No fewer than three new lands are rumored to be in the pipeline for Walt Disney World's theme parks - but which of the reports are most likely to be accurate?
Walt Disney World finally broke its long silence over the planned Pandora - World of Avatar last week, revealing some stunning concept art and initial details of two major attractions that will feature in the new area of Disney's Animal Kingdom. With rival Universal Orlando continuing to invest hundreds of millions of dollars on new Harry Potter attractions, however, Disney knows that it needs to do more.
It has been suggested that three new lands could be on their way to Disney's Florida resort over the coming years, on top of Pandora. Here's a quick rundown of what those lands could be based on, as well an assessment of whether they are truly likely to see the light of day.
Lord of the Rings Land
It has long been speculated that Disney or Universal will seek to acquire the rights to build theme park rides based on the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit films. Most recently, major news outlets were reporting just last week that Disney is close to finalising a deal with Warner Bros. (who, incidentally, sold the Harry Potter rights to Universal).
Disney's Hollywood Studios is said to be the potential home for the Lord of the Rings area. Certainly, the park is in need of a major new land, given the horrendous queue times associated with some of its leading attractions (particularly Toy Story Midway Mania).
Real or bogus? It does seem likely that both Universal and Disney have considered doing a deal around Lord of the Rings. There's no solid evidence for the current rumors, though - and Jim Hill claims that Imagineering insiders have told him that they are completely false.
Star Wars Land
Rumors of an area dedicated to Star Wars at Disney's Hollywood Studios have been circulating ever since Disney acquired Lucasfilm back in October 2012. With a series of new movies in the pipeline, it's a near-certainty that Disney is working on new attractions based on the franchise. Disney's Hollywood Studios would be their natural home, given that it already hosts Star Tours: The Adventures Continue.
Screamscape suggests that the land will be built in two phases. The first would potentially feature a Mos Eisley Cantina-themed restaurant, an enhanced Jedi Academy show and a basic children's ride. The second would boast a more ambitious E-Ticket attraction.
Real or bogus? It is widely believed that the Star Wars Land project is real, and being worked on under the codename "Project Orange Harvest".
Cars Land has proven to be a massive hit at Disney California Adventure since its 2012 debut, with its headline ride - Radiator Springs Racers - cementing a spot in the top 20 theme park rides in the world according to Theme Park Tourist readers. Given the apparently urgent need for Disney to do something to take on Harry Potter, it was inevitable that rumors would surface about a clone of the land coming to Florida. The potential destination? You guessed it: Disney's Hollywood Studios.
The land would probably replace much of the existing Studio Backlot Tour, as well as the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show. It would be headlined by Radiator Springs Racers (despite the similarities to Epcot's Test Track), although this could potentially be housed indoors due to issues related to the Florida climate.
Real or bogus? There is no doubt that plans to bring Cars Land to Florida have been on the drawing board at Walt Disney Imagineering for some time. However, the latest reports suggest that they have been parked, possibly due to issues with the heat in Florida making it impossible to quickly replicate the Disney California Adventure version. For now, place your bets on Star Wars Land opening ahead of Cars Land - if Cars Land opens at all.
What would you like to see?
Of the three potential new lands above, what you most like to see added to Disney's Hollywood Studios? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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