Plus… the Disney Skyliner gondola system is officially announced for WDW Resort, new Mickey Mouse-Themed attraction planned for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and more!
The annual D-23 Expo just wrapped up this past weekend in Anaheim, and there’s a TON of exciting news to report! So, let’s dive right into it. Time for the July 2017 Edition of the WDW Radio Newswire….
We begin this edition of the Newswire in Magic Kingdom Park, where it has just been confirmed the TRON-Themed Rollercoaster is coming soon to Tomorrowland! Speculated here in the April 2017 Edition of the Newswire, the attraction has now been officially green-lit. It will be based off the TRON Lightcycle Power Run Coaster in Shanghai Disneyland, and will take up residence beside Space Mountain. The real estate for the new coaster will come from a combination of previously unused property, as well as some of the space currently being used for the Tomorrowland Speedway. However, concept art does show a smaller version of the Speedway will be included in the plans for the revamped area of Tomorrowland. The TRON Coaster is set to open in time for WDW’s 50th Anniversary in 2021.
For more news out of Magic Kingdom Park, let’s head back up Main Street, U.S.A., where a brand-new Theater is in the works. Based off Kansas City’s Willis Wood Theater, this new venue will exude a 1920’s look, and will come equipped with state of the art technology and amenities. The new building will most-likely take up residence in a space currently being used as a backstage area between Main Street, U.S.A. and Tomorrowland.
Time to park-hop over to Epcot now, where the Guardians of the Galaxy will soon be making a landing. Speculation began nearly a year ago in the August 2016 Edition of the Newswire, and we now have official confirmation! The Guardians of the Galaxy attraction is set to take over the Universe of Energy pavilion, which will send Ellen’s Energy Adventure into the realm of extinction. Concept art shows the pavilion retaining much of its exterior look, with the exception of the rainbow coloring on each side of the building. The new attraction is scheduled to be open in time for WDW’s 50th Anniversary in 2021; however, no further details beyond that have been confirmed. Ellen’s Energy Adventure opened on September 17, 1996, replacing the original Universe of Energy attraction which opened along with EPCOT Center on October 1, 1982. The final day of operation for Ellen’s Energy Adventure is scheduled for Sunday, August 13, 2017.
In more Epcot news, let’s venture over to Mission: SPACE. A new film is in the works, as well as a revamp to the missions. The Orange Mission will still be an expedition to the red planet Mars, and will be as intense as ever with the addition of new display systems. But the Green Mission will have its own separate destination now; a tour around Earth. This family-friendly mission will provide you with spectacular views of our planet from out in space, and will be less intense than the Orange Mission to Mars. Mission: SPACE is currently closed while these refurbishments take place, and is slated to re-open next month. No word yet as to whether or not Disney will be retaining the talents of Gary Sinise for the attraction.
In another exciting bit of Epcot news, Future World East will be getting a brand-new restaurant. It will have a space-theme, and will be located in an unused area between Mission: SPACE and Test Track. The new restaurant will entice Guests to dine amongst the stars, literally, as it will give off the feel of an outer space dining experience that’s out of this world! No word on whether or not this will be a table service or quick service establishment, nor is there an official opening date for the restaurant. However, it has been confirmed the Patina Restaurant Group will be at the helm. They currently head operations for other delicious Epcot hot spots like Via Napoli and Tutto Italia.
Time to head over to World Showcase now, as another rumored project has just been confirmed. France will be receiving a brand-new attraction, as the world of Ratatouille is set to take up residence at the pavilion! Rumors began swirling nearly three years ago in the September 2014 Edition of the Newswire, and the attraction has finally been officially confirmed. The attraction will shrink you down to the size of Remy, as you dart and dash across the Parisian kitchen of Chef Gusteau. The experience will be based off Ratatouille: The Adventure, which opened back in 2014 at Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris. The new attraction will expand the pavilion, as it will take shape on a previously-laid concrete pad located between the France and Morocco pavilions. A lengthy queue will wind Guests back to the location of the show building, which should help keep the ambiance in the main section of the France pavilion intact. The attraction will be open in time for WDW’s 50th Anniversary in 2021.
There’s one more bit of Epcot news to report, as the China pavilion will soon be receiving an upgrade. Reflections of China will be getting a brand-new film, as well as a new seamless digital display system. The attraction is currently closed while these refurbishments and upgrades take place, with no official word yet on a re-opening date.
Time to park-hop over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios now, as a new attraction based off the big cheese himself has just been confirmed. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is set to takeover the Chinese Theater, which will send The Great Movie Ride into the realm of extinction. This is bittersweet for me, as The Great Movie Ride is a beloved opening day attraction. A cherished park staple will be lost. But as they say in Hollywood, the show must go on. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will transport guests right into the middle of a Mickey Mouse Cartoon Short, and is being billed as a “zany out-of-control adventure” featuring “surprising twists and turns, dazzling visual effects, and mind-boggling transformations that happen before your very eyes.” The final day of operation for The Great Movie Ride will be Sunday, August 13, 2017.
In more news out of DHS, we finally have a name for Star Wars Land. The area will officially be dubbed: Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. The land will bring with it two new attractions, as well as an immersive dining experience. It has also been confirmed a new Star Wars-themed Resort will officially be in the mix as well! The new resort will completely immerse you in the Star Wars experience from the moment you check-in. You’ll dress the part, act the part, and be surrounded by the sights, sounds, characters, and props of the Star Wars universe!
In more resort news, let’s venture over to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort area. A brand-new Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Resort has just been confirmed, as Disney Riviera Resort will soon be joining the landscape. The new DVC Resort will take up space which was currently made available by the demolition of the Barbados and Martinique sections of the Caribbean Beach Resort. It had been speculated that the area would be home to a Caribbean Beach-themed DVC section, but it will instead be an entirely new DVC Resort with its own unique theme. Disney Riviera Resort will bring with it 300 accommodation units, and is scheduled for completion in Fall 2019.
Our final bit of news today is a big one, as it’s been confirmed a gondola-style transportation system will indeed be built at WDW Resort. Dubbed: Disney Skyliner, the Gondola System will connect Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and Disney Riviera Resort with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot’s International Gateway. The Gondola’s will be fully enclosed and climate controlled, allowing for comfortable, safe, and efficient transportation. There’s no word on a timetable for Disney Skyliner to be in place, but I’d imagine they’ll try to keep pace to have it completed and ready for use by WDW Resort’s 50th Anniversary in 2021.
Well, that’s gonna do it for the July 2017 Edition of the WDW Radio Newswire. But I’ll be back again next month with lots more news, notes, and happenings from Walt’s beloved “Florida project!”
To learn more about Don and read his recent posts for WDW Radio, visit his author page by clicking the link on his name at the top of this post.