DISNEY DINKS podcast 7.0: Walt Disney World and Universal Studios RUMORS!

DISNEY DINKS podcast 7.0: Walt Disney World and Universal Studios RUMORS!

Rumours: It's not just a weird 80s nightclub in a Honolulu hotel 

Well, the curtain has fallen on one of the most anticipated D23 gatherings in years, and the fallout is pretty stunning. We're here to recap the sturm und drang of one of the most park-and-resort-centric D23's ever, and what it means for your Disneying future. 

 

RUMORS CONFIRMED AT D23

Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Land

No longer will Toy Story Midway Mania be the sole cowboy patrolling the streets of Pixar Place. Now an entire new world--immersive, because that's the theme of the day, year, decade--is getting built that will make visitors feel like toy-sized entities wandering through an adult-scaled world. 

Toy Story Land will feature two new rides: the Slinky Dog coaster (a family-friendly coaster that looks to be more elaborate and thankfully longer than 7 Dwarfs Mine Train) and Alien Swirling Saucers (which could potentially be similar to Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree at California Adventure). 


 
 The twisty and turny Slinky Dog Coaster

The twisty and turny Slinky Dog Coaster

 Buzz watches over the Alien Swirling Saucers. 

Buzz watches over the Alien Swirling Saucers. 

Star Wars: Galaxy Edge

Hold on to your butts. The clear piece de resistance of D23 was Star Wars Land, err, Galaxy's Edge, which will cause 40-year-old men from here to Timbuktu to screech in wonderment, sell prized possessions, and achieve middle-aged nirvana. 

The Land encompasses a never-before scene trading post on the outskirts of the galaxy. This is a somewhat curious decision, as they're not modeling it after a known and beloved entity (a la Diagon Alley), but instead letting the Imagineers invent their own version of the Star Wars universe. Of course, there will be plenty for fans to resonate with either way, but it just won't be on Hoth or Tatouin. 

Galaxy's Edge includes two new rides, both apparently screen-based. You can pilot the Millennium Falcon on a secret mission, or be pitted in the midst of a battle between the First Order and the resistance. And there will be characters a-plenty wander about, making the whole experience that much more immersive. 

 I bet the auditions for Leia are cutthroat. 

I bet the auditions for Leia are cutthroat. 

 Nerd everywhere rejoice! You can finally fly the MF! 

Nerd everywhere rejoice! You can finally fly the MF! 

 Outside the First Order ride. 

Outside the First Order ride. 

Perhaps the most anticipated creation of the whole Star Wars saga, however, is the hotel. A fully immersive experience, this isn't just a place you sleep and eat breakfast. Instead, you're part of the story, complete with costume, itinerary, and daily activities/missions. 

We've heard the hotel is somewhat like a cruise ship--you check in, you get your info, and you only leave the ship for planned excursions. The pricing structure, too, resembles cruising. Rooms are rumored to start at $650 for a single person, and $200 for each additional person. So a couple will be dropping at least $850/night, and a family of four is looking at $1250. So much for appealing to the masses. 

 So nice to see you, Mr. and Mrs. Kenobe. 

So nice to see you, Mr. and Mrs. Kenobe. 

 We're on a mission! 

We're on a mission! 

 No natural light, but cool space views!         And finally, the long and never-quite-updated tenure of the Great Movie Ride is fading to black. In it's place will be Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, a 2.5D ride based on the Disney Channel's Mickey cartoon shorts. And yes, it will be audience-involved and, ahem, immersive. 

No natural light, but cool space views! 

 

 

And finally, the long and never-quite-updated tenure of the Great Movie Ride is fading to black. In it's place will be Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, a 2.5D ride based on the Disney Channel's Mickey cartoon shorts. And yes, it will be audience-involved and, ahem, immersive. 

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EPCOT 

It looks like Disney is redoubling its efforts to make Epcot a full-day experience once more. The new park headliner will be Ratatouille in the France pavilion, which is an import in many ways of the ride at Disney Paris. 

 Complete with a mouse-mobile. 

Complete with a mouse-mobile. 

The other big news at EPCOT is a Guardians of the Galaxy ride to replace Ellen's Energy Adventure (sponsored by Exxon-Mobile!). No word yet on the concept, but expect it to be different than Mission Breakout at California Adventure. 

Oh, and they updated Mission: Space to make it slightly less horrible. Wheeee! 

 

MAGIC KINGDOM

The big news over at the OG is the arrival of the TRON coaster in Tomorrowland. Equally big news is that it won't replace the Tomorrowland Speedway, as previously thought, but will instead be situated next to and behind Space Mountain. The TRON coaster is an import of sorts from Shanghai Disney, where it's far and away a fan favorite. 

 Nobody's really seen the movie, but that's fine. 

Nobody's really seen the movie, but that's fine. 

Over on Main Street, USA, a new live-action theater modeled after the iconic Willis Wood theater in 1920s Kansas City--where Walt lived after he left Marceline--will be going up. The theater, thought to be able to host upwards of 2000 people, will be located in the backstage area between Main Street and Tomorrowland.

 Another place to get skunked on Hamilton tickets. 

Another place to get skunked on Hamilton tickets. 

NON-PARK NEWS

In an effort to assuage hatred of the bus system and avoid sinking the GDP of China into a new monorail system, Disney will be introducing the Skyliner Gondolas in the coming years. They will be of the hanging bucket variety (not the Swiss Alps variety), and will ferry people between Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and several resorts. 

 Did you realize EPCOT and HS were that close together?      And in a further effort to assuage hatred of the bus system and also to keep those pesky Uber drivers from clogging up resort reception areas, Disney will be introducing their own line of Minnie Vans to transport families around the World. Rides are a flat fee of $20, which makes them fairly pricey, but worth the convenience for some. 

Did you realize EPCOT and HS were that close together? 

 

And in a further effort to assuage hatred of the bus system and also to keep those pesky Uber drivers from clogging up resort reception areas, Disney will be introducing their own line of Minnie Vans to transport families around the World. Rides are a flat fee of $20, which makes them fairly pricey, but worth the convenience for some. 

 We love a good pun. 

We love a good pun. 

And finally, because the thirst for DVC properties is unquenchable, a new DVC resort! The Riviera—15 stories tall with a rooftop restaurant and bar for viewing fireworks--will be built near Caribbean Beach.

 A bit of SoCal in CenFla. 

A bit of SoCal in CenFla. 

 
 

Oh, and no news at Animal Kingdom, because you know, Pandora. 

And over at Universal, Dragon Challenge has been slayed, set to be replaced by a different Harry Potter attraction. Details still to come. 

 

Well, that's it! And yes, it's a lot. Will purists turn up their noses? Will families really shell out over $1000/night to be immersed in Star Wars? Will anyone watch TRON? Only time will tell. . . 

 
Jaci Lund partner, creative director, designer Jaci’s quick wit and native intelligence comes across as soon as you meet her—and carries over to her design, where she fuses fun and sophistication in just the right doses. With a dual focus on creating original branding for new concepts and revitalizing the look and feel of even the most-established brands, Jaci approaches each project with a fresh and thoughtful perspective. While she recognizes the relevance of current trends, she’s hyper-conscious of the fine line that separates “trend” from “fad,” and tends toward more timeless and classic looks for her clients. Before founding Treebird, Jaci was instrumental in growing the design department at Atlanta’s The Reynolds Group, Inc. Through a five-year tenure that saw her quickly ascend to senior designer and then become the company’s first creative director, Jaci worked on design and branding projects with visionaries, entrepreneurs, and business leaders whom she admires greatly and whose own passion elevates her sense of what’s possible through new design, branding, and communication. Jaci has won nine ADDY Awards (and counting) for her design and branding work and has twice been featured in the national design blog “Art of the Menu.” She holds a B.A. in communications from Michigan State University and completed the graphic design program at The Creative Circus, where she also teaches a quarterly course called “Introduction to Creative Thinking.” To see Jaci's previous work please visit jacilund.com.