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Thursday, February 26, 2015

From the Walt Disney World rumor mill: a Jungle Cruise-themed restaurant could be opening in Adventureland

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 4:30 PM

Empty since 1994, except for when it was used for the occasional meet-and-greet or as a trick-or-treating stand, the Adventureland Verandah looks to be finally reopening as a restaurant. Anyone who visited Magic Kingdom prior to 1994 will recall the popular counter-service restaurant with its Asian and tropics-inspired menu and relaxing, hypnotic music.

Rumors of a new restaurant have been circulating for the past few years, but earlier this month permits were posted online showing that something is finally happening with this long forgotten space. Liberty Tree Tavern, which shares a kitchen with the Adventureland Verandah, will be closing for a lengthy rehab from July 6 to Nov. 20 – perhaps to update the kitchen to once again serve both restaurants.
Also sharing space with the Verandah is the popular Aloha Isle, home of the famed Dole Whip ice cream treat. Recently the Sunshine Tree Terrace, known for the famous Citrus Swirl, added the Dole Whip to its menu. Some believe that this is a sign that Aloha Isle might be closing to make way for the new restaurant.

click to enlarge disneyrest.png

Beyond the technical aspects of the new restaurant, the conversation among Disney fans has mostly been focused around theming. A number of different speculations have been made, including a Princess Tiana or an Adventurer’s Club theme, but the strongest rumor seems to be that this space could become a Jungle Cruise-themed restaurant.

With the closure of the Island Supply Company late last year, rumors spread that the store would be being replaced by a Jungle Cruise gift shop. Ultimately, though, it became a Sunglass Hut. But the Jungle Cruise has a decent following, and it’s expected to gain a whole new audience when the much-delayed live-action Jungle Cruise film is finally released (if it ever is released, that is). The movie, which will star Tim Allen and Tom Hanks, has had its release pushed back from 2006 to 2007, then to 2015 … although nothing has been published recently confirming that the movie will indeed come out this year as schedule, so it may be delayed even further.

Another rumor: The new restaurant may serve alcohol. Be Our Guest introduced beer and wine to the Magic Kingdom with its opening in late 2012, and some are wondering whether the new Jungle Cruise restaurant will feature some of the more popular drinks from the soon-to-open Trader Sam’s in the updated Polynesian Village Resort.

It’s also being said that this new restaurant will follow another trend from Be Our Guest: counter service part of the day and sit-down character meals in the evening.

A new Polynesian princess, Moana, is being introduced in 2016, so the venue could be the perfect setting for a character meal experience including Moana, Lilo, Stitch and other tropical characters.

For now though we’ll have to wait and see.

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