Star Wars ‘Tatooine’ Hollywood Studios Rumours

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailLen Testa, the author of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World talks to Disney commentator Jim Hill about the long standing rumours about Star Wars Land coming to Hollywood Studios.

Having listened to the podcast several times, we could not find any credible source of this opinion from Jim Hill, but the fact that Len Testa published the podcast suggests that this is a very credible theory!

So, here’s a run down of what we will begin to take shape from the New Year through 2017!

  • Work may begin in Jan 2015
  • The ‘movie making’ facilities will disappear from Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Star Wars will take over much of the Echo Lake area with new sidewalks leading from Hollywood and Vine to Star Tours.
  • A new attraction will take over the Great Movie Ride, possibly a different theme that uses the Ratatouille ride system from Disneyland Paris.
  • Indiana Jones will eventually go, but not for several years (2018 estimate)
  • More kids attractions will appear in the park (think X-Wing ‘Dumbo’ style spinner ride)
  • Jedi Training will move to the Sounds Dangerous theater
  • Frozen Sing-Along is rumoured to be heading to American Idol
  • A Mos Eisley Cantina will appear
  • RFID interactions will feature heavily in the Star Wars area.

So, there we have it!

This might not be the longest ever blog post that we’ve created, but it certainly might be the most influential Disney event that we’ve ever reported on since Disney Springs was announced!

 

Hollywood Studios Rumour Update – Aug 15th 2014

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Remember that cool area full of props at the exit to the Studio Back Lot Tour?
It’s going to close on Sunday forever, along with the gift shop!
Officially known as the American Film Institute Showcase, Disney has not announced any official plans for this area as of yet.
The Studio Backlot Tour Itself will still continue operation.

Move it, Shake It, Celebrate It! Street Party Update Rumour

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News is flying around that an update to the Move it, Shake It, Celebrate It! Street Party at the Magic Kingdom will take place this fall.
WDWMagic are predicting that the show will lose The Mad Hatter, Sebastian and Lumiere.
This fabulous event occurs several times daily and offers a great chance for guests to see Mickey and friends in addition to the main 3 o’clock parade.

Anna Elsa CartoonAlthough unconfirmed by Disney, WDWMagic are usually spot on with this kind of thing, so we can expect some changes in October of this year.
What replaces the characters listed above is anyone’s guess right now, but……..

Disney are desperately looking for more and more ways to make use of the super popular Frozen sisters in the parks and our money is firmly on Anna, Elsa, Olaf and friends making a cool appearance.
Yes, this is wild speculation on our part, but we’d be very shocked if any parade space is given up for anyone more important than our royal friends from Arendelle.

 

Frozen Ride At Epcot More Likely Than Ever!

UPDATE: FASTPASS+ Is not Available after September 28th 2014 (WDWNT.COM)

The latest exclusion of Fastpass+ availability from September 28th might be a clear sign that Maelstrom is indeed preparing for a close this fall.  Although just speculation, Tom Corless; the editor of WDWNT.COM, rarely gets things like this wrong.  Partly sad news, as we love Maelstrom, but we have wished for another kid friendly attraction at Epcot and here it is!
Epcot will really become busier now and it might even change its character as a result of more families spending more time in WDW’s second most popular theme park!

Disney’s Frozen Rumours Increase as Norwegians Reacts to pressure From Disney

He needs to grasp the gravity of the situation!

According to Norway’s TV2 in an article raised by Screamscape.com, Disney and Norway appear to be debating the matter of a mere $9m to upgrade the Norway Pavilion at Epcot to bring it up to date after 26 years of loyal service to Walt Disney World.

For years, the Norwegian government has been reported to hand over $200,000 per year to keep the Norway pavilion partly funded, but having stopped those payments in 2002, Disney are no doubt keen to ensure that Epcot’s attractions move on.

With the rise of the ‘Frozen’ movie phenomena, Disney have been rumoured for some time to be considering a Frozen themed attraction to replace Norway’s Maelstrom ride, and now it seems reality is getting closer.

If Frozen does head to Norway, it really could turn out to become one of the most controversial developments in Walt Disney World’s history.
On one hand, Disney fans are desperate to see Anna and Elsa in Arendelle especially with some form of family friendly ride, but other devoted Epcot fans will no doubt be outraged at the prospect of the World Showcase being transformed beyond a quaint recreation of a Norwegian village.
While the introduction of Frozen would be a fabulous addition for families, who are often frustrated by the shortage of kid’s attractions at Epcot, it is hard to imagine the concept of the World Showcase developing into a ‘non country theme’.
Although based in a Norwegian setting, Frozen’s fictitious storyline would be quite a big diversion from Epcot’s national themes that are clustered around 1.2 miles of the World Showcase lagoon.

Even if they are the 4th wealthiest nation in the world, $9m is a lot of cash for the Norwegian government to hand over to Disney
If they do decide to keep a foothold in Epcot, they will create a whole new headache for Disney’s Imagineers who will inevitably have to build any new Frozen attraction somewhere else inside Walt Disney World.

 

Some coverage from the Norwegian TV Show

(This is in Norsk, so please however your mouse over the bottom toolbar of the video and select “Captions’ for subtitles)

American Idol to Close in 2015

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UPDATE June 18th 2015
Disney have confirmed that American Idol Experience will close some time early in 2015, but have also confirmed that the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular will not be closing as rumoured by Jeff Kober.
(The Indiana situation is interesting, as many WDW fans who love the show, do appear to concede that it is in fact time for a change, with Star Wars Land being a favorite alternative).  
For now, though, make the most of the American Idol Experience and perhaps consider that although it looks set to survive 2015, Indiana may still not be around forever!

It’s been around for around 5 years now, but Disney’s Hollywood Studios looks poised to close the doors of the American Idol Experience some time in January 2015.
A hugely popular show at its peak, the Fox show ratings are beginning to decline, and reports indicate that enlisting park participants is proving ever more difficult.
The American Idol Experience will be a sad miss for us if those rumours are true.
Whether you love or loath the attraction, there’s one thing certain, that it is well presented and offers a very unique entertainment option.   Rather like Elton John’s music, you may not like the style, but there’s no denying the quality.

So if you really do like the prospect of watching real live park guests, getting up on stage and performing live in front of a voting audience, we highly recommend heading to Disney’s Hollywood Studios sooner rather than later.
American Idol Experience incidentally produced over 2000 Dream Tickets, which allowed the theme park show winners to go straight to the front of the line of the actual TV show auditions.

Right now, there’s no indication of what will actually replace it, but options could of course include adding a Frozen themed show to one of the parks.
We did read recently that DIsney were auditioning for singing Cast members for special events.
A full show would be a good move if Disney take the movie’s popularity and add Frozen themed entertainment into the parks as soon as possible.
Most likely though, Star Wars would fit in very well in this area as Disney try to work out how to make the best use of their newly bought franchise for the movies.
If we were to bet a Mickey Premium, we’d put it on a Star Wars theme heading into the American Idol studio (and also the highly underused Sounds Dangerous space).

Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular to close too?

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular Hollywood Studios
We’ve also read that the popular but very elderly Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular show may also be closing around the same time.  If true, this further indicates that a Star Wars theme is heading to the Eastern side of Echo Lake at Disney’s Hollywood Studios very soon.
Note, that although this is a rumour, the source; Jeff Kober is very knowledgable and often reliable.  At this point in time, we are definitely considering this as a real possibility, so make the most of your time in Hollywood Studios this year if you love these two attractions.

If you haven’t booked your Orlando vacation yet, why not take a look at our luxury vacation homes in the Disney area, and pick out an amazing place to stay that is less than 15 minutes drive away from Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

 

 

 

Epcot’s Maelstrom looks doomed to become Frozen!

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If the latest Epcot Maelstrom and Frozen Ride theme park rumours are true, and indeed they are looking very increasingly likely, those that are visiting Epcot in 2014 might want to make a recording of those chilling Norsk words;

“You are not the first to pass this way……nor will you be the last”.

Because, rather ironically, we are growingly convinced that you will indeed be the last!

 

The Maelstrom/Frozen rumours this week go something like this:
From January 2015, Maelstrom could close to be repurposed over 18 months of closure as a frozen themed attraction based upon the same ride concept.

We’ve hear talk about this for some now and have avoided joining in, due mainly to the low quality sources that have hinted at this, but to be honest, the latest rumours stem from observers that have a high reputation for getting these kind of things right, and their own source origin is none other than a Walt Disney Animation Director, George Scribner.
(Who is probably in a lot of hot water right now for this little icy leak!)

Some ideas are floating around that the cinema area at the end of the ride will be used in the line wait area for the new attraction, but we ourselves have not heard that to be a certainty.  It does make sense however, and gives guests a chance to head straight to the gift shop instead of bolting straight for the door as most currently do on Maelstrom!

If, this is all true, we will be genuinely disappointed.
Maelstrom was no big deal, no thrill ride, but offered a nice break and some hauntingly atmospheric scenes and music as you floated around the western reaches of Scandinavia.
The quaint attraction has survived since July 5th 1988 and offers only one of two ‘rides’ in the World Showcase.  An 18 month ride closure is not the kind of thing that Epcot needs right now as it faces increasing criticism to offer more.

At totalorlando, we become more and more convinced that Disney are definitely panicking over the success of Frozen and how to monopolize that popularity inside Walt Disney World.
With this latest rumour news, we envisage that the walkways of the Norway area of Epcot are going to become swarmed with guests and Frozen fans that are desperate to ride the new version of a 26 year old attraction.

Nothing is certain of course, but we are definitely suggesting you should head to Epcot quickly if you want to be guaranteed one more ride on Maelstrom!
All of this of course is a far far cry away from our fantasy post of last week that dreamed that Disney might one day make a fifth theme park at Walt Disney World based on Frozen.
As we mentioned in that unashamedly crazy post, we know for certain that it was too ambitious for Disney, but never for one minute would Universal have skipped by the chance to add such a huge project to their portfolio!

Wow Disney, come on!  You are the leaders in this game!

 

Magic Kingdom Site has a Seven Dwarf Mine Train Teaser

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Teaser

 

If you head over to the main page of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train on the Magic Kingdom official website, you will see a fairly standard attraction page for New Fantasyland’s soon to open ride.
With some nice descriptions and a lovely artist rendering, all seems in order, until you click on the main image!

Once clicked, you will see the image above, hinting that Miners are Wanted to join the crew!  To the left, you see a live update counter that quotes the number of days before ‘training begins’.  Right now, the training looks set to begin on May 15th 2014.

Is this a big clue as to the OFFICIAL opening date of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train?  No doubt the May 2nd press conference will confirm this morning!

But wait, there’s more fun to be had if you click on the ‘Join the Crew’ sign in the pop up!

Answer a series of fun questions to end up with your very own Dwarfs name!

  1. What is your favorite color
  2. What is your favorite sound?
  3. What would you bring to a dessert island?
  4. What would you prefer to do in your free time?
  5. Which present would you prefer?

Our result was:

Your Dwarf name is

JUMPY

No anxieties are holding you back! Today is going to be filled with lots of memories thanks to you and your I’ll-Ask-Permission-Later attitude!

 

Read more about the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in our free Disney Guide!

From MGM Studios to Hollywood Studios in 25 years!

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Disney MGM Studios LogoOrlando’s 4th most popular theme park blows 25 candles out next month as it celebrates a quarter of a century of fun as a movie based theme park.
It’s going to be one gorgeous celebration, with all of the usual party atmosphere that Disney do so very well on May 1st 2014.
From its humble beginnings in 1989 Hollywood Studios has provided some amazing attractions including the legendary Fantasmic firework and light show plus of course the Rock n Roller Coaster and the Tower of Terror.

Next week, on Thursday May 1st, the park opens between the extended hours between 9am and 11pm for a fun celebration that is included in regular park admission.

Events include:

  1. From 10 a.m., Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will join Disney’s Hollywood Studios VP Dan Cockerell to start the celebration day, honoring some of the 25-year cast members during a short rededication ceremony.
  2. A special motorcade — “Stars of the Studios” — will make its way down Hollywood Blvd. beginning at 7 p.m. and feature many of the famous characters showcased throughout the park. Mickey and Minnie will be joined by television and film stars including Captain Jack Sparrow, Darth Vader, Doc McStuffins, Wreck-It Ralph, Venellope, Sofia the First and more.
  3. Following the motorcade, the area in front of the park’s Sorcerer Hat Stage will become a dance party before a fireworks show ends the day in grand fashion at 9:30 p.m. The pyrotechnics show, which will be high in the sky above the Sorcerer Mickey Hat, will pay tribute to 25 years of show business stories that have been told throughout the park.
  4. And finally, a taste-tempting treat — a 25th Anniversary Chocolate Nutella Cupcake — will be sold at many of the park’s quick service dining locations during the day.

Luxury Orlando Vacation HomesWith lots of speculation over the last 12 months about rumoured expansions to Disney’s Hollywood Studios the 25th Anniversary might have been a great opportunity for Disney to announce some exciting new news, but we would have expected Tom Staggs to be the speaker if that was happening.   Perhaps we are wrong, and Dan Cockerell will let loose of some teasers that might offer Hollywood Studios it’s first entirely new attraction since the Lights, Motors, Action Stunt Show in 2005.
If it happens, we will let you know of course!

25th Anniversary

Epcot’s Soarin’ will include WDW Footage!

Disney Inside

Luxury Orlando Vacation Homes

UPDATE April 25th 2014
A helicopter ‘Fly By’ is scheduled this weekend at WDW

  • Epcot & Magic Kingdom areas
    Between 9:30am and 10:30am on Saturday April 27th
  • Epcot & Magic Kingdom areas
    Between 5:30am and Midday on Sunday April 28th

Even though we can never tire of the beautiful Soarin’ flight attraction at Epcot, it is hard to believe that we’ve been sniffing orange groves and soaring across plains and deserts for almost 10 years now!

Much speculation has been made of potential upgrades, but Disney have notably held back on Epcot attractions investment for quite some time now, with the only recent exception being the remodelling of Test Track 2.0 in 2012.

Soarin fans have speculated that a new IMAX format might be used, and even a much expanded version of Soarin inside the Imagination Pavilion to help cope with the current high demand, plus added traffic!

Soarin Concept ArtBut now, according to wdwmagic.com it looks as though filming for new sequences are about to start in May at WDW for an updated Soarin edit.
With fabulous fly overs covering the four Disney parks, the golf courses and even CGI creations of Disney Springs, the new version of ‘Soarin 2.0′ will not only be fun, but it will offer Disney a huge opportunity to show 5 minutes of intensely themed marketing to its eager passengers aboard Flight 5505!

AeriCam-X6-RTFIn addition to the manned helicopter flyovers, it will be interesting to see if Disney adopt the use of ‘Hex Copter’ video camera units for low level fly overs that aren’t permitted under FAA regs!

(5505 signifies the maiden flight of Soarin back on May 5th 2005!).

 

 

Disney Bus from Downtown Disney to Animal Kingdom

When we first saw the news that a new trial bus service would be in operation between Downtown Disney and Animal Kingdom, we were excited and puzzled!
Thoughts raced through our minds!

Our first thought was; Wow!  Free parking for guests!
Our next thought was; But half of the parking lot has gone for construction!
Our next thought was; Maybe they are going to charge for parking at DTD?

 

Disney want you to visit DTD after your park Day!

In the end, we looked at the facts a little more closely to see that the clue was there all along.  The trial is running though September and October but only between 3pm and 1am (just after midnight).

The afternoon and late evening service is an experiment to encourage guests to park at the Animal Kingdom in a morning, enjoy the park, (which is the earliest closer at WDW) and then bus into Downtown Disney for a meal, shopping and fun, before bussing back to your car in the Animal Kingdom parking lot.

The advantages for Disney are HUGE

  • They’ve just found a way of extending the Animal Kingdom Guest’s day on WDW property (AK typically closes at 5pm or 6pm most days of the year)
  • They’ll get more people into Downtown Disney, and without loading the limited parking lot (while the new multi level lot is being constructed behind Splitsville and the AMC24 Cinema)
  • The pilot can be dropped or expanded depending on the success of the two month trial.

We feel that Downtown Disney will play a huge role in the future strategies of Walt Disney World, but the site does not have enough potential to act as a central transportation hub.
The advantages of a ‘Park & Ride’ system at WDW would encourage guests to remain on property much more than they do right now, and it is only a matter of time before Walt Disney World goes down the route of a centralised parking system coupled by efficient transportation networks such as rail services linking resorts, parks and DTD.
Disney already know that once a family heads out of a park and into the parking lot, the family are probably most likely to head home.
But if you could get somewhere else in WDW quickly and without fuss, we all probably would at least one or two times a vacation more!

Watch this space!

Harry Potter Update – Hogwarts Express Train Arrives

Haha! At last, we are finding out a little more about Universal’s seemingly secret goings on in Diagon Alley at Universal Studios!

Although not due to open until the Summer of 2014, the new attraction area is one of the hottest talking points right now in Orlando’s theme parks.
Clickorlando have published some great pictures of the new Hogwarts Express Carriages arriving at Universal Orlando!   (Link at bottom of page)

The Hogwarts Express attraction is going to change the theme park game for Universal as it offers the first real link between Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios.
Unlike the ‘free to ride’ Monorail over at Walt Disney World, guests will need to either possess a ‘park to park’ (2 park day ticket) or obtain an upgrade at the soon to exist ticket offices located in each of Diagon Alley and Hogwarts.

The ‘windowless’ carriages will use HD screen technology to offer passengers a window seat view of Britain as they journey back and forth between Hogwarts and kings Cross Station!

For more information about the Hogwarts Express visit our main web article, for pictures over at ClickOrlando visit here!

Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley Update for Universal Studios

We thought we would give  a little update on the progress over at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley.

First things first! The latest rumoured opening date is July of 2014, just under 12 months to wait!  The date is just a rumour, so if you are desperate to see this area of the park open, we would suggest you wait a little longer until more firm information comes out.  If of course it ever does!  (Universal are truly appalling at communication regarding launches.  Not great if you are planning a vacation!

The headline attraction, is of course the Gringott’s Bank ride which is expected as a kind of hybrid roller coaster that will zip you on an adventure deep inside the Bank.
Expect this to be a slightly milder kind of ride experience than the Revenge of the Mummy, but not so much so that really young kids could ride, which might have been a big opportunity missed for Universal.  Their parks aren’t exactly the most child friendly in Orlando!  For more on Gringott’s visit our main web page about this exciting new ride!

Another huge attraction will of course be the Hogwarts Express, that will link King’s Cross Station in Diagon Alley to the existing Hogsmeade area in Islands of Adventure.
The new train ride takes guests out over the rather unattractive backlots of the parks, but guests won’t mind one bit as the trains are totally without windows!
Here’s the best part though, the train will appear to have stunning views of the English and Scottish countryside, thanks to some stunning HD screens in place of the train’s windows!

To get onto the train, you will need a ‘park to park’ ticket.
These can be bought at either park’s main entrance, or at a ticket office located near each of the Wizarding World’s respective stations.
The downside?  We can expect park prices to go up a good chunk before the new Diagon Alley kicks into gear!

Expect a brand new and much bigger version of Ollivander’s Wand Shop in the new Universal area.  There looks to be a really cool surprise in store as the Universal team is working on a very hi-tech upgrade to those wands that can be bought in their parks!
Interactions with features and attractions within the parks are on their way, but there’s no certainty that these new wands will be ready in time for next summer.  Let’s hope so, they sound amazing!

In terms of food, you will be able to pick up an English inspired dish at the large scale Leaky Cauldron restaurant that will be located just inside the entrance area of Diagon Alley.  Alternatively, you can head deeper into Diagon Alley and seek out Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour for a Potter Inspired Ice Cream.

Other stores include Madame Malkins Robes, for your essential school uniforms robes and general gifts, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment as the Gringott’s Bank Ride exit, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes Joke Shop which promises to be a really big hit with big kids of all ages, and last but not least Borgin and Burkes, suppliers of Dark Magic items and artefacts!

If, like us, you are a huge fan of Harry Potter, the summer of 2014 looks set to be an amazing time to be in Orlando!
The crowds are going to be HUGE for at least 6 months!

Willy Wonka Replaces the Lost Continent? (Early Rumours)

Rumours Suggest Willy Wonka Replaces Lost Continent at Some Point!

Poseidon's FuryWilly Wonka

The much trusted Orlandoinformer site always seemed to have big connections over at Universal Studios but things appeared to change a little around the time of the Transformers Ride launch.  I hope the editor gets back in the rumour hot seat soon, it would make stories like this, much easier to file into the correct pile!

For now, he reports on a simple one line blog post on OrlandoUnited.com that hints at a Charlie & The Chocolate Factory theme for the Lost Continent area of Islands of Adventure.

“Changes are coming to the Lost Continent. But it is going to be a while. They have a lot of other stuff coming first.” Orlando United Post

“Chocolate would be the food to think about.
At least the last blue sky I heard.” Orlando United Post

The Forum Posts, have little substance yet, and the post’s member admits that this is “Blue Sky” right now for this Roald Dahl inspired area.

In fairness, many of the park improvements gradually leak out this way, but right now, we are going to have to park this one up in the ‘crazy theme park rumours’ pile just because of any other supporting evidence right now!

While Poseidon’s Fury and The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad are themselves becoming increasingly lost as the Harry Potter presence increasingly dominates the Northern area of the theme park, something a little more in keeping with a European theme would work better as a family attraction that bridges the gap between the Dr Zeuss Landing area and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Longevity is key here though, and for us, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory/Willy Wonka just doesn’t tick the box for us in terms of sequels and movie value in the same way that Universal’s many other attractions do.  Lastly, Warner Bros and Universal aren’t exactly a perfect team for a project like this.

As an aside, if Willy Wonka Replaces the Lost Continent , it will be really interesting to see how the park’s celebrated Mythos restaurant can fit in.

More questions than answers for Willy Wonka to answer over at Islands of Adventure’s Lost Continent!

 

Update July 15th 2014 From Drunk At Disney’s Twitter feed

A post showing a guest survey from universal offering Willy Wonka among others as a potential theme park feature.

Questionaire 1 Questionaire 2

 

Gwazi Lightning Strike Update – Busch Gardens 6th August 2013

 Gwazi Lightning Strike Update – The ride is back in operation! 8th August 2013

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailFollowing the recent reports that the $10m Gwazi over at Busch Gardens had suffered a lightning strike last Friday, we can confirm that repairs are now complete and the ride is currently back in operation.

SeaWorld/Busch confirmed with us recently that an electronic component for the ride system had failed and a replacement is being sourced.
The announcement added that the reason for the failure is not known, and all guests, team members and animals were unharmed as a result of the failure.

“An electronic component of the control system that operates Gwazi failed, and it is being replaced.  We are unsure of the reason for the failed component, but nobody was ever in any danger, and the safety of our guests, animals and team members remains our top priority.”
Seaworld / Busch announcement 6th Aug 2013

The repair will be very welcome news to roller coaster fans, that had feared greater levels of more costly damage.
Some rumoured closures of the Busch Gardens wooden roller coaster spread earlier in the year with the closure of the ‘Tiger’ track of the two lane coaster.
Lion still remains in operation, but word on whether the entire attraction will be shipped to Williamsburg’s Busch park remain unconfirmed.

Gwazi first opened in Busch on June 18th 1999 and sends riders on a thrilling mile long ‘bone-shaking’ track.
With heights reaching over 105ft the cars speed up to 51mph in no time and can reach g-forces of 3.5!

Gwazi is without doubt one of the highlights of Busch Gardens and the psychological thrill of a wooden track makes this ride one of our all time favourites!

 

Avatar Land Rumours – Animal Kingdom Update

Recent Delays to the Lion King Festival Move have Fuelled Avatar Land Rumours

AvatarIn the last week, Disney pushed the 2013 winter date for the new Lion King show move to the Tusker House area of the Animal Kingdom back into 2014.

While that in itself isn’t particularly earth shattering news, it does indicate that there’s not too much of a rush to clear the space that the old venue leaves behind for Avatar attractions.

Expected to be a significant development in Animal Kingdom, the new Avatar Land is rapidly becoming in danger of being as ‘dreamy and futuristic’ as James Cameron’s epic films themselves!

Screenwriting for the 3 New Sequels is still being polished by Cameron!

Originally 2 sequels were planned to follow the 2009 version that topped the record charts as the highest grossing movie of all time.  Cameron, somewhat a detail fanatic, insisted that he needed 3 to explore the concepts and story-lines that he and his fellow screenwriters had discovered following Avatar.  In line with common rumours, Fox have officially announced that 3 sequels will now join the original Avatar.

The three follow up movies are being co-written by Josh Freeman (War of the Worlds), Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and Shane Salerno (Armageddon).

While the new story-lines are expected to be self contained adventures, the four together are expected to combine to form a much larger overall story.

 

Why is Animal Kingdom’s Avatar Land Delayed?

I guess we get to the pint of our lead up to the bit that most of us are interested in!
Why the delay to this controversial and exciting new are within the Animal Kingdom?
James Cameron has personally taken a huge interest in the new WDW project and, if his attention to detail in his movies is anything to go by, he will have an incredible amount of control over the developments and concepts at WDW.
Bearing in mind that Disney do not own the Movie, Cameron technically has the upper hand as he finishes off the script with his ensemble of screen writers.

In other words, he is still painstakingly creating the amazing world of Pandora as we wait!
Without those details, those characters and concepts, the construction team at WDW are without a ‘blueprint’ for the design of Disney’s $0.5bn Avatar Land.

Bearing in mind that Cameron hasn’t yet decided how the story goes, it may be even longer before the visuals are ready to hand over to Disney!

Expect some more news about Avatar Land over next weekend (9th-11th August) at the D23 Disney Fan Expo but 2017 is our bet before we see anything open to the public!

D23 Disney Rumours – Some To be Clearer at the D23 Expo in August

D23 will sort some Disney rumours out over the 9th-11th August Weekend

D23 Expo

Avatar Land, New Star Wars Attractions and Disney Springs are expected to be in the spotlight but there’s little news right now that anything more about other much anticipated and rumoured attractions being announced at Disney’s annual official fan event in Anaheim.
Cars Land looks off the map a bit, for now anyway!

 

Sadly, the much anticipated Cars Land announcement, isn’t likely to be made at D23 according to some sources.
One possible reason for that Disney may have finally decided that a huge scale Star Wars Land is a much better prospect for Hollywood Studios.

As things stand Cars Land rumours might just be rumours and remain that way.
Personally, we feel that the Star Wars ‘reveal’ at D23 may be a little bigger than we might have been expecting, and a Cars ‘attraction’ may be developed rather than a whole ‘Land’.
But the lack of any mention of Cars Land right now, may also be a very good sign that Disney are planning something much, much bigger than we might dream for Hollywood Studios!

 

Hollywood Studios – Disney Need to be Bold!

Disney really have a very ‘land locked’ theme park with Hollywood Studios.
Access roads, parking lots and major roads practically form boundaries, preventing any natural expansion from easily taking place.
If the park is to flourish and become more family friendly, there’s a big choice to be made!

 

Low Level Expansion – Use the layout they’ve got
Like any puzzle, you can mess about with the clues and design your own concepts and be a million miles away, but, there’s always been a ‘bug on the windshield’ for us as far as Cars Land goes:
Why would Disney recreate what we see on the West coast?
Why rebuild another Test Track style concept at huge expense for a brand that already has had enough investment,  perhaps fully ‘maxed out’ as a profit maker?
With a huge investment just made in Star Wars, and the D23 announcement coming up,there is a big clue that if the theme park stays the same size as it is, only one ‘land’ is headed to Hollywood Studios soon!
So what of the Cars hype for the park?  One option is that the ‘Not So Great Movie Ride’ which has had a fair share of attention from the rumour mill.
We anticipate the Great Movie Ride as a very simple upgrade, to a Radiator Springs dark ride, if HS chooses to stay as compact as it is.

Simply put, a major Cars Land and Star Wars Land does not practically fit in to the current park layout.
Developing both areas over a similar period would wipe just about every current attraction of this already limited park out of service for years.  Not an option!

 

High Level Expansion – Break out past the service roads
A high level expansion at Hollywood Studios would totally change the whole concept of Hollywood Studios and of course permit some big projects to proceed without disrupting the current park excessively.
What we currently see as the entire park, would in fact become ‘an area’.
Star Wars Land could easily fit in there currently, but any further major developments such as Cars Land, would take place beyond the current service roads and parking lots.
Going down this route, fits in much better if Disney are to lift their game for WDW and would match their considerable efforts being made in Disney Springs, the Magic Kingdom and general resort areas.
It also possibly explains a lack of announcement about Cars Land at the D23 Expo.
Why announce something that is still in planning on a much larger scale?
Interestingly, rumours are already in place for major roadworks changes for Hollywood Studios.
If true, this massive infrastructure update, would see the existing parking lot plazas and entrance way moved near the Art of Animation Resort on Victory Way.
Disney would only do something as huge as that for one reason and it would be a big reason.  Growth.

Let’s wait and see which way Hollywood Studios goes, let’s hope that it’s the bigger expansion.  Everyone knows that the park really needs it!

 

Avatar Land at Animal Kingdom

Avatar Land news will be very much in the spotlight though and we can expect a big boost to Animal Kingdom heading our way.  This new area is an opportunity for Disney to really lift the park further up the attendance figure league and add some cult following that Universal’s Harry Potter based attractions currently look set to harden.
If Disney mess up by going ‘half way’ with Avatar Land, they will send a huge message out to Disney fans that their future aims lie heavily in the commercial projects such as MagicBands and Disney Springs retail opportunities.
That would not go down well!

A lot more information will emerge on Disney Springs at D23, although the information will probably be limited to glossy artwork and further more detailed conceptual ideas rather than announcements about partners, store names, restaurants and attractions.
Think ‘commercial’ rather than information perhaps!

About D23

D23 is Disney’s official Fan Club and their annual Expo is a unique chance to gather in California to enjoy everything Disney, ranging from merchandise, shows, talks, announcements and even a chance to meet and greet key Disney performers and employees.

To Join D23 free of charge, head over to their official D23 page, but good luck with that, it’s a right pain of a process!

 

Busch Gardens Rumours Point to Restaurant Closures

Garden Gate Cafe ClosedIt’s very sad to see one of your favorite theme parks making changes.
Small upgrades in the Magic Kingdom for example can have guests taking angrily to forums and blogs.
When it’s something like the rumoured Figment getting the axe over in Epcot, the disappointment turns up a level.
Guests and fans eventually come round, mostly grateful for something better in the end.
Disney Springs will blow our minds when it’s complete in 2016.  We will be embarrassed for those that wanted the old DTD.

This week though, the Busch Gardens Rumours hint that management have informed staff that the Garden Gate Cafe and the Crown Colony House restaurants are to close bring a lump to our throats.
Both are great buildings and the Crown Colony is the parks only true table service restaurant.

Statement from Busch Gardens

“While we can’t provide a list or timeline, we can confirm that Busch Gardens has plans for some adjustments now through the end of the year, including dining areas such as the top level of Crown Colony and Garden Gate with lower guest penetration. Our mission is to provide the best experience for our guests when they visit and based on demand, we make adjustments as needed. This is a common process in the theme park industry and one we have employed before.

Most adjustments are scheduled in off-peak fall months when park attendance levels allow for guests to experience more park attractions overall. We do not have a definite length of closure, but can confirm that both dining areas will reopen at a later date. We routinely adjust our park experience based on guest behavior, specific attraction penetration and seasonal considerations.

Our commitment to growing guest experiences and adding new attractions remains as strong as ever.”

 

It seems that they aren’t closing for refurbishment or upgrades.  In a statement today from Busch, they confirmed to us that there are indeed plans to make adjustments as the peak season falls off through the rest of the year for both the upper floor of the Crown Colony House and the Garden Gate restaurants.

The cause of the move is offered as a seasonal response to the lower expected attendances, much in line with other theme parks within the industry.

 

The way forward for Busch?

Both Universal and Disney share one common trait.  They are investing.
Not only investing, but investing heavily and they are getting the formula right!
In 2012, Busch were reported to have a gate of 4,348,000 guests. At 1.5% up on the previous year, they were second last in terms of annual growth.  At 1.0%, their Adventure Island water park rolled in last of the Central Florida big players.
Disney and Universal punched hard with well over 2% growth in the same period, beaten only by Busch’s sister park SeaWorld at a whopping 4% growth!

We are behind Busch.  We hope they make it.  Not because of any sentiment towards or against Mice and Wizards, but because the park is so damned good!
The people that work there are so damned good.

Right now we are baffled.  SeaWorld/Busch need to brave up, invest and fight any demons that head their way.  Why? because they are worth it!

 

Rip Ride Rockit’s Hidden Song List

The Rip Ride Rockit’s Hidden Song List secret that everyone knew but you!

Luxury Orlando Vacation HomesEver wondered why the person next to you was singing ‘Break on Through’ by the Doors, when you exited the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit?
Perhaps you thought he was just a random music fan that just couldn’t get a tune out of his head?
The truth is, there’s a ‘secret’ that nobody cared to tell you about until now!
It’s so ‘un secret’ that it is even posted on the Wikipedia website entry for the Rip Ride Rockit!

rip ride rockit secret

While the 30 standard songs are ok, the extended ‘secret’ list is really something:

*Click on the title to listen to the track in Youtube (new window)

101    2112                                            Rush
102    Blues Before and After               The Smithereens
103    Break On Through                      The Doors
104    Crocodile Rock                           Elton John
105    Do It Again                                   Steely Dan
106    Don’t You                                     Candlebox
107    Drivin’ Rain                                  Gov’t Mule
108    8 Miles High                                 The Byrds
109    Fantasy                                        Aldo Nova
110    I’m A Fool                                     American Hi-Fi
111    For the Love of God                     Steve Vai
112    Free Bird                                      Skynyrd
113    Immigrant Song                            Led Zeppelin
114   Just Because                                Jane’s Addiction
115   Live                                                Lenny Kravitz
116   Mexicola                                        Queens of the Stone Age
117   Unknown                                       Synth Solo
118   Unknown Track                             Sax Solo
121   Runnin’ Down a Dream                 Tom Petty
122   Start Me Up                                   The Rolling Stones
123   Stockholm Syndrome                    Muse
124   Diary of Jane                                 Breaking Benjamin
125   The Great Gig in the Sky               Pink Floyd
127   Urgent                                           Foreigner
128   Vertigo                                           U2
129   Wheel in the Sky                           Journey
130   Won’t Get Fooled Again                The Who
131   Klein Mandelbrot                           Blue Man Group: The Ride
132   Drumbone                                     Blue Man Group
301   Float On                                        Modest Mouse
302   I Want You Back                           Jackson Five
303   In My Pocket                                 Cat Empire
304  Still Rock ‘n Roll To Me                  Billy Joel
306  Lose Yourself                                 Eminem
307  Ride Like The Wind                       Christopher Cross
308  Run to You                                     Bryan Adams
309  Save Room                                    John Legend
310  Vogue                                             Madonna
311  You Make Lovin Fun                      Fleetwood Mac
312  My Everything                                Barry White
506  The Thrill is Gone                           BB King
507  Who Did You Think I Was              John Mayer Trio
508  Pivot                                               Dry (local band)
701  Cyanide                                         Metallica
702  Endangered Species                    Flaw
703  For Whom The Bell Tolls                Metallica
704  Forever Down                                Black Label Society
707  Know your Enemy                         Rage Against the Machine
708  Lets Go                                          Ministry
709  Mouth For War                               Pantera
710  Painkiller                                        Judas Priest
711  Paranoid                                        Black Sabbath
712  Temptation’s Wings                       Down
713  Wicker Man                                   Iron Maiden
714  Unreal                                            Ill Nino
715  Wake Up Dead                              Megadeth
716  We Call This Mutha Revenge        Suicidal Tendancies
718  You’ve Got Another Thing Comin  Judas Priest
726  Monster                                          Skillet
901  Movin Right Along                          Muppets
902  Rainbow Connection                     Muppets
904  Night on Bald Mountain                 Modest Mussorgsky

How to access Rip Ride Rockit’s secret song list

  1. After the ride restraint bar is lowered in the car, press the ride logo on the touchscreen for 10 seconds.
  2. Release your finger after 10 seconds
  3. Enter the track code of your choice
  4. Sit back and enjoy the ride!


Please note, that you must remember the track code before you ride
The Rip Ride Rockit’s Hidden Song List titles are not displayed on the touch screen during the selection process.

 

ET Ride to Close? 2013 is A Summer of Change!

Rumours of the ET Ride to Close at Universal make sense!

ET Adventure Ride

It seems like each week brings  us a new theme park rumour these days!
Maybe the recession slowed down park development a little too much, and the heat is on to get the parks back up to a fighting fit level for the battle of gate attendances!

It seems like any attraction that we ever thought was ‘suspect’ is on the radar for the theme park developers.
Universal’s ET Adventure definitely fell into this category for many and according to the Orlando Business Journal and Screamscape the attraction, along with Fievel’s Playland will soon make way to smurf based attractions.

IMG_1881The scope for a Smurfy remodel of Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone is immense but Universal will have to decide whether to go for a fairly tame ‘like for like’ Smurfy upgrade to Barney, Fievel’s Playland, Curious George and the ET ride, or whether they pull out all of the stops and make the area something that really grabs the headlines!
Surprisingly the lovely Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster looks set to survive, which we applaud, but a ‘Woody Woodpecker’ theme doesn’t seem to fit in well with the surrounding Smurfs fun, so we might want to add our own thoughts that the theme of the popular coaster will also give way to our cute little blue friends!

If you love the ET ride, get there quickly for a few last tours!
There aren’t any set dates yet, but changes could take place as soon as Diagon Alley opens up soem time in 2014!

Is Star Wars to Replace Fantasmic???

The End of Fantasmic is the Latest Theme Park Rumour!

The world has gone mad with rumours it seems!  The trouble is, how true are they all?
For months we’ve been hearing that Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been linked to Cars Land and Star Wars Land rumours as part of a quest to boost the appeal to family members.

The latest, will drive Disney fans Crazy with rage we suspect.  Possibly rather deliberately as Disney tests the water for opinion.  They needn’t bother.  We can reliably advise them that this will not go down well at all!

A rumour that we’d noticed in an Orlando blog that we love, stemmed from an insider leak reported by the Orlando Business Journal that among other things, Fantasmic would give way to a Star Wars themed display!

IMG_7272

Star Wars & Cars Land areas look likely at Hollywood Studios!

Reading so many frequent reports, it does look increasingly likely that Cars Land and a much broader presence for Disney’s new Star Wars acquisition will be a very prominent new development very soon at Hollywood Studios.

The problem that every critic and commentator has, surrounds the magic word: Where?

The Park is tiny, and, in some respects the most ‘land locked’ of the resort’s theme parks.  Not much space to expand beyond, or within the current boundaries.
That simple fact alone, means that some favourite attractions along with some not so favourites will go!

A list of venues rumoured for the chop!

  • Sounds Dangerous Studio
  • Indiana Jones Stunt Epic
  • The Great Movie Ride
  • Backlot Tours
  • Muppet Vision
  • Fantasmic!  (Cant’ believe it Grrr)

 

Star Wars to Replace Fantasmic - Our opinion

Wow, this would be a really brave step by Disney.  Fantasmic is the ‘darling’ of the shows at Walt Disney World and only just behind the legendary 3pm parade in the Magic Kingdom.
With just one report from the Orlando Business Journal of an unconfirmed leak from an insider, this usually credible publication would be taking a big risk if their information was incorrect.
Personally, we would need to see a little more info before we ever believe that Disney’s top lighting and firework show bites the ‘Pixie Dust!’

 

 

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Monstropolis Theme Park Rumours for Hollywood Studios?

Theme Park Rumours are crazy things in an era of social networking and blogging!

With the relative ease that rumours can spread, there’s a lot of incentives for a site owner to be first with some ‘news’.
Less reputable sites have nothing to lose, they don’t really care if their rumours end up being false.  A risk worth taking to get all of the credit from Google searches!

We occasionally have  little bit of fun ourselves, but, always make it clear to our readers that it’s a wild rumour that we wish could come true for example!
A recent blog about Planes Land heading to Hollywood Studios was a case in point.
We made it clear that it was just a great idea that we’d had for a better Hollywood Studios.

The latest Monstropolis rumours may well be true some day, but for now, Disney’s Hollywood Studios rumours almost have to be taken with a pinch of salt with so many conflicting stories emerging.
The tiny park is one of the most restricted in terms of space, so there’s actually a physical limit right now, unless they start digging up parking lots or rerouting major service roads.

The Monsters Inc Monstropolis development does have some sense attached to it though.  Many of our blogs about HS reflect the fact that it offers the younger kids so little.  Alos the park appears stuck back in the seventies and eighties with Attractions such as Indiana Jones and the Muppets are truly past their prime, and added to some ‘dead spaces’ such as the Sounds Dangerous theatre and the Great Movie Ride, there’s no wonder that this is Disney’s ‘fourth’ park in terms of popularity in Orlando.

One thing is for sure however, you can expect a huge amount of change over the next 7 years inside Hollywood Studios as the park is dragged up to speed to compete with Universal Studios, SeaWorld and Islands of Adventure!