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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Magic Kingdom Journey Refurbishment Rumors


Journey refurbishments are rumored for a few Magic Kingdom’s hottest points of interest, and will begin later this yr and final by means of 2025. Listed here are the most recent rumblings on these potential closures–none of which have been confirmed by Walt Disney World–together with our hypothesis about what they could entail, timing for the downtime, and extra.

Let’s begin with Peter Pan’s Flight, which isn’t actually a rumor in any respect. Walt Disney Imagineering has filed a really-for-real building allow for the set up of set items at Peter Pan’s Flight in Magic Kingdom, itemizing InterAmerica Stage, Inc. as contractor. The work has the default expiration date of 1 yr, which isn’t notably noteworthy (it’s when the expiration is shorter or longer).

InterAmerica Stage is a frequent collaborator with Imagineering on new and refreshed points of interest and reveals. Just lately, this contains work on Spaceship Earth and, at the moment, the reimagining of Nation Bear Jamboree into Nation Bear Musical Jamboree. The allow doesn’t specify the scope of labor past the obscure and generic (and continuously used) “set up set parts.” Nevertheless, this and the allow coming from Imagineering means that the venture will entail new or reimagined present scenes, or probably new results.

We’ve got been important of Peter Pan’s Flight. It was probably the most controversial choose on our Record of 10 Sights That Have Aged Poorly at Walt Disney World. So it ought to go with out saying that I’m totally on board with this venture. In truth, I hope Peter Pan’s Flight has a multi-month closure to breathe new life into the attraction.

After using the variations at Disneyland in California and Tokyo Disneyland this month, I’m very able to see updates to the Magic Kingdom incarnation. I’d love among the results from the Shanghai Disneyland model, which is the perfect of the bunch. Nevertheless it’s additionally model new, whereas each the Anaheim and Tokyo variations are the identical basic model as Magic Kingdom–and have seen enhancements lately.

If I recall accurately, there have been really rumors round 2019 that Peter Pan’s Flight could be one of many basic Magic Kingdom points of interest to obtain updates forward of Walt Disney World’s fiftieth Anniversary. Supposedly, the plan was just like refreshes at Disneyland forward of that park’s sixtieth Anniversary, the place Peter Pan’s Flight closed for over 5 months in 2015. However then March 2020 occurred and all of these plans for Walt Disney World’s fiftieth had been deserted. (…Or the can was kicked down the street to 2024?)

To be clear, I don’t wish to see Peter Pan’s Flight up to date as a result of I dislike it–I like it. This journey has enduring recognition and excessive wait occasions for a purpose. It’s a basic, and deserves to be handled as such with respect and loving updates to maintain it contemporary. Flying over the streets of London and Neverland is a timeless lightning-in-a-bottle expertise that ought to by no means go away.

As an alternative, Peter Pan’s Flight needs to be plussed with projection mapping and different lighting results–as has been executed in Anaheim, Paris, Shanghai, and Tokyo. Updating infrastructure so the flight is much less jerky and smoother would assist with suspension of disbelief. I may go on, however upgrades to the journey system aren’t inside the scope of this building allow, so there’s no level.

Extra realistically, the obvious change might be the elimination or replace of the Native Individuals scene in Peter Pan’s Flight. I don’t purport to be an skilled on this form of factor, however the depiction there does strike me as a little bit of a caricature (to place it charitably). With that mentioned, I additionally suppose it’d be a disgrace to lose Native Individuals within the attraction (that looks like the alternative of Disney’s objectives). Given her presence in Peter Pan’s By no means Land Journey, I assume Tiger Lily continues to be a suitable character. Having a brand new scene along with her could be cool.

If that does occur, I hope it isn’t the one change. Peter Pan’s Flight at Magic Kingdom has some nice results and options as in comparison with the opposite variations, but it surely hasn’t been modernized with new results to almost as nice of a level, both. There’s quite a lot of alternative and untapped potential to make it a journey that really justifies these triple-digit wait occasions.

Logistically, I’m curious as to how a Peter Pan’s Flight closure may work–particularly if it happens simultaneous with the following entry. My intestine says this is able to be a shorter closure–or a collection of them–even when it entails larger guest-facing modifications. I may see a state of affairs the place a Peter Pan’s Flight reimagining had been dealt with equally to Jungle Cruise or Haunted Mansion, with transient downtime for staging adopted by work after hours and/or with a number of scattered days of downtime. (They may even put scrims round varied present scenes and simply have them be lacking.)

That approach, individuals may plan across the Peter Pan’s Flight closure and it could have much less influence on holidays. There’s additionally the sensible actuality that Peter Pan’s Flight is an enormous driver of Genie+ gross sales at Magic Kingdom, and Disney in all probability doesn’t wish to take it out of fee for an prolonged interval and lose out on that. Then once more, possibly that’s a part of the rationale Tiana’s Bayou Journey is on Genie+ as an alternative of an Particular person Lightning Lane!

Subsequent up is a widely-reported rumor that Huge Thunder Mountain Railroad will quickly shut for an prolonged refurbishment, which is able to end result within the journey being down for greater than a yr. This isn’t but confirmed by Walt Disney World, nor have any building permits been filed to the perfect of our information.

We’ve tried to independently corroborate the rumored Huge Thunder Mountain Railroad closure, however have been unable to take action. Nevertheless, it’s being reported by a number of credible shops–and though we can’t communicate to the veracity of the rumors themselves, it’s one thing that passes the scent take a look at and appears believable to us.

Accordingly, we wish to deliver it to your consideration because it’s doubtless going to be a last-minute announcement if it does occur. And it might not! Nevertheless it’s a sufficiently high-profile attraction that this potential journey refurbishment ought to at the very least be in your radar. Simply bear in mind that nothing is concrete.

In accordance with wdwmagic, Huge Thunder Mountain Railroad may shut as quickly as September 2024. The Magic Kingdom coaster wants a major refurbishment involving substantial work on the journey system and retracking. This long-planned venture is considered as preventative work that’s essential to increase the helpful lifetime of the curler coaster, guaranteeing the journey’s longevity and operational standing for many years to return.

Whereas the journey has had a lot of winter-time closures for a number of weeks to over a month within the final a number of years, the final prolonged closure was in 2016 when Huge Thunder Mountain Railroad was down for 4 months within the late summer time and early fall. Previous to that, BTMRR had a number of closures in 2012 for in depth work, set up of the interactive queue, in addition to the Barnabas T. Bullion and Huge Thunder Mining Firm backstory.

Each model of Huge Thunder Mountain Railroad has had in depth closures lately–besides Magic Kingdom. Maybe most instructive is the BTMRR at Disneyland, which closed for a serious renovation in January 2013. This venture had the same scope as what’s rumored for Magic Kingdom, with new journey automobiles, monitor alternative, repainting the mountain, and likewise restoring the Rainbow Ridge Mining City.

That was initially scheduled to be accomplished by Fall 2013, but it surely wasn’t executed till March 2014. By the point Huge Thunder Mountain Railroad did reopen over a yr later, its return got here with a lot fanfare and new options–and a possible “blueprint” for different initiatives of this nature that we’re now probably seeing with Haunted Mansion and Fantasmic at Disneyland. Form of a quasi “Disney Vault” method to excite followers.

As famous above, I do know completely nothing about this potential venture, however I’d count on one thing comparable with the Magic Kingdom model of Huge Thunder Mountain Railroad. A closure that lasted 14 months roughly one decade in the past interprets to at the very least 18 months when adjusted for building timeline inflation. (A factor I made up, however you understand what I imply–and that it’s an actual phenomenon!)

There’s no approach Walt Disney World goes to shut Huge Thunder Mountain Railroad for between a yr and 18 months and never have something marketable to point out for it when the attraction returns. There’ll doubtless be new carry hill results, nighttime lighting, redone present scenes with Easter eggs and different historic tributes–one thing, something. Given the fee in money and time, I totally imagine they’ll make it rely and this received’t “simply” be a closure for invisible work that “solely” extends the lifetime of the curler coaster.

I additionally imagine there’s a robust risk that Past Huge Thunder will get revealed at D23 Expo, and a part of that entails extra modifications to this facet of the park. If that’s the case, the BTMRR refurbishment may be a reimagining that lays the groundwork for that growth, each thematically and infrastructure-wise.

With a closure that’s going to final at the very least a yr, timing doesn’t make an enormous distinction. In any case, it’s going to be down throughout each week and season, anyway. Not solely that, however Walt Disney World has proven a willingness to shut marquee points of interest at in style occasions of the yr. Look no additional than Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster throughout spring break (twice!), Tower of Terror throughout spring and summer time, and the upcoming Check Monitor closure from summer time by means of at the very least the vacation season.

However, it’s doubtless that the Huge Thunder Mountain Railroad venture received’t begin till Tiana’s Bayou Journey opens on June 28, 2024. That’s a part of the rumor, but it surely’s additionally form of apparent. Whereas one model of the rumor factors to BTMRR taking place in September, actually, I may see it closing earlier than then.

From my perspective, having each Huge Thunder and Tiana’s Bayou Journey open by means of at the very least mid-July to absorb the opening ‘season’ crowds for the brand new Frontierland headliner is smart. That will additionally give time for Nation Bear Musical Jamboree to open, which is now anticipated on the tail finish of summer time. (As I’ve mentioned earlier than, I wouldn’t be shocked if that slips to October 1, 2024.)

After the opening rush of Tiana’s Bayou Journey, it may also make sense to take BTMRR offline in order that refurbishment is completed earlier than October 2025. Summer season crowds usually begin winding down in direction of the tip of July and drop off a cliff in the beginning of August. If it is a year-plus closure, it makes extra sense to have BTMRR down for the months of August and September twice than it does the months of October by means of December. However after all, that assumes the venture is able to roll–and it will not be!

Oh and talking of Frontierland, we’re additionally conscious of experiences that Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade is rumored to shut this summer time. I tried to corroborate these again final month when the story first broke, however had no success. Which is bizarre, as a result of the rumor is it’ll be the place the Disney Trip Membership lounge is situated, and if true, that ought to be one thing of an open secret.

For now, I even have purpose to imagine this one will not be credible. Which can also be bizarre, as a result of once I first heard the rumor, it struck me as so apparent. That DVC lounge must go someplace and Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade has managed to hold on for a couple of decade longer than I anticipated.

Personally, I’ll be unhappy to see it go (if it goes). I’ve childhood nostalgia for the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade and have executed it greater than ever in the previous few years because it went to free play. However I additionally perceive that it’s been on borrowed time for some time. It’ll be attention-grabbing to see what occurs there–no final result would shock me. I’m not satisfied that even Disney is aware of what it desires to do with Frontierland within the long-term at this level–nonetheless looks like a good quantity of uncertainty there.

In the end, it is best to take all of this with an enormous grain of salt as they’re all rumors and/or haven’t but been confirmed formally by Walt Disney World. (Imagineering has filed a allow for Peter Pan’s Flight, so one thing will occur, but it surely could possibly be one thing easy that happens completely in a single day and by no means ends in downtime. We doubt that given the involvement of a 3rd celebration, but it surely’s potential.)

The underside line is that it’s nonetheless believable that none of those initiatives materialize. Once more, we doubt it. If something, we’d count on extra reimaginings and refurbishments of this nature for a few causes. The primary is that there was quite a lot of deferred upkeep and proportionately fewer closures in the previous few years resulting from pent-up demand and finances cuts. So a number of points of interest are overdue for refurbishments and can in all probability get them later this yr or in 2025.

Second, the cash spigot is about to be turned on for Parks & Resorts, permitting for extra initiatives of this nature to (lastly!) occur. Positive, it’s not as thrilling as brand-new points of interest–and plenty of of chances are you’ll lament extra rides being closed throughout your trip–however refurbishments are very a lot a necessity for sustaining applicable attraction requirements and guaranteeing that breakdowns don’t proceed to occur at a extra frequent price. So right here’s hoping we see extra on this entrance!

Planning a Walt Disney World journey? Study motels on our Walt Disney World Lodges Evaluations web page. For the place to eat, learn our Walt Disney World Restaurant Evaluations. To economize on tickets or decide which kind to purchase, learn our Ideas for Saving Cash on Walt Disney World Tickets put up. Our What to Pack for Disney Journeys put up takes a novel have a look at intelligent objects to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Journey Guides will assist. For complete recommendation, the perfect place to begin is our Walt Disney World Journey Planning Information for every part it’s essential know!

YOUR THOUGHTS

What do you consider the opportunity of prolonged journey refurbishments/reimaginings of Peter Pan’s Flight and/or Huge Thunder Mountain Railroad? Hope these classics are up to date to make sure their longevity for many years to return? Do any points of interest at Walt Disney World strike you as being prime candidates for journey reimaginings? Do you agree or disagree with our decisions? Any questions we may also help you reply? Listening to your suggestions–even whenever you disagree with us–is each attention-grabbing to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas beneath within the feedback!

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