Are they racing to the finish line? Or at least a makeshift finish line? Prior to the world being flipped on its head in March of 2020, the Disney construction projects were full steam ahead. With the preverbal finish line being October 1, 2021, or better known as the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World. Fast-forward to today and rumors are popping up around a “finish line” that may be different than we all expected. Especially, for the three new marque attractions. Grab your favorite pair of sneakers as we’re heading to check on the Disney construction projects!
There’s also a backstory! And, with the three marque attractions coming to Walt Disney World this is never more true. The three marque attractions would be Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (Remy), Tron Lifecycle Run (Tron), and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (Guardians). When Disney announced each of the projects their timelines were very clear. Remy was slated to open in the summer of 2020, with both Tron opening the summer of 2021and Guardians opening by late fall 2021.
In late March 2020, all the construction projects around Walt Disney World were paused due to the global outbreak of COVID-19. The pause would last for about four months before we saw construction crews return to the sites. However, much happened in those four months and is still happening today. Disney World is operating at 25% capacity and Disneyland is yet to open and has no opening date in sight. The company release information back in July 2020 around $900 million in cost reduction around global park projects and since we’ve seen certain projects like Mary Poppins and Spaceship Earth paused indefinitely.
However, work around the 3 marque attractions soldiers on. Well, until now. Rumor has it each of these projects is reaching their makeshift finish lines. No, not completion, more like a temporary finish line where work would resume in the future. Ok, at least two of them, but we’ll elaborate more on that in a moment. Many Disney insiders and people directly associated with the projects are reporting the Disney construction projects are reaching the point where Disney will hit the pause button on each of them. But, why? Let’s take a deeper look at each project.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
Originally slated to be open by now, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure could and should be the first of the Disney construction projects to open. As we discussed in a previous article, many signs pointed to the attraction opening by the end of October or at worst case by year’s end. While it’s still a possibility the attraction opens, it’s looking more and more like it will not. Which is surprising, especially, since the attraction is more or less complete. That’s right, according to Brandon of MickeyViews, all the work within the attraction building is done, and the outside is more or less wrapped also. Additionally, we’ve heard Disney has running test cycles of the attraction for the past week-plus. So, why isn’t it open?
There could be a variety of reasons why the attraction is being held back from starting operation. In the DVC Duo house, one of the reasons that comes top of our mind is the current state of the world. With the park capacity limited and physical distancing the current way of life, it makes little sense for Disney to open the attraction. They’re unable to have a “big” opening day celebration. Additionally, once open the attraction would more than likely create throngs of crowds and make it nearly impossible to follow the physical distancing guidelines. Especially, along the pathway to the France Pavilion expansion area. From the Disney Skyliner, the pathway looks to be more on the narrow side. Similar to the pathway between Peter Pan and Small World at the Magic Kingdom.
So when could it open? That’s the big question. Our heart wants to say soon, especially with Zach Ridley sharing images of the attraction’s marquee on October 23, 2020, via his Instagram account. But, our head thinks something different. With Disney yet to make an announcement on when Remy’s will open, our head says spring/summer 2021. More than likely during the second quarter of 2021 (April, May, and June). Ideally, it would make sense to have the attraction open heading into the summer season. We don’t Remy will an attraction that Disney opens without any prior announcement.
UPDATE: On November 16, 2020, at the International International Association of Amusement Park Attractions (IAAPA), Josh D’Amarco confirmed Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure would not open until a date in 2021. Early reports have a February or March timeframe as the targert, however, this has not been confirmed by Disney.
Tron Lifecycle Run
Marked to be the newest headline attraction at the Magic Kingdom, of the Disney construction projects Tron was the slam dunk to be ready for the Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary. So much so, Disney purposefully extended the construction time to spread the cost over a greater amount of time. The best way to look at constructing Tron, it’s equivalent to assembling your favorite Lego model, as it’s a direct duplicate of the Shanghai attraction. But wait, Nate. Didn’t you say in a previous article that construction resumed? Yes, and construction continues on the exterior. However, it could very much be a hurry wait situation for Tron.
According to multiple sources, the plan for Tron is as follows. Continue the exterior construction until it’s complete and presentable, then hit the pause button. Workers on the construction site are estimating there are only a few more months of work left. Then, all work would stop until fall 2021. At this point, work on the interior of the attraction building has yet to begin. It should be noted that there have been a few reports that the set pieces for the interior are onsite and ready. If construction were to pause until fall 2021 estimates would have Tron opening towards summer 2022.
At this moment, Disney has not stated the project will be paused. If the pause were to happen it would clearly point to Disney saving on cost. With the lower than expected crowds levels when Disney World reopened and the continued closure of Disneyland, Disney has to find ways to lower expenses everywhere possible. By completing the exterior it would leave the project esthetically pleasing for guests until construction could resume.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
By far the most complex of the Disney construction projects is Guardians. Not just for the groundbreaking technology being used on the ride vehicles. The complexity extends beyond the construction site. One of the key aspects of the attraction will be the use of the Guardian characters. Similar to how Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout at Disney’s California Adventure character scenes were filmed in conjunction with the second film (Vol. 2), Epcot’s Guardians attraction scenes were to be filmed with the third movie (Vol. 3). Even before COVID-19 paused the project, the attraction was under the gun to be completed in time for the 50th anniversary.
Gun. Oh, we made a pun without even trying. Delays in the production of the third Guardians of the Galaxy film stems back to James Gunn (the director). After the second movie, Disney and Gunn decided to part ways due to a conflict of interest that surfaced about Gunn’s past. Well, part ways for a short while. During the separation, Disney pressed forward with the construction and began a search for a new director. Meanwhile, Gunn pursued other projects, most notably the second iteration of the Suicide Squad. By March 2019, both parties announced that Gunn would return to director Vol. 3, with filming to begin after he completed Suicide Squad. Filming of Suicide Squad wrapped at the end of February 2020 and it’s now in post-production, with the release scheduled for August 2021 (maybe, movie release dates are changing almost daily right now). So, you’re telling us there’s still a chance!
Kind of. Filming of Guardians Vol. 3 is still not officially, scheduled. Early reports point towards February 2021, however, that is still a rumor as neither Gunn nor Marvel Studios have confirmed. We’re guessing it could move again due to Chris Pratt and his current film schedule (which is also impacted). Similar to Tron, construction crews are working on the exterior of the building and could hit the pause button once completed. If this does happen, work would not resume until fall 2021. This leads us to believe that Guardians would not open until the second half of 2022. A lot will hinge on the ability to film the necessary scenes for both the pre-show and attraction.
UPDATE: On November 19, 2020, Disney held a D23 virtual presentation for Epcot. Lead by Imagineer Zack Ridley, the presentation a couple of key updates regarding the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. First is that Disney has moved to the push-pull testing of the coaster. This is a key milestone for any coaster, as it the stage where Imagineering is checking the overall safety of the vehicles and track.
Additionally, we learned the attraction would be open in time for the 50th-anniversary, confirming the attraction will not be delayed. From our understanding, Disney plans on filming the necessary attraction scenes as part of the filming of Thor: Love and Thunder, as the portion of the cast (if not all), will be onsite in Australia for the shoot. Filming for the movie is set beginning in January 2021.
Not surprising. With everything being scaled down at Walt Disney World as it relates to park capacity, it makes sense. While at least two of the attractions may not be open it time for the official 50th anniversary on October 1, 2021, they will most likely be open for the celebration. We’re expecting the celebration to run for at least 15 months. Disney could even use the opening of these two attractions to entice guests to come for multiple trips. As we stated earlier, nothing as has been confirmed by Disney, and the pausing of the Disney construction projects should be treated a rumor. We may find out more at the next shareholders meeting on November 12, 2020. Until then we’ll keep on eye on the projects!
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