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November 22, 2013

Rumor Roundup Part 1

Greetings Theme World friends. I hope you all enjoyed Theme Park week on the Local 6 Morning News.
It's been a while since I've posted one of these: a peek into the future of our parks. As with the original rumour roundup I posted  back in January, I'll run down some of the hottest rumors -- and give you some perspective on what we can REALLY expect.

The first rumor is the newest -- and in many ways the biggest. It popped up at this weeks IAAPA theme park convention at the Orange County Convention Center.

polercoaster

That's the Poler Coaster -- which Windermere-based US Thrill Rides says is coming to Florida -- with ground breaking next year. The manufacturer says it will be 520-feet tall -- featuring an observation tower and restaurant at the top -- and  a roller coaster winding in and around the supports. US Thrill says they have a contract signed. We'll see.

As we move over to Disney -- an update on a rumor from my original rumor roundup: Morocco is not only getting a lagoon-side restaurant it is almost ready to open.
spice
Disney released this concept art of Spice Road Table recently on its official blog. I'm surprised they didn't post photos, as it appears to be almost done o n the outside.
Look for Mediterranean Tapas plates and pricey drinks with 120 outdoor terrace seats (perfect for Illuminations)  the inside will seat 60 in booths.

Also at Epcot -- Queen Elsa and her sister Princess Anna are already greeting guests in the Norway pavilion.

frozen

Who are they?? The heroines from the new Disney film Frozen -- and they are already proving popular with guests. The latest rumor floating out there claims the ladies will move to their own princess meet and greet pavilion between Norway and Mexico Showcase.  Disney long-ago turned Norway's marvelous Akershus restaurant into a popular princess character dining experience, and the new princess meet and greet at the Magic Kingdom is also extremely popular. I give this rumor a very strong chance of happening.

The BIG EpRumor floating out there -- sparked first by WDWMagic.com forum-poster WDW1974 -- is that Epcot's Fantasyland -- the Imagination! Pavilion will close down next year, including Captain EO and the Journey Into Your Imagination With Figment ride.

figment
WDW974 has a tremendously strong track record and has good sources. Originally, he says,  it was due to close early in January. Other reliable sources on WDWMagic say it will close sometime next year, but the date is TBA. Why close Imagination!? Well, Kodak dropped its sponsorship, and, in the EpPast, Disney used that as an excuse to shut down Horizons (eventually bulldozed for Mission: Space) and Wonders of Life (now the Festival Center for Food & Wine & Flower & Garden).   I've put feelers out to my sources, and  have heard mixed things back from them about Imagination's fate. Some, like WDW1974 claim it would be closed as a way to save costs. Others say there ARE plans to do a large-scale makeover on the pavilion and make it something worth your time again, but those plans don't have a budget yet.  Meanwhile, someone I know in park operations says Imagination! may not close at all -- that they need the ride to absorb crowds due to changes caused by MyMagic+ and its FastPass+.

So what's REALLY happening with Imagination!? Reply hazy, ask again later. I should hear more soon. If I was a betting man,  Captain EO fans may want to see it again really soon to say goodbye.
eo

Look for more rumors Monday from both Disney & Universal.

Keep your emails, questions, tips and comments coming! I always appreciate the feedback.

You can always find all of my blog entries at www.clickorlando.com/themeparks