3 Rumored Closures Set to Hit Walt Disney World in 2017

Though we’ve already taken a look at several of the Walt Disney World attractions that we lost forever in 2016, it looks like 2017 is going to get things started with a number of additional closures hitting the resort. While none of these closures have been officially confirmed by the resort, based on inside sources (as well as other current events elsewhere around Walt Disney World), it seems very likely that the following attractions will be going away sometime very soon in the coming year. In fact, if you want to experience this first attraction on our list of rumored closures, you probably have only a few days left before it goes away forever…

1. Stitch’s Great Escape (Magic Kingdom)

Image: Disney

Stitch’s Great Escape, which has a reputation as being one of the most reviled attractions in Disney history, discontinued daily operation as of October 2, 2016. However, if you visit the Magic Kingdom this week, you’ll actually still be able to experience this attraction, as it is currently operating on a “seasonal” basis until January 2, 2017. However, according to Walt Disney World’s official calendar, it looks like after that date this attraction will close its doors one again, likely for good this time.

Earlier this year it was very strongly rumored that a new VR-based attraction was planned for this space that would transport guests inside the world of Sugar Rush, the game featured in Wreck-It Ralph. However, in the months since this development first surfaced, preliminary work on this proposed new attraction has stalled (reportedly due to budget cuts) and the future for this space is back to being uncertain.

Image: Disney

However, if you’re thinking that the lack of progress on the Wreck-It Ralph attraction means a stay of execution for Stitch, you’d sadly be mistaken. After January 3, 2017 this attraction will almost undoubtedly close for the last time, and there is no indication that is will ever reopen. Unfortunately, we may be facing a situation like what happened with the Wonders of Life pavilion, which was taken apart piece by piece behind the scenes after a brief period of seasonal operation. While it would be a huge shame to waste this large attraction space right in the front of Tomorrowland, we expect budget cuts to continue to rule 2017, so a development like this wouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

Hopefully Disney figures out what they want to do with this prime Tomorrowland attraction space in the near future, but in the meantime, there’s another rumored closure that could be striking over at Epcot in the very near future as well…

2. The Universe of Energy (Epcot)

Earlier this year rumors surfaced that seemed to indicate that the Universe of Energy (which houses Ellen’s Energy Adventure and has to be one of the least traversed corners of any Walt Disney World park) was going to be demolished to make way for a Guardians of the Galaxy-themed thrill ride. The presence of height balloons in the park just days after this rumor surfaced seemed to confirm this development, but just like with the Wreck-It Ralph attraction mentioned previously, budget issues have been holding this project back in its current development phase, and the future of the entire project is now in doubt. Fan backlash against the Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT attraction at Disney California Adventure may also be to blame here as well for this stalled project.

However, just when we thought this pavilion might be safe from being shuttered, well-sourced rumors started circulating again this past week about a possible early 2017 closure of the Universe of Energy, in relation to the confirmed total reinvention of Epcot that has been confirmed to be in the works.

While the new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction may or may not happen at this point (at least inside Epcot) it looks like something is coming soon to the Universe of Energy Pavilion, and that something probably won’t involve Ellen DeGeneres, Alex Trebek, or dinosaurs.

3. Innoventions (Epcot)

Over the last two years, the Innoventions attraction has been steadily shrinking. What used to span multiple exhibits over two buildings, has now become a single exhibit in one building. With the closings of the Sum of All Thrills as well as StormStruck, Innoventions has become Innovention, and as a result guest levels inside this building have evaporated overnight.

While Disney is likely contracted via a sponsorship deal to keep Colortopia around for at least a little bit longer at Epcot, it seems likely that once Disney’s deal with paint company Glidden comes to an end, this final exhibit will be moved out and something else will come to this building.

Image: Disney 

While we don’t know exactly what might happen with this space, it is worth noting that Disney has actually found great success on the other side of the park converting the former Innoventions West building into an expanded Character Spot, featuring recent favorites including Baymax from Big Hero 6 as well as Joy and Sadness from Inside Out. It wouldn’t seem unreasonable for Disney to expand the Character Spot across the causeway, but one has to wonder if there is an upper limit to how many characters Disney can stuff into one park. And even if more characters did come to Epcot via an additional expanded Character Spot, would that just be a placeholder until the as-yet unknown new vision of Future World can debut?

Unfortunately there is a lot of uncertainty around this particular rumored closure, but the good news is that hopefully we will have answers about the future of this part of the park soon. Disney has promised updates on its major confirmed projects (including the reinvention of Epcot) later in 2017, and we’re excited to hear what the future holds, not only for this park, but all around the resort.

Are you going to miss any of these attractions if they do indeed close as rumored? Or are you hoping one or two will be saved at the last minute?

-Originally published in Theme Park Tourist By , Friday, December 23, 2016 07:05

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