Welcome to the July edition of Disney Rumor Round Up! You can check out the June 2020 installment here. The Walt Disney World theme parks are officially back open and construction projects are resuming so let’s get right into it! Disclaimer: any rumors mentioned in this article are not confirmed by Disney, and may never happen.
Disney Parks and Resorts
Since our last update, Hong Kong Disneyland park has closed again due to a flare-up of COVID-19 cases in the area. Resorts have been open in some capacity. Shanghai Disneyland has been progressing in its opening and just recently starting its regular parade and nightly fireworks spectacular. Disneyland, Aulani, and Disney Cruise Line still remain closed and do not have opening dates.
In addition to all of that, several sources are indicating we will see layoffs across the company, not only within parks and resorts but in other areas too. This news, while not good, isn't completely unexpected given the current situation we are in.
Overall, Walt Disney World, while open, is not operating to even the capacity they are allowing. Attendance at three of the four parks has been very light and lower than hoped. Hollywood Studios has sort of been closer to that threshold due to the new attractions there. Disney has pushed off opening more hotels at Walt Disney World simply because people are not coming. Travel restrictions are not helping that either. Several rumors point to Disney exploring changing operations in the future such as park hours or even closing some parks on certain days to save on operating costs.
Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom were the first stateside parks to reopen and so far things seem to be going well. Disney officially announced Stitch's Great Escape will not return. It was never expected to but this is rather new of Disney to confirm such without a replacement ready to announce.
Splash Mountain reopened with the park but recently closed due to mechanical issues and has been drained for a few days with no current reopening. The Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover hasn’t opened to guests since Magic Kingdom reopened. Rumor is they are waiting on replacement parts for the ride system. Many of these attractions have never experienced a multi-month operational shutdown that wasn’t planned for a refurbishment or repair. And speaking of Splash Mountain, we likely won’t see that officially close for the Princess and the Frog redo for probably a year or longer according to several sources.
Sources over at WDWMagic indicate we will not see Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party this year. Disney has already announced the cancelations of Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party as well as runDisney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend. These sources did indicate that we should see the castle lights and other décor, though.
Disney has commented on the future of EPCOT since the closure by saying the redo of Future World is being re-evaluated. According to several sources, the festival center pavilion that was to be part of World Celebration is on the back burner and will not happen in the capacity originally intended. So far work has not resumed in any capacity on this portion of EPCOT.
Disney has removed the Spaceship Earth and Mary Poppins features from the Epcot Experience show. Disney has confirmed these projects are on hold. Other sources indicate Mary Poppins is canceled. That project was in jeopardy prior to the shutdown. The Spaceship Earth refurbishment should still happen in some capacity however likely not as extensive as originally intended.
Harmonious has resumed construction but will see delays. No word on when that new nighttime spectacular may make its debut. It is difficult to even speculate when we don’t know when Disney will resume any nighttime shows. Ratatouille has also resumed the minimal work it has left. Currently, WDWMagic sources indicate a possible fall opening.
Just like holidays being limited at Magic Kingdom, it is expected that the Candlelight Processional will also be canceled this year. It is possible we do see some sort of Festival of the Holidays since we do have Food and Wine, however, entertainment is going to be limited.
Rise of the Resistance continues to have its operational issues and Disney is utilizing a virtual queue system slightly different from before. As of now, drop times for queue spots are 10:00AM and 2:00PM. It’s unclear when or if Rise will operate in a better capacity any time soon. It is also hard to gauge capacity with only one party per vehicle during this reopening party. Hollywood Studios remains the busiest of the four parks by selling out its allotment of park reservation slots.
Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway has been running fine however Disney has cut out the preshow due to social distancing issues.
Disney gave us some interesting news about my favorite park this month. Both Primeval Whirl and Rivers of Light are both closed for good. Primeval Whirl was already in seasonal operation and had plenty of its own issues recently. Ride vehicles have since been removed from the attraction. No word on replacement or if the track will be removed anytime soon. Rivers of Light was the more surprising of the two as it’s a nighttime show and Disney built a huge amphitheater to house the show. Sources indicate the venue won’t stay empty forever but don’t expect a quick replacement either due to the current circumstances.