There are a lot of rumors swirling lately about what’s coming (and what may be leaving) at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. While I try not to take them too seriously, as they’re only hearsay, it can be tough to do. When the rumor is about something potentially big, I tend to either hope that it’s true… or really hope that it’s not.
So let’s break down a few of the juicier rumors that have been going around lately:
Guardians of the Galaxy, California Edition
The “word on the street” here is that the Tower of Terror attraction at Disney California Adventure will close and be replaced with a ride based on the movie Guardians of the Galaxy. Supposedly, the ride will take guests through the lair of the Collector character, and will still feature the famous drop from the original attraction.
If the latest rumors are to be believed, the Tower of Terror would close this Autumn. I’ve heard September, but another rumor also suggested that it might not happen until early November so the ride can be open for Halloween. Either way, the plan puts the opening of the new Guardians-themed attraction in May of 2017 to coincide with the release of the new movie.
Personally, I’m OK with this happening. I may be in the minority here, as I’m guessing there are a lot of Disneyland fans who are pretty upset about the idea of losing Tower of Terror, but frankly I think that the Disney California Adventure park could use something new like this. The park was, honestly, a bit disappointing when I was there for my first time last year. There were a few cool attractions–Radiator Springs Racers and Grizzly River Run come to mind–but overall I found it to be just not very engaging. Plus, as this rumor only covers California and there appear to be no plans to alter the Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios in Florida, it will give that side of the country another unique attraction.
Update: Less than twenty-four hours after I posted this, Disney Parks Blog announced that this one is no longer a rumor and is in fact going to happen. A new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction, called Mission: BREAKOUT, is due to replace the existing Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure. The ride will tell an escape story as guests team up with Rocket Raccoon to free the other Guardians team members, which will (of course) include a free fall. According to the Disney Parks Blog, Tower of Terror is slated to close in early 2017, with the new Mission: BREAKOUT opening that summer. I’m pretty excited about this new attraction, though admittedly I don’t any personal attachment to the Tower of Terror there (though I love the version at Hollywood Studios). Many DCA fans have expressed their displeasure over the announcement–as I expect I would have if they had announced a Florida closure–but personally I think the new attraction sounds cool.
This one sort of builds off of the previous rumor, as it claims that the Guardians of the Galaxy ride is not necessarily a stand-alone attraction but the first part of a new area in Disney California Adventure. This new “land” will focus on Marvel properties.
Variations of the rumor have this new area taking over the Hollywood Land section of the park (which would mean, sadly, losing the fun Monsters Inc ride) and/or being built in a currently unused area on the other side of Tower of Terror.
There hasn’t been a lot of detail about this new land, though rumors of a Marvel-themed roller coaster have surfaced multiple times. It’s also assumed that there would be multiple superhero meet & greets in the area.
Again, I’m sort of hoping to see this one become a reality (but I’m also, admittedly, not a DCA purist as I’ve only been to that park once). A new land would pump some fresh life into Disney’s California Adventure, and it’s definitely time that Disney started utilizing their Marvel properties in the parks. Captain America, Iron Man, and the rest of the Marvel characters may not have much to do with California, but then again Cars Land and Bugs Land don’t really fit into the “California” theme either.
Update: Included in the announcement about the new Guardians of the Galaxy-Mission: BREAKOUT attraction, Disney Parks Blog also stated that this new attraction will “anchor a broader universe of Super Heroes that will grow over time at Disney California Adventure park”. While that’s pretty vague, it basically confirms the fact that there’s going to be a lot more Marvel coming to DCA.
Guardians Of The Galaxy, Florida Edition
I feel dirty even typing this, as if mentioning it here could help bring it to life, but here goes: according to persisting rumors, Disney executives are looking to add Guardians of the Galaxy to EPCOT.
That’s right, the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow, once a place dedicated to science and visions of the future, could now apparently become a park made up of any trendy properties regardless of whether or not they fit with the theme. The rumor suggests that a Guardians attraction could take over the building currently housing Ellen’s Energy Adventure, though some indicate that it might instead move into the abandoned Wonders of Life pavilion. There’s also a version of the rumor in which Mission: SPACE gets a Guardians of the Galaxy overlay (it doesn’t mention if that would be temporary or permanent).
To be fair, I haven’t been on Ellen’s Energy Adventure in a long time. In fact, my last time through it might have still been when it was still Universe of Energy. So my issue isn’t even that this particular attraction may be leaving. My problem is what the rumored replacement. There are some great ways to bring in popular characters while retaining the core thematic elements of EPCOT–like a Big Hero 6 robotics lab or something–without throwing the whole edutainment thing aside for a popular franchise.
I suppose, now that Frozen is considered Norwegian enough to fit in the World Showcase (read my rant about that here) anything goes at EPCOT.
So far nothing has been officially announced, but the rumors indicate that Ellen’s Energy Adventure could be closing by the end of 2016. How this jives with the fact that Universal Studios Orlando has a contract for Marvel characters, which prevents other Florida theme parks from using them, is unclear.
Leave A Legacy Leaving
Just inside the front entrance to EPCOT, in front of Spaceship Earth, stands Leave a Legacy. If this rumor is to be believed, though, it may not be there much longer.
Many people consider Leave a Legacy to be a bit of an eyesore. Made up of several massive stone monoliths covered in tiny metal tiles, the project offered guests the chance to pay money and become a part of the sculpture itself–onto each tile is etched a photograph of a person (or persons). The chance to be added to Leave a Legacy has long since passed, so now many people think it’s just taking up space.
I’m torn on this one. On the one hand I agree that it’s sort of in the way, and the real estate could be used to spruce up the entrance to EPCOT (as long as they don’t plan on adding Guardians of the Galaxy). On the other hand, my daughter and I have a tile on there and it’s pretty cool to be able to go see it when I’m there. It makes me feel like we’re a small part of the park itself.
The rumors do suggest that Leave a Legacy would find a new home, though, somewhere else on the property (whether that means EPCOT specifically or Walt Disney World property in general is unclear). This makes some sense. I would probably seek it out now and again to see my tile, but people who don’t have one probably don’t really care about it.
Life, Liberty, And Muppets
Could the Muppets be coming to Liberty Square? According to rumors, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
Word is that a new show of sorts could be appearing in the second-story windows of Liberty Square, featuring Muppet characters as they talk to guests about American history. Recently, scrims and covers have appeared on some windows there, adding credence to the rumor. There’s been no indication of what sort of show it would be–video, audio animatronic, etc–nor if it would be set for specific times or if it would just be Muppets randomly yelling American history facts at passing guests.
It could be really cool to get something new in Liberty Square, and the Muppets would be a fun way to inject humor into the subject matter. It’s also a good indication that Disney still wants to use these characters in some way. They’re getting a bigger presence in Hollywood Studios, but the fact that they could also appear in Magic Kingdom suggests that Disney is serious about the property.
Plus, who’s more patriotic than Sam the Eagle?
Update: This one is no longer a rumor, as the Disney Parks Blog confirmed that the Muppets will indeed be coming to Liberty Square. Beginning this October, the Muppet characters will be appearing throughout the day to “present historical tales in hysterical fashion as only they can”. According to the announcement, the Muppets will be tackling a variety of moments throughout American history in the new show. Not much else is known about the show thus far.
I can’t wait to see the Muppets in Magic Kingdom. Liberty Square is in serious need of something new–there’s simply not much there–so hopefully this will draw guests to the land.
There are pretty much always rumors swirling around the Disney parks, stories about what could be coming in and what might be leaving. Some of them do turn out to be true, at least in some fashion, but many others end up being nothing but speculation. Honestly, the best policy is to just not put any stock in them and wait until an official announcement either proves or disproves them. It’s tough, though, to not get excited about some new idea or upset about a drastic change to a beloved attraction (or park).
We’ll have to wait and see if there’s any truth to these particular rumors (and any others that are out there at the moment). Hopefully Disney will announce something soon on all of them either way so we can stop speculating. By then, though, there will no doubt be a whole new crop of rumors to wonder about.