The less than popular nighttime lagoon show showed how little Disney actually had in the 10-year pipeline for the park. The Avatar-themed Pandora area helped the park see 15.3 percent growth last year, according to the latest industry numbers (though Disney rarely confirms the reports), making it the second most visited theme park in Orlando. But with only two rides and the land based on a nearly forgotten film franchise, rumors point to Disney looking to quickly add something new to the park in the coming years as crowds flood the park.
By this spring the Indiana Jones rumors were being confirmed by multiple insiders with details slowly leaking out. At the time there were still questions on whether Disney would be using the Indiana Jones franchise for a new attraction in Animal Kingdom or at Hollywood Studios. The Hollywood Studios rumor involved the Shanghai Pirates of the Caribbean technology that seamlessly merges screens and physical sets for the trackless boat ride.
New details are now being shared by numerous industry insiders with nearly all of them agreeing that Indiana Jones will be headed to
On the WDW Magic Forums user Disneyhead'71, who reinvigorated the Indiana Jones rumors earlier this year, confirmed that the Animal Kingdom Indiana Jones ride will feature a fully original story. They also confirmed that the storyline might include dinosaurs, helping tie the ride into the Dinoland area where it’ll be located. Another user that's known for their decent track record with leaks stated that the budget for the new ride would be shared between Orlando and Disneyland Paris, where an Indiana Jones coaster already exists. How Indiana Jones and dinosaurs will co-exist in the new attraction has yet to be revealed.
Disneyhead’71 also reiterated his earlier rumors of other updates heading to Dinoland, possibly including a non-Indiana Jones themed ride using the Shanghai Pirates technology, though that rumor is still being questioned by other insiders who say the ride system may instead be used for a new attraction at either Epcot or Hollywood Studios.
"The Excavator" was planned for Dinoland. Mentions of it date back to 1993, five years before the theme park
Many of those canceled plans were later realized at Universal’s Islands of Adventure after Universal hired some of the former Imagineers who had been working on the Animal Kingdom projects. One of the ideas that Universal looked at was a dinosaur themed roller coaster for the Jurassic Park area, but that plan never materialized. Now with Jurassic World bringing the Jurassic Park franchise back to the big screen rumors point to Universal reviving that old coaster plan with Gravity Group and Rocky Mountain Construction leading the list of potential coaster design companies.
Other rumored additions to Dinoland include an Indiana Jones-themed bar, likely drawing heavily upon the Jock Lindsey one located at Disney Springs, and a new restaurant. The Indiana Jones updates should begin in late 2019, just after their announcement at the D23 Expo that August. This would follow a similar pattern as other recent rides, including the announcement and construction timeline for The Great Movie Ride’s conversion into Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway. That timeline places the opening around the same time as the fifth installment in the film series hits theaters in July
Hopefully, by then we can understand how Indiana Jones and dinosaurs fit together.
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