-Reported by Theme Park Tourist
By Amanda Kondolojy, Wednesday, September 21, 2016 22:04
This fall is bringing a lot of closures to Walt Disney World. From the Main Street Electrical Parade “glowing” away in just a few weeks to the almost complete shutdown of what’s left of Innoventions, and even the removal of several popular characters, the cuts have been coming in fast and furious over the past few weeks, and many fans have expressed varying degrees of concern in the face of all these closures across Walt Disney World’s theme parks.
However, there’s one cut that has been rumored for several months now which was quietly confirmed earlier this week that probably won’t make too many Walt Disney World visitors all that upset…
Stitch’s Great Escape is confirmed to be moving to seasonal operation beginning next month
Earlier this week the Orlando Sentinel quietly published a report confirming that Stitch’s Great Escape, one of the most reviled attractions in Disney history, would be discontinuing daily operation as of October 2, 2016. However, instead of simply shuttering this attraction for good this fall, it was instead confirmed that Stitch’s Great Escape would be operating seasonally for the remainder of this year and the beginning of 2017. According to Walt Disney World’s official calendar, after the attraction closes on October 2nd, it will only operate for just over three weeks, during the following two “peak” time periods at the Magic Kingdom:
- November 19th-26th, 2016
- December 17th, 2016 through January 2nd, 2017
This is a very interesting turn of events, as the last Walt Disney World attraction we can remember that operated on a seasonal basis was the Wonders of Life pavilion, and we’re sure you remember what happened with that pavilion. However, while it’s certainly possible for history to repeat itself here, some other rumors that have been circulating recently seem to indicate that Disney actually does have a plan for this space for the near future, and won’t be abandoning this space the same way it did Wonders of Life back in the early 2000s.
Is Wreck-It Ralph officially moving in to Tomorrowland?
For several weeks now, rumors have been swirling that a new Wreck-It Ralph attraction is on its way to Tomorrowland, and will be moving in to the spot currently occupied by Stitch’s Great Escape. And though this development still hasn’t been officially confirmed, according to multiple sources, the plan is for this new attraction to be a VR-based racing attraction based on the Sugar Rush game from the Wreck-It Ralph film. Though details are scarce, sources state that the two theaters inside Stitch’s Great Escape will be extensively remodeled to make way for a new seating style that would include virtual reality headsets that would transport guests “inside” the virtual world of Wreck-It Ralph.
Though a Wreck-It Ralph attraction may seem like a bit of a stretch for Tomorrowland (considering the film leans heavily on video game nostalgia from the ‘80s and ‘90s), with a sequel to Wreck-It Ralph confirmed to be hitting theaters in 2018, we can see why Disney would want to get this property in a Walt Disney World theme park soon (the same way it is rushing to get Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT into Disney California Adventure before the release of Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2), and we’d expect an announcement regarding this development in the near future. But of course, Stitch’s Great Escape has to actually close first. Luckily, we have a good idea of when a full closure will happen…
A full closure will probably happen early next year
Considering the extreme unpopularity of this attraction, it might seem strange at first that Disney is opting to move Stitch’s Great Escape to seasonal status instead of simply pulling the plug immediately, especially as it looks like there’s a solid plan in place for a replacement. However, there are a few potential reasons for this attraction to go seasonal for a bit before it officially becomes a part of Walt Disney World history.
For one thing, we know that Disney is currently grappling with a number of budget cuts, and if funds have not been allocated for this new project yet, Disney may be putting this space in a holding pattern until the 2017 budget is finalized and they get the go-ahead. In this case, going seasonal allows them to add capacity to the park during peak periods, while not paying to run the attraction during the remainder of the year, as the financial logistics for 2017 and beyond are figured out.
Another potential reason for Disney to switch this attraction to seasonal status rather than just close it and get to work on the aforementioned Wreck-It Ralph attraction immediately is that the actual plans for this attraction may not have not been finalized yet either. While we know that Disney is looking to create a VR-based Wreck-It Ralph attraction and have it open before the new sequel hits theaters, it’s possible that Disney is still developing the finer points of what this attraction will be, and how they will create a VR-based attraction that delivers a great guest experience without having abysmal capacity.
Whatever the case is, we feel confident in saying that even though this seasonal operating schedule looks like it is prolonging the life of this much maligned attraction, it is actually just delaying its inevitable demise, which will likely take place next January. If you are a fan of this this attraction (and we’ve been assured thereare some out there). you’ll definitely want to get to the Magic Kingdom during the peak periods mentioned previously to get jumped, spat, and burped on by Experiment 626 one last time.
TPT’s Brian Krosnick has produced two extensive articles looking at both thecreation of Stitch’s Great Escape and it’s controversial predecessor, The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. These are a must-read for any Walt Disney World fan.
How do you feel about this closure at the Magic Kingdom (and its rumored replacement)? Do you think Wreck-It Ralph will make a good addition to Tomorrowland, or are you hoping Disney has a last-minute change of heart? Let us know what you think below!
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