Eye-Opening Disney Rumors for February 2021
After a year of absolute chaos, The Walt Disney Company has committed to several upcoming park and resort updates.
Some of them haven’t come to light yet, while others continue in limbo, at least for now.
This month, we’ll talk about the anniversary celebration that wasn’t, the status of some EPCOT improvements, and two restaurants you may have forgotten.
Here are the most intriguing Disney rumors for February of 2021.
What If Nobody Noticed an Anniversary?
The timing on this update feels so odd. Last week, Disney revealed many of its plans for the upcoming 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World.
The company utilized some of its vertical integration to amplify the story on its Good Morning America platform.
Ginger Zee did a live report of the plans, which seemed hysterical as she discussed sunny Florida while she was covered in layers and a thick coat.
Did you remember that Disney should have celebrated two significant anniversaries this year? It’s true!
In fact, one of them already happened…quietly. On February 8th, Disney California Adventure (DCA) turned 20.
Perhaps fittingly, the black sheep of Disney’s American theme park empire commemorated the occasion by…being closed to the public.
Theme park historians and diehard Disney fans know that the opening of DCA qualifies as a debacle.
Disney cut corners on some of the earliest attractions, one of which, Superstar Limo, represents the worst failure in the company’s park history.
DCA faced a negative stigma until the Cars Land expansion in 2012, which means it’s still had more downs than ups, according to many.
Still, starting in the 1970s, people clamored for another theme park at Disneyland. The one they finally got disappointed fans and critics alike.
The Unplanned Anniversary Party
Due to the awkward nature of the 20th anniversary, Disney couldn’t celebrate the way it’d intended.
A park with the Avengers and Pixar themed lands would satisfy even the most diehard critics.
Alas, California health policies prevent this from happening at the moment.
So, Disney California Adventure will celebrate its 20th anniversary a different way.
Next month, the park will host a food event akin to an EPCOT festival as a way to utilize currently unused space to sell some stuff.
Here are the details from Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock,
“Currently planned to begin mid-March, we will debut an all-new, limited-time ticketed experience, focused on our world-famous food and beverage offerings from around the resort, the latest merchandise and unique, carefully crafted entertainment experiences.”
No, it’s not Avengers Campus, but at least it’s something. In a perfect world, DCA’s anniversary would have been almost as good as the one at Walt Disney World, though.
EPCOT Changes in Progress
The pandemic hasn’t slowed down construction (and demolition) at EPCOT.
Usually, Disney does everything possible to hide renovations at the parks.
Currently, that strategy has flown out the window at EPCOT, as the pavilions remain too large to disguise.
When you walk past Spaceship Earth, you may notice a giant building stripped bare.
That’s not new construction. It’s the ongoing demolition of Innoventions West, which kind of looks like an empty parking garage.
Meanwhile, the upcoming PLAY! pavilion has replaced the roofing from the former Wonders of Life location.
For a while, some speculated that Disney had canceled the PLAY! pavilion. That’s far from the truth.
Now, people speculate the plans are even more ambitious than initially announced.
Disney recently confirmed a monorail attraction, which appears like one of many amenities coming soon.
However, the target date of summer 2021 is obviously impossible. Instead, the PLAY! pavilion has gotten pushed back on the priority list.
Don’t be surprised if this place doesn’t open for another 18 months or more.
More EPCOT Updates
Similarly, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will miss its intended 2021 launch date.
Word leaked about the details of the ride. I’m not going to spoil you on anything. If you’re interested, here’s a YouTube description:
Construction remains underway on the project, some of which are a bit confusing. For instance, Disney recently removed the previous solar panels.
I presume that the company found some more efficient, cost-effective panels. Still, the replacement hadn’t occurred while I was there.
At Space 220, the Patina Restaurant Group sounds just as frustrated by the constant delays as we do.
I’d heard that the ownership group expects the EPCOT restaurant to open this summer.
However, they’d reeeeeaaaaally like it to open over the next three months.
I don’t know how feasible that timeline is, given everything else in play at EPCOT. Then again, this place should have opened 15 months ago, so…
Speaking of Patina, the company is working on another EPCOT eatery, a gelato place at the Italy pavilion.
Rumors suggest that this place will be called La Gelateria. Weirdly, there’s already a popular place with that name in Hawaii, making me question those reports.
Progress on this gelato shop has advanced enough that it could arrive in 2021.
Similarly, La Crêperie de Paris at the France pavilion has progressed well during the pandemic. It should be ready to go when Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure opens.
Finally, Harmonious has moved its main barge into place. Respected Disney analyst Jim Hill recently suggested an April debut for the new EPCOT show.
That’s several months sooner than I had heard, but he’s much more plugged in than I am. And as a Disney fan, I hope he’s right. Sooner is always better.
Some Other Walt Disney World Updates
I’m holding off on a Jungle Cruise update until I hear from more people. However, I did find out a bit about some other projects.
Disney finally filed the paperwork (read: permits) to move forward with its next BBQ pit.
You may recall that Toy Story Land promised a Table Service BBQ joint all the way back in April of 2019.
Imagineers cleared a construction area later that year, but then the project stalled due to the pandemic-related budget cuts. It’s remained in stasis ever since.
Well, I’m happy to report that work has begun anew at Rodeo Roundup BBQ. I suspect the place will debut at some point in 2022.
On the refurbishment front, the torture that is the closure of Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover should end soon.
Cast members were caught on video doing trial runs of this, the most wonderful of all Magic Kingdom attractions.
The park hasn’t felt the same in the absence of the PeopleMover. Thankfully, the brief local nightmare will end soon.
Disney should bring back the PeopleMover by the summer, hopefully as early as late April. I MISS IT!!!
Speaking of refurbishments, Disney finally confirmed the rumor that Disney’s Contemporary Resort will undergo renovations in April.
This work should complete by September, just in time for the 50th anniversary celebration starting on October 1st.
We don’t know everything involved yet, just that Imagineers will work on the A-frame a bit.
However, a longstanding rumor involves the creation of hotel rooms themed to The Incredibles. This story could break soon unless Disney has flip-flopped.
That’s everything for this month. See you next time!
Feature Image Rights: Disney