Disney World Next 5 Years: Star Wars, Frozen, Avatar

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Episode 62 of the Unofficial Guide's Disney Dish podcast with Jim Hill came out on August 10th, and in it Len Testa and Jim Hill discuss the expected changes and additions coming to Hollywood Studios and Epcot. We are classifying these rumors as "In Development" as these have not been confirmed by Disney.

Having said that, there are several interesting components to this that we have been monitoring and will be monitoring in the future.

Hollywood Studios

  • $700 Million investment
  • A major overhaul to the park is expected. This will include a selection of new smaller attractions (B/C-ticket level attractions) as well as other more substantial changes and additions. This will also include the removal of any of the former movie making components/history of the park. The timeline for major construction will wait until components of the Animal Kingdom/Avatar changes are on line.
  • Star Wars is a major component of this, but it will take several years to do. Construction could begin on Star Wars content as soon as January. It will be the first component of the Hollywood Studios Changes brought on line.

    • Echo Lake will become Tatooine
    • Jedi Training Academy is expected to move into the Sounds Dangerous theater.
    • A direct road to Star Tours is expected to be built from Hollywood Boulevard directly to Star Tours. It will be a diagonal street from the Hollywood & Vine area to Star Tours. Side streets will come off this area. It is expected that RFID technology will be used for guests to "Use the Force" as they interact with the environment.
    • Hollywood & Vine is expected to remain.
    • Indiana Jones is expected to remain for the short term because it is booked for corporate events through 2018.
    • X-Wing Spinner attraction. Vehicles can move up and down and wings can open and close.
    • Mos Eisley Cantina
  • The Great Movie Ride is expected to close, but it will be among the last elements that change. It is also booked through 2017 for corporate events.
  • The Christmas lights will remain, but it may be rebranded to the Great Christmas Light Fight. They may be taking the Osborne name off the show and have considered a Frozen theme. They could also be looking at other names in focus groups
  • Ride system used in Ratatouille ride in France will find it's way to Hollywood Studios, but the theme has not been determined.
  • Beauty and the Beast may remain because a theatrical show is in the works for Broadway. However, there have been discussions about a Tangled themed show.
  • Frozen Sing a Long could potentially move to The American Idol Experience theater.

Epcot

  • As expected, Maelstrom will be closing on September 28th. This will be to change the attraction over to a Frozen themed attraction. The time frame for completion is 18 months with an expected opening date of Spring 2016.
  • Steve Davidson (designer of World of Color and Festival of Fantasy Parade) is working on an upgrade to IllumiNations. The time frame for completion of this could be as soon as 18 months.

Animal Kingdom

  • $600 Million for Pandora
  • Might open with one ride (Simulator), with the boat ride coming on line 18 months later.

Wilderness Lodge

  • A large segment will be converted to Disney Vacation Club.