Walt Disney World
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(12/27/21) Tron Lightcycle/Run Construction Update (MORE...)
(12/15/21) Tron Construction Update (MORE...)
(12/4/21) Magic Kingdom Parking Trams To Return This Month (MORE...)
(11/28/21) Tron Lightcycle/Run Update (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - These dates are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate as refurbishments are subject to change.
Walt Disney World Railroad - NOW CLOSED through TBD
Select Attractions CLOSED due to COVID Safety Protocols Include:
Enchanted Tales with Belle
RUMOR - Splash Mountain - Jan 10 through to Feb. 11, 2022
Park News - (12/4/21) Guests visiting The Magic Kingdom via the parking lot will soon rest a little easier, as Walt Disney World has confirmed that the parking lot trams that have been absent since the park’s closed for the pandemic in early 2019 will return to service in The Magic Kingdom parking lot later this month. No exact dates were given, but they also confirmed parking lot trams will also return to service at the other Walt Disney World theme parks throughout 2022.
The absence of the parking lot trams has been a major complaint from Walt Disney World guests since the parks reopened in July 2020.
(10/9/21) Here is the list of attractions that will have Lightning Lane and Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane access at the Magic Kingdom starting Oct. 19, 2021.
Individual Lightning Lane Purchase:
Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train
Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane:
Big Thunder Mountain
Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
“It’s a small world”
Mad Tea Party
Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
Peter Pan’s Flight
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid
(8/25/21) According to a report at Inside the Magic, permits have been filed indicating that some major refurbishment project will take place on Big Thunder Mountain sometime between now and Aug. 19, 2022. Depending on the nature of the work to be done, it is not known if Big Thunder will have to close down for a period of time, or if they will be able to do the work during the off-hours.
2021/2022 - 50th Anniversary Additions -
(10/24/21) I didn’t realize this, but the Magic Kingdom has added an interesting new attraction to the park for everyone. For years you may have seen the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade and passed by the pay-to-play experience. With the launch of the 50th Anniversary celebration, the old school shooting gallery attraction is now being offered as a free attraction for everyone to enjoy. Prior to October 1st guests were asked to pay $1 for 35 shots at the targets. It isn’t clear if this is just something for the anniversary celebration or if they intent to leave it as a free attraction for the years to come.
The shooting gallery attractions at Disney parks are some of the oldest in the parks, with Disneyland offering not only one in Frontierland but also had a second one in nearby Adventureland from 1962 to 1982. Before arriving in Adventureland, the original shooting gallery was on Main Street U.S.A. from 1955 to 1962. Back in the days when Disneyland attractions required the use of A through E Tickets, the Frontierland and Adventureland shooting galleries could be played in exchange for a “C” ticket, placing the attraction value on the same tier as the Autopia in Tommorrowland or Fantasyland rides like Peter Pan, Mr. Toad, Snow White and Dumbo.
So in a way, it seems very fitting that the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade is being returned to the status of a park attraction, and not just a coin-op arcade style experience.
(10/3/21) A playback video of the Re-Dedication of Walt Disney World from the Magic Kingdom can be seen in the video below, ending with a stream of the new Disney Enchantment castle show.
(9/23/21) Walt Disney World has announced that the new “Coco” scene and other technical upgrades to Mickey’s Philharmagic in the Magic Kingdom will be ready for guests starting Nov. 12, 2021.
I’m told that the current version of Philharmagic will close for refurbishment starting Monday, Oct. 11, 2021 to begin work for the upgrade.
(7/3/21) Disney has announced a new surprise addition is coming this month as an update to the Mickey’s PhilharMagic attraction. An entirely new musical scene is being added to the fun 4D theater film allowing Donald to enter the world of Disney and Pixar’s COCO for the first time.
“The musical number “Un Poco Loco” will anchor the new scene when it opens to guests at Disney California Adventure park and Disneyland Paris on July 17, before being added to Magic Kingdom Park later this year during the Walt Disney World Resort 50th anniversary celebration.”
The world of COCO is such a wonderful visual treat to the eyes, and features fantastic music plus the wacky characters that would fit right in with all the crazy action that takes place during Donald’s adventure in Mickey’s PhilharMagic. From the sound of things they are only adding content to the attraction and it didn’t sound like the addition would bring about the removal of any of the other existing scenes.
Honestly, I don’t know why they haven’t tried adding some updated scenes to Mickey’s PhilharMagic before. Wouldn’t it be fun to put Donald into other more modern Disney films like Tangled, Moana or even Frozen? Come on, you know you want to see Donald take on Marshmallow and the Snowgies or perhaps get caught up in a battle between a singing Maui and Tamotoa in potential future updates.
(6/27/21) On October 1 guests to The Magic Kingdom can enjoy “Disney Enchantment”, a new nighttime spectacular. The new show will feature music, enhanced lighting, fireworks and “for the first time, immersive projection effects” that will stretch from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A.
During the daytime keep an eye out for all your favorite Disney characters, many of which will be decked out in new special EARidescent themed outfits for the anniversary celebration. You can also see them performing daily in the park’s Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade. While in the hub, be sure to check out new golden statue versions of these same eight characters that will be on display in front of Cinerella Castle. These are just the first of 50 planned new sculpture additions that will be on display across all four of Disney’s main theme parks throughout the anniversary celebration as part of the “Disney Fab 50” collection.
Late 2022 / Early 2023 - TRON Lightcycle / Run - (12/27/21) A new Tron construction update has been posted to MouseSteps this week that is worth checking out. This includes photos and a video fly-by of the construction site shot on the PeopleMover this week. As usual, the front entry plaza is still a mess of active construction for the time being, but hopefully they’ll be able to pick up the pace and get things moving towards completion. In the meantime, we do have to wonder just how things are shaping up INSIDE the show building itself.
If the rumors from last year were true, they were putting a hold on the inside work when they sealed up the building, with the intention of finishing it all up this year. But for now we have no way to know if the interior of the ride has been mostly completed, or if it is still just sitting there waiting. If I had to guess, recent evidence seems to suggest that work is currently taking place, as some photos surfaced on social media showing off some set-pieces for the interior of the ride being shipped to the park on trucks. These appear to be light-up video-game style gateway/portals that the coaster train will pass through as it moves through the show-building giving your team points vs the red team’s Lightcycles.
(12/15/21) A new Tron Lightcycle / Run construction update can be found at MouseSteps this week.
(11/28/21) Several new pictures showing off the construction progress taking place to the front of the Tron Lightcycle/Run attraction can be found at WDWNT this week. In addition to ongoing work on the canopy that sits over the entire front of the attraction, workers can be seen working around the various pathways around the attraction leading up to the second level entrance area, and you can now clearly see the pathway the Railroad will take when it runs through the attraction area again in the future.
(11/2/21) MouseSteps has posted a new construction update from Tron Lightcycle / Run this week.
(10/21/21) MouseSteps has posted a new construction update from The Magic Kingdom showing off the latest progress on the Tron: Lightcycle / Run attraction. The big news is that a blue fabric mesh liner is being attached to the inside of the canopy framework in front of the attraction. Based on photos of the Shanghai version, if this looks the same, a white more solid looking outer layer will then be attached on top of the canopy framework.
(8/29/21) In the latest Tron construction update posted by MouseSteps we can see that the park’s new coaster is now undergoing clearance testing with a small test vehicle being slowly moved. If you haven’t seen this kind of thing before, the point is build up the vehicle with structure meant to simulate the furthest reach of the rider’s limbs as well as the vehicle itself and slowly move it around the entire track to ensure there is no chance that a rider’s arms or legs could come into collision with any part of the ride structure.
(8/2/21) A new Tron construction update has been posted by MouseSteps this week. It’s nice to see the extensive canopy that covers the outside of the attraction really starting to take shape. Just on the opposite side of the canopy from Space Mountain a new structure is also rising with a series of red/brown steel I-beams. While this structure isn’t shown on the concept art, I’ve got a hunch that it could possibly be an elevator to take handicappder riders to the upper platform where the ride’s entrance will be located. The concept artwork at first only appears to show a pair of large staircases leading from the ground level up to the platform, but to the left in the background you can make out what seems to be a structure for an elevator as well. Just a guess, but this seems very possible.
(1/28/21) A new set of photos from the Tron construction site have been posted to MouseSteps this week. As you can see, the canopy structure is growing once again, this time it is reaching out towards the main attraction building.
As previously reported, the entrance into the attraction building for riders as well as the coaster track has been sealed up, which only seems to reinforce the rumor that Tron will not open in 2021 as originally expected. If the rest of the rumors hold true, once the canopy and the rest of the outdoor construction is complete, we should see the visible work on the attraction come to a halt, with the inside work rumored to not begin again until at least October 2021.
(1/11/21) A new collection of Tron Lightcycle/Run construction photos have been posted to MouseSteps this week. This includes a good look at the massive canopy structure that will dominate the front view of the attraction, which can also be seen from various locations throughout the park. After dark, it should be quite a sight to see, as it will light up in spectacular fashion as well.
The back half of the canopy has yet to go up however, but one thing many have noticed is that the entrance hole where the coaster track is to re-enter the building has now been sealed up around the track. Just below it you can also see where the workers have begun the process of sealing up the actual walkway entrance for the riders to get into the attraction building queue with another temporary wall.
So why seal the entry paths into the attraction building? Well going back to the rumors making the rounds not long ago, as part of a budget cutting measure work on Tron was expected to grind to a halt as soon as all the outdoor construction was complete, and with the attraction building and track now in place, the last outdoor steps to finish would be the canopy and then whatever work needs to be done to get the Railroad track back in place. Sealing up the building almost seems to bring the claims that all interior work on the attraction would be paused until late 2021, likely not starting until the start of Disney’s next fiscal year which is typically the first week of October.
(12/13/20) Today we’re going to see the latest construction update for the Tron Lightcycle/Run coaster at the Magic Kingdom. MouseSteps has posted some new pictures of the attraction taken from both inside and outside of the park, so you can see how the rising techno-canopy going up in front of the main attraction building is changing the skyline of the park.
It does create an odd new look to the park when seen from outside the gates, especially in some images taken from the Wedding Pavilion area where the canopy is seen poking up over the buildings of Main Street USA. This is just the front section of the canopy still, as the section that will cover the rear-half of the outdoor coaster tracks as they return and re-enter the attraction building at the tallest point has not yet been assembled.
(10/26/20) I’m not sure how valid this rumor is, so please take this one with a grain of salt for now and as a warning if you’ve been planning a visit to Walt Disney World for the later half of 2021, hoping that the new Tron or Guardians of the Galaxy coasters would be open.
According to the rumor the construction crews working on Tron Lightcycle/ Run (Magic Kingdom) and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (Epcot) will continue their work only until all the major structural and outdoor construction aspects are finished. At that point, they say that construction may come grinding to a halt with Disney leaving the interior work and theming of the rides unfinished. The plan would be to put all the rest of the construction work on hold until October 2021, the start of Disney’s next fiscal year, where it would start up again with the goal of finishing up the attractions in time for late Spring or Summer 2022 instead.
Again… this is just a rumor right now, but one that definitely sounds like something that could be Wall Street driven as a cost-cutting measure meant to stop the financial bleeding by being able to cut various contracted team members working on these projects right now with the goal of hiring those they need back in a year’s time by essentially pushing the pause button on the spending needed to finish these two major attractions for almost a year.
Can anyone else with insider knowledge confirm or deny this rumor?
(12/18/19) According to the Disney Parks Blog, the Magic Kingdom has set up a pair of TRON Lightcycles for guests to climb onto and take their pictures with in the Magic Kingdom as a preview for the upcoming new TRON Lightcycle / Run coaster attraction opening in 2021.
(6/21/19) Some great new photos of the Tron coaster under construction at the Magic Kingdom were posted to MouseSteps this week. From the look of things most of the “indoor” action part of the ride’s layout is now in place. Based on the layout drawing we have, the tallest section you see would be the first ‘red arrow’ the ride encounters where is at the point where the outdoor portion of the ride rises up and enters the building. The rest of the tangled mess matches up to this layout, ending with the final red arrow (aka: brake run) as the coaster will head towards the return passage back to the load/unload station.
And really… that’s all there is to the ride, other than the high speed out and back it will perform outside the main show building just after the launch. If you are thinking that this ride appears to be very short compared to the new Hagrid’s coaster that just opened at Universal, then you would be right. Assuming this is a clone of the Shanghai ride, then the overall track length is said to be 3,169 ft, compared to the new Universal ride which is almost 2,000 feet longer.
(7/20/17) Fans of TRON, your day has come, because Disney confirmed at the D23 Expo that a copy of the Tron Lightcycle Power Run coaster attraction will indeed be coming to the Magic Kingdom in time for the 50th Anniversary of WDW in 2021. The Speedway will survive however, as Tron will be placed just to the left of Space Mountain, with the main attraction building residing on the other side of the railroad tracks, just like Space Mountain.
I've got a feeling we'll see some renovations take place on the Tomorrowland Speedway, along with a reconfiguration of the track layout, in order to accommodate the new Tron coaster. Now... can we talk about putting a third Tron film onto the production slate as well?
2023/2024?? - The Princess and The Frog - Confirmed - (8/25/21) Another piece of concept art and a round-table discussion by Disney Imagineers about the plans to transform Splash Mountain into a new ride themed to The Princess and the Frog has been released. According to the talk, Tiana will invite guests to go along on an adventure with her in the bayou, so the new experience will be one where the guests are included in the action, instead of just watching the action unfold in front of them.
(8/9/21) Curious… and sort of unusual for Disney, but a large section of scaffolding has been set up on the left side of Splash Mountain, as seen in the tweet below. As seen in the photo, Splash Mountain is also still open to guests while this is taking place. In old Disney-speak, once might call this an example of “bad show”, but others fear that perhaps the time to begin the transformation of Splash Mountain into the new Princess and The Frog edition of the ride may be coming soon.
No timeline was ever given by Disney to perform this work, but with the 50th Anniversary celebration getting ready to start, I do find it hard to believe that they would close Splash Mountain during the celebration to perform this work instead of waiting until afterwards. Anyone know more about what’s going on here? Simply some kind of needed maintenance or something else entirely?
(7/12/20) Various survey’s Disney has been sending out over the past week are asking guests how they feel about a number of different older attractions. Based on past rumors and whispers over the years, the majority of these attractions being discussed have long been rumored to be on the list of potential attractions for retirement due to age, low guest satisfaction numbers, or if they simply just can’t handle modern throughput requirements. A couple of interesting items reported to being on the surveys include Tom Sawyer’s Island and The Country Bear Jamboree, both of which exist in Frontierland.
As mentioned in a previous post about the announced conversion of Splash Mountain into a Princess and the Frog themed attraction, one rumored idea being thrown around and discussed by many is the possible conversion of Frontierland into another New Orleans Square land, not unlike the one at Disneyland which sits right next to their own Splash Mountain.
While I had previously mentioned this was an idea I had myself in the last update, I do have to correct that to say that it was an idea had by many individuals and not just myself, so I was not trying to take credit for the idea. So let us just say that this is something being discussed in many circles, as well as some very important ones. These new surveys only back up the rumors that Disney may be seriously ready to renovate the entire land into something else, leaving just Big Thunder and the Railroad station as the possible last pieces of Frontierland to remain.
It is also interesting to consider just what the Magic Kingdom could possibly do if the back-half of the river and Tom Sawyer’s Island were removed entirely and the property used to create a new Frontierland expansion, or perhaps even an entirely new land to explore. After all, in our current world where COVID concerns are primary in everyone’s mind, a high-touch environment like Tom Sawyer’s Island may have outlived its purpose.
(6/29/20) While no timeline was given for the announced transformation of Splash Mountain into a new Princess and The Frog themed attraction, I’ve been giving some thought as to how the experience seems to be a perfect fit for Disneyland, but couldn’t be more wrong for The Magic Kingdom. At least, it just seems wrong given the current theme of the area in front of Splash Mountain, where it will be inside the middle of Frontierland.
This all changes however if you stop for a moment to wonder if this may just be a part of a larger overhaul that could see the old original part of Frontierland transformed to become a New Orleans Square style land, not unlike the one at Disneyland. Some of this is my own thoughts, mixed with conversations with others, but if you would retheme Frontierland from the pathway starting just past the Diamond Horseshoe all the way down to the Peco Bill’s restaurant to have a New Orleans theme, it would then fit right in with the waterfront, complete with the Liberty Belle paddlewheel boat passing by… ending with the revised Princess and the Frog themed version of Splash Mountain. Unfortunately this would shrink Frontierland down just the railroad station, Tom Sawyer’s Island and anchored by Big Thunder Mountain, but it would still work on it’s own in much the same way that Critter Country at Disneyland worked as a small land anchored by Splash Mountain and the Country Bears (with the later eventually turned into a Winnie the Pooh dark ride).
The one downside to this concept of mine would be the loss of the Country Bears show from The Magic Kingdom, but to be honest I think the park has been looking for an excuse to retire that old attraction for ages and this might be it. Again… just something to think about… and nothing rumored… yet.
(6/27/20) I’m not quite sure where to begin with this post, but Disney dropped a bombshell of an announcement this week that I was not really expecting. Disney announced that they are planning to retheme the Splash Mountain attractions at Disneyland and The Magic Kingdom parks to The Princess and The Frog animated film.
I’ll let that sink in for a moment… Brer Rabbit and the whole Zippey-Do-Da-Gang are being removed, and the ride will be rethemed around the world of Princess Tiana and friends. According to the Disney Parks Blog this new story will begin just after ‘the final kiss’ from the film where riders will “join Princess Tiana and Louis on a musical adventure - featuring some of the powerful music from the film - as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance.”
As someone who grew up and was a huge Disney park fan throughout my early years, this kind of shocked me. I’m not the biggest fan of changing some of the Disney attractions, just for the sake of change. The older the attraction is, the more of an attachment I think I might have had to it from my childhood. Case in point, I wasn’t a fan of the idea of changing the classic auction scene in Pirates to the current version where “Redd” is now a pirate.
I do not hate the new scene, as it is well done, but like any major change, I think it just takes some getting used to the idea and seeing the new version in the end to appreciate it. After all, like many of you, I grew up for decades chanting ‘We wants the red head’, which is now only part of the Disney history books.
I was a teenager when Splash Mountain was first built… in fact I had no idea it was even going to be a thing at all until visiting Disneyland during my Grad Nite event in 1988. I could see the huge steel structure rising into the night sky, surrounded by construction walls promoting the new ride to open in 1989. While I was already a fan of Disney parks, it was this moment that made me interested in the process of how Disney designed and built massive new attractions like these. My curiosity was sparked that night, which obviously had an effect on me for years to come.
So understand me when I say that upon first seeing the announcement this week, I probably dropped an F-bomb in disbelief. It didn’t help that a few weeks ago some news outlets were reporting that there was an online petition of activists asking Disney to do this very thing, but according to Disney this is actually a project that the Imagineers “have been working on since last year”.
I’m still surprised… but not entirely. Splash Mountain always had a rather interesting choice of IP in using the characters and theme from the film, The Song of the South. This is the one film that Disney has chosen to lock away in their vaults forever, with no plans to ever release it again, not even on Disney+. The 1946 film is a mix of live action and animated segments set in the old South following the end of the American Cival War and the abolishment of slavery. The film became criticized over the years since then due to the depiction of the Southern African-American characters and their animated counterparts as being potentially racist or offensive.
Despite this, the IP was tapped as the theme to build not just one, but three Splash Mountain attractions at Disney parks across the world. The original Splash Mountain opened in Summer 1989 in California followed by another in Walt Disney World in 1992 and a third at Tokyo Disneyland, also in 1992. There is no reference to the film at all, and the ride seeks to tell its story through the various animated characters from the film mixed with some new friends, that were actually retired Animatronic figures from Disneyland’s America Sings attraction. It is safe to say that the attraction has been a smash hit for Disney parks ever since, and as the ride system itself is staying, it will continue to do so, even with a new theme. The attraction was designed to carry riders through the various scenes accompanied by a fantastic musical soundtrack, so I can easily see how it can be rethemed and ‘plussed’ by Imagineering in this endeavor. If you take a look at the concept art you can see the classic look of Splash Mountain will be altered to look more green and lush, especially at the top of the drop where the old tree stump will now become Mama Odie’s House, featuring a full tree holding the broken boat high in the branches above where the logs emerge and take their plunge.
As a concept, I can easily see how many aspects of the current Splash Mountain layout and scenes can be changed to The Princess and The Frog. The report that this all takes place after the “last kiss” does make me hope that they can somehow include the return of Dr. Facilier (aka: The Shadow Man) as I’d love to see the scenes in the belly of Splash Mountain’s from the mid-drop up to the approach to the big drop be given over to create a scene with the voodoo man and the forces from “the other side”. Of course we all know the ending scene of Splash Mountain with the River Boat will probably be kept and updated to be a Mardi Gras celebration with Tiana and Louis, which is only fitting.
So with all this in mind, I can see how the overall ride experience may actually be improved here by going forward with a new theme. I know how tempting it is to say you wont like it just because it isn’t the ride you grew up with, but look at just how many people seem to enjoy the Guardians of the Galaxy version of the former Twilight Zone attraction at Disney California Adventure now. Many say that the Guardians version was a dramatic improvement over California’s Twilight Zone version, so we really will just need to wait and see what happens.
My only final thoughts here have more to do with the overall theming of the lands and such involved. Clearly changing Splash Mountain to now have a New Orleans theme in Disneyland is a no brainer, as the modified look of the new attraction will fit right like a glove positioned next to The Haunted Mansion there, creating an extension of the existing New Orleans Square theming, and leaving Pooh at the solitary inhabitant of Critter Country. In Walt Disney World however, the change is going to be a bit more disturbing to the current theming of that park where Splash Mountain is set smack in the middle of Frontierland, positioned between Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Frontierland buildings that are home to The Country Bears attraction and the Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe. I don’t have a solution or answer to this particular issue, so I’m curious to see how WDI will address it.
It is also interesting to note that, for now at least, Splash Mountain will live on in Japan, as there has been no plans posted to update or change the version at Tokyo DIsneyland at this time. At this point in time, Disney has given no time-table as to when we may expect to see this transformation process begin at either park, but hopefully there will be time to have a few more final rides on Splash Mountain before the old version is gone for good. (Now if maybe Disneyland can work in a plan to modify their trough system to use the same double-wide boats that WDW uses, that would be great as well...)
???? - New Tomorrowland Attraction - Rumor - (10/1/19) Ever since Stitch’s Great Escape was fast-tracked for retirement there have been several rumors claiming that Imagineering was working on possible replacement ideas. The rumor that got the most traction was for a rumored attraction concept that might have used VR gear to bring the world and characters of the Wreck-It Ralph to virtual life. While people still pine for this concept to this day, it was not to be… though I was sent an interesting new message today claiming that another new concept for the empty space may now be in development.
With that in mind, we have to ask if anyone out there has heard any new rumors about what could take over this space. As for Wreck-It Ralph… I still believe that Disney has already missed their best opportunity by failing to transform the Tomorrowland Speedway into a Sugar Rush themed race-course.