This week’s SATURDAY SIX brings back the acclaimed investigative team who gave us the first ever Behind-The-Scenes Exposé of Theme Park Food Photography and risked life and limb to pull back the curtains when discovering The REAL Plans for Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. That’s right, we’re heading back to the News Desk! This week we are delivering BREAKING NEWS as we exclusively reveal the upcoming plans Disney has in store for the Disney100 Celebration.
That’s right, after finishing up Year Four celebrating Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, the next major party is the Disney100 Celebration and we have exciting news… ALL AMERICAN DISNEY PARKS WILL BE INVOLVED!
Disney actually had a “soft open” of these plans earlier this year, when they debuted a Walt Disney hologram at the Disney100 Exhibition. That’s right, just like Emperor Palpatine at the start of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Walt Disney himself was inexplicably back in our lives…
…and we couldn’t be happier! Walt Disney’s résumé speaks for itself. Walt created the very concept of a theme park. Walt wrote and drew the groundbreaking animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Walt created a battalion of legendary characters we all know today including Mickey Mouse, Pluto, and Moana. Walt’s name is synonymous with quality (except for The Reluctant Dragon, but that’s the exception which proves the rule.)
We are proud to break the news that for the Disney100 Celebration, Disney is taking advantage of this incredible technology and will be adding Walt back into the theme parks! Even better? Inspired by the fan reaction to the 50 statues added to the parks for the WDW 50th Celebration, Disney is going to take it up and notch and deliver 100 WALTS!
We are crying tears of joy over this news. We won’t be spoiling every place they’ll be adding Walt, we will be going over some of our favorites, starting with…
# 6 – Disney’s Magic Kingdom
We are proud as a peacock to show that major attention is being paid to Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. This is appropriate because Walt’s name is tied directly to this attraction and he was hands-on in developing it for the 1964 World’s Fair.
The character of John will be replaced by Walt Disney in each scene of the attraction, surely making it an instant E-Ticket. This addition was not without controversy though. Originally Imagineers wanted the addition of Walt Disney to be as authentic as possible. For the 1920s scene, the Niagara Falls fan that “John” holds was replaced with Walt holding a pack of Lucky Strikes, his preferred brand of cigarettes in that era. This change did not go over with focus group testing, or with official Disney corporate partner JUUL. The decision was then made to strictly add Walt into the attractions and keep everything else the same.
For the upcoming addition of the Hat Box ghost to the Haunted Mansion, Walt will make a surprise appearance to many happy guests riding a Doom Buggy.
Keep your head on a swivel when inside the Magic Kingdom, because you never know where you’ll spot ol’ Walt…
# 5 – Disney Hollywood Studios
Thanks to the miracle of AI, Disney has been able to manipulate voice recordings taking during Walt’s lifetime to produce results which will transform guest’s park experience. Walt singing “You got a friend in me” as guests arrive to the station after a thrilling ride on Slinky Dog Dash will bring tears to the eyes of both kids and kids-at-heart.
We can’t forget that back in the day Walt was the definition of “cool,” and Disney makes him cool again with the addition of Walt in Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster starring Walt Disney.
It won’t be long before you’re wondering how we ever enjoyed these parks before the Walt hologram!
We all know THAT rebel spy!
FUN FACT: Disney spent the vast majority of the money allocated for the 100 Walts of Wonder on replacing the Hondo Ohnaka Audio Animatronic in the queue for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Unfortunately, due to technical problems it has to be covered up with a tarp. Take our word for it, this Walt is AMAZING
However, to make up for the Hondo malfunctions, Disney is having Walt involved with a mega-popular walk around character you just may see on the streets of Batuu…
# 4 – Animal Kingdom
While Animal Kingdom may be pound-for-pound Walt Disney World’s best park, it doesn’t lend itself to having many appearances by The Big Guy himself. Thankfully, the few areas that Imagineers could get Walt in will be show stoppers for all guests.
# 3 – EPCOT
While enjoying your Taste Around The World during Flower & Garden, Food & Wine, or any one of the other dozen festivals at EPCOT, be sure to look for Walt in the park’s handful of running attractions!
# 2 – Disney California Adventure
Walt Disney never lived to see the creation of Disney California Adventure, and with rides like Superstar Limo & Luigi’s Flying Tires, that was probably a good thing. With the addition of Walt to DCA, it has now become a park he would actually want to have his name on.
Possibly our favorite addition of Walt in ANY park can be seen inside DCA’s Marvel Campus. You’ll need to search out for Ant-Man or the Wasp, and see if they are carrying the shrunk down version of A Bug’s Land…
…if they are, look closely for a great reveal!
You just never know where Walt will show up…
# 1 – Disneyland
Guests will be thrilled to know that Walt will – of course – be added into the park which he himself walked in. Walt will be added to all the classic attractions, including Splash Mountain for the few remaining days the attraction has left.
As a tribute to his love of trains, guests will see Walt as the conductor in Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
We’ll be back another time with a look at the 100 Pieces of Merchandise that Disney will be making for the Disney100 Celebration using the 100 Walts of Wonder, but rest assured there will be something for everyone on your Christmas list!
HONORABLE MENTION – Disney Parks Allow Smoking Again!
In the ultimate tribute to Walt Disney, the Disney parks will once again allow smoking throughout the parks. Don’t worry all you health nuts, each park will have a designated non-smoking area.
So there you have it: The SATURDAY SIX Looks at 100 Walts of Wonder! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out the THEME PARK ENJOYMENT INDEX, giving a monthly recap of all the theme park news you need to know (and a lot more you don’t need to know, but we’re gonna tell you anyway). You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
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Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, Digital Maestro Scott Walker, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, artist @SonderQuest, the mighty maven of merchandise Hedgehog’s Corner, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and “the Dadalorian” Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, charter member of the Universal Four @Nitro230, the permit princess Alicia Stella, master cartographer Tommy Hawkins, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Absolutely no help was added by SeaWorld Influencer @SuperWeenieHtJr. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.