It's the latest planned makeover for an area that's had more facelifts than Heidi Montag (for readers under 40) or Joan Rivers (for those over). What we didn't have last month was a timeline, which Disney provided today: Construction starts in April and completion's slated for 2016. So let's start taking bets. Which do we see finished first: Disney Springs or Avatar?
Disney's Hollywood Studios -- Disney's released the logo for this year's Star Wars Weekends, which honors the 30th anniversary of the release of "Return of the Jedi." Disney's also announced a couple of celebrity appearances for this year's events, including the return of Ray Park (Darth Maul) and lead Ewok Warwick Davis, who brings together the worlds of "Star Wars" and "Harry Potter" the way President Obama mashes up The Force with Vulcan telepathy.
Disneyland -- While you east coast theme park fans get to enjoy yet another series of Star Wars weekends, the Disneyland Resort is offering us on the west coast… a tribute to Greece? May 25-27, Disneyland and California Adventure will host special Greek-themed entertainment and food booths. The events will run in the Small World plaza in Disneyland and in Paradise Garden at DCA. Details to come.
Tokyo Disneyland -- Wrapping up the Disney news, Tokyo Disneyland is promoting the upcoming revamp of its Star Tours ride into Version 2.0 with an awesome video clip of the Empire invading Japan.
Which is cool until you realize, hey, wait a minute, isn't Japan already officially run by… an emperor? What's going on here?!?
Update:Universal Studios Japan announced today that is will be running a train on its Hollywood Dream - The Ride roller coaster backward, starting March 15- July 7. No word on whether the music played on the coaster will run backward, too.
This week's installment shows how SeaWorld is making all the ice that will be displayed in its Antarctica attraction. In fact, the ride will become the second largest source of ice in the Orlando area, trailing only the bars serving Disney cast members on the night of their weekly payday.
I am excited for Disney Springs. The current incarnation of DTD leaves a lot to be desired, and the plans for the redo look great so far. The key will be the shops, restaurants, and unique attractions that flesh out the area. Can't wait to hear more about them.
I know this part of my comment is just wishful thinking, but I would love for Disney to move both One Man's Dream and Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress to the Disney Springs area. For a reasonable up charge, folks could visit these classics in a more appropriate setting, and their footprints in the parks could be used for some innovative, new attractions. Plus the up charge could be used to maintain and improve the attractions on a regular basis. Just a thought.
^I hope you're right, TH. I am not ashamed to say I think Avatar/Pandora is an amazing idea for Animal Kingdom. That expansion can't get here soon enough. I hope Disney ignores their whiny, "Never change" fans and does what it does best: create immersive and enjoyable environments that make whiny fans eat crow.
I'm still excited for Avatar. Was it the best movie? No, but I thought it was pretty good, even if the story has been used a bunch of times. Avatar just screams theme park, and Disney can do something amazing with this. I just want them to start construction SOON.
Published: March 14, 2013 at 8:18 PM
Disney Springs looks like the outlet mall behind my house. My eyes are hurting from the concept art. I can't imagine what the real thing will do. I really miss the glitz of PI. Hyperion Wharf looked like a step in the right direction.
Published: March 14, 2013 at 11:10 PM
Avatar sucks sorry. There are so many interesting fictional planets in Star Wars, Star trek and other franchises. Avatar was just a giant ILM exposition with the most basic of plots and characters. ILMs stunning 3D presentation was the only reason why avatar was such a success. Beastly kingdom was far more interesting and well suited to AK then avatar. If anything avatar belongs in DHS not AK any more than Oz or John Carter belongs in AK. And how much will this DD Makeover cost? They didn't have money for a decent beauty and the beast attraction or for beastly kingdom but they have money for a shopping mall?
Would be nice if some elements of P.I. returned. I really had a blast every time I went there. City Walk owns DTD in this respect. In the very least, if Disney wanted to make a huge crowd pleasing splash with this announcement, they could have announced that the Adventurer's club would be making a triumphant return as part of the Disney Springs project. It always amazes me at times how Disney can be so on the money, and so off the mark all at the same time.
Count me in for one of the few looking forward to Avatar as well. The way the bar has been raised the last few years for whole themed lands being built, coupled with all of the next gen tech being incorporated into attractions on almost a daily basis, Avatar/Pandora could prove to be one of the most immersive, beautiful and fully realized lands ever to be built. Fingers crossed Disney knocks it out of the park, and gives AK a much needed raise in attendance and overall profile.
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