Don’t freak out – yet – it’s just a rumor, but it’s a widely reported one and it’s picking up steam.
Update Monday, July 25, 2016: Rumor confirmed.
The DCA Tower of Terror will be closed down within the year (some sources say late 2016, some say early 2017) to be re-themed as Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. It will reopen summer 2017. MiceChat has a very detailed article (and some speculation) on the re-skin.
If this change makes you unhappy, join the protest:
Numerous sources report a Guardians of the Galaxy or Marvel-themed “makeover” (or total ruining, depending how you look at it) in the works for the Disney California Adventure Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction, coming as soon as 2017.
The rumor goes something like this…
Disney’s paying mad bucks to CBS to license the Twilight Zone for its Towers in Paris, Florida, and California. Meanwhile, Marvel (also owned by Disney) is printing money like its going out of style, and Marvel-themed attractions would undoubtedly draw some crowds (the same way Star Wars is packing people into Tomorrowland with Season of the Force).
Iron clad licensing agreements with Universal Orlando (hello, Islands of Adventure) don’t allow for anything from the Marvel universe to appear at Walt Disney World, so this revamp would be limited to parks outside of Florida, namely Disney California Adventure.
(This also might mean the Florida tower is safe… for now.)
Where’s the rumor coming from?
- Reported on WDWMagic forums by “WDW1974” (this link goes to the post on page 3, the first with any actual substance) on March 19, 2016
- Reported on Theme Park Insider on March 21, 2016
- Reported on WDW News Today on April 22nd, 2016
- Reported on Comic Book Resources on April 25th, 2016
Specifically, a poster by the name of “WDW1974”, also known as “Spirit”, on the WDWMagic.com rumor forums shared (supposedly) insider knowledge that Disney is looking to remake the California Tower in time for 2017, to be the first of many major Marvel attractions coming to DCA and parks not located in Florida.
“If they have their way, the current Anaheim ToT will close around the first oft the year and reopen before summer with an entirely new GotG based show, still (somehow I am told) centered on a haunted hotel from the 1930s.” [source post]
From what I can tell, Spirit has historically been a reliable source of insider knowledge regarding Disney parks.
How likely is this rumor to be true?
Obviously, Disney’s no stranger to building drop towers without the Twilight Zone licensing. They already did it for Tokyo DisneySea, and avoided paying licensing and royalty fees to CBS. Disney’s also not afraid to inject new and popular IPs into classic attractions, such as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean and Frozen in the Maelstrom attraction at EPCOT.
The rest of this is my own speculation – take it with a grain of salt!
I think it’s fairly likely that Disney would permanently re-skin one or more of its Towers with a new theme. Whether that’s Guardians of the Galaxy, or something from the larger Marvel universe (Stark Tower?), or something else entirely is harder to say.
I thought GOTG was a fun film, but was it substantial enough to base one of the park’s strongest attractions on? I don’t know about that. If someone had asked me what theme I thought Disney might redo the Tower with, I’d have guessed Star Wars!
But I do know that The Twilight Zone license is old and was only vaguely familiar to me as a kid 20+ years ago, and I’m sure it hasn’t fared any better with kiddos born in the 90’s and 00’s.
Furthermore, the DCA Tower has forever lived in the shadow of the Florida Tower. Anyone who has ridden both is quick to compare the two and the Florida tower almost always comes out on top, if the comments this site gets are any indication. A unique theme in DCA could help the two towers stand on their own unique merits.
I also think Bug’s Land is ripe for bulldozing. A fully-realized Marvel-themed land could fit in that space, capitalizing on the record-breaking films’ collective popularity better than that glorified gift shop / museum over by Space Mountain ever could.
What’s the fan reaction?
Negative reactions abound on fan forums, but those are enthusiast forums, not the general public.
I trust Disney will do a good job with any makeover they might apply to the Tower, as they have with revamps in the past, but don’t take this as happiness on my part – I’ll be sad to see the Twilight Zone disappear from DCA. This Tower holds many special memories for me, and it saddens me to think I soon may not be able to “go back” to it, the same way I can’t go back to the Back to the Future attraction in Universal Orlando.
Anyway, that’s what I know about the Tower of Terror revamp rumor – I’ll post more when more is known! And if you know more than I do, please share in the comments!