Have you ever visited the Beastly Kingdom at Animal Kingdom? Unfortunately, nobody ever did, and instead, it is now located in Neverland. The beastly Kingdom was planned to be an expansion in Phase 2 of the Animal Kingdom. Due to budget pressures, the land was never created. Pandora: The World of Avatar now stands on the land intended for the Beastly Kingdom.
The Beastly Kingdom is not the only Walt Disney World attraction to end up in Neverland. There is 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.
We already know that several attractions will never be making a return to Walt Disney World. Rivers of Light and Primeval Whirl will not be returning. It has also been announced that Stitch’s Great Escape at Magic Kingdom has been closed, but this isn’t a surprise as it hasn’t been open since 2018 and has been partially disassembled. Although not forgotten, none of these attractions are candidates for Neverland as they have been built. Which future attractions will now be confirmed to take place in Neverland?
Not going to Neverland
Before we discuss the new attractions at Neverland, a quick mention of those attractions that will eventually open at Walt Disney World. However, these attractions are likely to be subject to budget cuts. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and Tron Lightcycle Run will all open. We expect Disney to have all these open in time for the resort’s 50th anniversary, and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure might still open in 2020. More difficult to predict is Harmonious, the new nighttime show at Epcot. Expect Epcot Forever to stay around a little longer when parades and fireworks return. The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser resort experience will still open in 2021.
Although not all attractions are confirmed to be canceled, the candidates for Neverland are:
Mary Poppins at Epcot
Not a lot was ever released about the Epcot Mary Poppins attraction. However, it has now been confirmed it has been postponed. Epcot has too many other problems to consider building this attraction anytime soon. Expect this postponement to mean cancelation eventually, and Mary Poppins will head to Neverland.
Spaceship Earth: Our Shared Story
Spaceship Earth was due to close on May 26 for a multi-year renovation. The reimagining of the attraction has now been postponed. Expect a change to happen eventually, but the theming of “Our Shared Story” will likely end up in Neverland.
Journey of Water, Inspired by “Moana”
This attraction at Epcot was never more than a filler attraction. Due to budget cuts, expect it to end up in Neverland.
The World Celebration Festival Center at Epcot
Disney has announced a massive $700 million budget cut to its parks. However, Epcot presents a problem. Demolition of many areas had already started for a multi-year renovation. Central to this would have been World Celebration, which would serve as the new entrance hub to the park. The most prominent feature would have been the 3 level Festival Center which would act as the centerpiece for Epcot’s festivals. Unfortunately, a space for the Festival Center remains, but that space will be very different. The World Celebration Festival Center, as originally visioned, is off to Neverland.
The Play Pavilion at Epcot
We still expect a Play Pavilion will eventually open, but not as originally imagined. Not much has been released about the Play Pavilion, and it won’t be easy to know if the original plans are in Neverland.
Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge
Star Wars excluded, new resorts at Walt Disney World are not currently high on the agenda. There have been various rumors of canceled construction and removal of completed groundwork on Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge. However, Disney hasn’t officially canceled the project and recently submitted a construction permit on the site. However, we expect this to follow the Legendary Years and find a place in Neverland.
Attractions that were never confirmed and therefore not in Neverland
There are always plenty of new attractions rumored for Walt Disney World. However, new pavilions at World Showcase in Epcot and additional attractions for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Pandora have never been confirmed. However, we suspect they probably will happen at some point in the future.
When will this be? Probably not until the end of the decade at the earliest!
The fabled 5th Gate
Perhaps the threat of a new gate at Universal and the completion of renovations at all existing parks would eventually lead to the 5th Gate at Walt Disney World. Universal has already delayed the opening long-term of its new park Epic Universe.
A 5th Gate isn’t happening anytime soon, and perhaps it never will. However, as it has never been confirmed it isn’t for Neverland.