Wow! Disney news has been off the charts recently!
We learned a lot of important updates from Josh D’Amaro, the Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Chairman, at the IAAPA Expo, Imagineers and teams at the D23 Fantastic Worlds event, and from Disney announcements. We’re here to review ALL of the big news updates from this week!
Friday morning, Disney announced the return of Park Hopping coming in 2021. The option will be available as an add-on for 2021 tickets starting January 1st, and you’ll be able to go from one park to another on the same day again — with a few changes. Park-to-park transportation will return as well.
A Disney Park Pass reservation will be required for the first park you visit in a day but NOT the second. This does not mean that you’ll be guaranteed entry to a second park as the parks will still be subject to limited capacities. Plus, you won’t be able to hop to a second park until during Park Hop Hours (initially 2PM to close). Confused? We’ve got the answers!
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
One of the biggest pieces of news from the event was the mention of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure opening in 2021. Josh D’Amaro said, “Coming in 2021, we’re still on track to open Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.”
Construction was halted when the park closures began and it was unsure of when Disney would open the attraction. Now we’ve got a better clue! In fact, we got a BUNCH of info about design and details for this attraction this week! Did someone say rat fountain? We’ve been keeping an eye on the France Pavilion construction progress in EPCOT, and we’re pretty excited to have some sort of time frame!
Splash Mountain Redesign
Another big piece of news was that certain changes like the “reimagining of Splash Mountain, have been expedited to ensure that all who visit the company’s parks do feel welcome as well.” This means that The Princess and the Frog redesign is a priority for Disney.
While we still don’t have an exact timeframe, Disney has made it clear that the process of transforming this ride to feature Princess Tiana and her friends in the bayou, will be sped up to make every guest feel welcome. We have seen a few details on the new design, but we can’t wait to see the finished product!
Orange County Moves Back to Purple Tier
One of the most important news stories is that Orange County, in which Disneyland Resort is located, has moved back to the purple tier (the highest level) of COVID-19 cases.
This could push back the opening of Disneyland Resort even further. Orange County must reach the lowest (yellow) tier in order to reopen Disneyland. We will continue to keep you updated on what this means for the reopening of Disneyland.
Inclusion Added to Key Values
During the IAAPA Expo, Josh D’Amaro stated that Disney will be adding the fifth key of “inclusion” to the company and business values. The established keys include “Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency,” but this new key will “have a huge impact across the Company.”
Cast Members will be expected to follow these key values and he wants each new generation of Cast Members to uphold these values.
Genie App Preview
On top of the My Disney Experience app, Disney is introducing the Disney Genie app to help guests plan for their vacation. Tilak Mandadi, Disney’s Executive Vice President of Digital and Chief Technology Officer of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, gave the public a first look at the new app’s abilities.
The app will help plan and change itineraries, make personalized recommendations based on where you are in the parks, and give an estimated arrival time to certain attractions. How neat!
Entertainment Will Return to Disney Parks
He said, “We’ve heard from many of our guests that they’re looking forward to us bringing back some of the entertainment that we recently had to discontinue, and we plan to do that.” He did not provide specific details, but this gives us hope for more entertainment to come back to Disney World!
Windows to the Wild Program
Tilak Mandadi also gave us a look at new virtual reality elements coming to Disney World. This is referred to as the “metaverse” and one of the new programs is called Windows to the Wild. Mandadi said, “The Windows to the Wild Program that we are working on brings these [animal] interactions to fans through Virtual Reality.”
It appears that guests will be able to use goggles to see animals up close and will be an exclusive offering at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
First Looks at Attractions, Restaurants, and Hotels
One of the most exciting parts of the IAAPA Expo was all of the sneak peeks we got of upcoming projects! Disney shared a look into the hotel rooms at the new Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, and it was pretty epic!
It looks like there is a bed with orange detail on top and a window looking out into space. The angle from which the photo is taken is on what appears to be a bunk bed.
We cannot wait to get into one of these!
We also got a look at the highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind! In this video, you can see how the car spins as it goes along the coaster track.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind ride vehicles! Footage from the IAAPA Expo! pic.twitter.com/7NP1SVa3Mv
— AJ Wolfe (@DisneyFoodBlog) November 16, 2020
Later in the week, Imagineers shared that testing has begun! For all of you thrill-seekers and Guardians of the Galaxy fans, we will keep you updated as soon as we hear about a reopening date! For now, we’ll be watching the progress in EPCOT.
Since EPCOT is full of new projects, we also got a glimpse of the new Space 220 restaurant coming to the park soon. The photo shows two Imagineers working on the restaurant with some very large “windows” that will make guests feel like they are floating in space.
This also shows what the seating will look like inside. We can’t wait to be able to dine in space (well, sorta)!
We also heard some Spaceship Earth news this week! No, not the refurbishment closure, this news is something about the OUTSIDE of the iconic sphere.
Spaceship Earth is getting NEW programmable exterior lights for the outside. WOW! We wonder how that will look!
AND we got a sneak peek at the upcoming installation for Harmonious, EPCOT’s new nighttime spectacular celebrating the power of music that brings us together. Imagineers shared a surprising look at the platforms…
They will operate with a daytime look! Imagineers gave us a glimpse of what the HUGE arching fountains will look like during your EPCOT day. So pretty!
To switch things up, we are now headed over to Disneyland Resort! While Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway has been open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a bit now, it was announced that the attraction would be making its way to Toontown in Disneyland. Disney showed us some of the progress on the attraction!
It may not look like much yet, but we love to see progress!
For all of the Marvel fans in the house, this next one is for you! We got a sneak peek at Avengers Campus which is set to come to Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris. Josh D’Amaro mentioned that “construction continues” on Avengers Campus and said that the new land “will invite guests to team up with the Avengers and their allies in a fully immersive land.” Sounds so cool!
We saw some photos of the Quinjet being installed, but these new photos gave a new perspective!
Disney also shared what the ride vehicles for WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure will look like. This attraction looks incredible!
We can’t wait for the opportunity to ride this one as guests get to help Spider-Man on his adventures!
Over in Shanghai Disneyland, a Zootopia-themed land is currently in the works. And, we got a construction update for the park expansion!
Although it is nowhere near finished yet, we are excited to see what this looks like in the future.
Whew! That is all of the major Disney news from this week…so far! It is exciting to see and hear new updates on all of these upcoming projects. Stay tuned to DFB for the latest Disney news.
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What upcoming project are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments!