Disney World shut down in one reality in mid-March and reopened in mid-July to an entirely changed world.
Before 2020 got weird, to say the very least, Disney World was on track for some pretty aggressive additions and expansions. The iconic theme park’s 50th anniversary is next year in 2021. That means 2020 was a good time to make everything from Cinderella Castle to the entrance of Epcot as new, fresh and exciting as possible.
But the company didn’t just lose four months of theme park operating revenue.
Disneyland in California remains shuttered with no announced reopening date, Hong Kong Disneyland has closed for a second time, major Disney film releases continue to be delayed and no one knows at what level theme park attendees will return. However, we do know that park capacity is severely capped to aid social distancing efforts.
We also know that as of Disney’s last investor call, which occurred in early May, Disney had already identified $900 million in reduced capital expenditures for this fiscal year, driven primarily by paused construction and refurbishment work.
With costs increased, revenue dramatically decreased and no true end to any of this in sight, what Disney originally thought it was doing in 2020 or 2021 and what it will really be able to do live in two separate worlds. While the park remains tight-lipped on most official plans (trust us, we asked), here are the new projects and attractions that we know are still happening in Disney World. Plus, we include a few that may have been “indefinitely postponed” as part of that $900 million in fiscal year savings.
2But Ratatouille didn’t
While Runaway Railway was the big spring addition, the big new Disney World attraction for summer 2020 was to be the opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
This ride is in the France Pavillion at Epcot and was just a couple of months from completion when the world shut down. Note that while empty parks would have been great for making quick construction progress in some ways, nonessential work was also paused at Disney World during that closure time.
However, based on some photos obtained via the Skyliner from WDW News Today, it appears that construction on the France expansion around the Ratatouille attraction has resumed. It’s a very safe bet that this project will be completed as designed, and it’s possible it could be completed in 2020. However, whether or not Disney will actually open the attraction this year, or keep it in their pocket to encourage 2021 bookings when people will hopefully be more ready to travel, is another matter.