Rumors of a Disneyland remodel and more specifically, alterations to Tomorrowland to coincide with Star Wars: Episode VII have been swirling for months, but without anything more than vague hints from the decision makers at Disney, it’s been tough to separate the baseless speculation from the real possibilities. Fortunately, we may have finally gotten some real clarity this week.
The typically reliable MiceChat recently offered up a full update on Disneyland’s traffic numbers during the Christmas season (up!) and the park’s plans for the future. For those who like change, there’s apparently good news. Some of it is definitely coming, but it may not happen as quickly or be as drastic as Star Wars fans may have hoped. On the bright side, however, much of it may involve specific details from Episode VII, as the Disneyland crew recently was given a rundown on the plot and new characters that will be introduced to incorporate into their designs.
Apparently, the Tomorrowland remodel has been split into two phases (Disney loves phases now thanks to Marvel). The first phase will involve relatively simple cosmetic alterations. The Astro Orbitor, that giant eyesore little kid’s ride pictured above, will be ripped out, along with the deserted track from People Mover. The buildings will also all be redone to look like a giant space port. Then, down the road, phase two will involve scrapping Autopia and replacing it with a speeder bike ride, putting some kind of spaceship walk through on the People Mover track, installing a new Astro Orbitor closer to Space Mountain and more, all positioned in the backhalf of Tomorrowland.
At this point, the proposed alterations don’t have a clear start date, but phase one has reportedly been approved to begin at some point in the near future. If so, the work would likely create a few headaches for those trying to maneuver through Tomorrowland, but mercifully, the work will not affect anyone’s ability to ride either Star Tours or Buzz Lightyear’s Astroblasters, both of which are very popular with newbies and returning guests. If everything goes according to plan there, phase two will hopefully get the greenlight afterwards with an eye toward opening a year and a half or so after Episode VII hits theaters.
Operating a theme park is quite a challenge. Guests have their favorite rides and love certain things about how the park looks now, but at the same time, change is exactly what convinces a whole host of other people to come back. These proposed updates would cost fans Autopia and the current version of AstroOrbitor, but if it means introducing a slew of new rides, I’m a big thumbs up on that. Progress has to be made at some point. Despite losing some great rides, I think we can all agree it’s better Disneyland doesn’t look exactly as it did when it first opened back in July of ’55. Besides, Tomorrowland looks like a dated mess anyway.
Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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