There are a ton of changes coming to Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA as well as Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL. The much awaited Star Wars Land is now officially under construction on both coasts with massive ‘TFN’ closures near Rivers of America at Disneyland, and the entire back half of Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando walled off.
Outside of the updates we know about, there is a rumor that is gaining traction in the online community. Namely, the end of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction at Disney California Adventure. Fans of the iconic attraction are (understandably) up in arms about the rumor, but what is the story behind it?
In 2009, the Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion. A huge acquisition that, according to the New York Times, “makes Disney a partner with Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment and 20th Century Fox, all of which have long-term deals to make or distribute movies based on superhero characters. Sony holds the film rights to Spider-Man, for instance, while Fox has the X-Men and Fantastic Four — in perpetuity.”
Why does this matter? Every moment that the Marvel characters/trademarks are missing from Disney’s theme park properties is money left on the table. Disney needs to create a physical Marvel presence in Anaheim, and that will likely take the form of a Marvel themed land at Disney California Adventure. The area now known as Hollywoodland, or the area between the Hyperion Theater and the Bug’s Life area is sparse at best and is the last area of the park that has any real space for expansion (see below). If Tower of Terror were to close, it would likely take on new life as a Marvel themed attraction.
Before I go any further with this story, it should be noted that these rumors are very unlikely to affect the original Tower of Terror at Walt Disney World in Florida, namely because Disney has to honor Marvel’s pre-existing contract with theme park rival Universal Orlando which basically means that, according to Theme Park Tourist, “Disney does not hold the rights to use major Marvel characters at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, thanks to Marvel’s long-standing deal with the Universal Orlando Resort.” As for California…there are no limitations on what Disney can do with Marvel.
Now, assuming that a Marvel Land is on the way to Disney California Adventure, the next question is…how does Tower of Terror play into it?
There is a Guardians of the Galaxy character called The Collector played by Benicio Del Toro, according to Slash Film, “…Del Toro’s character is not set to appear in the upcoming sequel so it seems strange to build a ride around his weird museum. It might be cool to be able to walk around the oddities of the Collector’s museum.” While this is a very loose description, it could make a ton of sense.
The building could remain “The Hollywood Tower Hotel” and could become something the character collected. Fill the building’s lobby and boiler room with his collection, and set a storyline based around the collector trying to “collect” the riders of the attraction. Write in a quick escape, with the help of the Guardians and the attractions drop shaft, and you have a relatively simple (and cheap) execution of a new attraction. This is just speculation, but if Disney is looking for an inexpensive way to get Guardians of the Galaxy into the park before the next film comes out in May of 2017…this would work, wouldn’t it?
At this stage, this is purely rumor. But it sure is a fascinating one.