Disney Parks Since mid to late January, Disneyland parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong have been closed due to the outbreak of coronavirus. These two parks are not exclusively owned by The Walt Disney Company but the closures are having its impacts on the Parks and Resorts division overall. Several sources are discussing these impacts and its starting to show to be true. Both Walt Disney World and Disneyland are seeing the funds being tightened for future projects. Projects not already well underway are being halted, entertainment is being taken back, and operating hours are looking to be shortened. There is no timetable for when the two parks in Asia will reopen right now either.
Magic Kingdom The big news from the Magic Kingdom this month is the just-announced makeover of Cinderella Castle that will take place from March through the summer of 2020. Disney did not mention the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World in this announcement but rather the 70th anniversary of the release of Cinderella. That in itself has raised some questions. As seen in the concept art a lot of gold accents will be added. Barriers for the castle moats have already been put in place around the castle and we will soon see equipment arrive. This makeover could also change how the castle is decorated during the holidays. Magic Kingdom Vice President Jason Kirk has said the work will have little impact on the guest experience overall. Outside of Tron and the castle upgrade, it is not expected that Magic Kingdom will have any other major additions to the park for the 50th anniversary. However, per various sources we should expect smaller additions to existing attractions such as characters added to "it's a small world" much like Disneyland's version. We could also see other overlays and character additions to various attractions throughout Magic Kingdom.
Epcot Walls, walls, and more walls. The other half of Innoventions West has now gone behind walls, and both breezeways are closed off. Electric Umbrella and Pin Central have been closed off as well. When walking around Future World you have to walk around the outside of the former Innoventions buildings. Disney will be opening this overhaul of Epcot in phases over time. We should expect most if not all of Future World to be open in the 2022-23 timeframe. Journey of Water should be one of the additions we see first along with the Guardians coaster, and Play Pavilion. Beginning May 26th we will see a few more walls with Spaceship Earth closing for years potentially. Rumors from wdwmagic said the attraction would be down for two or more years. Disney has not given an opening date or timeframe for when the new version of this beloved attraction will reopen. They have said there will be a new narrator and several updates throughout. Space 220 is in major delays. Several sources have stated a large piece of custom glass has been damaged and a new piece had to be ordered. Originally the restaurant was supposed to open before the end of 2019. Then it moved to February. Right now it's unknown just when it will open exactly. Originally thought to be menu issues it has been all construction delays for the opening of this highly anticipated dining experience. Disney had originally announced beginning in late February that select shows and films in Epcot would see shorter hours. This was said to be part of the cuts due to the Asia parks being closed. However, Disney has reversed that decision. It is unknown right now if other cuts at Epcot will be made in that realm. Moving over to World Showcase, Remy's Ratatouille Adventure is moving along for its late spring/early summer opening. Wondrous China has gone rather silent. No word on when that film will make its debut especially given the upgrades needed for the new seamless screen. The biggest unknown piece that has been announced is Mary Poppins. As of right now, no work has begun and it appears the attraction is in a state of holding. Given the park's spending freeze the delay is not a surprise. Finally, D23 sort of surprised everyone by saying Harmonious may open this spring. Sources are denying that though and saying expect a fall opening instead which would give Epcot Forever a full year of operation.
Hollywood Studios Just days away from the opening of Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway, Disney went against the speculation that we would see a standby only to boarding group opening for this attraction. We will have FastPass+ and standby for the opening and lots of people are anticipating this brand new trackless attraction. Outside of that, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is the focus. Disney is still struggling keeping this attraction running reliably. There really isn't much in terms of rumors or even speculation on when things will improve enough to change from boarding groups to something else. One final piece for Hollywood Studios with the cuts, Mike Wazowski will be leaving the meet and greet with Sully this month, as well as Bo Peep leaving Toy Story Land and Frozone also leaving. These changes are all cost-related per various sources.
Animal Kingdom Animal Kingdom is rather quiet and it will stay that way going forward, at least for a while. Dinoland has long rumored been the next area pressed for updates or major changes but with the spending freeze, that won't be anytime soon. Disney has been running Primeval Whirl seasonally but that attraction's future is also uncertain.
Disneyland Sources on wdwmagic are reporting that due to the spending freeze, the big Avengers E-Ticket attraction is currently on hold. The phase one addition of Avengers Campus is moving forward as scheduled and will open this year but phase two is anyone's guess right now. It is also being reported that work is being stopped on Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway in Toontown and that attraction will be delayed. Disney is currently saying 2022. We shall see if that changes or when in 2022 that may open.
New rumors and information are sure to pop up in the new year. For further discussion on all of this and more, visit the Rumors and News board on Disboards.com