Will They Or Won’t They Open This Year?
The Walt Disney Company aimed high for the 50th anniversary celebration at Walt Disney World.
Disney planned many additions to commemorate a half-century of greatness for everyone’s favorite tourist destination.
Alas, Coronavirus blew up some of those previously announced plans.
So, I’m taking this opportunity to update you on where things stand with your most anticipated attractions.
Will they or won’t they open in 2021? Read on to find out!
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Most of the attractions I list here come with finite answers. Disney has already stated or strongly hinted at their statuses.
Then, there are a couple whose situation remains fluid. Chief among them is the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster.
When we entered 2020, Disney officials confidently stated that the project remained on schedule to open on or before the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World.
That date is October 1st. Once Coronavirus caused setbacks, no one from Disney ever altered the release date.
Everyone knows that the project has fallen behind schedule because…reality. However, we don’t know how much work remains.
Imagineers posted a video of a working coaster cart. And the massive building has mostly completed construction.
Can Disney populate an entire outer space pavilion in less than 10 months? The answer is probably no.
Instead, I expect the company to state that Cosmic Rewind‘s opening will occur during the 50th anniversary celebration.
Since the event should last for 15 months, this strategy buys Disney plenty of time to complete the roller coaster.
Final Verdict: Probably Won’t Open in 2021
EPCOT’s management developed a firm plan for replacing IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.
The theme park would introduce a substitute fireworks presentation to run for a while.
This show would act as a bridge while Imagineers constructed World Showcase Lagoon’s barges for Harmonious.
Epcot Forever ran as expected until the park closed due to COVID-19 concerns. Then, when EPCOT reopened, it didn’t have a nighttime show.
Disney isn’t running any of them currently. I don’t expect this aspect to impact Harmonious, though.
Park officials have already hinted that fireworks presentations will return at some point during 2021.
Meanwhile, anyone at the World Showcase can see two of the Harmonious barges in the lagoon. It’ll be ready by October 1st, barring something unforeseen.
Final Verdict: Likely to Open in 2021
Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana
You know this one as the Moana water feature MickeyBlog has discussed many times.
The idea comes straight from the movie, as living water helped the heroine when she was a child in need of assistance.
This entity acted like smart water, thinking and reacting as a living being. It’s a visually breathtaking aspect of Moana, one of the most popular Disney+ movies.
EPCOT will bring this fictional premise into reality when it introduces this interactive water feature.
In a recent USA Today article, the author interviewed Josh D’Amaro.
So, when the writer states that this Moana attraction won’t open in 2021, I believe him.
Final Verdict: Unlikely to Open in 2021…But Not Impossible
Le Crêperie de Paris
I think that means…Parisian crepes? I dunno. My wife’s the French speaker in our home, and she’ll hate this joke.
Anyway, this sweet treats joint will debut on or around the same time as another attraction we’ll discuss, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
At the risk of giving away the answer to that one, Le Crêperie de Paris looks like it could open in a matter of days.
In fact, the only source of consternation here involves the frequent delays of two other expected EPCOT restaurants.
One debuted a few months late, while the other remains on this list, indicating that it’s still not open.
Sometimes, the front of the house isn’t everything that matters about a restaurant’s readiness to open. Still…
Final Verdict: Extremely Likely to Open in 2021, Possibly Soon
Here’s a strange one indeed. In future years, kids will think of the PLAY! pavilion ahead of all other EPCOT attractions.
The idea of blending futuristic interactive attractions with character meetings works on all levels.
If you shut your eyes, you can imagine the laughter of children as they roam through the PLAY! pavilion and play games with one another.
For its part, Disney leaked news about the Monorail Mark X attraction last August.
Not long afterward, some internet sleuths wondered whether progress had stopped on the entire pavilion.
These misgivings proved misguided. Even a casual study of the former Wonders of Life pavilion will indicate significant progress.
Still, the target date of the summer of 2021 seems optimistic. Disney must have experienced some setbacks during the park closure, right?
Final Verdict: Will Open by the Middle of 2022, Possibly the End of 2021
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
Before you get the crepes, first you meet the rat. His name is Remy, and you’ll love him. That filthy critter can COOK!
Remy will allow you in his Ratmobile, where you’ll experience humanity from the perspective of a small rodent. It’s a mesmerizing Imagineering trick.
This attraction would have debuted six months ago if not for Coronavirus. Out of everything on this list, you can feel the most confident about Remy.
Final Verdict: Extremely Likely to Open in 2021, Possibly Soon
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser
Here’s the only hotel on the list. Even if there were others – and I could technically include one from Disneyland Paris – this resort would matter most.
Disney has promised a full-fledged Star Wars hotel, one that will simulate a galactic star cruise.
Basically, this place will look a lot like the place WALL-E finds in that movie, the one where fat humans sip Slurpees all day. Sounds like paradise, right?
Anyway, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser brims with ambition, as Disney promises the most immersive guest experience ever.
The price tag will reinforce this philosophy, as a three-day/two-night adventure will reportedly cost north of $3,000.
As such, Imagineers possess tremendous incentive to get this resort up and running as soon as possible. It’s a breadwinner of epic proportions.
Final Verdict: Extremely Likely to Open in the Fourth Quarter of 2021
I cannot believe I’m still talking about this restaurant. In some parallel universe, Space 220 opened on schedule.
On that planet, the EPCOT restaurant debuted in November of 2019.
Instead, at that time, the executive chef for the project quit and returned to his old job in Las Vegas. That dude looks like a prophet. He somehow skipped a lot of misery.
Space 220 looks absolutely incredible, an immersive restaurant where you board a space elevator to dine in outer space.
You orbit Earth while you eat your food. The floor to ceiling digital displays will simulate an outer space object in motion as it cycles around the planet.
Opening Space 220 has proven utterly impossible thus far. This place seems jinxed, as it’s suffered several minor setbacks.
However, the last Walt Disney World restaurant to suffer that fate, The Edison, has proven delightful.
So, I still have high hopes for Space 220, which should either open soon or just give up the ghost.
Final Verdict: Will Either Open in 2021 Or Somehow Trigger the Apocalypse
TRON Lightcycle Power Run
Shanghai Disneyland stars two attractions, neither of which is available anywhere else on the planet.
The first one, a Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, won’t come to the United States anytime soon.
The other, TRON Lightcycle Power Run, will soon anchor Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland for the next generation.
Seriously, this addition qualifies as the most significant one in Tomorrowland since Space Mountain.
Unfortunately, this roller coaster absorbed the brunt of pandemic delays. Disney confirmed in that USA Today article that it won’t arrive in 2021.
In fact, I wouldn’t bet the farm on 2022, either.
Final Verdict: Delayed at Least One Year, Possibly More
You may not even remember this attraction. However, Disney announced this Circle-Vision 360° movie at D-23 in 2017.
This updated film will replace Reflections of China, which debuted in 2003.
Wondrous China will become the third Circle-Vision 360° movie at the China pavilion.
Oddly, we’re more than three years past that D-23 announcement, yet we still don’t have the replacement yet.
Disney had previously indicated this will be the first Circle-Vision film produced in a seamless format.
So, I guess the technology has caused the delay. Disney hasn’t updated the project in a while.
In fact, the only thing we really know is that it remains a part of the EPCOT Experience attraction at the Odyssey Events pavilion.
Disney has removed canceled/delayed attractions like the Mary Poppins ride at the World Showcase.
Ergo, Wondrous China is coming, but we have no idea when. I’m sorry I cannot be more specific, but I promise to update when I learn more.
Final Verdict: Maybe 2021, Maybe Not. Flip a Coin.
Feature Image: Josh D’Amaro/Instagram