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[personal profile] mmcirvin
 So, apparently a lot of rumors about future stuff were confirmed at Disney's big fan expo (and some weren't):

  • There's going to be a duplicate of Shanghai's awesome Tron light-cycle coaster in the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland. The big surprise: it's not replacing the Tomorrowland Speedway, as most rumors had it. It'll be in the back of Tomorrowland, outside the railroad tracks, to the left of Space Mountain. Tomorrowland Speedway apparently lives on for a while yet.
  • Similarly, they're duplicating the Ratatouille ride from Paris at Epcot's France pavilion.
  • The Universe of Energy pavilion at Epcot is going to be gutted and used in a Guardians of the Galaxy-themed ride of some sort. There's a nice fourth-wall-breaking conceit that the gang is at Epcot because Peter Quill went there as a kid, which might allow them to at least give a nod to what Epcot is supposed to be about. The Guardians are one of the few Marvel properties that Disney is allowed to use in Florida, because Universal isn't using those characters. There's going to be a larger Marvel-superhero-themed land at California Adventure, but they can't do that at WDW. (This also suggests that Florida's Tower of Terror is probably not going to get the Guardians-themed conversion.)
  • Some kind of complete makeover of the non-centrifuge half of Mission: Space, and an immersively space-themed restaurant nearby (I don't think I'd even heard rumors about this--I wonder if the restaurant is going to replace the old Wonders of Life paviliion).
  • Big cosmetic updates to Epcot's whole Future World area, particularly the entrance.
  • Cable skyways connecting some of the hotels and parks around the Epcot/Hollywood Studios area. I imagine they'd consider expanding the network if it works out; this is probably cheaper than building out the monorail.
  • The Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios will be replaced by a Mickey Mouse ride based on the recent, very wacky cartoon shorts. Looks like it will make heavy use of projection mapping. Maybe the most controversial change, since that ride was basically the centerpiece of "Disney/MGM" when it first opened. We'll see, I guess.
  • Probably the single wildest thing: a Star Wars-themed hotel with a multi-day immersive guest experience, to go with the new Star Wars land at Hollywood Studios. Sounds expensive, and probably not my thing (it might entirely replace rather than supplementing a traditional Disney World visit), but I admire the audacity.

The one thing I wonder is whether the general slump in international tourism is going to affect these plans. Disney may figure they're doing all right with domestic traffic in the US and they're internationally diversified enough that it won't kill them in general. I get the impression that they consider Universal's parks to be their main threat, and competing means stepping up their game. Animal Kingdom got their splashy new land built already; Hollywood Studios is in the throes of massive construction; clearly Epcot is next on the list to get the love.

Nothing yet about new Epcot country pavilions, or Imagination with Figment becoming an Inside Out ride, or a conversion of Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, or Zootopia at Animal Kingdom, or a Moana ride in MK's Adventureland (other rumors I'd heard). I suspect those are either not happening or are more blue-sky future things.
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