On Friday Walt Disney World opened The Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports, a new multi-purpose arena at the sports complex, further expanding the 220-acre sports venue that is widely regarded as the leading facility for youth sports in America.
The new 300,000 square-foot venue will host a variety of sports for girls and boys, such as basketball, volleyball, gymnastics and, in particular, cheerleading and dance competitions. The use of the space started with the prestigious UCA & UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship that took place this past weekend. In fact, the 8,000-seat arena is one of the largest in the country designed specifically for cheer and dance events.
This is indeed a wonderful addition to the facilities at ESPN Wide World of Sports, but I have to wonder what this means for the future of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.
While not an opening day attraction for the then Disney-MGM Studios, it did open a few months later on August 25th of 1989. Despite a six-month rehab in 2000 and the change out of Nazi Swastikas for stylized Greek Crosses on vehicles, aircraft and uniforms in 2004 the attraction has existed pretty much unaltered for nearly 30 years.
The attraction is still extremely popular, with shows being full or nearly full, yet the show is showing its age. With the re-imagineering of the park which includes the addition Galaxy’s Edge, known to many as “Star Wars Land,” could this space be better used for newer and possibly Star Wars related shows or attractions?
Undoubtably one of the reasons this show has remained, essentially untouched for as long it has, is because of its popularity and its ability to “eat people” or occupy the attention of a lot of people.
One of the other reasons that Indy has remained, according to some sources is that Disney has needed the space for the above mentioned cheer and dance competitions. According to the same sources, the space has been booked out for years. Without another venue for these competitions Disney has been forced to keep Indy around.
With the opening of The Arena, does Disney still need Indy to stay? My guess is that Indy probably sticks around until at least when the opening of Galaxy’s Edge. With all of the construction going on and the limited amount of attractions available, Indy needs to stay so guests have something to do especially families with kids. After Galaxy’s Edge opens I say all bets are off. Could this area be used for a Phase 2 of Galaxy’s Edge? Or maybe a new Indiana Jones area will use the space.
How about you, what do you think?