The Hottest Disney Rumors for September 2021
We are less than two months away from Destination D23, the event that will herald a new and better tomorrow at Walt Disney World.
So, Disney rumormongers are currently chasing down plenty of stories, many of which are intentional swerves with no basis in truth.
To wit, a satirical article about Disney moving a theme park to Texas was suddenly trending on Twitter this week due to a misunderstood post.
Still, we have one real story this week, another speculative one, and I’ll go ahead and throw in a rumor killer for good measure.
Disney Resort Expansion Plans
Here’s the big story making the rounds due to comments from a recent Jim Hill/Len Testa podcast.
I must admit that I don’t listen to any Disney podcasts or, really, podcasts in general. So, I haven’t heard the exact comments.
Still, this story isn’t new, and it’s floating around again. In fact, it’s a decade old.
Back in 2011, rumors persisted that the Disney Vacation Club would introduce a new location, one that was already 40 years old.
Yes, DVC wanted to add an ownership interest at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, the oldest official Disney resort in the world.
Remember that Disney didn’t build Disneyland Hotel. So, DVC coveted a spot here, which it got in 2014. However, Disney’s plans didn’t stop there.
The reality is that the Polynesian matters more than most Disney resorts due to illustrious history.
I love pointing out that the Beatles officially broke up here. That’s a real thing that happened, as John Lennon was staying at the hotel when he signed the dissolution paperwork.
Once DVC introduced the Polynesian, the story seemed complete. In theory, Disney would rather build new hotels rather than add DVC rooms to existing ones.
The company announced Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Lodge in 2018 and doubled down at D23 Expo 2019.
Then, the pandemic hit. Reports surfaced that all construction had halted on Reflections. In fact, Disney filed paperwork to tear down the office space here.
While some sources maintain it could return one day, the Reflections resort project appears dead or at least comatose.
This turn of events is maddening to DVC officials, as the program has soared in popularity. As a result, DVC needs more inventory as soon as possible.
After all, Reflections would have had added 900 rooms (!) of hotel inventory.
Disney Resort Plan B
Hilariously, DVC suffered a nearly simultaneous setback in Anaheim, California.
The company had announced a DVC tower hotel at Downtown Disney. But then, Anaheim’s City Council refused to honor a $267 million tax credit for it.
The council members suggested that Disney violated the agreement by moving the construction two blocks away from the prior address.
Obviously, that was sheer nonsense and a sign that Anaheim just didn’t want this hotel.
Park officials scrambled for backup plans. They eventually settled on a new Disneyland Hotel tower, a standalone DVC facility.
This property will offer 350 more rooms of inventory at Disneyland Resort. DVC followed this announcement by doing something unexpected in Orlando.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is changing Building 9, aka Big Pine Key, into a DVC facility, the second one onsite.
This decision has triggered a fascinating debate internally at Disney. Without those new rooms at Reflections, DVC needs more inventory.
The Grand Floridian represents a half-measure that won’t accomplish the whole goal.
However, Disney has two other options on the table that could address the problem. One is converting more buildings at the Polynesian into DVC rooms.
Currently, rooms at Moorea, Tokelau, and Pago Pago participate. Other longhouses could switch to DVC properties, reducing inventory for standard rooms.
Alternatively, Disney could take a different approach.
When was the last time you heard anything about the Spirit of Aloha dinner show? Yeah, that’s not a coincidence.
Rumors persist that this show is gone forever. In fact, Disney has at least considered the idea of building a DVC tower hotel at the Polynesian.
In this scenario, the tower would go into the space formerly occupied by Spirit of Aloha. Sort of.
The Problems with the Plan
Imagineers have mastered an unheralded but vital craft over the past 66 years. They’ve learned how to emphasize sightlines at the parks.
To wit, guests staying at the Bungalows at the Polynesian look across the bay at Tomorrowland. Several spots at the resort offer similar views.
A skyrise tower hotel would block those sightlines, something Disney has never liked to do.
Seriously, the back of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror looks different than the front.
Disney did that so this building would match the backdrop of the Mexico pavilion when people looked in that direction at EPCOT.
As such, I’ve always deemed the giant tower a non-starter as a viable idea at the Polynesian.
Well, something has changed in the planning, something that makes sense. Park officials have come up with a different plan.
In this blue-sky pitch, Disney wouldn’t build one skyrise tower. Instead, it would add two at the Polynesian, bookend mini-towers on both sides of the campus.
These buildings would have T-shapes, and, yes, one of them would go into the Spirit of Aloha space at Luau Cove.
Here’s the interesting part. A decade ago, Disney created some illustrations about a Polynesian tower.
Those blueprints have long since leaked online, and they showed a strange byproduct.
The Magnolia Golf Course would have needed some hole redesigns for this plan to work.
On a seemingly unrelated note, the Magnolia Golf Course filed paperwork earlier this year to modify some of its holes.
Disney could just be improving traffic flow on Floridian Way. It sure seems like there’s smoke to this fire, though.
New hotel mini-towers could be coming to the Polynesian. If that’s going to happen, expect an announcement at D-23.
The Story and the Non-Story
Okay, let’s start with something I mentioned recently in MickeyBlog News. Yes, Disney has started the demo on Primeval Whirl.
The least popular roller coaster in Disney history died for good in March of 2020.
While some say it was a victim of the pandemic, it was already living on borrowed time before then.
The interesting part is that Disney is reclaiming the space right now. Park officials haven’t announced any upcoming projects.
However, the appeal of this DinoLand U.S.A. attraction always came down to two factors. It was cheap to build and possessed a small footprint.
So, that space isn’t particularly valuable on its own. This turn of events only means something if other modifications follow the deconstruction of Primeval Whirl.
Still, rumors of a Dinoland U.S.A. re-theming have bubbled to the surface several times over the past decade. It’s always been too carny for a Disney theme park.
As such, I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney is finally ready to do something more here. That doesn’t necessarily involve a re-theming, though.
Imagineers could simply make the current themed land better. But, conversely, Indiana Jones Land and Avatar Phase 2 are longstanding rumors for the area.
Okay, that’s the story. The non-story hurts my teeth that I even have to say it. No, Disneyland isn’t moving to Texas.
That was a satirical post a while ago that has once again resurfaced. Here’s one of the sources.
Another literally posts in its banner that it’s won the “Best Made up Awards.”
Finally, here’s Snopes calling BS on the report. If something ever sounds ridiculous, please get in the habit of checking Snopes.
Feature Image: Disney