WDW News Today’s 14 Biggest Stories of 2014

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I know this is something most people will tell you at the end of every year, but 2014 really was one of the busiest years at the Disney Parks. Some of the largest projects in history began to take shape, and we saw more closures and entertainment changes than have ever happened in a 1-year period. With that being said, we fully expect things to be even crazier over the next few years on the road to AVATAR at Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, FROZEN at Epcot, and who knows what else that we are still waiting for an announcement on…

Here are the fourteen most read stories for WDWNT in 2014:

14) More Details & Concept Art Leaks for Downtown Disney’s Conversion to Disney Springs

Somewhat mundane, but it’s nice to see Disney Springs make the list. Certainly, we have spent a good deal of 2014 covering Downtown Disney’s makeover, and it’s good to see that some readers do actually care about the project.

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13) RUMOR: PIXAR Place Expansion at Hollywood Studios Imminent; 3rd Toy Story Mania Track To Be Constructed?

This story kicked off a rather insane week at WDWNT. Just a few days later, the Backlot Tour saga would unfold and give credibility to this story that most people deemed “impossible” or “unlikely”.

12) Concept Art and Full Details on EPCOT Center’s Never-Built Switzerland Pavilion, Including the Matterhorn!

While this was not a news story, it was pretty amazing. Every now and then, details about failed projects from the past emerge, but never entire proposal books on them. Readers were clearly as blown away as we were when they saw this.

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11) PHOTOS: New Lobby at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Unveiled

Our most recent story on the list and perhaps the most overall disliked change of 2014. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and the Villas and Bungalows at the resort open in early 2015 at the resort, so we’ll be watching the Polynesian a lot next year.

10) Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid in New Fantasyland to Close in Early 2015 for Ride Enhancements

We broke the story of changes coming to the Little Mermaid ride in Florida and it was met with a very mixed reaction. Either guests love this ride or despise it, and there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of middle ground, but Disney is determined to improve the modern dark ride next year.

9) “Frozen Fun” Event Confirmed for Disney California Adventure, Details Revealed

Our only Disneyland Resort story to make the top 14 in 2014, we managed to find the full line-up for Frozen Fun at Disney California Adventure a few weeks early. Everything listed in this post is now running at the park.

8) First Look: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2014 Event Map

There’s always one story that gets way more hits that it should or you expect it to., Last year, it was the now infamous soda post, this year, it’s a map.

7) CONFIRMED – Studio Backlot Tour Closes September 27th, 2014

Only hours after we posted the rumors of the Backlot Tour closing, Disney admitted to cast members that the ride had just days left to exist. An opening day attraction that was the focal point of the park was about to leave with little-to-no fanfare what-so-ever. Everyone was ready for this.

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6) BREAKING: Guests Can Only Ride Toy Story Mania Via FastPass+ This Week

Anger. Unbridled anger. Never have I seen so many people upset about something that wasn’t even affecting their vacation. A one week test where a standby line didn’t exist at Toy Story Mania was enough to set off everyone with just the idea that a system like this might ever be in place.

5) BREAKING: Turner Classic Movies to Present and Change the Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

A Great Movie Ride update has been rumored for as long as I can remember. Hell, Disney even thought about removing the ride in the late 1990’s. Luckily, TCM came around to take over and bring about an age where the Great Movie Ride will once again be the focus and the icon of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

4) RUMOR: Maelstrom at Epcot Closing September 28th for FROZEN Attraction?

We called it. Our date was a little off, but when we picked up on the sudden vanishing of Maelstrom from FastPass+ options at Epcot, it seemed like a FROZEN attraction was eminent. Several weeks later, Disney finally announced the closure of Maelstrom and that a FROZEN ride would be constructed in Norway at Epcot. Maelstrom closing at Epcot was certainly the most memorable in-park moment of the year.

3) BYE-BYE BACKLOT TOUR! Hollywood Studios PIXAR Place Expansion Coming, Many Current Attractions Closing Soon?

Early on a Friday morning, I was told the Backlot Tour was closing and Toy Story Land was coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. By 5PM that day, after hours of the Disney online community arguing over the rumor, Disney confirmed that the Backlot Tour was indeed closing. This was by far the fastest a rumor has ever crossed into reality and made for what I think was the most exciting and memorable day of the WDW News Today website.

2) RUMOR: 5th Walt Disney World Theme Park To Be Built Before 2021, Located Near Flamingo Crossings?

How could the first solid evidence of a 5th park not be such a huge story? Plenty of experts are still unconvinced that this might be real, but the realization that Disney purchased more land to set aside for conservation the following week seemed to make our rumor far more plausible. We’ll be waiting a long time to find out if this is true or not, but it’s certain that Disney is up to something at the very least.

1) CONFIRMED: The Sorcerer’s Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to be Removed in Early 2015

We have waited, and waited, and waited for this one. Since the demise of the Epcot wand, we figured it was only a matter of time until Disney erased the final temporary park icon. Our wish finally came true… only to be dampened by a strange and unexpected outpouring of love for the metal, out-of-place behemoth. Regardless, the Sorcerer’s Hat will be demolished in a few weeks time and what exactly the space will be used for announced at that time.

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With 2014 ending today, we begin to look towards 2015. While I can’t for sure say what Disney has in store for 2015, I can tell you that WDW News Today will be celebrating the Disney Parks like never before with a special year-long celebration (#WDWNT60). We’ll formally announce what we’re up to in a few days, but until then… HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

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