Even though Pandora just opened there are still Animal Kingdom rumors. According to separate rumors there are two new expansions under consideration. Those two new expansions are Indiana Jones and Zootopia.
Both expansions are based on popular Disney movie properties. This means Disney is keeping the synergy alive. But what are the chances that either of both of these will actually be built? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons and you can decide for yourself. Be sure to let me know in the comments if you think they will happen or if you even want them to happen.
Animal Kingdom rumors already?
Disney just spent a load of money on the Pandora expansion (and estimated five hundred million dollars.) Why would they even think about spending a more to add another expansion? For one thing the Orlando theme park competition is getting fierce. Ever since Universal Studios added the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Disney has faced serious competition. They want to keep more people at Walt Disney World. Sometimes that means adding new stuff.
Pandora – The World of Avatar is a huge success for the Animal Kingdom. Take a look at the wait times in the images below. Guests are lining up for the two new Pandora experiences but what do they do after that? The Animal Kingdom is still a little light on attractions and Disney wants to make sure guests view the park as an all day park. What better way to do than to add some great new attractions.
The Animal Kingdom rumors focus on replacing old attractions not adding new area to the park. If the rumors are true Disney will replace (in most cases) attractions many of which are not that popular in the first place.
So what about these rumored expansions?
Animal Kingdom Rumors: Indiana Jones the pros
This rumor involves transforming DINOSAUR into an Indiana Jones ride, replacing Chester and Hesters’s Dino-Rama, and turning the Boneyard into a dig for artifacts instead of fossils.
DINOSAUR is a great ride and it is a popular ride so why would Disney transform it? There are a couple of reasons.
It is not synergistic. It does not tie into a movie that Disney wants to promote or a story that guests know and love. Disney is looking to make a new Indy movie and an attraction and a movie would promote each other.
There is also the fact that Disney has already built one Indiana Jones themed ride, the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland in California. This popular attraction has been compared to DINOSAUR because both attractions use the same ride system. This ride system is the patented enhanced motion vehicle (emc.) The emc is what creates all the bumps and bounces on the ride.
So why do most fans agree the Indy one is better. It comes down the story. One is a story they love and the other is a story they do not know. Because both rides use the same system it would be much cheaper to transform DINOSAUR into an Indy ride than to build a brand new ride. Disney could even reuse the current ride building.
There is no mention yet of what might replace Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama but it probably does need replaced. It is no secret that Disney cut the budget for the Animal Kingdom during construction (one entire land was cut out!) This area is the one that shows that cut the most. Honestly, does it look much different than what you would find at your county fair?
Why would they change the Boneyard? Just to keep in theme and it would not be hugely expensive.
Animal Kingdom Rumors: Indiana Jones the cons
What might keep Indiana Jones out the Animal Kingdom?
Indiana Jones does not really fit the theme of the Animal Kingdom. The Animal kingdom is about animals today, animals in the past and animals that only exist in our stories. Indy is an archaeologist. Archaeologist study people not animals.
There is also the fact that Disney already has Indiana Jones at Walt Disney World. The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular at Hollywood Studios is still a popular show.
So overall, even though part of me would love this to be true I just do not see it happening? Agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments.
And now on to the second rumor…
Animal Kingdom Rumors: Zootopia the pros
This rumor says Disney is converting Rafiki’s Planet watch into a Zootopia land.
Zootopia fits the Animal Kingdom theme much better than Indiana Jones . Rafiki’s Planet watch is not a popular attraction. It is more educational than entertaining. I love edutainment but I think I am in the minority here.
Zootopia is also a huge box office success. The movie made over one billion dollars world wide.
Rafiki’s Planet watch is only accessible by train. This is both good and bad. In the movie the main character, Judy Hopps, travels from her home to the city of Zootopia in a train. A little work on the current train would really put people into the story.
That adds up to some major reasons Disney might actually do this. But there are some downsides too…
Animal Kingdom Rumors: Zootopia the cons
Even though Rafiki’s Planet watch is not the most popular attraction it does serve a beautiful purpose. It educates us. That is still important to a lot of guests.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch is also a long way from the rest of the Animal Kingdom park. There is only one way to get it. Guests must ride the train (remember I said that was good and bad?) The train is not exactly high capacity and guests need to have easy and quick access for a new land to be successful. Of course Disney could make new paths but they would still be a long walk from the rest of the park. Or Disney could expand Rafiki’s towards the rest of the park. Check out the map in the image below to see for yourself.
Unlike DINOSAUR everything in a Zootopia would have to be built from the ground up. That would cost a lot of money and Disney just spent a lot of money on the Animal Kingdom.
Animal Kingdom Rumors My Thoughts
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is my favorite park. I would love to see it get some more investment but I am not sure that either of these ideas are really going to happen. It is not that either of them would not work. It is the fact that Disney just spent an estimated 500 million on the park. Add in the fact that Disney has a full slate of upgrades for Walt Disney World (learn more here.) and I would ha