It is estimated that Disney could currently be losing $350000 a day. While the mouse does have deep pockets these losses almost certainly will have a major impact on the company’s bottom line. Disney will have to make savings and these are likely to include changes to current Walt Disney World construction projects.
Walt Disney World has a history of canceling construction projects during periods of crisis and tourism downturns. The 1973 Oil Crisis led to the cancellation of the proposed Venetian, Asian and Persian Resorts. Following the September 11 attacks, construction slowed down on several projects. Originally, Pop Century was intended to have a second section called the Legendary Years. Construction of this second section was stopped and eventually became the Art of Animation Resort in 2012. Due to reduced guest demand, Walt Disney World’s original water park, Disney’s River Country, never reopened.
Walt Disney World currently has several major construction projects, including a significant redesign of Epcot. It seems inevitable that there will be delays in several of these projects. Here are the rumors we are hearing and our predictions of what will happen to Walt Disney World construction projects.
Walt Disney World Hotel Projects
Demand for the Disney Vacation Club will likely reduce in the coming years. Not only will travel potentially be problematic, but we are also facing a significant recession. However, expect there to be big offers to keep DVC selling. There have been several rumors of DVC extensions at existing Disney properties, but expect stories to now quieten. There is one confirmed big DVC project, however that almost certainly will be delayed.
Reflections, a Disney Lakeside Lodge on the site of the former River Country, looks set for a significant delay. Disney is unlikely to want to invest significantly in additional room capacity if demand is low. Expect construction not to restart until the resort has fully recovered. Also, expect there to be temporary closures of sections of existing resorts until guest numbers increase. DVCNews has considered in more depth what this will mean for the DVC, including the construction of Refections.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, the upcoming Star Wars Hotel, presents a different problem. Bookings were due to open for the resort this year with a 2021 opening. There are rumors that any delay in this project will create adverse publicity. Also, the high demand for this experience would suggest even if tourism is down this resort should still fill. Expect the hotel to open as planned.
Attractions nearing completion
Four big construction projects are nearing the end of completion. Expect Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure to open shortly after Epcot reopens. It had been rumored that construction was almost complete on this attraction before the park closed, and an early opening will bring a feel-good factor to the resort. We also expect the new night show Harmonious to continue as planned but expect Epcot Forever to stay around a little longer.
There are two big construction projects planned to open in 2021. We expect there might be slight delays to Tron Lightcycle Run at the Magic Kingdom and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Epcot, but do expect them to open in 2021. 2021 is also the resort’s 50th birthday, and we expect them both to be the centerpiece of the celebrations.
Walt Disney World 50th Birthday
2021 was anticipated to be a big year at Walt Disney World. We even suggested previously that you might want to avoid due to big crowds. Sadly these predictions no longer seem relevant.
While Walt Disney World will still want to mark the occasion, expect events to have lower budgets, and be more low key. Entirely what will be in place will probably depend on whether social distancing is still being maintained and how this will adjust entertainment offerings. However, expect a new nighttime parade to be postponed.
Significant changes to Epcot have been announced, and large amounts of demolition have already started. While delays are inevitable, it would not present a great image to leave the park as these recent photographs show. Also, these ariel shots show a great view of the extent of demolition already occurred at Future World. If there are to be any delays, expect the ground to be cleared and new communal spaces and temporary structures to take their place.
Disney will likely want to see the completion World Celebration, which was to serve as the new entrance Hub to the park. The new pavilion on this area was intended to be the home base for Epcot’s festivals. We expect construction on this project will continue. However, other Future World changes, including Journey of Water, Inspired by “Moana”, we expect will be postponed. The Play Pavilion, which is already being constructed, will probably continue. We anticipate the update to Spaceship Earth will likely be put on hold.
Over in World Showcase, expect announced changes to be put on hold. Future World will need to be prioritized due to the demolition that has already occurred. However, don’t expect to see the announced Mary Poppins attraction in the next five years.
We will bring you news on any changes to construction projects at Walt Disney World as we receive them.
If you are still planning to visit Walt Disney World in 2020 visit our Guide to Walt Disney World for the best planning advice.