Big changes and new additions coming as we head towards Disney World’s 50th Anniversary!
Disney World is an ever-changing and evolving landscape of new attractions, restaurants and resort hotels. Walt Disney himself even famously stated that “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” I think the same could be said for all of the properties bearing the legendary Disney name. In recent years, we’ve seen huge expansions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Disney Springs. Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom recently had a bit of a makeover with refreshed royal blue and golden trim. The main Walt Disney World entrance archway was just completed with a similar enhancement for the upcoming 50th anniversary. More exciting changes are coming in anticipation of WDW’s big birthday celebration in 2021!
Huge Epcot refurbishments and additions
Epcot has the most changes on the horizon with a major overhaul of the Future World area, new nighttime show, highly anticipated restaurant and attractions. Unsurprisingly, the pandemic brought much of the construction in Epcot to a grinding halt earlier in 2020 with some projects resumed while others are pushed back. A lengthy, two year refurbishment of Epcot’s iconic centerpiece, Spaceship Earth, has been delayed indefinitely.
While Disney has shelved a few projects for now, I hope they get mentioned in future press releases. Disney has been quiet about the “Journey of Water” Moana-themed fountain area and Play Pavilion that was proposed to take over the Wonders of Life pavilion. The latter will remain a space to host Epcot’s various seasonal festivals. What we can anticipate coming in 2021 and beyond in the Future World side of Epcot are 2 major developments: a unique dining experience at Space 220 and the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind attraction.
Space 220‘s opening has been pushed back multiple times, but is projected to open between March and May 2021. The restaurant will be located near the Mission: Space attraction and according to Disney will be “a celestial panorama of a space station”. Guests will be transported via elevator to the space station and dine with views of Earth from 220 miles up. The menu isn’t available online yet, but they will have an ample wine selection of over 1,000 bottles. Get your advanced dining reservations ready for this one–a dining experience as unique as this will certainly book up fast!
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is another attraction that was slated to debut in time for Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration but a pause in construction will likely push the release date back a bit. Disney does seem to insist it will release sometime in late 2021 or early 2022, so fingers crossed that they’ll be able to stick to this timeline! The coaster will feature “storytelling scenes” and is being constructed in the former Ellen’s Universe of Energy attraction area. Construction walls block a large portion of the view there as intended, but you can still see there’s a lot of progress has been made. Innovative coaster elements, such as a 360-degree rotation and a reverse launch, will make for an exciting new addition to Epcot.
Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure featuring Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb will be updating to Disney’s DuckTales World Showcase Adventure, which sounds like a fun change. These scavenger hunts are a fun way to keep younger children engaged in the World Showcase side of Epcot.
The most anticipated attraction coming to Epcot is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, will be coming to the France pavilion at an undetermined date. Disney was poised for a summer 2020 debut for the attraction before the shutdown. 2021 seems to be pretty likely barring any unforeseen disruptions. The attraction will be a trackless, dark ride and will feature a blend of screen projections as well as actual physical structures. lt promises to be family friendly fun for all ages.
After a 20 year run, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth came to a close in September, 2019. It will be replaced with a new nighttime spectacular, HarmonioUS. The barges for HarmonioUS recently arrived in the World Showcase lagoon which has stoked curiosity of what the new show will entail. A new daytime fountain show will also be featured in the World Showcase lagoon in 2021. There’s a lot happening in Epcot and I can’t wait to see it all come together!
Magic Kingdom has seen major progress with the TRON Lightcycle Power Run coaster in recent months with it’s canopy being set in place. Glimpses of the construction on the thrill ride can be seen from the Peoplemover, which is still scheduled to open in time for the 50th anniversary in 2021. This is the most buzz worthy attraction set to open at Disney World and it will be in demand, for sure. What an exciting addition to Tomorrowland!
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has seen massive changes in recent years with the addition of Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land. Toy Story Land will be getting a table service restaurant, the Roundup Rodeo BBQ, which is scheduled to open sometime in 2021.
Moving onto resort news: more resorts will be reopening in 2021! It’s a sign that things are hopefully moving towards normalcy, one step at a time. Disney recently announced that All-Star Movies will be reopening March 22, Beach Club on May 30, Wilderness Lodge on June 6, and the Polynesian Village resort fully open in Summer 2021, with refurbishments being made.
In new resort news, there’s been an update on the Galactic Starcruiser Resort! Construction was temporarily paused has since been resumed. Exciting new photos and details have been reported by Disney: the resort will be a very interactive and immersive experience, with pricing similar to what you would expect on Disney’s sea cruises. The 3 day, 2 night experience will feature an opportunity to navigate the ship under the crew’s supervision, lightsaber training, and a chance to “sneak” into the engineering room to see the details of the ship’s systems. The Starcruiser resort will also feature a stylized lounge that’s friendly for all ages. Each cabin of the resort will have a window featuring spectacular galactic views. The Galactic Starcruiser Resort will reportedly run approximately $1400-$3000 per guest.