It’s been no secret
that Disney is looking to give Indiana Jones a more significant presence at Walt Disney World. As is typical with these types of projects, it seems various teams at Imagineering have been assigned to flesh out exactly what Indiana Jones would look like at each of the non-Magic Kingdom resorts for Walt Disney World.
All three parks are slated for additions throughout the 2020s.
At Epcot, the proposals ranged from Indiana Jones in the yet-to-be announced Brazil or India pavilions
to an overlay of an existing boat ride in the park. It seems those proposals were quickly shot down, leaving Hollywood Studios and Animal
Kingdom to fight it out over which park would better benefit from the iconic franchise.
By early this year the plans for Animal Kingdom’s proposal
were being presented, and as is common with this kind of presentation, details began to leak out. It’s no secret that Disney leadership regularly "leaks" ideas to gauge public opinion, and in this case it wasn’t positive. While many seemed to like the idea of updates to Dinoland, including a major overhaul to Dinosaur, there was a bit of concern over how Indiana Jones fighting Dinosaurs would fit within the overall message found at Animal
At the same time Disney was wrapping up the final touches on Hollywood Studios’ largest expansion in decades, Toy Story Land. With a national ad blitz and a celebrity-hosted ceremony, Disney opened the new land to massive crowds. Now, less than four months later, the Slinky Dog-themed coaster seems to be a hit but the nearby whip ride themed to the Little Green Men regularly sees waits of less than 30 minutes. Overall, the land, while still viewed as a success, hasn’t affected attendance
at the park nearly as dramatically as some had expected.
While much of the current focus has been on the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land, it is accepted within the company that more will be needed to fix the struggling studio park. A more significant presence of Pixar franchises, such as Monsters, Inc.
and The Incredibles
, is likely in the works for the Animation Courtyard and Rock ‘n Roller Coaster areas of the park. However, on the opposite side of the park we have one of the last remaining attractions from old-school DHS: The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. Over the years the show hasn’t seen many updates, with the largest coming in 2004
, when Disney removed a number of swastikas from the attraction that is themed to Indiana Jones fighting Nazis.
Much like many of the original attractions at Hollywood Studios, the show focuses on teaching guests about how movies are made. Just like Universal Studios up the street, DHS is now shifting focus from educational to experiential, with a ‘Ride the Movies’ mantra now being the primary goal of new attractions.
The dated stunt show has long been rumored to be closing. Multiple events that use the facility after hours, most notably cheerleading competitions, have been moved to newly built facilities
around Walt Disney World over the past few years.
Now with details on Imagineering’s proposal for Indiana Jones at Hollywood Studios being shared by trusted insiders,
we’re learning new information on what may be the future for one of the last remaining original sections of WDW’s third theme park. Replacing not only the stunt show but also the area around it, the new Indiana Jones mini-land would be roughly 8 acres in size or about half the size of the Animal Kingdom proposal.
Multiple attractions would be featured in the new land, likely including a signature E-ticket style attraction. Previously, it was rumored that the Indiana Jones signature attraction would feature the groundbreaking boat ride system found on Shanghai Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean. That system is now rumored for other upcoming attractions
at WDW. While likely not the Shanghai boat system, the signature attraction for the Indy mini-land will be an indoor family attraction of some type that will use a previously realized ride system in a new way. Few details on the specifics of this ride have been shared by insiders, but it’s thought that this ride will compete with the two Star Wars rides as one of the park’s flagship attractions.
As with Animal Kingdom’s plan
, the DHS one does seem to include an outdoor roller coaster attraction. Both Disneyland Paris and Tokyo DisneySea have Intamin versions
of the Pinfari TL-59 looping coasters. The off-the-shelf coasters are surrounded by Disney level theming that contains temple ruins with fire and water effects. If it does make its way to Orlando, the coaster will likely feature dual sides, similar to Animal
Kingdom’s Primeval Whirl spinning coaster and Magic Kingdom’s Dumbo spinner.
While not confirmed by insiders, it seems that the 8-acre DHS plan does include the area where Star Tours is currently located, as well as most other aspects of the Echo Lake section of the park.
A bar inspired by the one found at Disney Springs, multiple dining options, and various retail experiences were also included in the proposal. Similar to Star Wars Land next door, the Indiana Jones mini-land may eventually be linked to a nearby themed resort
where guests can go on multi-day adventures which may still also include experiences within other parts of Walt Disney World, including Animal
The Indiana Jones land is viewed as post-50th Anniversary addition to Walt Disney World with an opening sometime after 2021 but within the next 10 years. No word on if the experiences within the new land will all involve a white savior and notably racist meals or if they’ll stick to the current swastika-free Nazis. Let’s just hope the crystal skull aliens don’t make an appearance.
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