Tuesday, May 15, 2018

WDW Update: Will Disney Build Black Panther Wakanda at Disney's Animal Kingdom? And Where? Also: Will Indiana Jones Adventure Replace Dinosaur Attraction?

As we all know Marvel Black Panther is a phenomenal success worldwide - currently the Worldwide B.O for Black Panther has reached $1,342 Billion, putting the movie at the third rank for "all time domestic" in the U.S and the 9th for "all time worldwide". There is no doubt that a second Black Panther movie will come soon, and WDI Imagineers are probably already thinking about a Black Panther attraction - though this one may be called "Wakanda" as it seems that Disney may not have the rights for a Black Panther attraction, at least in Florida because of the famous deal that Universal signed years ago with Marvel giving them the rights to use Marvel super-heroes in Universal theme parks "East of the Mississippi".  But the kingdom of Wakanda is now so famous that it won't be a problem, everyone will make the link with Black Panther.

Recently, the repainting of Epcot Wonders of Life pavilion dome had fans thinking that it might be for a future Black Panther attraction. We'll learn soon if it'll be the case or not, but the other rumored location would be at Disney's Animal Kingdom and we'll have a look today to where they could build Wakanda at DAK. Yes, i can already hear you screaming that Disney's Animal Kingdom is an ANIMAL PARK!!! and that would be a valid point indeed. On the other hand DAK have lands called "Africa", "Asia", or "Pandora", so having a new one called "Wakanda" would fit well and would help to resolve easily the "no-Black-Panther-in-the title" problem. And it happen, as we're going to see, that the best area to build at DAK a Wakanda Kingdom would be close to the Africa land - and after all, Wakanda is supposed to be in Africa, right?

So, let's have a look at the location where i think they would build Wakanda at DAK - if they do it. The first satellite view below shows the whole Animal Kingdom park.

Now, let's zoom on it and as you'll see on the second satellite view below there is a huge piece of land located west of Africa Kilimandjaro Safaris and North to the Asia land which is still available - the one circled in orange color. A very long time ago, shortly after Animal Kingdom opening i think i've heard they wanted to build an Australia land there but chances are that the idea has been cancelled since a long time.

Now, if we zoom more on this area we can see small buildings on it...

What are these? Well, you probably don't know it but in fact they rotate most of the animals of Kilimandjaro Safaris over night and they move them in giant cages, may be located in that area. Basically, animals that guests see on Kilimandjaro Safaris get rotated every day, go back to the cages and then out to roam for the day. The animals are really well taken care of backstage with cast members playing with them and feeding them to make it a positive experience. It’s not so much the larger animals like the elephants that are rotated but more the smaller ones of Kilimandjaro Safaris. Elephants are family and have to be together. So they do not remove all animals at night, but others animals do get rotated each day or maybe every other day. They get medicine and also fed backstage during the rotation so they are not always on stage. I don’t have the list of the animals which are rotated, and it's definitely not the more dangerous ones like crocodiles or hippos, but Kilimandjaro Safaris animals all get rotated, and as you will see on the picture below showing very high cages for Giraffes, they also move out the Giraffes. Cast-members are saying that "they are on their vacation for a day before they go back onstage". Well, I guess it’s a good break for them.

Now, if the area you saw on the satellite view is where they store the animals, to build Wakanda there would need to move in another location these giant cages. It seems that they could easily move them but they definitely need these to move the animals there during hurricanes and, as we saw, because they rotate the animals. Thanks God, they have tons of room at Animal Kingdom backstage to re-locate these if needed.

Back to Wakanda, now. As you've seen, and although i agree that on the "animal park" angle it won't necessarily make sense to have it there, if they decide to build Wakanda at Disney's Animal Kingdom they have enough land to do it as actually that piece of land is twice bigger than the one of Pandora, and being close to the Africa land could help to justify it.

Now let's have a look to the other rumor about having an Indiana Jones Adventure attraction replacing the Dino Land "Dinosaur" ride. I don't know yet if this will happen or not but a new Indiana Jones movie is coming, they don’t really have the room in Hollywood Studios for creating an Indiana Jones land and i admit that this change would be easy to do as the track layouts and vehicles of the Dinosaurs ride are the same. That said, considering how tiny the queue of Dinosaur is compared to Indiana Jones in Anaheim - and how popular the attraction will be at DAK - they probably would need to double the queue size, at least. As for the ride itself, considering that the track is the same, basically all they’ll have to do would be to take out all the vegetation and dinos and build all around the track the Indy decor and effects. And give to the cars the Indy jeep theming. Not even needed to build a new show building or ride system, although it seems that the Indy show building is higher at Disneyland Anaheim as Mark, D&M reader said  in his comment on the D&M Facebook page two days ago: "If they were to truly clone the Indiana Jones Adventure, a large portion of the Dinosaur show building would need to have its roof raised 15-20’. Because of high water tables and the desire to hide the building from being seen in Dinoland and the parking lot, Dinosaur’s show building needed to to be built with a shorter height. Where the large feature show scene in Indy is (rope bridge/fire), Dinosaur’s building would need to be raised to install the scene or I fear the impact wouldn’t be the same." I've also been told that some sets of DL Indiana Jones Adventure were built while the show building itself was being built, which means that the change of ride might not be that easy to do if they decide to do a clone of the Disneyland version ...which might not be the case.

The Indiana Jones rumor may be strong, but i've also heard that “if we were to place exactly what is on the Tokyo and Disneyland 1995 version of the Indy ride, it would be disappointing to today’s guests expectations“. Meaning that, if they do it today it would be more high tech and may be a different story linked to the new movies. Not to mention eventually a new kind of vehicles as the Indy jeeps always required a lot of maintenance, and the costs which goes with it, it's even one of the reasons we still don't have an Indiana Jones Adventure ride at Disneyland Paris Adventureland.

On the other hand the Dinosaurs ride had recently a big renovation and upgrades which make it much nicer than it was. So why would they have spent money on a renovation if they are planning to change the ride?  Also, the reason they are re-theming Dinoland into Donald Dino Bash may be to draw the line between the Dino institute and “Dinoland” because they can easily re-themed it as well as the surrounding area. That said if the new Indy movie is a success i can see Bob Chapek green lighting the project.

BUT, there is a big "but" as Expedition Everest will be getting a major refurbishment late this year or beginning 2019. Expedition Everest was supposed to go down after Pandora opened, and they can’t have Expedition Everest and Dinosaurs closed at the same time. So the timeline of both things are conflicting. Either Expedition Everest stays in its horrible condition while an  Indy makeover takes place or Expedition Everest gets its renovation first and Indy will come after, which probably will be the right order - this, of course, IF the Indy rumor is right.

And the Expedition Everest renovation won't be done in two weeks, that's for sure, as the ride hasn’t had a refurbishment since 2009 or so. The animatronic bird has been broken...

...the yeti is as we know broken since years and is almost for sure on track to be fixed during the refurb, but this one is going to be costly and a hell to repair...

And we can expect the projection scene to be probably updated. Let's hope they'll also bring back the fog effects and do some lighting upgrades. So, plenty of work to do during this Expedition Everest renovation. To come back to the Indy ride i don't see them making an announcement before the next D23 Expo in Anaheim, in 2019, so i'm sure we have plenty of time to talk back again about it! In the meantime you can have a read of the fun April 1st article on the Wakanda subject done by Parkeology and from where the picture on top is coming.

Pictures: copyright Google, Disney.


Chris said...

Hello. I'm a long time reader of your blog however I just want to correct something. The cages you refer to have no relation to Kilimanjaro Safaris, all the animal barns are located around the periphery of the attraction. The 'cages' are even located across the path of the Wildlife Express Train which the animals would have to cross everyday if this was the case!
The area in question is normally used as a construction staging area and was most recently used to create the prefabricated sections of the Pandora floating mountains.

Alain Littaye said...

Thanks for the info, Chris, but i've double checked with my source who, first, confirmed that they have wrapped up all the construction for pandora months ago, which is not surprising, and, two, that hose cages do run next to the wildlife express train tracks and that the animals don’t go backstage while the train is running.
They don’t rotate animals during park hours and they are transported with a vehicle from their location areas in Kilimandjaro Safaris to the "cages" backstage, they don't walk like dogs from the Safaris to the cages, so there is no risk they cross the train track by walking over it.

smudger said...

Hi, if you zoom in closely on google earth and rotate the view you can see the two white buildings are actually just a kind of tent or marquee and the other building could be some kind of cage or greenhouse but is not very big. Either way all three look very temporary although they have been there for a few years looking at old satellite photos.


Kim N said...

I've been back there - those are temporary buildings and storage of construction/maintenance materials. NOT ANIMAL CAGES!!!! All night facilities are directly linked to the savanna. Yes, animals are rotated as needed, but they are NOT TRANSPORTED IN CAGES. Seen it with my own eyes on Official and Unofficial tours.

That area was originally slated for Asia before it's budget was cut. Now it's just a staging/storage area.