Stormtroopers fill the streets during Star Wars Weekends. Photo courtesy of Gordon Tarpley on Flickr.
When we think of rides, we typically think of them in the most basic terms. You get on something that has been created for you to have a certain experience, you experience it, and then you get off. Back during Walt Disney’s time, you could only have one experience, designed for you. You could always count on the fact that Space Mountain had the same track, every time. As time progressed, so did the advancement of the experience of the ride. Star Tours, for example, boasts that you can have a unique experience every time you ride.
But Disney is taking things a step further. Next time you head to a Disney park, you might just be the one in control of the story.
The Avengers hatch, recently discovered at Disney’s California Adventure. Photo courtesy of CBR.
As I’ve already discussed, the relationship that Disney has with Marvel in terms of what they can do in the parks is kind of a mess, but ultimately what you need to know is that Disney has the right to use any Marvel characters west of the Mississippi which is why Captain America will not be in Walt Disney World anytime soon. But if you’ve been to Disneyland in California recently, you might noticed that Disneyland has already kind of become Marveland. And it doesn’t seem like they’re stopping anytime soon.
Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Studios
New rumors (that aren’t all that new, it would seem) are circulating about a fourth “mountain” being added to Magic Kingdom. In a way, the mountains will soon resemble the four elements: water, earth, fire, air (PS: if you didn’t read that in the voice of Katara listing the elements in the opening of “Avatar: the Last Airbender,” we’re not friends anymore). Water is Splash Mountain. Earth is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Air is Space Mountain. So what’s fire? Well, this one is more literal. Disney may be gearing up to make a Fire Mountain. Here’s how Moana may be making the ride a reality.
Photo courtesy of fortherock on Flickr.
Many rides at Walt Disney World have rumors surrounding them. Perhaps you’ve heard the one about the person who got decapitated on Space Mountain or that River Country was closed down because deadly amoebas were found in the water (which turned out to be partly true). But no other attraction seems to have as many rumors as the Haunted Mansion.
Perhaps because it is a bit of a more morbid attraction and morbidity tends to fuel a rumor mill. But those 999 ghosts have been telling stories. That’s what we get for putting so many ghost writers together, I guess.
Stormtroopers walking through Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Photo courtesy of Gordon Tarpley on Flickr.
While Pandora is underway in Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as well as Disneyland in Anaheim, has been undergoing it’s own major overhaul, usually referred to as Star Wars Land. To be fair, as we’re finding out now, that’s a misnomer, because it’s not just one land. It’s two brand new lands that will be Star Wars based and are set to be open in 2019.
Lost kingdom of Atlantis from “Atlantis: the Lost Empire.” Photo courtesy of Disney Wiki
Back in 2001, Disney had a brand new franchise underway. With a cast led by Michael J. Fox, “Atlantis” was supposed to hit. Called a “monumental treat” and “worth it” by the New York Times and given 3.5 out of 4 stars by Roger Ebert, it critically was a hit. And yet it was a box office bomb.
I may not be the biggest Pandora supporter, but some recent photos and videos may have me changing my tune. I’m not afraid to admit when I’m wrong. I’ve never enjoyed “Avatar” and could barely get through the movie, but Pandora really does look like it’s preparing guests to enter a new world. Disney Parks has been keeping us updated on what’s happening in the world of Pandora and giving some insight into what we will being seeing.
Marvel sign at the “Marvel Universe” exhibit in Shanghai Disneyland. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Thompson on Flickr.
For $4 billion, Disney bought Marvel in 2009. The companies had been working together already, since they launched the “Iron Man” trilogy the year before and started the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise.
Just three years after that acquisition, Disney acquired Lucasfilms and they cashed in.”Star Wars Land” is now underway in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Before the construction started, they’d already begun “Star Wars Weekends” where guests could actually meet the stars of the movies, as well as have special character themed meals and do meet and greets with characters from the originals and prequels. In the four years since Disney bought Lucasfilms, “Stars Wars” has gone from just being one ride in Walt Disney World to being one of the biggest parts of Hollywood Studios. But it’s been seven years since Disney bought Marvel and the company is still absent from the parks. You aren’t likely to see that change anytime soon.
Animal Kingdom welcome sign. Photo courtesy of Paulo Henrique Rodrigues on Flickr.
Sometimes things happen for a reason, but sometimes things don’t happen for a reason. The fact of the matter is that Imagineering comes up with new ideas every day, but we only ever see a fraction of it. Here are just a few of my favorites that have been abandoned.
A model for Pandora from the D23 Expo in 2015. Photo courtesy of Sam Howzit on Flickr.
Pandora in Animal Kingdom has been a long time coming. And it’s still not here. But Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Bob Chapek officially announced at the D23 club’s Destination D presentation in November that it’ll be open in summer 2017. Along with that announcement came the reveal of some of the area’s restaurants and shops, like Satu’li Canteen, the area’s main restaurant, and Windtraders, a shop featuring Navi cultural items.
The introduction of Pandora-the World of Avatar to the Disney Parks begs the question of whether or not “Avatar” is owned by Disney now. Star Wars Land in Hollywood Studios was only created because Disney bought the rights to “Star Wars.” But “Avatar” is actually still it’s own entity and owned by a company that, for all intents and purposes, should not be working with Disney.