Rumor Mill-HHN 22, Universal Florida expansion, Avatar, all pointing to major changes at Florida parks


Rumors have been swirling left and right. There’s tons of construction going on in the Florida parks, lots of permits being filed, lots of walls going up. With all the work going on, or getting ready to, that means that the rumors are flying, also left and right. So many theories, so many reports, so many people saying tons of stuff, it’s time to take a look at some of them. But first, we need to have a little talk.



If you’ve been a reader of Behind the Thrills for any amount of time, you’ll notice that while we do run rumors from time to time, we do it in the form of our Rumor Mill. You’ll also notice that stress that rumors are just that…a rumor…until the park sees fit to announce something, or deny something. You’ll also know that I’m pretty straight forward, and speak my mind. I will tell you if something seems like total bullshit, and have no problem eating crow later on (I am pretty fat for a reason).  So with that being said, rumors aren’t really the business that Behind the Thrills is into. We like rumors, we love to speculate…it’s fun. But we don’t get wrapped up in them for several reasons. The biggest is that  it takes way too much time to sort through all the rumors. We try to cover as many parks as we possibly can, so with covering that many parks…it’s way too hard to cover all the rumors happening at all the parks. The second reason, we don’t have a forum. The biggest fun about speculating and talking rumors is that you have other points of views to share insight, argue with or just flat out disagree with. Again, for us it boils down to time. We had a forum…it was neglected, so we axed it like Abraham Lincoln axed vampires. The final reason is that 99% of them are false. Sure, it’s all fun and good to speculate, but come on…do you really think that Universal was going to put a giant circus tent over the whole park? Or that Universal was going to strictly make HHN an 18 and up event with no cameras allowed in whatsoever? How would they make people more excited about getting out to the event if they can’t show what the event looks like? With all those crazy rumors going on, and the majority of them being so insane that they can’t possibly be true, we feel that we shouldn’t bother with them. But HHN rumors and new ride rumors are so much fun, we just can’t ignore them completely.

Also, we’ve been getting a rash of angry emails and comments saying things like “BTT has no idea WTF they’re talking about, that’s completely wrong!” You know what? It is completely wrong, and we probably don’t! But until a park announces something, guess what, you probably don’t either! But it doesn’t make it wrong to speculate, and there’s certainly no harm in talking rumors as long as you remember that they are just that…rumors. Oh, and if I say I disagree with a rumor, or with information out there it doesn’t mean I think you’re wrong or stupid….it’s just that I disagree with you. And honestly, I really don’t have time to go digging around looking for permits, I’ll leave that to other people.

So, one more thing before we get to rumors…if you want sites who live for rumors, and go digging…visit those sites. Our favorites are Horror Night Nightmares, Park Rumors, Orlando United, and outside of Florida…BGW Fans. A lot these rumors come from those sites. All are great fansites, all deal with rumors 24/7 and a lot more than we do. We respect all of these sites, and they do rumors better than any of the other fansites. If a rumor is going to be true, they’ll know it before we do. So if you want total and complete coverage of all the rumors, every little bit of speculation this site will not satisfy your needs. But, the sites linked above will.


Now….everyone happy? Anyone need to go to the bathroom before we go? Got your sippy cups? Okay…let’s get on the road.




Oh mother Mary and Alice in chains…so much happening, and so many rumors coming around. I know the majority of these are dead rumors, but fun to talk about none the less….so, I’ll start with HHN and go on from there.


  • Soundstage 44 was listed as a haunt in one of the permits early on in the game. Everyone is counting it out, which seems like the proper thinking…but….demolition is going really fast. If the powers that be are clearing it out so fast, it’s quite possible that they still hope to use the area, but now as a temporary structure, much like the “sprung” houses in the back of the park. Those have been permanent, but they can be temporary.
  • The event will deal with sequels to movies, b movies and TV shows. Not a new rumor, and really nothing more to support this
  • Gargoyles-Nightmares reports that a house based on living gargoyles will be in the lineup this year. This kind of goes with what I said earlier about Bmovies and TV shows
  • A sequel to fan favorite house, Dead Exposure. We will already have zombies with walking dead, why not paint an entire corner of the park with zombies, or make it a scare zone just outside of the walking dead house?
  • Scare zones will be limited to the front of the park. With all the areas under construction, it’s been rumored that the entire front of the park will be one giant scare zone
  • Roaming hordes. Instead of having set scare zones, there will be a “no place is safe” theme. A few props will be set up in the park, and actors will roam throughout the park
  • True Blood will be a house. Certain members of A&D were in New Orleans doing research, according to sources…could we see Suki and the gang after all?
  • Penn and Teller will have a house, not a show. Demented magic will be incorporated into a house setting with elaborate props, and Musion projections of Penn&Teller. Ehhhh…far fetched, but anything’s possible
  • Walking Dead will be a double run house. The Walking Dead will be so popular that they will have two houses with the exact same theme, sets and props. Not the first time it’s happened.
Soundstage 44
  • A year round haunt will be built. The powers that be are rushing so that they get a “House of Horrors” style house up before HHN, and they will keep it staffed year round. Only problem is that this isn’t a major draw in Hollywood, and the park uses this as a makeshift maze with minimal changes every year during HHN. Plus it’s not exactly family friendly.
  • Transformers will be built. Most popular rumor, it’s quite possible that we see a clone from Hollywood that could be built by 2014
  • New stage show. All the current shows (except Horror Make up) are outside. This could be a chance to build an indoor theater, perfect for a long term stage show like Wicked or Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Musical! (No, not really, creature bombed and shut down in Hollywood).
  • Spongebob darkride. Everyone could be blindsided, and an all new Spongebob darkride could be built just in time for 2014 and the spongebob movie sequel.
  • Launching point for a new coaster that covers the backside of the park. Much like Hollywood Dreams at Universal Japan, Florida could get a coaster that covers the entire park, launching from SS44, and making a loop around the lagoon.
Harry Potter
  • Harry Potter has been delayed. Instead of opening everything in one shot, like they did at Islands, they will open in stages, with the Hogwarts Express being the first stage. Why? Because you can still have a train ride over to the other park, with a station in the “muggle world”.
  • If the first rumor is true, Diagon alley would be the second phase.
  • If the first two rumors are true, Gringott’s would be the final phase.
  • The station for the Hogwarts Express will be under Dragon’s Challenge. It would take up the current lake under the coasters, and turn it into a train station.
  • More entertainment options could be coming, including filling in the West side of the lagoon, in between Hard Rock Cafe and NBA City
  • Madame Tussaude’s could be coming to Citywalk instead of I-Drive Live
  • A comedy club in which Penn and Teller would film a new show once a month will open.
  • More cheap dining options will open
Islands of Adventure
  • Grinch coaster. It’s been a rumor for years, but a mountain themed coaster, themed to the Grinch could finally break ground.
  • The Lorax. A Lorax dark ride could see some light since the last movie was a hit.
  • Jurassic Park will get a major overhaul, including a wooden family coaster themed to a dinosaur stampede.
Strangely with all the things happening all over Disney, there aren’t many rumors.
  • Avatar is in trouble. James Cameron wants a land that blows Wizarding World away. To do that you need money and space. Cameron’s plans are looking like they will cost half a billion dollars and take up much of the back of the park. Disney wants to keep it at $250 at most and take up just Camp Minnie Mickey. At the most we can probably expect a huge blow your socks off dark ride with some kind of great themeing.
The park is currently half way under construction with Antarctica, but if that’s a success we could see a shift away from the animal shows, and more with animal experiences and habitats.
  • Blue Horizons will get a redo. One of the main points of Blue Horizons is the inclusion of the False Killer Whale. The whale died a few weeks ago. We will most likely see the show get revamped.
  • The park will get a huge revamp of the kids area to be a “Sesame Street” themed area. With the characters in most of it’s parks already, it’s not that big of a stretch.
  • The next animal to get a ride will be the Pacific Octopus. We will see a huge interactive area in which the octopus is featured, possibly a dark ride, but with multiple octopi, including the largest ever seen in captivity.
  • Aquatica will get a new animal attraction within the next few years. Omaka Rocko was a great addition, but the park needs something more. With the success of Stingray falls at Aquatica San Antonio, it’s possible we could see a clone of that in Florida.
  • Discovery Cove is facing delays. Freshwater Oasis had a tentative opening of Spring 2012..that’s gone by. Rumor is that the problem that caused the first reef to close, hasn’t been fixed. The area is losing gallons of water every day.
Busch Gardens
Most of the rumors concern Howl O Scream, and the lack of changes the park will put into it. I hope these rumors prove to be false.
  • Howl O Scream will keep all the same houses from last year. It will instead “amp up” the houses like they did in 2010.
  • Alone will return with a few new twists.
  • No scare zones again this year, instead roaming hordes will be back and in bigger numbers.
  • The park will open the new drop tower in 2014. The new drop tower will be from another park, though it’s likely to be one that has been completely refitted to be different than it’s prior incarnation.
  • A new dark ride will take the place of Scorpion, and Stanleyville Falls in 2015 with major work starting next year.
  • Rhino Rally will close at the end of the year, and reopen with a new track
That’s about it for now. When we hear more rumors, we’ll gather them all up and post them. But please keep in mind that all of these are strictly rumors, they are most likely not true. So take all of them with a huge grain of salt. Hell…take them with a bucket of salt. Again, we hear things from all over, and chances are they are all wrong. But it’s fun to talk about. Besides, if the rumors are out there, it means that the parks are doing something right and getting you to talk about them.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.