Toy Story could be the next big ride at Disney-MGM Studios
Toy Story Mania, Midway Mania, Toy Story's Midway Mania — whatever the name of Disney-MGM Studios' next big ride, Walt Disney World may be having trouble containing details long enough to hold a big announcement scheduled for next week.
Even Disney World's parent company, the Walt Disney Co., may be leaking details. Wednesday night the corporation posted the glossy version of its annual report on the Internet, and it included an unidentified artist's rendering of a ride called "Toy Story Mania."
At Disney-MGM Studios, a new ride is under construction that unofficial Disney sources have described as having a similar name and look to the one in the picture. The sources told the Sentinel a ride called "Midway Mania" is going into the building that housed the "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire — Play It!" game. It is supposed to be similar in concept to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin at Magic Kingdom and Men in Black at Universal Studios.
Those rides take people in tracked cars through a maze of indoor scenes with robotic characters and special effects, and let them interact with weapons and other features. For months, independent, Disney-oriented Internet blogs and message boards have weighed in, saying the ride would be based on the Toy Story movies.
The ride's actual name may be "Toy Story's Midway Mania," one Disney source told the Sentinel.
The annual report's "Toy Story Mania" picture shows cars with pairs of seats facing in opposite directions, moving through a Toy Story scene, while riders wearing what appear to be 3-D glasses drive and shoot.
But the Disney-MGM Studios ride under construction has been a secret venture that Disney officials have never publicly acknowledged, and on Thursday no one at Disney was willing to confirm or deny the picture's relevance.
They pointed to Walt Disney Co. CEO Robert Iger's letter to shareholders in the annual report. He wrote, "What you are about to see is conceptual artwork of projects we are building, developing or still just dreaming about. Some will be open soon, some may never be built."
Other pictures in the report included renderings of a possible theme park and possible rides in other parks.
"And if any of the blue-sky concepts that are shown in the annual report do become reality," said California-based spokesman Donn Walker, "we will let you know at the appropriate time."