However, Disney is eventually trending toward augmented reality integration, where the very walls surrounding you digitally project the story.
The first time you’ll interact with the technology is on a cruise ship next year. Soon, it’ll become an organic part of all Disney theme park visits, though.
Of course, this idea remains in the blue-sky phase for now. It may not even roll for another decade. But, when it does, remember that you heard it here first!