12. Pizza Rizzo taking over Pizza Planet's former spot at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Opening in: Late 2016
While it was all but assumed up to this point that the refurbishment of the former Pizza Planet would bring a new theme to this quick service establishment that would fit in to the new(ish) Muppets Courtyard themed land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, WDWNT has cited an internal source as confirming that this dining location is indeed being re-themed to something Muppets-related. And those who know their Disney’s Hollywood Studios History will be very pleased to learn that Disney is revisiting an old idea for this park: Pizza Rizzo!
Though it isn’t exactly The Great Gonzo’s Pizza Pandemonium Parlor (which was the original theme for Mama Melrose’s and would have included an ambitious food delivery system that saw animatronic Muppet rats bringing food to guests’ tables), this still sounds like quite an exciting development, especially for Muppets fans who were concerned about the future of the franchise after ABC cancelled The Muppets TV show a few weeks ago.
While we still do not have an opening date available for this refurbished and re-themed dining experience, based on the visible work going on at the restaurant right now as well as permits filed in relation to this project, we would guess that Pizza Rizzo will be open before the holiday season, possibly as soon as October 2016.
11. The Planet Hollywood Observatory
Opening in: 2016
Planet Hollywood has finally confirmed its long-rumored redesign, and will be transitioning into a “turn-of-the-20th-century observatory” in order to jive with the new Disney Springs theme, complete with a Planet Hollywood water tower (replacing the current sign).
“Disney is turning it into a turn-of-the-century Central Florida mining town, and the observatory was a feature at the time,” said Planet Hollywood International founder and chairman Robert Earl. “We’ve gone back to that look for Planet Hollywood.”
In addition to the changes to the building, the name of this establishment will change to Planet Hollywood Observatory and a new menu will be introduced.
10. The Edison
Opening in: TBC
This new dining and bar location at Disney springs will be based upon the original nightclub in Los Angeles, and will feature a steampunk theme. Construction has already begun on this location, but no opening date has been announced.
9. Avatar: Flight of Passage
Opening in: 2017
The headline ride in Pandora: The World of Avatar, now confirmed to be named Avatar - Flight of Passage, will be a major, "E-Ticket" attraction that will offer a simulated experience of flying over Pandora on a banshee creature. It has been compared to Soarin' at Epcot, but it is likely that the Avatar ride will actually be considerably more technologically advanced - supporting enhanced, more realistic movements and 3-D video on a wrap-around screen.
The plans show four separate theaters, spread across four floors. The show itself will be projected onto an enormous, IMAX-style curved screen, just as it is in the Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Florida. Riders will board vehicles that rise to one of three show levels in front of the screen, also in a similar style to the Universal attraction.
Construction on the ride building is well underway, with the massive structure peaking out from the treeline that separates this new area from the parking lot. During a recent interview with Variety, Bob Iger said that he had ridden a prototype of this ride, and it "It felt so real, so lifelike. There’s never been anything like it."