When Will These Amazing Things Come Back at Disney?
Disney theme parks are currently somewhere in the middle of their triumphant comebacks.
Three of the parks remain open, with Walt Disney World closest to operating at full strength.
Right now, thousands of guests flock to the parks each day. However, they miss a few beloved aspects of a visit. Then, there are those parks that aren’t operational at all.
The vague nature of these situations has caused ample confusion. So, when will these Disney parks, restaurants, and attractions return?
Here’s what we know…
When Magic Kingdom reopened on July 11th, plenty of guests expressed confusion and surprise.
Casey’s Corner, a staple of Main Street, U.S.A, didn’t reopen with the rest of the park.
During the six months that followed, it never returned. Apparently, it’s not coming back soon, either.
A Disney vlogger asked a cast member about the situation a few months ago.
The employee pointed out the tight space behind the counter at Casey’s Corner.
Apparently, Disney cannot serve food here without violating social distancing practices.
While the company could solve the problem by making changes, Casey’s Corner is more likely to remain closed until the pandemic subsides.
A target return date during the second half of 2021 seems reasonable.
Here’s a question that already comes with a partial answer. Some character meals have already returned.
However, several favorites aren’t back yet and don’t appear likely to return soon.
From Disney’s perspective, the parks and hotels maintain capacity limits. So, the company doesn’t need many of its restaurants and stores.
Disney would waste money on staffing and inventory while lacking customer demand.
As such, character meals will come back at the same pace as capacity limits.
When Disney increases the number of customers allowed, it’ll add restaurants, too. This applies to character meals, also.
Expect Disney to bring back more character meals gradually throughout 2021.
Columbia Harbour House
Here’s another question I can answer with confidence.
Magic Kingdom is so confident that Columbia Harbour House won’t return soon that it offers the same menu items at Tomorrowland Terrace.
Columbia Harbour House currently provides two services at the parks.
Cast members utilize the space as a makeshift space that maintains social distancing.
Also, on days when the lines at Peter Pan’s Flight are too long, the overflow queue goes into this section.
I doubt this restaurant reopens until the second half of 2021.
Okay, this one’s arguably the greatest unknown across the Disney empire.
The governor of California has followed health officials’ advice and set impossibly high standards for theme park reopenings.
Places like Universal Studios Hollywood and Disneyland don’t have a chance.
Still, we’ve noticed some progress in recent weeks. California just rescinded its emergency stay-at-home order.
Also, Disneyland has opened a vaccine distribution super-POD in an attempt to speed along the drive toward immunization and herd immunity.
The Biden administration recently ordered 200 million doses of the vaccine, which should safeguard either 100 million or 200 million people, depending on boosters.
That’s a massive percentage of the population, hopefully enough to trigger herd immunity.
Disney executives believe that the tide has turned on the pandemic and have privately expressed optimism Disneyland will return by its next anniversary.
As a reminder, that’s July 17th. Thankfully, the date could come much quicker if the national vaccination process speeds up.
Barring something unforeseen, Disneyland Paris will reopen on April 2nd.
However, France must drop its current curfew rules in place for Disney to proceed.
So, think of April 2nd as having an asterisk beside it.
Enchanted Tales with Belle
This one’s a no-go. Park officials cannot operate this indoor interactive character experience during the pandemic.
The tight space of Enchanted Tales with Belle heightens the experience when you’re in the halls of Beast’s Castle.
Right now, the place would jeopardize the safety of guests and cast members alike.
My understanding is that Disney has evaluated some temporary modifications, which keeps hope alive.
Alas, I think we’re in for another few months without Enchanted Tales with Belle. I expect a return in the fall.
Festival of The Lion King
I’ve got terrific news on this front. Disney recently started bringing back performers for this show.
The company also revealed that it will reopen the Festival of The Lion King show later this year, most likely during the summer.
Happily Ever After
Disney has tested fireworks multiple times during the pandemic.
Many insiders suggest that fans shouldn’t read much into this practice. After all, management must ensure that the show’s mechanics still work.
We’re talking about electrical outlets, fireworks cannons, and castle lightning effects as potential sources for malfunction if left untouched.
Still, park officials know that public tests lead to fan excitement.
Also, I don’t believe that Disney would do them unless the fireworks were coming back in 2021.
Unfortunately, I cannot give you any sort of estimate based in fact, though.
I do think we’ll have some sort of fireworks during the first half of 2021, though. Call it a hunch.
Hong Kong Disneyland
The third Disneyland park that’s currently closed is in Hong Kong. Disney has reopened it two times, only to shut it down once (well, twice) again.
The Chinese government has cracked down on all pandemic-related risks. So, this situation exists entirely out of Disney’s hands.
According to recent news updates, Hong Kong is closer to tightening restrictions than reopening the city enough that the park can operate.
Still, Hong Kong Disneyland has already come back twice during the pandemic. I’d be surprised if it’s not running up and running again by spring.
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Think of this entry as one that covers the entirety of currently closed shows at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Park officials aren’t in a rush to bring them back for the same reason I mentioned with restaurants.
Even though Hollywood Studios has proven the most popular of the parks during the pandemic, at least in terms of lines, it’s still only at 35 percent capacity.
In other words, the park doesn’t have the traffic to justify the opening of many shows.
Also, I should mention the ancillary considerations. Some shows take place indoors in tight spacing, the same issue that movie theaters face.
Disney officials remain reticent to host such attractions, especially sing-along presentations. Yes, there are some, but Disney has dialed them back.
I don’t expect this situation to change anytime soon. This one’s probably offline until the fall.
We’re still waiting for signals from Disney. In past years, ticketed events were already on sale in February.
However, I’m hearing that Disney has every intention of bringing back ticketed events later in 2021.
As with everything else on this list, it’ll depend on whether the vaccination process goes well.
I don’t want to get your hopes up only to be dashed later, but I expect Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas to run this year. I’m hopeful about Halloween, too.
Right now, I expect the 2021 holiday season to be far better than the one we had in 2020.