Theme Park Rumors

Back in November, Bob Chapek, the Disney Parks Chairman, announced that Epcot will be getting a "major transformation" that will be making the park "more Disney, timeless, relevant, family-friendly" while also keeping the original vision alive. He told his team of Imagineers to "dream big" when thinking of ideas. As many blue sky bloggers have been openly wishing for for years, we may actually see Epcot be fixed in our lifetimes. Rumors have the budget for this park-wide update to be something like $300-400 million, with a large part going towards Future World in particular.

Future World is in a strange place right now. Rides that were originally informative have become thrilling. Buildings that were meant to show off technologies of the future have become business sponsored expo halls and character meet and greets. The Health Pavilion is rotting away, only being used a couple of times a year for festivals. And Universe of Energy wins the award for most awkward ride re-skinning of all time, forever trapped in 1996, and featuring an outdated 1970s view of dinosaurs.

Last September "The Sum of All Thrills" closed at Innoventions, the last fun thing left to do in that building. Innoventions West is permanently closed already, and East has only two small exhibits remaining. It's only a matter of time before they close as well and the original CommuniCore buildings are completely gutted to make room for something, who knows what. Check out the video and photo report below for the current state of things as well as some of the many rumors floating around the Disney-sphere about what we might see materialize in the near future at the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.

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00858.MTS.Still034The Secret Life of Pets hit the ground running at theaters this weekend, raking in more than a hundred million dollars. Earlier this week the Pets got their own store in Toon Lagoon at Universal's Islands of Adventure. The Rocky & Bullwinkle themed 'Wossamotta U' store is now completely filled to the brim with Pets merch. There you can find countless plush toys, shirts, cups, mugs, books and more.

00858.MTS.Still010There's been talk of the Pets getting their own ride in Hollywood, and maybe in Orlando, but only if the film performs well. Given the success it's having at the box office so far, I'd say there's a pretty good chance we'll be seeing them come to Orlando. The rumored location for a new Secret Life of Pets ride is the barely used amphitheater in Toon Lagoon. Only used for special events a couple of times a year, this theater could be torn down to make way for a completely new family friendly trackless dark ride. Rumors say the ride could feature set-pieces from the film including Katie's apartment, cat's alley, and the flushed pets lair in the sewer, all with animatronic characters. Check out the video and images below to see all the merch and the rumored ride location and stay tuned for more Pets news!

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the-secret-life-of-pets-56378a2078351NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke told analysts at an investor conference last week that Universal is working on an attraction based on the upcoming film, "The Secret Life of Pets". While there have been rumors of a family friendly dark ride featuring the characters from this upcoming film coming to both Universal Hollywood and Universal Orlando, this is the first time we have had any confirmation on the matter at all. Burke did not say which theme park or parks would feature the attraction, but if rumors prove true we could see this new attraction appear at both coast's parks before the end of the decade.

Burke did go on to say "We are doing -- we have started a Pets attraction even before the film comes out, which if the film doesn't do as well as I think, it will be painful. But I think it will do very well." The Secret Life of Pets comes to theaters July 8. It was produced by Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures, the same folks that brought us Despicable Me and Minions. I believe that SLoP, as I am calling it, will do wonderfully at the theaters, and like Despicable Me, will feature characters we'll be seeing plastered on every product imaginable for years to come.


Check out my recent park updates featuring new merchandise for The Secret Life of Pets that has shown up in Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. And stay tuned for the official announcement and more information about a SLoP ride (hopefully) coming soon!

BxbDx6jCYAIYGmlAs I have previously reported a new attraction is under construction at Universal Studios Japan in the Jurassic Park area. Rumors are starting to spread that this will in fact be a B&M flying coaster, similar to Manta at SeaWorld Orlando. The ride will open in 2016, but an official announcement has not yet been made. No word yet on whether or not the ride will take place within the aviary, but given the fact that pteranodons are pictured on the construction walls, there's a good chance that the ride will at least be themed after them, if not actually taking place in an aviary. Not only would a ride that creates the sensation of flying be a perfect fit for a pteranodon themed ride, but this will be a great tie-in to the smash hit film, Jurassic World. A key scene featured in the film depicts a large aviary where these flying reptiles escape and cause havoc. ...continue reading

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fj_orig1_croppedA couple months ago Screamscape reported that Universal Studios Japan will open a new coaster style ride in the Jurassic Park section of the park. Now Instagram user has posted a photo from Universal Japan of construction walls with the words "The Greatest Dinosaur Ride in the World, Coming in 2016!" I'm not sure if this will be the roller coaster Screamscape mentioned or something else entirely. They already have the River Adventure, so it can't be that. And I do notice there is a pteranodon pictured on the wall in question. Read more below.


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00005.MTS.Still002The hole in the ground behind the entrance to the old Triceratops Encounter at Islands of Adventure has gotten a lot bigger since my last update. And they've put up some bigger barricades to block it from guests. I'm still not entirely sure what could be going on here but rumors around the web are still pointing at some type of Raptor Meet & Greet, which could be very awesome indeed. Check out the video, plus snapshots of the area and further speculation below!

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photo(53)When I was at Islands of Adventure a couple of days ago I noticed a big hole in the queue near the entrance of the now defunct Triceratops Encounter at Jurassic Park. The hole was surrounded by caution tape. I managed to snap a couple quick pictures as I passed by (see below). Now rumors are flying around the Twittersphere about the possibility of a new attraction coming to the area, specifically one featuring Velociraptors! More info and pictures below.

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stateofidriveflyerAt The State Of I-Drive 2015 meeting yesterday evening presented by Rick Singh, the Orange County Property Appraiser, some information about Universal's new water park was released. An info-sheet containing information about upcoming projects for the I-Drive area available from shows not only the supposed name for Universal's water park, but also an opening date. Universal's Volcano Bay Water Park shows as opening Fall 2016!

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Since March of 2011 there have been rumors flying around that Universal Orlando was getting into the water park business. That was when they filed a trademark on the name Wondersea Island, with the description of use for "Entertainment services in the nature of water parks". Four years later, we're finally seeing some action beyond just a name, and it may be getting a new name to boot. Continue reading.

Proposed plans for Universal's new water park, known currently as Project 533

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P1020220While I was at Universal Studios Florida earlier this week I noticed that the pathway from Hollywood to the Springfield area was closed off. Cast members were redirecting guests through the Central Park pathway along the lagoon instead. Construction continues on the Garden of Allah Villas. It has been told to me that the two buildings are being connected and that's where the current construction seems to be focused. Construction pictures are below.

The latest word from Screamscape is that the inside of the buildings are being remodeled into series of conference and special event rooms. The rooms are being equipped with several monitors mounted to the walls. It doesn't seems as though anyone was right in guessing the area would be used as a Universal museum for the 25th anniversary or as a new entrance to E.T. Adventure. I'll keep posting in case of any new developments.

It also seems that Fieval’s Playland will close for a brief rehab from March 1 to March 12, 2015, so no hope of that area being rethemed or torn down any time soon. ...continue reading