“Attention please. Attention in the terminal, our runaway railway train departing for Hollywood Studios is experiencing some delays.” Disneyphiles around the globe let out a collective, “nooo!” Any time we travel, whether by plane, bus, or runaway railway, the word “delay” is the last thing we want to hear. Let’s grab a snack, kick up our feet, and speculate as to why our runaway railway is delayed. It’s gossip time!

Wonderful World of Animation Concept Art
Concept Art for Wonderful World of Animation

What We Know

Plans change, even the best-laid plans have to adjust from time to time. The original plan was for the runaway railway attraction to open on May 1, 2019 in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of Hollywood Studios. Disney World planned for the runaway railway to be the centerpiece of the celebration that would also include the opening of the Wonderful World of Animation nighttime projection show.

Everything changed on Friday April 19th when Disney announced Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway would also be built in Disneyland. In the announcement, tucked at the very bottom was an update regarding that the Hollywood Studios version would open now in spring 2020.  Wait, spring 2020? Yes, spring 2020. Our train has been delayed a year.

Passholder Insights: You’ll be able to see Wonderful World of Animation as the prequel to Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular going forward from May 1st.

Runaway Railway will not be open in time for Star Wars Galaxy's Edge
Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

Should We Assume It’s The Darkside?

It has to be delayed because of Star Wars Galaxy Edge, right? It’s definitely the obvious choice. With the opening date for the new land being moved up to August 29, 2019, Disney will need every possible resource working on the project to ensure everything is ready to go on opening day.

In the DVC Duo house, we believe it’s not a resource issue as Disney could move people from other projects slated to open in late 2020 (Ratatouille) or 2021 (Guardians of the Galaxy) to help with completing Mickey’s & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Additionally, with record setting crowds projected to descend upon Hollywood Studios to catch a glimpse Chewy and R2D2, we’d expect Disney would want every possible attraction available for guests to enjoy. This is the main reason Disney recently opened the Lightning McQueen Racing Academy.

Both Runaway Railway and Rise of the Resistance will use trackless ride vehicles
Rise of the Resistance Vehicle

Should We Assume It’s Tech?

With Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway Disney Imagineering is looking to push the limits of technology. As we discussed in a previous article, the Imagineers are creating a 2.5D technology for the attraction as well as unique ride vehicles. The ride vehicles will use trackless ride technology to bring guests through the attraction. Trackless ride technology is nothing new for Disney Imagineering, as they’ve leverage it other attractions around the globe. However, this is different.

Why so? We’re glad you asked. To keep this spoiler free, we can say the challenge is creating trackless vehicles that work in a choreographed fashion and are able to connect and disconnect throughout the ride. Disney is facing similar changes with the Rise of the Resistance attraction in Galaxy’s Edge. It is why the attraction will open later in the year.

Passholder Insights: If you’re looking to experience both Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge attractions, you’ll want to schedule a trip at the end of 2019/beginning of 2020. Only the Millennium Falcon attraction will be open at the start.

Our Thoughts

There are a variety factors at play with the delay of runaway railway. Construction challenges and technology are definitely the backbone to the delay. However, we’ve heard rumors that it is also a timing issue. The rumor is Disney is looking to temper the crowds at Hollywood Studios, and if they were to open Star Wars Galaxy Edge and Mickey’s & Minnie’s Runaway Railway within months of each other it would create even more crowds and a less enjoyable guest  experience.

We may never know why the project is delayed. What we do know is it’s definitely increasing our excitement for the ride. It’s great to see Disney pushing the limits on what technology can do and creating unique ride experiences. For now let’s take a walk while we wait out our delay.

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