It’s kind of a weird time for Disney World right now.
As you can imagine there are LOTS of upcoming offerings that we’re excited about, from attractions to restaurants and everything in between. At the same time, we haven’t had any big NEW announcements in a while. So, there’s only so much we know about the next few years in Disney World. What can we expect for the years to come?
The Next Stuff We Know About
Before we dive into what might be next for Disney World in the long term, let’s take a look at the “next” stuff that we know about right now.
First up, we’re anxiously awaiting the October 1st, 2021 opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. This EPCOT addition is set to open along with the France Pavilion Expansion on Disney World’s 50th anniversary.
We are very excited for this trackless, dark ride through Gusteau’s kitchen at Remy’s side. (Ummm…another actual ride in World Showcase? YES.) A portion of the new area has opened, but you can just walk down an empty street and use the new potties. 🙂 We’re pumped for this ride to finally open!
Also in EPCOT, but over in Future World, we’ve been watching the progress on Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. It sure feels like this one has been under construction forever at this point, right? This attraction based on some of Marvel’s funniest heroes will be a reverse-launch indoor Omnicoaster. It sounds crazy fun — each car rotates around as it navigates the track. We expect, in true Guardians fashion, that a bumpin’ soundtrack will play a role here as well! Needless to say, we’re pretty excited.
The attraction was originally slated to open this year in time for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary in October. At this time, Disney has not announced an update to this opening time frame, despite the construction halt during the park closures. The exterior still looks very much under construction, but we’re fingers crossed we’ll be zipping around with Rocket, Peter Quill, and Groot soon!
Just next door, the old Wonders of Life Pavilion in EPCOT (that’s the big gold dome) is getting reworked to become the PLAY! Pavilion as a part of the EPCOT Transformation. This pavilion will bring guests into a digital metropolis where they can play along with their favorite Disney characters.
This is another attraction that was initially slated to open ahead of the 50th Anniversary in October and Disney has not provided an update yet. We’ll let you know when we hear of a delay or an official opening!
Yet ANOTHER upcoming EPCOT experience is Moana Journey of Water, coming to what will be World Nature in the old Future World West (near The Seas with Nemo and Friends!). This walkthrough attraction will teach guests about the role of water on Earth.
It’s unclear when this spot will open, although a USA Today article noted it may not be until after 2021, despite being slated for this year. Construction doesn’t appear to have even begun on this attraction.
Scooting on over to Magic Kingdom you’ve probably seen or heard of the MASSIVE construction being done on the TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster. This thrill ride will have guests mounting motorcycle-style lightcycles and will be BOTH indoor and outdoor with a LOT of fun lighting on the ride at night.
This coaster was originally announced as opening in time for the 50th but has since potentially been delayed past 2021. In the meantime, we’ll just have to stare longingly at the VERY cool canopy construction taking place outside the ride building. (P.S. — we’re also waiting for this to wrap up so the Walt Disney World Railroad can FINALLY reopen!)
Disney Springs was set to get an all-new Cirque du Soleil show with Drawn to Life last year, but with the start of the global health crisis, it was postponed. The show is supposed to be a performance that celebrates the artistry of animation. We even got a sneak peek!
As of now, a new opening has not been announced and tickets are not currently on sale, but the show is still expected to open as health concerns decrease.
Not new attractions per se, but Magic Kingdom planning some MAJOR ride refurbishments in the next few years. Imagineers announced a retheme of Splash Mountain into a The Princess and the Frog-themed ride, but have yet to release the timeline for that work to be completed.
Another classic attraction will see a major refurbishment with the Jungle Cruise receiving a whole new storyline. The changes will take place later this year and will help with the cultural sensitivity of the attraction while making the Skippers even MORE prevalent characters!
Of course, attractions aren’t the only big news. We also have some restaurants to anticipate! Remember that France Pavilion Expansion we referenced earlier? It will also include a new crepe spot with La Creperie de Paris.
This new restaurant will offer sweet and savory crepes and will have both quick service and table service dining options. Neat! The opening is expected this year along with Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
EPCOT is expected to get a new gelato kiosk in the Italy Pavilion, but opening details have not been announced.
Over in Future World, work on the MUCH anticipated Space 220 is StILL underway. At least, we hope it’s underway. This space-themed dining experience was announced waaaaaaay back in 2017. Can you believe it?
We’re still waiting to hear when this dining option will open. We’re VERY ready to see simulated views into space, a spaceship-themed dining room, and of course, the space elevators.
Over in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we’re expecting the opening of Roundup Rodeo BBQ, a table-service option in Toy Story Land. Your meal will take place in a toy rodeo of Andy’s creation with rodeo festivities going on around you! And, of course, a BBQ menu.
Roundup Rodeo BBQ was originally set to open in 2020 and a new opening date has not yet been announced.
The fate of Reflections — A Disney Lakeside Lodge is still very up in the air (more on that in a sec!), but if it IS still on the to-do list for Disney, then we’ll get to see a The Princess and the Frog-themed restaurant in the Disney Vacation Club resort.
Another spot that never got an opening date but seems to be on pause is the market-style concept Beatrix that was set to come to Disney Springs. This area has had construction walls up for a long time now with no sign of progress. We’re still waiting on word for both of these offerings!
We’ve mentioned a few attractions and restaurants that will be a part of the EPCOT Transformation here, but the HUGE park rework includes some other new features too that don’t quite fit into the “ride” or “restaurant” buckets. For one, Future World is set to be turned into three different neighborhoods by EPCOT’s Anniversary in October 2022.
World Celebration in the center will feature a new Walt Disney statue and a festival pavilion, World Nature will surround The Land and The Seas Pavilions, and World Discovery will feature the Guardians attraction, Mission: SPACE, Space 220, Test Track, and Play Pavilion.
To go along with all of this is an all-new Nighttime Spectacular called Harmonious! This show was supposed to debut in 2020 but was delayed due to the crisis. A new timeframe has yet to be announced, but you can see some of the barges in World Showcase Lagoon now. The large metal structures complete with screens, lights, and moving water-shooting arms are taking a bit to get used to in the center of World Showcase lagoon!
When it does debut, it’s set to be a celebration of the way that music brings us together featuring custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights and lasers, and pyrotechnics. The massive metal barges will turn into fountains in the center of the lagoon by day.
The next two years also hold some seriously BIG Disney World anniversaries. For one, Disney World turns 50 years old on October 1st this year. Holy moly! We’re expecting some historic celebrations and Disney hasn’t shared TOO many details just yet.
We DO know, though, that all four park icons will receive an updated look (EPCOT’s will be permanent) for about 18 months following the anniversary. We’ve already seen lots of the decor start appearing on Cinderella Castle!
Then in 2022, EPCOT rings in its 40th anniversary! Much of the EPCOT Transformation is expected to be wrapped up by this point, so EPCOT will be looking fabulous for the big 4-0.
We know even fewer details about this anniversary, but we’ll keep you updated as we learn more about the celebrations.
And finally, we know about some hotel updates that we can expect. For one, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is in the midst of a MAJOR refurbishment that will update common areas and give the rooms a Moana-themed rework!
A VERY exciting resort hotel on the horizon is the Star Wars hotel — Galactic Starcruiser. This experience will be unlike any other. You will remain “aboard” the hotel for a few days (kind of like a cruise ship) and experience your own Star Wars story.
No opening season, pricing details, or availability information has been released for Galactic Starcruiser. But we DO know we’ll be able to use the Force and look out our windows into space, which is pretty cool.
The Walt Disney World Swan Reserve is an all-new accommodation addition at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort which will be located right next to the existing Swan and Dolphin hotels.
Reservations are now open for dates beginning September 1st. We’re pretty excited to explore this 14-story hotel later this year.
Remember when we mentioned Reflections — A Disney Lakeside Lodge earlier? This DVC resort was announced near Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground in the area the now-gone River Country waterpark used to sit. Now, it’s unclear if the project is pulled, on track, or delayed indefinitely.
We’ve seen some signs that the project was canceled, but Disney World Cast Members maintain the listed information that the resort is coming soon. We’re keeping a CLOSE eye on this situation so stay tuned!
Okay…but then what?
Typically, we know Disney’s BIG plans a few years in advance; but with the shakeup from the global health crisis, we haven’t gotten our usual glimpse into the future. For now, 2022 is about as far as we can project.
Interestingly enough, all four parks will have received a major update in the last five years by 2022. Pandora was added to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway were added to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Cinderella Castle and more will have been refurbished and TRON Lightcycle Run will have opened in Magic Kingdom. The EPCOT Transformation will be well underway if not complete.
It feels a little bit like a nice bookend, so we’re curious about the next chapter! When will you hear about the next MAJOR steps for Disney? It might not be until the D23 conference in 2022! D23 was canceled for 2021 as a health measure, and maybe even so that more announcements are ready for the event.
We’ll certainly be waiting for all the news and we’ll bring it to you as soon as we have it. For now, we’ll have to wait for the things we DO know about.
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What Disney World updates are you most excited about? Tell us in the comments!