WDW News & Rumors: Epcot & Magic Kingdom Construction Permits; Coco Ride?

Hopefully everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving with loved ones, and has been recovering in the most American way possible: with marathon shopping sessions for Black Friday weekend. Before you resume that on Cyber Monday, we thought we’d drop in with the latest Walt Disney World news & rumors.

Well, perhaps “latest” isn’t the right word. Most of what we’re reporting here is not exactly breaking news, but rather, updates to existing projects and previously-reported rumors. In the case of existing projects, several permits were filed for Walt Disney World last week–we have a quick rundown of those.

In the case of rumors, which is where we’ll begin, we have the latest status of a Coco attraction at Walt Disney World. There has been renewed buzz about this on social media; not because of any new rumors or this overlay being greenlit, but largely based on wishful thinking from fans. That doesn’t mean it isn’t happening, though (to the contrary, we’re hearing it’s very likely). This new buzz is more about people seeing the film and connecting the dots on a rumor that has been percolating for months…

As we previously reported, whether Gran Fiesta Tour would be re-imagined into a Coco attraction depended largely upon box office performance and audience response. Well, with Coco beating projections over the holiday weekend and earning an A+ CinemaScore, it’s safe to say things are looking up.

To reiterate, the original rumor was that this attraction would be a reworked Gran Fiesta Tour focusing on Coco and “Dia de los Muertos.” The scope of the potential project is unknown, but expectations are that it’d be smaller in scale than Frozen Ever After.

If the attraction concept is green-lit, the Mexico pavilion would likely see a larger redesign (and removal/retooling of retail space) to provide a more elaborate and longer queue for the attraction, and also address other congestion issues that exist within the Mexico pavilion.

While we have yet to see Coco (although we are really looking forward to it!), we’ve heard nothing but good things, and its cultural authenticity sounds like a good fit for Epcot. We’ve always felt Gran Fiesta Tour was a tasteful way of integrating Three Caballeros into Epcot, but the attraction is hardly a classic.

A Coco attraction would benefit from said authenticity of its source material, and would also have a healthy budget to leave more of a lasting impression on guests than Gran Fiesta Tour. If there is a downside to this happening, it’d be that repurposing an existing attraction handcuffs Imagineering in terms of what they can do. As with Frozen, it can be argued that Coco “deserves” an original attraction. On the other hand, with so many projects ongoing at Walt Disney World right now, it might be a ‘this or nothing’ type of scenario.

In Magic Kingdom permit news, permits were filed for TRON Lightcycle Power Run (MK 2) and the new Main Street Theater (MK 1) with the South Florida Water Management District. Actually, a single permit (#48-00714-P) was filed for both.

These structures are relatively close to one another due to the “Main Street” Theater being built in the area that more or less previously housed the Galaxy Palace Theater (home to Mickey’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas–a show we loved–for a number of years), which became backstage parking in 2009. These permits are being filed with the SFWMD because they’re larger in nature and will have a (combined?) impact on water control.

Rather than being accessible from Tomorrowland, it’s expected that the Main Street Theater will be reached from what is currently the overflow corridor behind Main Street. With this corridor using as a crowd control measure (and notably as the ‘welcome’ area for the Halloween and Christmas Party) more frequently, we’d expect it to receive significant place-making as part of this project. It’s likely Magic Kingdom could use the corridor as a permanent ‘release valve’ for crowds once 2020 rolls around.

On the TRON Lightcycle Power Run front, there’s absolutely nothing significant about the permit. From the concept art, it was patently-obvious where this would be built. The permit answers none of the questions anyone had (what modifications would be made to Tomorrowland Speedway, would the TRON coaster retain all elements of the Shanghai Disneyland version, etc.); it just confirms what was already announced.

That’s more or less true for the Main Street Theater, too. While no location for the building was announced, reasonable inferences could be made based upon the concept art. Also, by the fact that there was literally nowhere else to put the thing without significant modifications to Main Street or Tomorrowland. Still, it’s nice to have confirmation.

Another permit has also been filed for the Ratatouille dark ride offering a few more details than the previously-filed permit we shared back in June. The only significant difference that I can ascertain is restrooms and merchandise stands, so rather than reinvent the wheel, I’m recycling the graphic from that post. (Ignore the question mark–Ratatouille: the Adventure was subsequently confirmed in July at the D23 Expo as part of the Epcot Reimagining.)

Even though these permits mostly just pertain to what we already knew, it’s nice to have confirmation that all of these projects are moving along. There was a barrage of announcements at the D23 Expo this summer, and anyone with a memory of the “Disney Decade” likely has trepidation that not all of these projects will end up being built. I have that lingering concern, and although I wouldn’t mind a couple of the announced projects dying quiet deaths, I’m largely optimistic about how Walt Disney World should look for its 50th Anniversary.

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What do you think of these news & rumors? Would you trade Gran Fiesta Tour for a Coco attraction in Epcot? If you’ve seen Coco, how do you feel about it potentially being added to World Showcase? Thoughts on TRON Lightcycle Power Run or the new theater being added to a back-alley of Magic Kingdom? Any questions about any of the other developments ahead of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary? We love hearing from readers, so please share any other thoughts or questions you have in the comments!

43 Responses to “WDW News & Rumors: Epcot & Magic Kingdom Construction Permits; Coco Ride?”
  1. Karelli Munoz January 15, 2021
  2. Steve Harrison May 7, 2020
  3. Tia October 16, 2019
  4. big yeet March 15, 2019

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