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Rumor: Guardians of the Galaxy is Coming to Epcot

Guardians of the Galaxy Meet

A few months ago, there was a crazy rumor that the brain trust at Disney had decided to retheme one of its signature theme park attractions, The Tower of Terror.  Since its debut in 1994, the ride has tied in to the classic TV show, The Twilight Zone.  But in an effort to save a few bucks on an intellectual property Disney doesn’t own as well as promoting a property it does, management was seriously considering ditching the existing theme for Guardians of the Galaxy – the popular Marvel franchise which has nothing whatsoever to do with a haunted hotel.

WDW1974, the insider who posted the original rumor, has provided an update.  According to him, Orlando’s tower has been spared.  The one in Anaheim may still become the home of a talking tree and gun-totting raccoon.  But that’s a West Coast problem.  Sorry, Disneylanders.  That doesn’t mean Disney has given up on putting Star-Lord and Gamora in Orlando either.

Orlando management was never onboard with the idea of putting the Guardians in the Tower.  Is it because they get that Tower of Terror is a near-perfect work of theme park design?  Don’t kid yourself.  They didn’t want to spend the money on it.  It seems they eventually won the argument with the guys in Burbank due to capacity issues.

Hollywood Studios, the park that houses the Tower, is currently undergoing a massive overhaul with a great number of attractions shut down.  Despite what Disney marketing would like you to believe, those new Star Wars rides are still years from completion.  With its well-deserved reputation as a half-day park and many attractions closed due to construction, Hollywood Studios can’t have another attraction down.

When the initial rumor broke, a lot of fans suggested giving the nearby Rock’n’Rollercoaster a Guardians overlay.  The coaster – with its high speed launch and indoor track – seemed like a perfect fit for a space adventure.  And the current inhabitants, Aerosmith, are going to have to be replaced sooner or later.  So if you are looking for an existing attraction to put the Guardians in, Rock’n’Rollercoaster makes perfect sense.

But there’s still that capacity issue.  Hollywood Studios can’t afford to close anything else.  Since Disney is in a hurry to get the Guardians into their parks, they can’t or won’t wait for construction to be completed on the park where the characters would be the best fit.  And we all know that Disney doesn’t fast track projects because that costs more money and it looks better on spreadsheets when you spread out investments over multiple fiscal years.

With Hollywood Studios off the table, Disney is reportedly looking at Epcot.  Here’s what WDW1974 had to say: “I’ve heard two FW [Future World] locations (one that basically is not being utilized currently, the other a pavilion that is limping along and only open because Disney can’t close anything else).”

The location that isn’t currently being utilized is almost certainly the vacant Wonders of Life pavilion.  The one that is “limping along” could be Universe of Energy or Imagination.  It’s hard to say because really Future World itself is kind of limping along.

If the updated rumor is true, I’m torn.  On the one hand, the Guardians of the Galaxy are a bad fit for Epcot and Future World.  The movie takes place in the present albeit in outer space.  More importantly, it has nothing at all to do with the park’s mission statement.  But with the Frozen takeover of the Norway pavilion, that may be a lost cause.

On the upside, I am in favor of just about anything that reopens the Wonders of Life pavilion.  That prime real estate has sat empty for far too long.  Disney could open it up as the Bob Iger Pavilion and it would be better than nothing.  The Imagination Pavilion is in a sorry state.  The Magic Eye theater currently runs Pixar shorts.  A Guardians of the Galaxy 3-D movie would make as much sense as Captain Eo did.  I don’t know how you fit the Guardians into the Universe of Energy, but almost anything is an improvement over the dated “Ellen plays Jeopardy” story that currently plays out.

Let me be clear: I like Guardians of the Galaxy.  The first movie was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to the sequel.  I’m all for Disney finding a way to add them to the Orlando theme parks.  But they should do it in a way that makes sense.  Hollywood Studios is the best fit for the franchise.  That’s really where it belongs.  In an ideal world, they would design a new attraction and fit it into the current restructuring of the park.

But that’s not how modern Disney works.  Modern Disney sees that Frozen is popular and years after the movie becomes the highest-grossing animated feature of all times, squeezes Elsa and Olaf into an existing ride with low capacity in a park where cartoon characters make little sense.  Disney’s going to favor whatever plan is cheapest over the one that fits thematically.

With that in mind, I don’t hate the idea of putting Guardians in Future world.  I don’t love it, but I can live with the idea if the execution is good (the audio-animatronics in the Frozen ride are pretty amazing).  And let’s face facts, Epcot and Future World in particular need whatever they can get.

 

UPDATE: This rumor has been confirmed by another reliable insider.  marni1971 posted the following:

Now it’s out I can speak a bit more freely about it.

Say your goodbyes to Ellen. And the travelling theatre I’m afraid.

IF phase two is approved the whole corner will become a GotG based area.

So potentially, Guardians of the Galaxy could be taking up a sizable chunk of real estate in Future World.

UPDATE 2: More dribbles of info coming through. These rumors all come from very reliable sources, but remember that they reflect Disney’s current plans and plans can change. Here is the status of all the updates planned for Future World:

Energy is getting a GotG overhaul, green lit.
Wonders might get a GotG phase 2, not yet green lit..
Communicore (outside of Mouse Gear and Starbucks, possibly Club Cool) will be updated/overhauled, green lit.
Mission Space will get a refurb/update, green lit.
There are plans for Imagination, but not green lit.

===========================

According to marni, the plans for GotG include a ride and a show in Phase One. If Phase Two happens, it would mean the demolition of the empty Wonders of Life pavilion and the addition of a second ride.

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Posted on June 28, 2016, in Epcot, Hollywood Studios, theme parks, Walt Disney World and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. jeffthewildman

    EPCOT has gotten so far from its original purpose that a WTHH entry on it would be a great read.

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  2. UPDATE: This rumor has been confirmed by another reliable insider. marni1971 posted the following:

    Now it’s out I can speak a bit more freely about it.

    Say your goodbyes to Ellen. And the travelling theatre I’m afraid.

    IF phase two is approved the whole corner will become a GotG based area.

    So potentially, Guardians of the Galaxy could be taking up a sizable chunk of real estate in Future World.

    Like

    • Although the Energy pavilion absolutely needs some TLC, converting it to GotG could be disappointing. I had been holding out hope that the Frozen ride in the Norway pavilion would at least pay brief lip service to the wonders of Norway, but no such thing appears to have happened. That makes me believe that a GotG takeover of the Energy pavilion would simply mean that there no longer would be an energy pavilion – – just a new ride about GotG. >sigh<

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      • marnie claims to have actually seen plans for the upcoming Epcot updates and his track record is rock solid so I have no reason to doubt that is true. Here is what he said about the future of the park:

        I still have some hope. Yes, this is part of the new Epcot I was talking about. EPCOT Center is dead. It was killed by those who created it. No denying that. I see Futureworld becoming a futuristic Magic Kingdom. No castle. A more “tech” feel. Much in the vein of what Test Track 2 did to that pavilion. Out went the orange cones and in came blue neon.

        I’m hopeful not all the edutainment will go. But it certainly won’t get more academic. And I must stress this isn’t a complete, full makeover for half the park. There is more to come, yes, but not everything will change.

        With this appearing to be a certainty and Frozen in World Showcase, I think it’s time to give up on what Epcot was. Going forward, there will be little to differentiate it from the other parks. Sad, but there’s no changing that. I’ll take it over an Epcot that slowly rots away with no updates.

        Also worth mentioning that the Guardians may take over Wonders of Life as well. To me, this is just crazy to think about. How does that even work? marnie also indicated there are plans to update Mission:Space though that one will retain its current theme. No word on plans for Imagination. >sigh< indeed

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        • So…TWO GotG pavilions? When Inside Out would fit so well at Wonders of Life? (of course it would fit pretty well in the Imagination pavilion, too) I like the GotG movie a lot, but we sure don’t need more than one attraction themed after them.

          I’m not somebody who dislikes the characters in World Showcase. I just also want to also maintain the cultural qualities that each pavilion exemplifies. I’d love to see attractions added to those pavilions based on characters/movies that are actually set in those areas. (Alice in Wonderland in the UK, Pinocchio in Italy, Ratatouille in France, for example. Just bury them visually in the existing architecture and it looks like a win-win to my eyes. Of course I’d also love any attractions based on the countries without character or movie tie-ins. One suggestion that was apparently actually drawn up by imagineers was one in which the Imagination pavilion is leveled and rebuilt closer to the Land pavilion, making space for a log flume ride in the Canadian pavilion.

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        • Phase Two, if it is approved, would include Guardians taking over at least two pavilions. But we all know how Disney is with Phase Twos. They almost never get approved. So probably no real danger there. Typically the budget axe falls on Phase One and Phase Two is filed away for never. I do agree that while I like GotG a lot, they don’t need to occupy more than one pavilion.

          I’m not deadset against characters in World Showcase or Future World for that matter. Nemo made sense. Frozen a lot less so. I find country-appropriate meet and greets to be unobtrusive. But a full-fledged ride is iffy. If WS just becomes Fantasyland housed in the shells of the original pavilions, that’s a problem.

          You may already know that several pavilions in the World Showcase were intended to have rides that were never built. Italy was supposed to have a gondola ride. Japan was going to have a Mt. Fuji coaster. There was going to be a boat ride down the Rhine river in Germany. The space is still there for all of those things to happen. Disney has the plans. But they never pulled the trigger. See earlier comments on Phase Two.

          There’s also expansion pads for several additional countries that were never and probably will never be built unless some country decides to sponsor a pavilion. But the days of that sort of thing happening are probably over. After Epcot opened, everyone realized the World Showcase wasn’t boosting their tourism. Just Disney’s.

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        • daffystardust

          The eventual completion of New Fantasyland and the complete overhaul of Hollywood Studios, along with the changes that recently opened in Epcot leave some hope that the rest of the park won’t be left to languish forever. It’s just a matter of whether they will allow the imagineers to actually do their best work.

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        • I suppose it depends on your definition of allowing the Imagineers to do their best work. Frozen Ever After is the perfect example of this. The audio animatronics in that ride show what the Imagineers are capable of. They are stunning (when they work). But they were saddled with having to stuff a popular IP into an existing ride that was always too short and low-capacity. Not to mention the whole toons in the World Showcase issue. If FEA gets a passing grade, GotG probably will too.

          My main takeaways from this news are as follows:

          1. Yay, Epcot is getting some updates
          2. Boo, Epcot isn’t Epcot anymore

          One could argue Epcot hasn’t been Epcot in at least ten years and I would agree. But it has never been so far gone that someone couldn’t come in and bring the old mission back. After this, I think that line will be crossed.

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        • daffystardust

          While I agree with you that the technical stuff on the Frozen ride is excellent (animatronics, environments, etc), the writing is weak. It’s almost as if the people in charge of the project didn’t use any actual writers on it. If this is the quality of the scripts we can expect to see from the new imagineers, maybe their best isn’t good enough anyway.

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        • We’ll have to wait and see what Avatar brings.

          There has been so little from Disney over the last decade and what we have gotten has lacked ambition. What would you point to in the last 10 years that would represent the Imagineers at their best?

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        • daffystardust

          The first thing that springs to mind is the M.C. Escher-inspired room that was added to the Haunted Mansion in 2007. That is just one room, and there is no real script to go with it, but it was such a big improvement over what was there before and added a lot to the tone of the attraction and the transition to the hall of doors. It is one of the reasons I prefer the WDW Mansion to the one in Anaheim.

          As far as whole new attractions go? Nothing really since Expedition Everest and the Finding Nemo Musical in Animal Kingdom. Those each came in about 9 or 10 years ago.

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        • Right. And I’d hardly hold Disco Yeti up as a shining example of what Imagineering is capable of. When he worked, sure. But now, if that’s the best they can do, that’s a sad state of affairs. Also sad that we’re pointing to one room in an update that was done almost a decade ago as an example of Imagineering’s best work. (Which has to be offset by some of the other HM changes in recent years). There should be something solid we can point to and say “This is what modern day Imagineering is capable of.”

          What was their last home run? Tower of Terror?

          They can still do good work. There are parts of New Fantasyland that demonstrate that. But it’s been forever since they have been allowed to be really ambitious.

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        • daffystardust

          If the yeti actually worked then Everest would be a home run. What I’m hearing is that once Avatarland is open for a little while they might actually try to do something about the yeti. With another area and big attraction open maybe they could afford to close it down for long enough to fix it. Not sure if it can actually be fixed to work like it once did, but maybe it can be made to move a little more than it currently does, which would be a definite improvement.

          Mostly what we have right now are individual effects or moments that wow, but yeah whole attractions have tended to be only good. If you’re willing to include Disneyland then maybe Radiator Springs Racers is that best example of what modern Disney Imagineers can do.

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        • I have heard rumors that the yeti may become a priority after Avatar, but I think they are mostly wishful thinking. Disney will still have its hands full with all these new projects and the ride has continued as-is for nearly ten years. So not a big priority. I can say that I got to ride EE when the yeti worked and I considered it a homerun. I even bought a T-shirt afterwards. See, Disney. When you deliver the goods, I open my wallet. If it gets fixed, I’m sure it will have limited movement. But I’ll take a small improvement if we can get one.

          Radiator Springs Racers, from what I have seen and heard, is probably the best recent example of what Imagineering is capabale of in terms of rides at domestic parks. Outside of the US, you have a few contenders like Mystic Manor. At WDW, you start talking about individual effects at Enchanted Tales With Belle or the Be Our Guest Restaurant. To get a fully realized work of theme park design, you have to go to Disney’s competition in Orlando.

          Hopefully that changes going forward. I mean, this is progress of a kind, right? Disney’s building! They may be destroying the purity of Epcot with what they build, but at least they are putting in some new attractions. If they are well done, I’ll be sad for the loss of what Epcot used to be. But my sadness will be alleviated by quality attractions and I can live with that. Especially in light of the fact old Epcot was never coming back anyway.

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  3. More dribbles of info coming through. These rumors all come from very reliable sources, but remember that they reflect Disney’s current plans and plans can change. Here is the status of all the updates planned for Future World:

    Energy is getting a GotG overhaul, green lit.
    Wonders might get a GotG phase 2, not yet green lit..
    Communicore (outside of Mouse Gear and Starbucks, possibly Club Cool) will be updated/overhauled, green lit.
    Mission Space will get a refurb/update, green lit.
    There are plans for Imagination, but not green lit.

    ===========================

    According to marnie, the plans for GotG include a ride and a show in Phase One. If Phase Two happens, it would mean the demolition of the empty Wonders of Life pavilion and the addition of a second ride.

    Like

  4. I was at Disney World in March and stayed at the Yacht Club. My girlfriend and I spent a full day there plus two evenings. On top of that, I spent another half day there on my own because she was in a conference (the reason we went when we did). I think I did just about every ride or major activity (not counting things for young kids) except Ellen’s Energy Adventure. Heck, I was on Spaceship Earth something like 5 times and it was still more appealing to me than Ellen’s Adventure. I think because I just couldn’t find the least bit of interest in sitting around watching a dated 45 minute video about energy. I mean the Canada film is also old but it is short and the 360 degree screen is cool.

    So I guess my point is I fully agree that Guardians isn’t the right fit but anything would be better than Ellen.

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    • If you’re not a fan of DeGeneres, then the current Energy pavilion may not do it for you, but there are some pretty awesome dinosaur animatronics in this attraction. As long as it’s still open when I go back later this year I will definitely brave the length of Energy Adventure for what may be the last time.

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      • Supposedly it could close in September. So if you do get to see it, it will probably be at the end of the ride’s run.

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        • Oof! I may not make it in time. I’ll be in Epcot on October 1st. Oh well…

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        • Well, the rumormill could be off or Disney could delay closing it for a bit. You just never know. It’s not in peak condition, but I wouldn’t mind one last ride like I had with Maelstrom.

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      • I have no problem with Ellen, she can be quite funny. Its just that the bits and pieces of video I’ve seen from that attraction it looks pretty dated and looks like those old educational videos that try to be funny and teach you something, but aren’t that funny and I probably wouldn’t learn that much.

        It is similar to my issue with the Aerosmith roller coaster. Aerosmith is my favorite rock band of all time. I’ve been to four of their concerts in my life. But when I rode it for the first time back in March I was rolling my eyes at how dated it was.

        I’d be fine with Ellen’s Energy Adventure if they just did a new video. A company with its own studios that regularly puts out movies costing $100 million or more could afford to make a new version of it. I know they are too cheap to do that, but I think it would reinvigorate the attraction.

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        • I should add that the length of the ride is part of my problem with it. If this was a 10 minute ride (like the boat ride that goes through the greenhouse, or Spaceship Earth) I’d be happy to see it. But we couldn’t work up the enthusiasm to spend 45 minutes on it.

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        • You would think they could keep a lot of things more up to date, wouldn’t you?

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        • WDW got obsessed with celebrities for a while and although it may have made the place seem “hipper” in the short term, it negatively effected the lifespan of some of the attractions. Timekeeper, for example, is often cited as looking dated due to its inclusion of Boyz II Men. Also, famous people carry the possibility of scandal with them. I seriously doubt Disney would currently put people like Jeffrey Jones or Michael Richards into their attractions. Hopefully they’ve learned their lesson and will make more efforts to produce stuff without such obvious expiration dates. Of course that’s part of the problem with both Tomorrowland and Epcot. Technology advances quickly, making futurism an expensive topic for a theme park.

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        • I think Superstar Limo taught them a lesson. That was a trend during the Eisner years.

          It’s kind of weird now to see Brendan Fraser in Revenge of the Mummy acting like he’s still a movie star.

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        • Ha Ha! That’s true. It’s such a fun attraction that I hadn’t actually given that much thought. Younger guests might be wondering who the heck he is!

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        • Speaking of celebrity scandal, the American Adventure show has a part where they are showing a montage of people to make you feel patriotic. One of the most prominent shots is of Lance Armstrong riding his bike. I nearly laughed out loud both times I saw it.

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  5. If you’ve got some time on your hands, take a look at this very extensive video on the original Universe of Energy attraction. You will see why it was such an amazing achievement.The first twelve minutes or so detail how the pavilion was planned and explains the ride system. This last bit is my favorite part. You may need to pause the video here and there to read the captions which cycle through just a tiny bit quickly. At about the 13 minute mark video of the original attraction begins and you will see why it both enthralled visitors and tested their patience. I’m not exactly sure why the film at the end had to be so long, but thankfully the very catchy and energetic theme song kicks in as the attraction reaches its finish.

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    • By the way, “marni” who is referenced in this rumor is Martin who makes all these great videos about Epcot.

      There has been some additional clarification around the timeline. Looks like you shouldn’t have a problem getting in one last ride this Fall.

      The first time I saw Universe of Energy pre-Ellen, I was blown away by it. This was back in the late 80s. I saw the Ellen version in 2008. It was less impressive, but I like Ellen so I got a few chuckles out of it. If you have 45 minutes, there are worse ways to spend your time. We were sitting, it was air conditioned, my youngest got a much-needed nap. While 45 minutes is pushing things, I do miss longer attractions. I think it’s a shame that Disney keeps shaving time off the Country Bears and Tiki Birds. A 10-15 minute attraction is acceptable if it’s well-executed.

      Back in the good old days of MGM, the Hollywood Studios tour took half the day. That works for the right concept. MGM wasn’t about queuing up for ride after ride. Neither was Epcot Center. The old Epcot was more experiential. But an attraction like Universe of Energy doesn’t fit into the modern Epcot. It’s become more like all the other parks as rides have become the driving force.

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      • I wondered about that when I saw the name come up in the video.

        Because my only visit to the “original” Epcot (which, as it turns out, was actually in 1985) was with my younger cousin, patience was in short supply for some of the longer educational elements we were presented with. Absent this part of our experience, I may have been able to settle in and enjoy stuff like Universe of Energy more at the time, but I remember being glad to be out of there when it was done. The exciting middle portion of the attraction featuring lots of animatronic dinosaurs was a little too short for our tastes. Looking back now, I personally wish they had retained the two very tuneful songs that were originally part of the attraction when they added Ellen and the other stars of the ’90s.

        I do agree with you about the shrinking attraction times, though. I can be pretty patient if an attraction is well-written and energetic. I actually came out of the Finding Nemo show in Animal kingdom wishing I could see an expanded version. Meanwhile, the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train ride is at least 30 seconds shorter than what would be ideal. I don’t know if the plot of land they had to build on would have supported it, but another dark ride show scene would have gone a long way to making that attraction the “E-Ticket” it was promoted to be.

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        • Nemo: The Musical, as you know, tested my patience a bit in a theme park setting. On a cruise ship, I wouldn’t have minded a full show. My attitude probably had a lot to do with the amount of time we had allotted to be in Animal Kingdom on that day. 7 Dwarfs is a great example of a ride where one additional scene would have made a world of difference. I’ll throw in the Little Mermaid as another example of a recent attraction that feels incomplete.

          My first Epcot experience was Spring Break of 88 so I was 17 at the time. I had no idea what Epcot was when we arrived at the gate. My parents didn’t either, but they dropped us off and left for the Magic Kingdom, so they really wouldn’t have been much help even if they knew what Epcot was. It was a great way to experience the old Epcot Center. We were exploring with no idea what was next. After Universe of Energy which is up close to the front of the park, I was disappointed when we got through a pavilion too quickly.

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  6. I didn’t want to do a whole new post here, but marni is at it again. He has more or less confirmed that The Great Movie Ride will be closing once the TCM sponsorship runs out. Should be sometime around 2018. Ride it while you can.

    The GMR is one of a dying breed of what used to make WDI great. Larger than life scale, intricate theming, creative animatronics and effects, evolutionary ride system, surprises, story, length, capacity, a finale…. it goes on and on.

    The travesty here is then ride would still be fantastic if updated to modern standards. There’s nothing actually wrong with it. Like a lot of other places we could mention it was allowed to go stale and stagnate. It could again be the parks banner E ticket family attraction.

    We now have a company hell bent on overlays. The last five years (and moreso more recent) have seen a concerted effort to overlay and makeover as opposed to new, purpose built facilities. What used to be considered the norm, the bare minimum is now considered worthy of huge celebration. Not so long ago the park would have gotten a constantly refreshed GMR PLUS a new E Ticket on an expansion pad. And it’s not secret this park certainly needs more capacity. What’s currently planned will not address that. If anything it will be a net loss.

    Will the new ride be good? Yes. Will it be fun? Yes. Is it worthy of its location? That’s not my call. Is it worth removing the GMR for? I don’t think so.

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    • This does indeed make me very nervous. I will be riding the GMR on October 3rd.

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      • There have been several confirmations. I think you can take this one to the bank. Supposedly, it’s closing next year so the new attraction can be ready for 2019/2020.

        WDW1974 also threw in that the Guardians haven’t been completely ruled out for WDW’s TOT. That remains a possibility if they don’t greenlight the Universe of Energy redo.

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        • …and here I was thinking that was a done deal. I 100% hate the GotG overlay of ToT idea at DHS. I am still naive enough to believe that they can give us something worthwhile with GotG in Epcot.

          Is there any indication of what sort of thing is meant to replace the GMR?

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        • There’s not a lot of info. It’s new. Described as “an e-ticket” and “a fun ride”. Sounds like it fits into the family friendly category. The Chinese Theater facade may remain in place, but the building is being completely gutted. Other than that, not a lot to go one. The objection isn’t to the ride itself so much as the fact that the net impact of the DHS redo could actually be less capacity rather than more. Like the Fantasyland Expansion, we are likely to have a gain of one ride thanks to the modest additions of Toy Story Land. There is room to expand without replacing, but Disney doesn’t want to continue to pay the costs of maintaining and operating the GMR. So it’s toast.

          Here’s the detailed analysis WDW1974 gave on the wavering over Guardians:

          Plans for WDW’s ToT to be covered in the same horrendous overlay as will be happening in Anaheim that is. No, the project isn’t dead. Just like the GotG takeover isn’t a done deal for EPCOT yet. And, yes, I was one who agreed it was (but I didn’t break that news as I am sure others here who follow such things will attest).

          As near as I can tell, the folks working on the EPCOT GotG project are looking for a fan push to help them figuring (sadly, likely correctly) that there is no love lost for Ellen’s mid-90s bastardization of the Universe of Energy. And that folks are far less likely to complain about killing one last remnant of EPCOT Center versus destroying about the only thing still worth visiting The Corpse of The Disney-MGM Studios for.

          So … what happened? Well, despite all the online chatter from folks who claim to have sources (but largely are repeating what they read on the Tweeter or simply feeding their flocks information that is coming directly from Disney’s –UNI too! –publicity machine, WDW’s Tower makeover was still happening as we got into June. Then, George K showed some testicular fortitude and actually stood up to Disney P&R Head Bob ‘Chappie’ Chapek. He told the bald wonder at selling Thor hammers and Captain America tees that WDW simply couldn’t afford to lose any more capacity at a park that really has nothing at all to do, yet somehow still charges over $100 a day.

          As a friend in a position to know picks up our tale, “George K. successfully pleaded to Chapek that DHS and WDW overall couldn’t spare to lose a headliner E Ticket long-term before Avatar and Toy Story Land opens. As a point of reference, DCA has 22 different rides that have a combined capacity of 18,100 riders per hour, plus five theater attractions and a few walk-thru exhibits that have a combined capacity of 4,100 visitors per hour, and the four daily Frozen shows in the 2,000 seat Hyperion Theater that packs in 8,000 per day. DCA also has a daily parade and one or two World of Colors per night. DHS has only 5 rides, and even after the expansion of Midway Mania with a third track, those five rides now have a combined capacity of 8,400 riders per hour, plus a half dozen theater attractions and some walk-thrus that can get 3,600 visitors per hour when the staggered show times are smoothed out over a 12 hour operating day, no parade, and Fantasmic!.

          That gives DCA a combined ride/theater capacity of 22,900 people per hour, plus a daily parade and World of Color. While DHS has a combined ride/theater capacity of 12,000 people per hour, no parade, but Fantasmic!.

          Those sad DHS numbers were used by George K. to help convince Chapek that they can’t spare closing Tower for an extended refurb until at least after Avatar and Toy Story Land both open. Chapek relented, but he loves the numbers and results coming out of the Anaheim operation and he can’t understand why WDW can’t be more like DLR. Chapek is also salivating at the future growth potential for Anaheim after he helped greenlight additional big budget DLR park expansion beyond Star Wars recently with the Board of Directors.”

          So, that is why Tower is “saved” at WDW. For however long remains to be seen. If the EPCOT project gets the green light, then it will likely be for many years to come. If not however … change is still on the table.

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