Welcome to the December and final edition of Disney Rumor Round Up for 2020! You can check out the November 2020 installment here. I hope everyone has a happy holiday and new year; thank you for reading this year. This year has certainly been a rough one for many. 2021 is already starting to look a little brighter, so hopefully that continues. Rumors do tend to slow down a bit during this period, but we still have some new things to share. Disclaimer: Any rumors mentioned in this article are not confirmed by Disney, and may not ever happen.
Let's start by taking a look back at the biggest rumors from 2020 with what came true and what didn't. This year’s list isn’t as big as some in the past given the circumstances, but we did still have some this year.
- Ratatouille was indeed delayed to 2021
- Nigerian Dwarf goats recently made their debut at Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Princess and the Frog redo of Splash Mountain is still on per Disney after rumors of it being on hold
- Many big questions remain on what will happen for the 50th anniversary after the pandemic halted many plans
- Disney confirmed Stitch’s Great Escape is closed for good but no updates on what that space will become
- Disney removed references to the Mary Poppins attraction, the Spaceship Earth refurbishment, and the festival center as rumors suggested these projects were cancelled or on hold indefinitely
- Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Lodge has been cancelled
- The Cinderella Castle refurbishment was finished despite everything
We don’t have much of anything new for the Magic Kingdom this month. The park has seen small updates here or there. Disney reportedly has been reevaluating their plans for the 50th, which makes sense, and a lot depends on what the fall may look like and if they can have events. Big question marks remain around previously rumored attraction refurbishments, too.
Epcot is another park with a lot of question marks. Disney has stepped up work again and the gorgeous new entrance fountain has debuted at the front of the park. We do not know what Disney has planned for the “spine” now that the festival center has been canned. Journey of Water, the Moana-based water area, is still supposed to happen. Disney has been very coy about what is going on with the Play pavilion as well. They are likely holding on that, though given it was supposed to have a lot of interactive elements, that may not be great during these times.
Ratatouille is set to open in 2021. From the views of the Skyliner, the exterior looks to be basically complete. The expectation for opening, though, is “March-ish” depending on who you look to.
Morocco has now been taken over by Disney as well. This country was the last remaining with significant influence and operations managed by its country. Spice Road Table is now a quick service location of sorts and Aladdin merchandise has now appeared in shops at the pavilion. It’s unclear what other plans Disney has for this World Showcase country at this time.
There is a rumor from WDWMagic that we could see Fantasmic! returning in some capacity come February. The main concerns are regarding safety of the cast member performers in the show. Since reopening, the only show of sorts that Disney has reopened is the Frozen Sing-Along. This would definitely help capacity in a park that needs it.
No news is good news, right? Joe Rohde, the man behind Animal Kingdom, did recently announce his retirement effective January 5th, 2021. This is worrying to some, including myself, as to whether or not it will lead to his creative vision leaving Animal Kingdom and a more IP-based vision coming in.
Disney Parks and Resorts
Disneyland did intend to reopen the villas at the Grand Californian this month, but given rising case numbers and new guidelines from the state government, they did cancel that. No word on when they might try again.
Also at Disneyland, a rumor has popped up from @DrewDisneyDude on Twitter that, according to a source of his, Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway in Disneyland will differ from the Walt Disney World version in several ways. We already know the entrance and queue will be different, but according to this rumor, even more will be. The rumor did not specify any additional info at this time, so we will definitely keep watch on this one.
An interesting discussion and possibility came about through surveys sent to Walt Disney World guests recently. This particular survey, which discussed future resort entertainment, was brought up on the Disney Dish podcast. Survey questions were asked about what guests would like to see at the resorts, from special entertainment on the water ways, projections, interactive elements, to lobby atriums “coming to life.” Clearly, Disney is gauging interest on this if they are asking guests. It also raises questions about how this would impact nighttime entertainment at the parks. If different resorts do different nighttime offerings for guests, you could see guests wanting to spend more time at the resorts to catch those options.