Disney Rumors for November 2020
This past week, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) held its first-ever virtual conference.
Disney participated in the event and presented some enlightening information about the status of various projects.
Around the same time, other leaks occurred that paint a plausible picture about Disney’s short-term direction.
In the latest Disney Rumors update, let’s examine several projects in the pipeline.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
We’re going to look at seven different projects today, most of which received some attention during IAPPA.
The others have become talking points for different reasons. This video highlights the IAPPA offerings:
Obviously, we’d hoped for some clarity regarding Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, which Disney had scheduled to open five months ago.
Alas, Josh D’Amaro, the new Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, didn’t provide an exact date for its arrival.
In fact, Disney passed on two opportunities last week to name a date. The D23 Virtual Fantastic Worlds presentation also happened.
During both exhibitions, Disney mentioned Ratatouille without stating when it would debut. However, the company confirmed it’ll happen in 2021.
Yes, that’s when everyone had long since guessed. For what it’s worth, I’ve heard April, but I doubt anything’s written in stone.
We also had one other significant non-Disney news items this week that factors into everything, especially Ratatouille.
Several viable Coronavirus virus vaccine candidates neared FDA approval.
Disney parks have remained stuck in purgatory during the pandemic. All the new attractions will advance if/when a viable cure reaches the marketplace.
We all know that Ratatouille’s nearly completed. Disney could open it at any point. The hold-up comes from COVID-19 concerns.
So, the two seemingly diverse topics intersect here. When a vaccine proves successful, Disney may safely finalize plans for all its upcoming attractions.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser
During IAPPA, park officials revealed the interior of a Star Wars hotel room for the first time.
Until then, we’d relied on artistic renderings to conceptualize these cruise cabins.
To Disney’s credit, the rooms mirror the early artwork almost precisely. The original wall monitors have shrunk in size, but that’s the only nitpick.
In short, Galactic Starcruiser is shaping up to be exactly what Disney had promised.
Unsurprisingly, park strategists have prioritized this hotel. It’s moving at lightspeed and should be one of the earliest completed Disney projects.
The reality is that Galactic Starcruiser will make a lot of money for Disney, and the company possesses the proper incentive to finish it quickly.
During the presentation, we learned that the experience will last for two days and two nights.
Insiders believe that Galactic Starcruiser remains on schedule for a 2021 opening date.
The construction photos on display during the presentation appear advanced enough that this timeline seems viable.
Splash Mountain Re-Theming
In recent months, Splash Mountain fans have hoped/wished/campaigned for the status quo.
These supporters would prefer Disney to roll back the clock and keep the attraction as is.
Some of them have speculated that the pandemic helps in that funds remain tight enough that Disney could cancel the renovation to save a few bucks.
Alas, D’Amaro stomped on those dreams this past week. He indicated that the company will expedite the changes on attractions like Splash Mountain.
As such, The Princess and the Frog reboot of your favorite water ride remains on the docket. In fact, it appears likely to happen sooner than expected.
Hall of Presidents Update
Speaking of divisive topics, Disney took a lot of grief over the Hall of Presidents‘ renovation in 2017.
Proponents of one political party argued that the company delayed its addition of the 45th POTUS until the last possible moment.
People who disliked that particular American President resented his presence, feeling that it disrupted the show’s positive message.
Innocent bystanders displayed amusement that the latest Audio-Animatronic looked ridiculous, as if Disney had planned it for the other candidate to win.
Fast forward one election, and the shoe’s on the other foot.
For the first time since 1992, we have a one-term POTUS, which means the Hall of Presidents requires another update.
Disney hasn’t indicated when it will add the new President to the attraction’s stage or whether he’ll have a speaking part.
However, the same thought process applies from three years ago. Park strategists must once again weigh the value of the Hall of Presidents.
Has the divisive nature of American politics made this attraction more trouble than it’s worth? Should Disney re-theme it instead?
A Hamilton-esque reboot has been discussed internally, and Disney loves Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Imagineers performed a substantial amount of technical improvements on the Hall of Presidents in 2017. So, I doubt any significant change is in the offing.
As such, 46 should get an Audio-Animatronic soon, and that’ll be the end of it for three-to-seven years. The problem’s not going away, though.
On MarvelBlog, I spent the past year tracking The New Mutants, the former Fox movie Disney inherited.
No matter what happened in society, the outcome always led to The New Mutants getting delayed.
At Walt Disney World, Space 220 has become the restaurant equivalent of that movie.
Space 220 should have celebrated its first anniversary already. Disney had scheduled it for last November.
The first delay on this one didn’t even involve the pandemic. The head chef quit and took another job in Las Vegas, leaving the Patina Group stranded.
That company will own and operate Space 220, which later faced construction delays due to Walt Disney World’s shutdown.
Now, we’re one year later, and nobody’s ready to open an indoor restaurant, even one with such a spectacular interior setting.
As with Ratatouille, Disney wasn’t willing to commit to an opening date here.
We have our first confirmed pictures of the orbital view within the restaurant, but that’s it.
So, Space 220 appears likely to open in 2021, but we’re still awaiting a date. It looks basically finished, though.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
I recently mentioned that Disney has probably delayed this one. The intent had been for a Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster to anchor 2021.
Park officials wanted EPCOT and Magic Kingdom to operate new coasters in time for the 50th-anniversary celebration.
Then, Coronavirus happened and imploded those plans. Disney simply doesn’t have the staffing power to finish this project in the current climate.
Social distancing rules and other safety considerations wreak havoc with standard theme park construction, especially in an indoor work environment.
So, this project likely arrives in 2022, but Disney’s still making tremendous progress.
This video shows the marvelous underlying technology for the coaster cart:
As a storytelling coaster, Guardians of the Galaxy will feel like a thrill ride but show your favorite characters fighting villains.
Recent reports indicate that Disney will film scenes for the ride at the same time as Thor: Love & Thunder.
So, that’ll happen at the start of 2021 in Australia. Cosmic Rewind will require plenty of testing before it’s ready for public consumption.
Honestly, 2021 looks like a pipe dream at this point…but Disney’s in the business of magic! So, who knows?
Speaking of things that should already be open, Disney’s worst timing this year involved Avengers Campus.
In early March, park officials revealed that this spectacular themed land would open on July 18th.
Two days later, Rudy Gobert touched a bunch of microphones, and society shut down.
If Disney had scheduled its announcement for a week later, nobody would have ever known that Avengers Campus was ready to open.
Obviously, we can conclude that Imagineers needed about four more months to finish the project.
While nobody’s quite sure how much work got done during the pandemic, Avengers Campus is all but certain to open in 2021.
The only hold-up here involves California’s sustained outbreak issues.
Amusingly, Disney put the cart before the horse a bit with Avengers Campus. So, it has holiday merchandise available for a place that’s not open.
Those of you living near Disneyland Resort can head to Downtown Disney and grab some Avengers Campus swag right now!