Get ready for new and exciting attractions at Disneyland and Disney World Parks (when we can go, of course).
Like other attractions and businesses during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Disney Parks (which includes Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida) has suffered closures, lay-offs, and new rules and regulations. The Florida parks reopened to limited access and enhanced safety protocol in the summer of 2020. The California parks, Disneyland and California’s Great Adventure, haven’t reopened since closing in March 2020. It’s currently unknown when those parks will be allowed to open.
That being said, let’s take a look at some of the new attractions, shows, and events in the works for the Disney parks on both coasts.
Walt Disney World (Florida)
Walt Disney World celebrates its 50th anniversary in October 2021. There were big plans for celebrations, E-ticket attractions, new events, and more. While many of these plans have been delayed, and it’s unsure when things will roll out, there are indications that Disney World Resorts will debut some of what they have in store for guests.
With construction walls up all over the place (predominantly in Future World), it’s easy to see that Epcot is undergoing the biggest transformation of any park in Disney history. This ongoing multi-year transformation is designed to bring storytelling to life through new experiences and attractions.
Courtesy of Disney Parks
After completion, the current concept of Future World will basically go away and the front of the park will be three lands (or neighborhoods, if you will) consisting of World Celebration, World Nature, and World Discovery, as well as a three-level festival center.
Courtesy of Disney Parks, Photo by David Roark
A new entrance fountain, with three gleaming glass-like pylons, is already in place at the main entrance plaza at the base of Spaceship Earth. When complete, it will also have a lighting package as part of a new welcome experience.
Courtesy of Disney Parks
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is in construction at the previous "Ellen’s Energy Adventure at the Universe of Energy" site. This indoor coaster is probably the most anticipated attraction. Designed as a storytelling coaster, the cars can turn 360 degrees so riders can see sets and scenes as they soar through the galaxy.
Courtesy of Disney Parks, Photo by Kent Phillips
Harmonious is a new nighttime show with fireworks, pyrotechnics, lasers, and lots of other lighting effects choreographed to Disney music. It will create a dazzling sight over the lagoon and will be one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for a Disney park. There will be daytime fountains.
Courtesy of Disney Parks, Photo by Matt Stroshane
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is scheduled to open sometime in 2021 at the France pavilion. The attraction is based on Pixar’s Ratatouille and features a trackless ride vehicle. Passengers shrink down to rodent-size as they join Remy on adventures at Gusteau’s. This is probably not a high thrills type of ride, but we’re looking forward to it simply for the fun factor (and who wouldn’t want to be the size of a rat for a little while?)
La Creperie de Paris is a new quick and table-service restaurant in the France World Showcase pavilion. It features sweet and savory crepes with a menu by celebrity chef Jérome Bocuse.
Epcot’s Space 220 restaurant features a space-themed high-concept dining experience. A “space elevator” transports guests 220 miles above the Earth to a space station with gigantic windows. Guests can enjoy views of the galaxy and solar system as they dine.
Journey of Water, inspired by Moana, probably won’t open until after 2021. Still, it’s in the works, so Yay! It’s a walk-through trail full of interactive displays, beautiful water effects, and lush vegetation.
Regal Eagle’s Distinctly Patriotic Smokehouse features a variety of food choices but mostly barbecued meats. It’s located at the America pavilion and is now open. From what we’ve heard, it’s worth checking out.
Three new films are now open: Awesome Planet in The Land, Beauty and the Beast sing-a-long in the France pavilion, and a new Circle-Vision 360 film in Canada.
Courtesy of Disney Parks, Photo by Matt Stroshane
Anybody who has had the chance to visit Magic Kingdom recently has raved about the new exterior paint job at Cinderella Castle. The Royal Makeover is complete and features a variety of stunning special effects that are projected onto the castle.
TRON Lightcycle Run is another eagerly anticipated coaster currently in construction. Located near Space Mountain in Tomorrowland, the launched ride has indoor scenes and features a TRON sci-fi movie theme. As a result of construction in this area, the Walt Disney Railroad is currently closed. Right now, TRON is not expected to open during the anniversary in 2021.
Hall of Presidents will be updated to include President-elect Joe Biden.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The biggest park addition in years, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, is now completely open, including all shops, restaurants, the Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run ride, and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Still, there are a few new tricks coming to Hollywood Studios.
Roundup Rodeo BBQ is coming to Toy Story Land. This table-service restaurant probably won’t be open for 2021, though.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad opened just prior to the shutdowns in early 2020. It’s a fun ride into a land of new but classically inspired cartoon shorts.
The Electrical Water Pageant will resume in 2021 at Seven Seas Lagoon. Guests staying at Disney Resorts along the lagoon route can view this popular nighttime lighted boat parade.
Courtesy of Sandy Allen
Pandora–World of Avatar has been up and running for a couple of years. Guests can enjoy the highly popular (and completely worth the wait, in our humble opinion) Avatar Flight of Passage ride and stroll through the immersive land of Pandora. Even with all of Pandora to explore, there are a couple of new faces in the Animal Kingdom.
Otter Grotto is an otter habitat with above and below water viewing areas. You can’t go wrong with otters!
Walk-Around Kevin, the popular bird from Up, has become quite popular and attracts a flock of guests wherever she goes.
Walt Disney World Resorts
Two new resorts opened in 2020, Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs Resort and Disney’s Riviera Resort (a Disney Vacation Club resort), which offers direct access to Epcot via the Skyliner.
Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser Resort, currently in construction mode behind Galaxy’s Edge, will offer an immersive stay within the walls of the Star Wars world. The opening is probably delayed by about a year.
Disneyland Parks (California)
Courtesy of Disney Parks, Photo by Christian Thompson
Even though Disneyland Parks are currently closed, we can still dream and look forward to what’s in store when it does open its doors.
A classic ride-through attraction, Snow White’s Enchanted Wish, is a revamped version of Snow White’s Scary Adventure. It features new scenes of the movie’s characters.
Disney California Adventure Park
When open, Disney California Adventure Park is looking forward to Avengers Campus, a new land featuring Marvel superheroes. It was originally scheduled to open last year right before the shutdowns due to the coronavirus. The featured attraction is WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure. Guests board vehicles and sling their own webs to help collect Spider-Bots on the loose. A “stuntronic” Spider-Man robot, developed by Walt Disney Imagineering, will swing high over the rooftops of this immersive land.
Both Disneyland and Disney World will see a new theming on Splash Mountain. The former Brer Rabbit-themed attraction will get a magical Princess and the Frog makeover at some time in the future.
In an interview with USA Today, Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products said, “I think back to 1955 when Disneyland opened. It was chaotic, and a lot of things didn't go right. But Walt did what he needed to do and reinvented the business. I can’t help but think where we are now and the chaos of the moment. We are going to come out of the pandemic stronger – holding on to our legacy but pushing ourselves into new territories.”
While you’re waiting for the right time to visit the Disney parks, you can watch all sorts of new Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars content on Disney+.
What are you looking forward to at Disney Parks in 2021? Have you been to any of the parks recently? Let us know in the comments.