These Seven New Disney Attractions Opened in 2020
Did you realize that Disney somehow managed to open a batch of new attractions this year?
Okay, 2020 has felt ten years long. So, you may have forgotten some stuff.
Admittedly, not everything we’ll discuss here would qualify as an E-ticket attraction…but about half of them really do!
Here are the seven attractions Disney opened despite a brutally challenging year.
Awesome Planet (EPCOT)
I will never forget the first time we watched Awesome Planet. My wife and I met some friends at The Land pavilion and waited 10 minutes between shows.
We sat down and watched approximately 15 seconds of the new film – not an exaggeration – when the ground rumbled, and the theater went dark.
Yes, the show didn’t have the kinks worked out yet, and they had to evacuate the audience.
Thankfully, we managed to catch it later that day, and it was well worth the aggravation.
Disney wrote a clever script for this celebration of planet Earth. Ty Burrell, aka Phil from Modern Family, narrates almost as if he’s in character from the show.
After all, Phil Dunphy is a real estate agent. And Awesome Planet has him selling all the high points of the place where we live.
Best of all, the visuals in this clip will rival anything you’ll ever see in a movie theater…and I include Avatar in that.
Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along Film (EPCOT)
Poor LeFou gets a bad rap, at least if you believe the events of the new Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along Film.
EPCOT wanted a new selling point for the France pavilion, and what’s better than Beauty and the Beast?
The answer is clearly nothing, although some Beauty and the Beast loyalists have gotten up in arms over this iteration.
The conceit here is that the LeFou is “the surprise hero” who plays matchmaker for Belle and her future beau.
I’d argue that the details don’t really matter, though. The whole thing’s merely an excuse to give EPCOT guests an excuse to sing the classics.
Highlights from Be Our Guest, Gaston, Something There, and Beauty and the Beast will have everyone in the crowd bursting into song.
Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360 (EPCOT)
Just thinking about this Circle-Vision 360 experience makes me a bit dizzy.
This replacement for O Canada! can overwhelm guests, which explains why signs tell people what to do if they, well, freak out.
That’s what happens when people enter the Circle-Vision theater for the first time in a while (or ever).
The unique camera technology breaks each movie screen into 40-degree perspectives, although it’s more technical than that.
The point is that you’ll encounter nine different digital displays within the Circle-Vision theater.
Each one will project a different picture that combines with the ones to the right and left of it.
When you spin around – which I honestly don’t recommend – you’ll view the entire field of vision as if you were there. It’s remarkable tech.
Disney has utilized it since the early days of EPCOT. Still, Canada Far and Wide is unquestionably the best one ever.
You’ll feel like you’re exploring the majesty of Canada while watching sailing and ballet and skating and hockey and skiing and so forth.
The film even sneaks in a gloat about the Toronto Raptors winning a world title, which could wind up looking pretty dated in a few years.
Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast (Tokyo Disneyland)
You can already tell how much Disney parks love Beauty and the Beast, a tale as old as time and just as timeless as a box office draw.
The 2017 film remake finished second in global box office, causing EPCOT and Tokyo Disneyland executives to take note.
Both places have added Belle-based attractions this year, although the one in Japan frankly blows ours away.
You board a teacup and enter the dining room where Belle reads. Meanwhile, the residents of the kitchen prepare a meal for their…guest.
A rousing rendition of Be Our Guest is but the first step in an elaborate attraction filled with several unforgettable movie moments.
You’ll watch virtual strangers fall in love, angry villagers storm the place, and uncursed palace residents dance with understated elegance.
This attraction’s a legitimate triumph and quite possibly Disney’s best of the year.
Disney fans are already clamoring for it to come stateside.
The Happy Ride with Baymax (Tokyo Disneyland)
In 2012, Disney introduced the public to Cars Land at Disney California Adventure.
One of the attractions there, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, has become the inspiration for multiple modified duplicates.
These rides utilize the same mechanics but change the nature of the ride via the theming.
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Little Green Men will amuse you on Alien Swirling Saucers.
For 2020, Tokyo Disneyland added its own spin on the concept with The Happy Ride with Baymax.
Fans of Big Hero Six will treasure this attraction, as it’s one of the most kawaii rides on the planet.
Your ride cart will spin you in concentric circles, occasionally stretching you so far that you spring back at high velocity.
These rides are perfect for couples and parents with children, as the collisions will cause raucous laughter.
More importantly, this one stars Baymax! Everyone loves Baymax!
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
Yes, as bizarre as the statement may sound, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opened this year!
You may think it happened earlier, but that’s because opening day occurred less than two weeks before Coronavirus forced the park’s closure.
Frequent Hollywood Studios guests have grown accustomed to Runaway Railway by now. However, much of the planet is still anticipating that first ride.
When they get to jump on board, they’ll marvel at the colorful set pieces that feel like giant lithographs dipped in rainbows.
The ride careens between sets, threatening to drown guests, sweep them up in a tornado, and thrust them into metropolitan construction.
Along the way, you’ll even learn a couple of new dance moves before you earn the big finish, a romantic picnic serenade.
No Disney ride has ever manufactured joy as effortlessly as Runaway Railway.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Disneyland)
Okay, this one comes with an asterisk, but it’s technically correct.
In December of 2019, Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened quite possibly the greatest attraction in the world…which doesn’t qualify it for this list.
However, in January of 2020, Disneyland debuted its own version of Rise of the Resistance, which DOES count for our purposes.
Plus, I get another chance to talk up the greatness of this ride, which combined an astonishing number of theme park innovations in one place.
There’s a point in the middle of Rise of the Resistance where you switch floors multiple times in a matter of moments.
You may not even notice because you’re staring at a gigantic At-At the whole time. Oh, and bad guys are shooting at you.
The ride experience on Rise of the Resistance is undoubtedly the most immersive one in Disney history.
You even get taken prisoner at one point! Imagine a cast member being mean to park guests. It seems unthinkable, right?
Disney breaks many of its established rules for Rise of the Resistance, which somehow elevates the attraction.
The rule bummer here is that Disneyland fans have had less than two months to relish its greatness thus far.