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Analyzing the Disney Rumor Mill

Friday, September 14, 2012

If you’ve visited Walt Disney World enough you probably have a good grasp on where everything is, how everything runs, and what to do in certain situations.  After your 20th or 30th trip it’s human nature to start craving more.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s always a ton to do at Disney World, but on occasion we are looking to experience something totally new.  Something that will spark our curiosity before our next trip.  Maybe it’s a new attraction, new resort, or new experience.  Disney fans are always looking for that BIG official announcement from Disney that tells us a new attraction is on the horizon.  Not only are we anxiously awaiting the next BIG announcement, we are looking for it before the official press release is even published. 

No one was expecting Disney Parks and Resorts to announce a partnership with James Cameron to create Avatarland at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

So, how exactly can we have a clue what’s coming down the pipeline from Disney’s theme park division?  It should be noted that nothing is official unless it’s announced by Disney.  Seeing or hearing news from any other source before Disney is pure speculation despite how strong the source or rumor may be.  There have been times in the past when even Disney has made an announcement and retracted it because of budgetary or logistical constraints.  Even an official announcement from Disney Doesn’t mean the project will come to fruition. 

Is the officially announced Hyperion Wharf project slated for Downtown Disney's Pleasure Island district dead?

Let’s take a look at some of the factors and specific examples that churn the Disney rumor mill. 

The Disney Internet Community  

There are several of us out there who scour the Internet for news and information about Walt Disney World.  Many times we watch Disney’s every move and when something happens, like an Imagineer or executive personnel change we try and piece together why.  Sometimes our speculation is a knee-jerk reaction and other times our thoughts why the change was made is legitimate.  It’s safe to say most of the time we are wrong, but every once in a blue moon we’ve stumbled across something legitimate. 

Let’s take the recent Cars Land rumor.  Speculation is that a new Cars Land is coming To Disney’s Hollywood Studios (different than the Disneyland version).  This rumor was started about a month ago when Disney shifted their chief Imagineer of the Cars Land project in California to work on the Florida theme parks.  Disney message forums began wondering why and speculating a possible Cars Land coming to the Studios.  Why the Studios?  Well, based on the parks direction a Cars Land would fit well near Pixar Place.  The nearby Lights, Motors, Action and Backlot Tour attractions are potential candidates for replacement.  Dropping Cars Land in that space would be a great fit.  The point is rumors get started based on information and potential scenarios that seem to fit.  Most of the time they are not valid rumors, but other times they do come to fruition.  Rumors are a one, two punch of information and people building scenarios based on that information.

Could Cars Land be coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios? 

Social Media & Instant Access

With the advent of Facebook and other social media outlets we now can reach out to one another in an instant no matter where we are located.  That’s great!  But what it also does is create the possibility of rumors.  All it takes is for a theme park guest to snap a picture of a construction wall, closed attraction, or an Imagineer walking through a theme park and upload it to Facebook.  All of a sudden a simple tour or sidewalk repair could turn into a possible new attraction or a new stage for a new show.  It all depends on what we perceive based on what we want our minds to believe.  This is where most rumors start.  A simple photo uploaded to Facebook or a message forum can create a buzz and start the rumor mill.  Once a fan forum starts discussing the rumor it all of sudden carries over to another fan forum and so on. 

Take the Monster’s Inc. door scene ride rumored to go into the Sound Stage 1 building at Hollywood Studios.  This rumor has been around for the past 3 or 4 years.  I remember a guest taking a photo and posting it along Pixar Place of the façade and structure just outside of the Sound Stage 1 building.  The structure depicted artwork similar to scenes in the Monster’s Inc movie.  This immediately created the rumor of a Monster’s Inc attraction going inside Sound Stage 1.  Of course, the sign attached to the building helps fuel the rumor too.  Who knows, with Hollywood Studios’ 25th anniversary not too far away we may see a lot of changes in the near future. 

Monster's Inc. facade along Pixar Place in Hollywood Studios

Monster's Inc. movie scene depicting the same facade along Pixar Place.

The Hot Set sign attached to the Sound Stage 1 building where the rumored Monster's Inc. ride will be housed. 


I can recall the day when Disney message forums, Disney podcasts, and even Disney websites didn’t exist (early 1990s).  Those days all we had to rely on were TV and newspaper stories, or if we were lucky, trips to Disney World where we could actually see what was going on and bring the information home with us to share with local residents.  There were no message forums or social media outlets to share information from the theme parks.  How the world has changed in the past 20 years. 

I consider the Disney rumor mill a fun place.  It’s a place where we can dream or imagine what’s on the horizon in the Disney theme parks.  Even though we may not be official Disney Imagineers we can still dream big and wish, right? 

Friend Aaron on Facebook:  I accept reader friend requests. 

About this column

Aaron DelPrince looks at the various activities you and your family can experience at Walt Disney World


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