Unless you are living under a rock (which would be incredibly uncomfortable), you realize the affect that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has had on the Orlando tourism community. Everyone is filled to the brim with new projects that, they hope can match and/or topple Harry Potter in the themed and immersive environment category… or the bring in millions of people and billions of dollars category too! I thought, you can never look too far into the future… so here is a preview to what will, supposedly, make you travel to the Orlando area in the coming years!
Positive Coming Attractions:
- This December 6th, the east coast’s Carsland equivalent will finally be unveiled in the Magic Kingdom. New Fantasyland containing: Enchanted Tales with Belle, Gaston’s Tavern, Be Our Guest Restaurant, Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Grotto, Pete’s Silly Sideshow, and officially, Storybook Circus, will FINALLY open after years of “looking-over-the-wall” photo updates. In 2013, the Princess Fairytale Hall will open, in the former Snow White’s Scary Adventures building. And the expansion will finally be ending (unless they announce a phase 2 with Pixie Hollow…I wish!) with the opening of the Seven Dwarves Mine Coaster. Can you believe that this was all announced back at the first D23 Expo in 2009?! If feels like so long ago!
- Test Track will re-open at the end of this year after a rather extensive rehab and rethemeing. The concept of being inside of a computer seems like a great fit for an aging Future World attraction that needed a lift (and a nip…and a tuck…). We will see how Tron-y this new Test Track looks this December.
- Although not at a theme park, I am super excited for Spiltsville to be coming to Downtown Disney. We have one in Tampa and it is an awesome place. This incarnation will be a two story, 36-lane bowling alley version of the usual 1 story, 12-lane concept. The uniqueness of Splitsville comes from two factors, first being that while you bowl, a waiter comes to your table…as it is a sit-down (or play-up?) restaurant as well as a bowling alley (BTW, best chicken tenders anywhere!). The second factor comes from the design of the place, the lanes aren’t set up in the normal long, side-by-side fashion of the old-fashioned alleys, they are scattered throughout the building giving it a much more personal experience. Get ready to bowl your brains out in late fall of this year.
- Seaworld has also jumped on the immersive environment bandwagon by announcing Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. This will take the place of the former penguin exhibit at the park. Not a lot of details have been announced about the project as of now, but the concept art is astounding. A publicity photo was recently released and has led to speculation that the ride in the land will be using a trackless ride system similar to the one used on Pooh’s Hunny Hunt at Tokyo Disneyland. I am really excited to check it out in the spring of 2013.
- This year, a lot happened at the Universal Studios Resort. The Despicable Me ride, the new nighttime water show, a daily parade and the Spiderman update all opened…while Jaws closed. The rumors are saying that a Part 2 to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be opening at the Universal Studios park sometime in the coming years. Included in the expansion would be a new indoor roller coaster and a train connecting the IOA and US Harry Potter lands. We will see if this ends up being announced sometime this year.
- Along with that, there is another HUGE rumor revolving around a plot of land at the Studios park. The rumors (and some construction workers) are saying that the popular Transformers ride from the Hollywood park will be cloned on this coast. You may be thinking, “But wait, isn’t the same exact ride over at IOA, just with a Spiderman overlay?!”…and you would be right. The plot thickens as people are saying that they are building Transformers to be the replacement for Spiderman, as they would sell the complete theme park rights for Marvel to Disney and they would completely overhaul the Marvel Superhero Island, leaving only 1 ride with that system at the resort. Confusing, I know….but we just have to wait and see!
- So the biggest Disney rumor is for the upcoming Avatarland. Rumors are stating that the Imagineers and James Cameron are having major conflicts and since the next 2 movies won’t be coming out until 2014 and 2015…when the expected land should be open by…the idea has been put on the back burner. In its place… Carsland coming to DHS. The land is rumored to be moving into the area currently holding the Backlot Tour and Lights, Motors, Action. This one has a good amount of credibility, especially since Kathy Magnum, the “Goddess of Carsland and all other Pixar Theme Park Projects” has been assigned to WDW. Personally, I would rather see a whole new land on the scope of Carsland (Like a Monsters Inc. Land!), but I am still uberexcited to see if this is true.
What known attraction are you most excited for? Is there any rumor that makes you want to jump for joy? Who is up for a Disney Blog Bowling Tournament at Splitsville?! Let me know in the comments below! Until next time…Have a Magical Day!