rumor

An Orlando Journey Into the Future

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.

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Festival of The Lion King Making Way for Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

I feel just a little possessive of Festival Of The Lion King, after all they’re using our floats. Yes, those floats from the greatest Disneyland Parade, The Lion King Celebration, are the stages the puppets sit on in FotLK. I can still remember the final day of the parade at Disneyland and am happy that I can now visit those floats at Disney’s Animal Kingdom whenever I want. But there’s a new rumor going around saying that circumstances could change.

The Festival Of The Lion King show has been the subject of relocation rumors practically since it opened in Camp Minnie Mickey instead of Africa, where it would seem to make more thematic sense. Elevation balloons were recently spotted over that section of the park. And while no ground has been broken, it was confirmed those balloons were some early planning for Avatar-land. With Avatar-land inching closer to reality, it looks like Camp Minnie Mickey is the likely candidate for Avatar.

I’m hearing from multiple sources that FotLK will soon be closing to prepare that land for the expansion. It has been assumed that the show would be moved to a location in Africa when that happened. However, no structure is currently being constructed. There could be a number of reasons for this. Disney could be planning to completely retool the show, they could plan to relocate the existing structure, or it could just be dancing away forever.

Disney has not yet announced the next refurb for FotLK, but my sources say it’s coming soon. I hope they’re wrong and that Disney would be building a new home for FotLK before closing it down to be moved. Since FotLK is the highest rated show at DAK, you would think they would do everything they could to keep some version of it running even during construction.

Just for old times sake, there’s a full video of the show below the jump:

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Italian Poster For Oz: The Great and Powerful

The first photo of James Franco as the title character of “Oz: The Great and Powerful” has emerged on an Italian poster for the movie. Production began last year for the movie that is currently scheduled to hit theaters on March 8th, 2013. Along with… Read More »Italian Poster For Oz: The Great and Powerful

The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow – now confirmed!

When is an attraction announcement not really an announcement? When it’s published accidentally, that’s when. It’s no secret that the Prince Caspian exhibit has been moved out of its Sound Stage in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. There has even been some speculation about what would be going into that space on various fan sites.

Usually those exhibits are ‘sponsored’ by some marketing budget or another from the Walt Disney Studios. Typically the goal is to sell DVDs or build audience affiliation for a sequel. So it was assumed that the next exhibit would be for a movie that had seen some success (which means it has a decent marketing budget) and is likely to have a sequel.

If the first movie that comes to your mind in The Muppets, then let’s say Great Minds Think Alike. Other likely candidates include John Carter or TRON: Legacy. However neither of those have had sequels greenlit. So Muppets it is. It even already has a tie-in with DHS.

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Nikki Finke on Rich Ross’ Ouster

Like everyone in Hollywood, Nikki Finke has her own agenda. But even so, her insight into why Rich Ross was pushed out of the Walt Disney Studios President role is worth reading. Finke lays a lot of the blame at the feet of Disney CEO… Read More »Nikki Finke on Rich Ross’ Ouster

Avatar on Hold? Tomorrowland Rising?

WDI model for Plectu’s Galactic Theater in the 2055 concept of Disneyland’s Tomorrowland Of all the lands at Disneyland, Tomorrowland has always presented Imagineers the most trouble. Work began 6 months late, and it almost didn’t open with the rest of the park in 1955.… Read More »Avatar on Hold? Tomorrowland Rising?