There are 200 million reasons why Disneyphiles are smiling! On August 5, 2020, The Walt Disney Company held their quarterly earnings call. While the majority of headlines gravitated towards the 85% reduction in revenue for the parks or upcoming Disney+ release of the live-action Mulan, there was an exciting update regarding Disney World construction projects. First mentioned by Bob Chapek in his opening remarks, then reiterated by Christine McCarthy (CFO), Disney has adjusted the capital expenditures from $900 million to $700 million in savings. In the DVC Duo house, we like to call this a $200 million win! Now, the question becomes how does this reduction impact the different Disney World construction projects? Our workboots are laced up and we’re ready to investigate!
What Got Delayed or Canceled?
Let’s get the sadness out of the way early. That’s how we’re supposed to do it right? Sad stuff first, then finish on a happy note. On July 15, 2020, Disney announced both the Mary Poppins attraction slated for Epcot’s UK Pavilion and the Spaceship Earth refurbishment were postponed to a future date. The announcement confirmed our projections in our earlier article around the $900 million of reductions. Additionally, we learned the Epcot Festival Center going in to the upcoming World Celebration neighborhood would be reimagined and constructed at a later date.
Outside of these three Epcot related projects, Disney has not officially canceled or delayed at the time of writing. There are rumors circling around the projection 50th Anniversary Magic Kingdom parade being taken off the books. With Disney never officially announcing the parade it’s unknown if this is true or not. Additionally, rumors are the new Disney Vacation Club Resort – Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Lodge has been either canceled or delayed. We take a deeper look at the project in the following article.
What Got Accelerated?
We’re shifting gears! Two of the many Disney World construction projected shifted into high gear. Which projects? First is the overhaul to the Walt Disney World security screen process. Originally plans called for moving the security screenings further away from each of the park’s entrances but keeping the traditional hands-on approach to checking bags. Fast-forward to today and Disney shifted gears and to speed up the security check refurbishments, as well as expanding the project to include new touchless screenings. The update debuted at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and has now been rolled out to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway entrance to Epcot. For more information around the new system, we recommend checking out the following article.
The other Disney World construction project in the fast lane is the new walkway to the Magic Kingdom. To help with the guest flow to the Magic Kingdom Disney kicked this project into overdrive. With the bridge connecting the Grand Floridian walkway to the other side of Seven Seas Lagoon complete, it looks like all that is left is a little gardening. Oh yeah, and lights of course. Early projections have the walkway opening in the late summer/early fall timeframe. In the DVC Duo house, we believe it will open up with the reopening of the Grand Floridan Resort at the end of September.
The Big Hitters
It’s what we’re here for right? Where do the major Disney World construction projects stand? According to Len Testa of the Disney Dish Podcast, Disney has two projects that are topping their list right now. One is definitely expected and the other is surprising. The less than shocking one is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in Epcot’s France Pavilion. Rumors have the attraction opening as early as October 2020. Based on our last construction update this definitely seems possible based on how much work is left on the project.
The more surprising project is HarmoniUS. Yes, the new nighttime spectacular for Epcot. Work has been spotted both on the World Showcase Lagoon and behind the scenes as it relates to the project. Originally, the plans called for the new show to debut at the end of 2020. Based on delays, we would expect the earliest we could see it would be in the first quarter of 2021.
Around the rest of Walt Disney World construction has resumed on the following projects, Tron Lifecycle Run, The Play Pavilion, The Star Wars Resort, Space 220 Restaurant, Journey of Water inspired by Moana, and Woody’s Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant. The only project we’ve not heard of restarting construction is the Guardians of the Galaxy: Comesic Rewind coaster. It is known that the project is a high priority for Disney, however, it could experience delays mainly due to the filming of the show scenes. Originally, it was planned to film the scene at the same time as the third movie. Filming of the third movie has not begun and it is unknown when it will begin.
Way better than we expected. While we’re not out of the woods yet, it’s looking like the majority of projects that were started will be completed. With only the new DVC resort currently under question. It does make us wonder what great ideas did Disney shelve to create the $700 million in capital expenditure savings. If we had to guess, some of it could be tied to the pause in construction as a whole, along with smaller ride enhancements for the 50th anniversary. Only time will tell if we’re right or not. For now, it’s time to unlace our boots and rest our feet. That was a long walk!
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