As summer gets into full swing around Walt Disney World, it's time once again to take a look at some of the big projects Disney has in the works for the next five years.
For our second update of 2017, we take a look at the ongoing development of Star Wars Land, a newly-confirmed "reimagining" of a Magic Kingdom classic, plus the continuing saga of the will-the-or-won't-they Guardians of the Galaxy attraction at Epcot. But first, let's look at a resort-wide project that has to be one of the worst-kept secrets of all time...
1. New transportation: gondolas, driverless cars, and more!
Opening in: 2017 & 2018
Though not technically a ride or attraction, it looks like transportation at Walt Disney World is investing heavily in overhauling transportation around the resort, as permits have been filed for several new projects over the past few months.
First off, though technically still unannounced, work has already begun on Walt Disney World’s as-yet unannounced gondolas project, which will connect Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, and Disney’s Pop Century Resort through a series of elevated, closed-cabin gondolas. According to official documents, it looks like there will be six individual loading and unloading stations for the gondola system, serving the aforementioned four different destinations. You can read more about Disney's plans for this new system here.
Secondly, according to a report from the LA Times, Disney is in final negotiations with two manufacturers of driverless autonomous shuttles to bring this technologically advanced transportation method to the resort as soon as later this year, first for a limited time test period, and then for full-fledged guest use sometime in 2018. We've got more on this development as well here.
2. An untitled new Italian restaurant
Opening in:Fall 2017
Portobello Country Italian Trattoria at Disney Springs closed its doors on April 24th to undergo a major refurbishment, and just a few days later it was confirmed that this refurbishment will be more akin to a total overhaul, with the restaurant now confirmed to be opening again later this year with a new concept and name. Though we don't have all the details yet, the first concept art for this location has been released (above) and we also know that the overall goal for this reimagined location is to create a more authentic Italian concept including a family-style menu along with a selection of Italian craft beers and wines. This dining establishment is owned by the same company that turned Fulton's Crab House into Paddlefish, so we're expecting to see similar modifications here.