It’s been a while since we dropped in with a Walt Disney World news & rumors update, so we thought we’d do just that. In this, we’ll cover rumors of a Mary Poppins attraction in the United Kingdom at Epcot, Wreck-It Ralph in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom, new refillable mugs, and a few other tidbits.
We’ll start over at Epcot, where new rumors lend credence to what we posited in our Epcot Update for Summer 2018: that the scope and substance of that park’s re-imagining is still very much up in the air. This is from credible insider marni1971, who made an offhand remark that the Epcot Central Spine Redesign “has slipped to 2023.”
Martin dropped this line in a discussion about whether the Mary Poppins (United Kingdom) attraction or Coco (Mexico) attraction will receive the green light for Epcot. As it stands, it’s apparently an either/or proposition, with only one of the two attractions receiving funding. As we reported a few of months ago, the rumored Coco overlay or re-imagining of Gran Fiesta Tour had fizzled out and was highly unlikely to come to fruition.
For the last several months, rumors of a Mary Poppins dark ride in the United Kingdom pavilion at Epcot have been gaining traction. While the idea of a new attraction in the United Kingdom was floated last year prior to the D23 Expo, there were multiple possibilities for the attraction, including an attraction featuring the Loch Ness Monster. Since then, it’s been a slow trickle suggesting Mary Poppins is the only viable candidate for an attraction in the UK.
While a Mary Poppins attraction sounds highly plausible, that’s the case with all of the rumors for Epcot that are floating around right now. The problem is that budgets are finite, and if all of these ride candidates were built, the cost of the Epcot overhaul would be well north of $3 billion.
Epcot’s re-imagining does have a very healthy budget, but not that healthy. A large amount of that money is already earmarked for the Guardians of the Galaxy and Ratatouille attractions, plus the IllumiNations replacement, and Central Spine Redesign (delayed it might be, but it’s still happening). Tough decisions will have to be made, so you shouldn’t get too excited just yet.
On a totally unrelated note, we’ve heard absolutely nothing about the replacement for Reflections of China in months (as you might–or might not–recall, this was announced at the D23 Expo). Hopefully this project is still happening and hasn’t just been quietly shelved.
If you are having deja vu upon hearing this, it’s probably because you’ve heard it before. Wreck-It Ralph has been rumored to be replacing Stitch’s Great Escape for ages. The problem is that the attraction is a relatively confined space, so either VR (which Bob Iger has stated Disney does not intend upon using in the parks) or a film-based attraction is necessary.
Personally, I think there’s some smoke to this Wreck-It Ralph rumor, just as there has been in the past. I’d also speculate that the actual status of this potential attraction depends largely upon the box office results of Ralph Breaks the Internet. If it’s a smash, I could see Disney repurposing the space and creating a simulator ride similar to Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, which is relatively popular at Universal.
It feels like we are constantly discussing Tomorrowland and Epcot in these rumor posts, and that’s probably because everyone knows something big is going to happen with both, but the precise details of the overhauls have not fully congealed. There are most certainly budgets allocated to projects, and things are happening beyond what has publicly been announced. How that money will be spent remains an open question, with multiple ride concepts vying for limited resources.
At this point, we wouldn’t be surprised if Disney waits until the 2019 D23 Expo to unveil its plans for both Tomorrowland and Future World. Between now and then, expect a slow trickle of rumors, as competing concepts are floated until whatever is eventually going to be announced is actually greenlit.
Speaking of which, this week Disney announced that on Thursday, August 23, 2018, D23 will begin selling tickets for the next D23 Expo, which will take place August 23-25, 2019 at the Anaheim Convention Center. We’re hoping for announcements about entertainment for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary and the future of Epcot, so we’ll definitely be there!
New refillable mug designs are finally coming to Walt Disney World with the above Halloween mug design coming to all resort hotels. To our knowledge, this is not yet available and no timeframe is set for its arrival. Apparently, mid-August is “too early” for Halloween…unless we’re talking upcharge events. 😉
Cynicism aside, we really hope this is the start of a trend. As we share in our Refillable Mugs at Walt Disney World FAQ(which has been updated with some goofy new photos, by the way), we are Disney travel mug collectors. We’d love to have an excuse to purchase more of these, and we suspect other Walt Disney World regulars agree. We can’t be the only ones who don’t normally buy refillable mugs now, but would if there were more seasonal designs or, better yet, a return of the resort-specific mugs!
In the lone piece of non-Walt Disney World news, Disneyland Paris has confirmed via a teaser image on its InsidEARS fan club that CineMagique will return to Walt Disney Studios Park (it’s rumored to be back by Christmas 2018, but the date is not yet official). The fan-favorite closed last year and was replaced by Marvel: Super Heroes Unite, which is a live-action stage show with several Marvel characters set to run for Marvel Summer of Super Heroes.
While that event concludes September 30, 2018, it was widely expected that Marvel: Super Heroes Unite would continue beyond that date as a permanent offering due to the investment and scale of the show. Perhaps the subsequently-announced overhaul of WDSP has changed the direction of Marvel in that park? Or perhaps the show, which features numerous live performers, has been deemed cost-prohibitive to run?
Either way, we’re ecstatic. Not only is Cinemagique Disney’s best Martin Short-centric attraction in the world, it’s also the best attraction at Walt Disney Studios Park. Sorry, Crush’s Coaster and Ratatouille: the Adventure, you’re both good, but CineMagique is perfection. Not only that, but this love-letter to cinema is a perfect marquee attraction for this “studio” park.
Finally, a totally implausible rumor that has been making the rounds. Jim Hill is speculating that Ice Age could be coming to Animal Kingdom following Disney’s acquisition of Fox.
In other news, I have it on very good authority that the only reason Disney acquired Fox was for the rights of the Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper for a ride based on that classic film. Imagineering is now working on converting Haunted Mansion into “Casper’s Spooktacular Funhome.” The plan is to replace the current omnimover with a roller coaster track, culminating in an epic encounter with Stinky who will belch chili dog smells onto guests. Instant classic.
This rumor that I just made up might sound dumb–and it is–but it’s just as plausible as there Ice Age coming to Animal Kingdom. As we’ve said before, theme parks played no role in Disney’s acquisition of Fox. Zero. It’s possible that Fox properties will eventually find their way into the parks, but we are a long way from that. At present, no plans for Fox IPs are under any sort of serious consideration for integration into Walt Disney World.
That seems like as good of a place as any to end this Walt Disney World news and rumor update. We’ll be back again soon with more news and rumors…presumably including more conflicting info about what’s coming to Epcot and Tomorrowland, but hopefully some other stuff about this Christmas at Walt Disney World, and other things happening in the more immediate future!
What do you think of these Walt Disney World rumors? Are you optimistic about Mary Poppins or Coco in Epcot, or are you in ‘wait and see’ mode like us? Any thoughts on other news or rumors here? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!