Disney is in the midst of more expansion and projects than any other times in the last few decades. While many of these projects are being constructed, that doesn’t stop the rumor mill from turning out potential additions. The rumors that I’m going to address in this post are ones that I’m confident will happen and may seem somewhat inconsequential compared to the likes of Star Wars and roller coasters. I found them interesting though so I’ll lay out what’s going on and then add in a little bit of commentary.
I should start by saying that most of these are in Disney World. While Disneyland has a few things going on, there aren’t nearly as many rumors floating around involving that resort. Likewise, Tokyo Disney Resort has several projects underway but not much in the way of rumors. We’ll start with the tiniest bit of news on Disneyland and then head over to Disney World. For a more comprehensive look at the latest news, check out our latest podcast episode.
Earl of Sandwich (Temporarily) Returns to Downtown Disney
The Disneyland hotel saga has been unfortunate, as Disney announced a new hotel over a year ago but a feud with the Anaheim City Council has postponed, and possibly canceled, the plans. All of this has left much of Downtown Disney in limbo, first closing the beloved Earl of Sandwich and now reopening it in. The quick-service sandwich shop will re-open soon for a limited time. I don’t have much to add here, I don’t love this place but it’s good for a quick meal if you aren’t in the parks. If you are in the parks then there are better options.
Mary Poppins Attraction Coming to Epcot?
This rumor has been floating around for years and now seems to be coming to fruition. The UK Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase will apparently be the new home to a Mary Poppins attraction. While there hasn’t been an official announcement, rumors suggest this will be a simple spinner ride. I would guess that means it is a carousel, which fits the movie.
I’m on the fence about this move, as Epcot certainly could use simple attractions meant for kids. Adding capacity is good and this may take away a show, but I’m fine with that. The attraction’s placement is also fine, fitting of the UK and Epcot has passed the ‘characters in the park’ threshold long ago. This placement makes sense and doesn’t come anywhere near as close to shoehorning like Frozen Ever After or the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy attraction.
My problem with the attraction is that Mary Poppins deserves more. An iconic dark ride based on Mary Poppins would be extremely popular and the movie’s somewhat zany nature would lead to a great attraction. Not to mention, the songs. While this is more of a positive than anything, it could be so much more.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch Becomes Seasonal
This Animal Kingdom land is not visited very often hence the decision to make it a seasonal attraction come the end of this month. Becoming seasonal typically is a death stamp in Disney terms. I would not be surprised if Rafiki’s closes permanently in the next few years.
This both makes sense and is somewhat disappointing. Rafiki’s is far from my favorite place in Animal Kingdom and could certainly use an overhaul but I do like the mission it sets out for, trying to educate guests on animal care. The idea here was great, unfortunately the execution was lacking. Now, I’m curious if Rafiki’s will be revitalized or if something new is on the way. A new land, preferably Australia, would be my preference. If a new land does indeed happen then I expect it to be years down the road as there are many projects already taking place and the budget may be a little thin.
Disney Skyliner Plugging Along
The new gondola transportation option running between Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Art of Animation/Pop Century and Caribbean Beach Resort is moving along quickly. Many of the stations look to be near completion and some of the pods are even on-site. Unfortunately, news has come out that this system will not have air-conditioning in the pods.
Cut to Citizens of Hollywood
Hollywood Studios has an excellent streetmosphere entertainment in the Citizens of Hollywood. Unfortunately, some of that entertainment will be cut in the next few weeks. While portions of the Citizens of Hollywood will remain, a few long-time performers will see their time with Disney end. This is sadly a product of all the projects we currently see. Disney will look to trim budgets in some way and this is how they see it best fit right now. If you haven’t had the chance to enjoy the Citizens of Hollywood, I highly recommend it.
That does it for this round of rumors. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. You can do all of that on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!