Walt Disney World
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(7/21/19) Disney Denies Tesla Deal (MORE...)
(7/17/19) Digging Deeper Into the Tesla Sponsorship Rumor (MORE...)
(7/16/19) Would Tesla Sponsor the Tomrrowland Speedway? (MORE...)
(7/12/19) Tron Construction Update (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Walt Disney World Railroad - NOW CLOSED through TBD due to Tron Construction
Park News - (7/21/19) The story about Tesla and Disney has taken another step this week, as once again Walt Disney World has come forward via their WDWToday Twitter account to deny this rumor. Of course, as I suggested, this is not only not a done deal in any way, shape, or form, but if it was, Walt Disney World would be in violation of their existing sponsorship contract with General Motors. So of course they will deny it loud and clear… at least until the GM deal expires and the field is open for a new sponsor.
This is why I suggested that the whole “leak” of the story could have been on purpose as part of some kind of negotiation tactic between GM and Disney over a renewal of their sponsorship. Always best to negotiate from a position of power, and letting GM know that Tesla could be waiting in the next room to sign their own deal if GM balks is a pretty good incentive.
(7/17/19) Some interesting things have come up regarding that rumored Tesla sponsorship of the Tomorrowland Speedway. For starters, I’m told that signing Tesla to a sponsorship deal with Walt Disney World would put Disney in violation of the terms of their existing sponsorship deal with General Motors. In addition to being the sponsor for Test Track at Epcot, GM has a resort wide deal as the official vehicle company for the entire resort. Even the new Minnie Van service Disney primarily uses Chevy Traverse and Surburban SUVs.
Now does this mean that Disney isn’t in talks with Tesla?
Not so fast… I didn’t say that at all. In fact, giving the timing, it is very likely Disney may be in talks with Tesla and anyone else interested, including other vehicle sponsors in use at the other Disney resorts world-wide. For example Honda is the current sponsor of the Autopia at Disneyland in California as of 2016, the Autopia in Paris is sponsored by Ford and before it closed in 2016, Honda was also the sponsor of the Autopia in Hong Kong. The key here is the timing… as Disney sponsorship deals are almost always signed for 10-year terms, and Test Track first opened with GM as the sponsor in 1999, and since that deal was extended to the present day, that would mean that the GM sponsorship deal for Walt Disney World could be up for renewal this year.
As I said… these deals are typically in 10-year terms, but the timing of this current deal is said to be a little vague, because just when the 1999 to 2009 deal was up for renewal, General Motors was in a bad way (along with the rest of the US auto industry and much of the country). GM along with other members of the US auto industry were involved in a multi-year government bailout program, which saw GM forces to restructure, sell off or close-down some of their lower selling brands (RIP Saturn). Because of this GM was in no condition to sign a new 10-year sponsorship deal with Disney at the time, but rather than remove the GM products from the ride, it was said that Disney allowed their sponsorship deal to be put on hold for a time, as part of good-faith negotiations, along witih possibly allowing it to continue on a year-by-year basis for a couple of years.
This led to the 2012 announcement of a new deal with Disney and GM that led to the current “2.0” version of Test Track to come into being. Keeping all this is mind, we don’t know if the current GM deal is up for renewal NOW or in a couple of years. Either way, it can only help speed negotiations along if it were to conveniently “leak” out that Tesla is waiting in the wings for an opening.
(7/16/19) I’m not sure I buy this rumor yet, but the latest odd rumor going around claims that Tesla… yes, the ultra expensive all electric car company, is in talks with Walt Disney World about sponsoring the Tomorrowland Speedway. Of course, if this happens, you can count on the current fleet of gas powered cars to be tossed to the side in favor of all electric Tesla themed vehicles.
I admit, it would be a good theme for ‘Tomorrowland’ and finally bring the old Speedway attraction into the future… or at least the present. Time to wait and see if this happens in time for the 50th Anniversary.
(6/30/19) It’s time to clear up the rumor mill on a couple of rumors that I opted not to report at all here on Screamscape, as they didn't jive with information from my own sources. While Disney’s standard procedure is normally not to comment on rumors at all, twice in one week they made exceptions to wacky rumors being spread by WDWNT, claiming that both Country Bear Jamboree and the Enchanted Tiki Room were about to be closed in the near future.
In regards to the rumor that the Tiki Birds attraction would be transformed or modified to have a new Moana theme, the Disney Parks Blog replied: “We’re sorry that our fans are being fed incorrect information by unscrupulous sources. While “toucan” play at that game, we deal in facts here at the Disney Parks Blog. Although we won’t address every rumor, we want to set the record straight: there are no plans for our feathered friends to fly the coop any time soon. We’re constantly evolving our stories, but these birds will continue entertaining our guests at the Magic Kingdom Park just as they have done since 1971.”
As for the Country Bears, Disney confirmed they are, “not going into hibernation any time soon. In fact, we’re looking forward to celebrating its 50th anniversary on Oct. 1, 2021 at Walt Disney World Resort, with Henry, the Five Bear Rugs and the rest of the gang.”
Now to be completely fair here, I’ve heard tales on and off for years about pitches to close down or modify both of these attractions. They can both suffer from low attendance numbers and low rankings on the guest satisfaction surveys when compared to the big E-ticket rides and newer attractions, which will always put them in danger of being on the chopping block from time to time. However the same can also be said for a good number of the older park attractions, such as the Carousel of Progress or Swiss Family Treehouse… but that doesn't mean they are leaving us anytime soon. This is especially true just as the park is approaching a big milestone celebration such as the 50th Anniversary in 2021, when they will be focusing on celebrating all those attractions who are also turning 50.
(6/4/19) The Magic Kingdom will premier a brand new fireworks show this winter during the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party hard-ticket events. The show is called Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks and will feature many popular holiday songs. Look for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party to take place on select nights between Nov. 8 and Dec. 22, 2019.
(4/14/19) Blog Mickey reports that Disney has added an on-ride photo camera system into the Haunted Mansion. The cameras are hidden behind the portraits in one of the early hallways of the ride, and ironically, you’ll have your picture taken during an extra bright flash of lightning shortly after the Ghost Host warns everyone, “... no flash pictures please…”
(4/10/19) Disney is adding a new twist to their Disney After Hours separate ticket events at the Magic Kingdom on select nights from June 6 through Aug. 8th, by letting their Villain characters out to run the park. They are calling this “Disney Villains After Hours” and tickets will go online starting April 29th, though I’m told that the price is expected to increase compared to the non-Villains themed events.
The new Villain themed event will add a new Disney Villains stage show called Villains Unite the Night, the steam-punk Maleficent the Dragon will be let loose in the park, new villain inspired additions will be made to Pirates and Space Mountain and more.
(3/20/19) Long before the Leave a Legacy monoliths were added to the entrance plaza of Epcot, Walt Disney World’s first opportunity for guests to leave a personalized mark on the property came in the form of Disney’s Walk Around the World bricks which cover the pathways in front of The Magic Kingdom, along with some more over at the TTC. According to the latest statement from Disney, these bricks will soon be “retired” as the various pathways are improved and reconfigued over the upcoming months. Unfortunately there will not be an opportunity for anyone to salvage their bricks, as they were “not designed to be removed individually”. Instead guests who sponsored a brick will be given the opportunity to purchase a commemorative version of their brick between now and August 31, 2019… or while supplies last. For instructions on what to do if you are interested, click here. The price before shipping is said to be $10.
For anyone who never got a chance to buy one back in the day, you too can have a custom commemorative brick created to have at home for $29.99. Follow the same link for details on where it can be bought at the parks right now, or watch for them to go on sale at shopDisney.com later this Spring.
2019 - Mickey & Minnie's Surprise Celebration - (9/24/18) Walt Disney World has announced a number of new and limited-time experiences coming to their parks in 2019. At the Magic Kingdom this will involve Mickey & Minnie's Surprise Celebration (a new music/dance production), along with the "Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party" starting Jan. 18th. Meanwhile you can also expect some secret "Limited-Time Magic" events throughout the year.
2021 - Tron Light Cycle Coaster / Tomorrowland Update - (7/12/19) Some fantastic aerial footage of the Tron coaster under construction was posted by a local news station. You can see the track for the double sided loading station has been installed, and while the launch track is not in place yet, you can see the footers in place for the outdoor portion of the ride following the launch, before the LightCycles venture back into the attraction show building.
(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.
(6/4/19) Just the other day we saw a giant batch of black steel supports up on the Tron coaster site at the Magic Kingdom, but you wont believe what it looks like now. Seriously… the site is jam packed full of supports and huge sections of complete track. It’s hard to believe just how fast this coaster is rising now. Check out the video below from Midway Mayhem along with a look at a new odd bit of construction taking place in front of the Magic Kingdom near the bus stops.
(5/22/19) Good news for Tomorrowland fans, as the Tomorrowland Speedway is now open once again. A good assortment of photos of the reopened attraction have been posted to MouseSteps this week.
Then be sure to check out their new collection of Tron coaster construction photos as well.
(5/6/19) A few pictures showing off a collection of the first large black coaster supports now installed for the Tron coaster at the Magic Kingdom can be seen at WDWNT this week. If we assume that the layout here is the same as the one in Shanghai Disneyland, then I’ve also got a graphic showing off the basic layout of the coaster for you as well.
(4/27/19) MouseSteps drops into the Magic Kingdom this week to check out the construction on the new Tron coaster and the impact to the nearby Tomorrowland Speedway attraction.
(4/24/19) Disney & More has posted a great update with a number of new photos of the Tron construction site in Tomorrowland. Still not a lot of vertical construction to see as they are still working on all the groundwork and foundation for the new attraction.
(3/19/19) We can look forward to seeing the steel of the Tron coaster at the Magic Kingdom soon begin to rise. According to a posting at the Disney Parks Blog, Cast Members were invited to sign their names on one of the first steel supports for the ride that has arrived on property.
(1/11/19) New photos posted to WDWNT show that a big section of the Tomorrowland Speedway has now been torn out to make way for construction on the new Tron Lightcycle coaster project. Don’t worry, the Speedway will return eventually… though personally I think they should have taken the opportunity to totally vamp the Speedway into a Sugar Rush themed race ride from the Wreck It Ralph films. The two attractions would have fit in nicely next to each other I think.
(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?
???? - Haunted Mansion Hotel - Rumored Proposal - (7/14/17) While nothing has been officially set in stone regarding the building of a Star Wars themed hotel in Walt Disney World outside the Studios park, a brief conversation about it resulted in another fascinating bit of information. Towards the end of my article about the Star Wars Hotel I recalled a bit of information about how Disney had previously pitched another resort concept years before that would have been themed to the Haunted Mansion. If you haven't read that story yet, you might want to go read it first and come back.
A little birdie has told me that Disney uncovered and went over those old Haunted Mansion Hotel plans while they were working on the Star Wars Hotel proposal and if the Star Wars Hotel gets approved and turns out to be a big hit, Disney is now eyeballing some land behind the Haunted Mansion itself where they could actually build an on-site hotel in the future. While there isn't a ton of room back there right now, they were apparently inspired by the reshaping of the Rivers of America project at Disneyland that helped reclaim some land for their Star Wars Land by shortening the river. If they opt to go ahead with a Haunted themed hotel experience, they will likely do the same thing to the Magic Kingdom at some point in the future in order to increase the amount of land available for park use.