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The 5 hottest rumors about new Disney theme park attractions

Star Wars speeder bike

Disney's Imagineers are constantly working on new concepts for rides and attractions at the company's theme parks. At any one time, there are dozens of attractions rumored to be in development, leading to much excitement among fans. Inevitably, not all of these eventually become a reality. Some are dropped altogether, while others are parked only to be revived in the future.

2014 will see the debut of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster at Disney's Magic Kingdom, while Disneyland's Tomorrowland is in line for a facelift. Further into the future, Pandora - The World of Avatar will make its debut at Disney's Animal Kingdom in 2017. But what might the Imagineers come up with next?

Below, we've rounded up 5 of the most intriguing current rumors about new rides for Disney's theme parks. From classic dark rides to high-tech thrill rides, they could potentially offer a range of vastly different experiences.

5. A Frozen boat ride for Epcot's Norway Pavilion

Maelstrom

Could Maelstrom be set for a Frozen makeover?
Image: Stuart Newsom, Flickr

Disney's latest animated movie, Frozen, has proven to be a huge success at the box office, inevitably leading to rumors of a theme park tie-in. Long-time Disney commentator Jim Hill claimed on the Touring Plans podcast that the Imagineers are working hard on a plan to convert the Maelstrom ride in Epcot's Norway Pavilion into an attraction based on the movie (the look of which was inspired by real-world Norway).

Maelstrom is one of few rides in the World Showcase area of Epcot. The forward/backward flume ride sends guests in Norse viking ships on a cruise through a troll-inhabited swamp, past Nordic polar bears, and into the oil refinement industry of present-day Norway before culminating in a short film on the region's contributions to technology.

Reusing the Maelstrom ride system and Norway building would save a huge amount of money in the development of the attraction, so this rumor is certainly plausible.

4. A Star Wars Land for Disney's Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Land

With a Florida version of Disney California Adventure's Cars Land now seemingly parked or on the scrapheap, a Star Wars Land is by far the most likely candidate for a new addition to Disney's Hollywood Studios in the near future - particularly now that Disney plans to release a new movie in the franchise every two years from 2015. Rumors 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 - possibly a clone of another in-development attraction for Disneyland (see #1 below!).

3. A Frozen dark ride for Epcot and Disneyland

While a Frozen boat ride is supposedly in development for Epcot, another option is also rumored to be under consideration for the park (and for Disneyland, too). This would see a trackless dark ride (similar in style to the soon-to-open Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy at Walt Disney Studios, Paris) installed, at a much higher cost when compared to the rumor Maelstrom makeover.

Frozen snow monster

Image © Disney

The rumors suggest that the ride would be themed as a sleigh ride across a frozen, wilderness landscape. That could mean scenes involving Elsa transforming objects into ice, as well as an enormous animatronic snow monster.

2. A unique Pirates of the Caribbean for Shanghai Disneyland

Floating Omnimover

Shanghai Disneyland's version of Pirates of the Caribbean (due to open in 2015) will not be a mere clone of the Disneyland original. Instead, it will be based on the movies inspired by that attraction, and is expected to use completely different technology.

There are two rumors circulating at present about the nature of the ride. One is that it will be a revival of a concept for Hong Kong Disneyland that was never built, and will feature a Splash Mountain-style drop. The other is that it will make use of Disney's newly-patented "floating Omnimover" ride system - effectively, a floating version of the system employed by the Haunted Mansion and other classic dark rides.

We'll have to wait and see - but this promises to be one of the most original and exciting attractions at the Chinese park.

1. A Star Wars "speeder bike" coaster for Disneyland

Star Wars Speeder Bike

There are strong rumors that a major Star Wars-themed makeover for Disneyland's Tomorrowland is in the works, largely emanating from MiceChat. The first phase would be a light "overlay" for the land, possibily including a walkthrough Millennium Falcon attraction to replace the defunct PeopleMover/ Rocket Rods.

More exciting are reports that a thrill ride themed around a speeder bike chase across the Ewok's planet of Endor will be installed in the land. This would be located outdoors - unlike the similar-sounding Tron Lightcycle Power Run that is expected to be one of Shanghai Disneyland's headline rides.

What are you hoping for most?

Which of the rumored Disney attractions above would you most like to see become a reality? Let us know in the comments section below!

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