This week at Walt Disney World was certainly busy, with rumors flying about new additions coming soon to Epcot, a controversial confirmed change coming next year to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, plus an unplanned refurbishment that will close one of Walt Disney World's most popular dining spots for several weeks later this summer.
Programming note: Though we normally devote some time to Orlando-area parks outside Lake Buena Vista, there has been so much going on at Walt Disney World over the past seven days that we decided to forgo the “beyond” this week. You’ll hear about all the news from Universal Orlando Resort, Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando in next week’s update!
1. Chef Mickey's closing for refurbishment later this month
It was confirmed earlier this week that Chef Mickey's will be closing for a quick refurbishment later this month on July 28th, and will remain closed through August 13th. During this time, the character dining buffet will relocate to the convention center at Disney's Contemporary Resort. This refurbishment was not planned, and we don't know what is causing this closure, but hopefully whatever is causing the issue will be taken care of soon.
2. A big change is coming next year to Pirates of the Caribbean
Disney surprised fans this week by announcing that the Take a Wench for a Bride scene in Pirates of the Caribbean, where some excited pirates shout the iconic line “We want the redhead!” as a beautifully costumed lady (presumably for sale) poses in the foreground will be removed entirely from the attraction during a refurbishment that will happen sometime next year.
Now, instead of a “bride auction” scene, guests will see the same characters, but in different roles. Instead of selling off wenches, guests will see pirates transporting stolen goods, with the infamous redhead now becoming a pirate herself (complete with her own gun!) and assisting with the taking of the items from the townsfolk. You can read more about this development here.
3. Interesting permits filed at Epcot suggesting a new attraction is coming to the World Showcase
A few days ago a permit filed by Walt Disney World surfaced online that has fans buzzing about what could potentially be the biggest project for the World Showcase since the addition of the Norway Pavilion in 1988. Officially titled Epcot France Back of House Modifications, this permit outlines a plan to add an "impervious surface" to a 5.70-acre area that covers the expansion pad between Epcot's France and Morocco pavilions (an area that is currently empty save for storage).
With such a large area covered by the permit, many are hoping that Disney is potentially going to be constructing the first truly new attraction (not a re-theme of an existing ride) to the World Showcase since the addition of Maelstrom in 1988. And while we can't know for sure what Disney has planned for this area, the leading theory is that a Ratatouille ride similar to that at the Disneyland Paris resort could be coming to the France Pavilion. We have more on this development here.