Wow, they made a LOT of announcements about the parks today…here is a recap of some of the biggest stuff slated for Walt Disney World, although there may be some fine details to learn later…park by park first:
The Tron Lightcycle Coaster will indeed be brought to WDW and will be added to Tomorrowland. Early rumors stated it would replace the Tomorrowland Speedway, but we thought about it and believed there would be site line problems from Fantasyland, and it would be better off behind it in a new area – and that proved true. It will occupy the space to the left of Space Mountain, taking some backstage area.
The previously reported items are coming true…Guardians of the Galaxy will indeed replace Ellen’s Energy Adventure, but the surprise there is that the Universe of Energy pavilion building will remain! And part of the theme is that Peter Quill visited EPCOT Center when he was a child…further details on the ride itself are not known.
And the Ratatouille 4D dark ride is indeed coming to the France pavilion and be located in space behind the current buildings.
Mission: SPACE is getting a slight change – the Green Team mission will change to orbiting Earth rather than traveling to Mars. And this seems to tie in to a surprise announcement – that a new restaurant will open next to Mission: SPACE themed for an orbiting space station high above the Earth, with large picture windows looking out on the planet below…
Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
Toy Story Land will finally open in Summer of 2018, while the Star Wars area, now dubbed Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, will open in 2019 – exactly when isn’t certain but it will be sometime after the Disneyland version does. It will include a Millennium Falcon ride, and Hondo from Star Wars: The Clone Wars will entice visitors to help pilot the ship. Also Rex, the original pilot from Star Tours, will return as the DJ for the Cantina. More Star Wars in a minute…
Most shocking is the news that The Great Movie Ride is closing August 13th, and will become and entirely new ride called Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. It is supposed to use some amazing “2 1/2 D” technology to take the riders though the screen into the cartoon. The audience reaction to this announcement was muted, as the existing attraction is pretty loved. At this point I really think they should drop “Studios” from the park name.
At the resort-wide level, they confirmed the “Skyliner” gondola transportation system which will connect both Epcot (at the International Gateway) and Disney’s Hollywood Studios to the Art of Animation, Pop Century and Caribbean Beach resorts, which should offer some relief to the buses. In addition, a new point-to-point personal car service, the “Minnie Van”, will be offered. Think “WDW Uber”.
DVC will get a new Riviera-themed resort, situated near Epcot…not a lot of details other than it opening in June 2019, but given the date we believe this actually may be the portion of Caribbean Beach Resort that is being torn down and has long been rumored to be a new DVC expansion – but it will be separate from the Caribbean Beach Resort itself. It will be able to take advantage of the Skyliner transportation as well.
And lastly, probably the biggest item, is confirmation of an immersive Star Wars themed resort which our sister site Sci-Fi Storm reported on previously, in which the guests can play roles in the resort’s story. Not much new detail was provided, but it is part of a new “Disney 360” immersive resort experience project, so we may see similarly planned resorts. See below for some concept art.