2020 has been the absolute worst year for Disney that I can recall in my adult lifetime. Despite all of the heartbreak for Cast Members and Disney fans, Disney still has plenty planned for 2021. While the 50th anniversary of Disney World may not be everything Disney planned for, it’ll still be fabulous. And, in the lead-up to the anniversary, we expect to see some pretty awesome new additions to the theme parks. These 13 are some of our favorites!
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Debuts at EPCOT
This may be one of the most awaited attractions that’s not Star Wars-themed. Ratatouille is one of the bright spots at Disneyland Paris, themed after the movie about the cute rat who happens to be an exceptional chef. It was absolutely one of our favorite attractions when we visited Disneyland Paris a few years ago, and we’re excited to see it debuting in EPCOT.
Slated to be located in the back of the France Pavilion in the World Showcase at EPCOT, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will feature you playing the role of the epicurean rat. The ride features trackless technology similar to that used on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. We expect this attraction to debut in the Spring of 2021 and we sincerely hope it doesn’t suffer the downtime that Rise of the Resistance does.
La Crêperie de Paris Will Debut Alongside Ratatouille
EPCOT is known for some exceptional eateries, and we’re hoping La Crêperie de Paris is a continuation of that trend. This full-service and limited service option is due to open near Ratatouille and likely at the same time. Another full-service option in EPCOT is always welcome given the wait times/lack of reservations at the more popular choices. And, who doesn’t love a good crepe?
Space 220 Should Ascend In Early 2021
Nestled in the back of the Mission:Space pavilion in EPCOT, Space 220 was originally rumored to be opening in 2020. Now that we have some images of the interior, it seems like the restaurant is largely completed. The elevator entrance to this restaurant is definitely a tough order to pull off during a pandemic with capacity restrictions. We’ve got our eye on this one for the reported 1,000 bottle wine list. Get ready for launch in 2021, likely when capacity restrictions relax a bit.
HarmonioUS Debut At EPCOT
The new nighttime spectacular at EPCOT has received big billing. Disney has hyped it as one of their largest night shows ever. The lagoon at World Showcase represents some challenges but also can serve as an incredible viewing experience.
Aerial look at the show barges of HarmonioUS. The ring, for the water screen at center of the show, is actually 3 separate barges. Video screens line the 4 semicircular barges. These barges will perform in World Showcase Lagoon as a large fountain in daytime. pic.twitter.com/sFa9tIIM3M
— bioreconstruct (@bioreconstruct) December 5, 2020
The rollout of this show is definitely a departure from how Disney handled the retirement of Wishes:A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams, the nighttime spectacular at Magic Kingdom. Illuminations:Reflections of Earth retired in 2019. Now, the pandemic has likely led to delays in the rollout of HarmonioUS. But, we’re still waiting for a final date on this one, likely to be in 2021 in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary. We predict this one for summertime, potentially bringing guests in during the transition between the spring and fall events.
Disney Water Park Reopens in March
After being closed much of 2020, we’ll see at least a partial return of Disney World’s water parks in 2021. Disney’s Blizzard Beach is scheduled to open to the public on March 7, 2021. No word on when Typhoon Lagoon will reopen. But, given the current capacity restrictions with all the parks, I doubt we’ll see both water parks open until at least summertime. The water parks at Disney World can be pricey as a standalone ticket. But, as an add-on to Park Hopper they can be a pretty good deal, not to mention a cooling diversion from the withering Orlando heat in the theme parks during summer.
Swan Reserve, A Good Option For Redeeming Points, Will Open in 2021
Disney World has long had two great options for saving money on a Disney vacation while still enjoying most of the perks. The Swan and Dolphin hotels, centrally located on Disney World property, were long a part of the Starwood Hotel collection. When Starwood was acquired by Marriott, they became a good, but not great, use of Marriott Bonvoy points. Now, a third property, the Swan Reserve is due to open in 2021. With a focus on larger rooms for families, it’s expected the property will be a Category 6 in the Marriott Bonvoy program, which means 40,000 to 60,000 points per night. And, it’s also expected to open with access to Disney World perks like 60-day access to FastPass+ and Early Morning Magic access (both currently suspended during the pandemic).
A New Addition to Hall of Presidents
With the election of a new US President, we should expect to see an animatronic of Joseph Biden in the fall of 2021. For our money, Hall of Presidents is an underrated attraction. Take a few minutes away from the heat to sit down and enjoy a bit of the history of the US. Sure, the attraction is a bit dated (and will likely get a refresh in years to come), but still enjoyable. We just hope that the Muppets Presents Great Moments in American History, the outdoor pre-show that was semi-retired recently, continues it’s repeat performance.
Roundup Rodeo BBQ Coming To Hollywood Studios
Toy Story Land has been an excellent addition to Hollywood Studios. However, it lacked two big things, shade and decent food. Both are in a bit of short supply around Hollywood Studios in general, but Toy Story Land really magnified that. The current quick-service option at Toy Story Land, Woody’s Lunch Box is very short on shade as well as menu options. In 2021, Roundup Rodeo BBQ should help solve both of these major issues when it opens. The table service restaurant will open right near the entrance to Toy Story Land and feature an immersive indoor dining experience kids should love. We haven’t seen a menu yet, but the name obviously suggests a BBQ theme. This should be a welcome place to beat the heat and hopefully grab a fun meal.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Moves Into Disneyland
The headline here really could be that Disneyland is reopened, with the likelihood it’ll be over a year from the date of closing in 2020 before they welcome guests back. We’re confident Disneyland will reopen in 2021, and we’re confident Spider-Man is taking up residence. We’re less comfortable with when Spidey will join the Avengers Campus.
Web Slingers:A Spider-Man Adventure is due to open in 2021, and should be a great addition to Disneyland. This will be an interactive attraction and looks like a combination of Toy Story Midway Mania and the Ninjago Ride at Legoland. It looks like riders will use their hands to shoot webs at targets to help Spidey with his mission.
Halcyon Starcruiser May Land in 2021
One of the final pieces of the transformation of Disney’s Hollywood Studios is one of the most immersive lodging experiences ever proposed. Disney World is building a hotel in the area behind the parking lots at Hollywood Studios that will be themed Star Wars in every aspect.
Guests will check-in for a 2-night experience, likely to be all-inclusive or close to it. The guest rooms (referred to as cabins) don’t even have traditional windows, instead focusing on video screens displaying space scenes and mission details. There’s lightsaber training, tours of the bridge and some sort of dedicated access to Star Wars:Galaxy’s Edge. There have been rumors of pricing measured in the $3,000-$5,000 range for a family of 4 to experience a couple nights at Halcyon. And, we believe that if you’re not a guest on the Starcruiser there won’t be any way to access the hotel. Construction progress makes us think we’ll see this opening in 2021, but it could easily slip to next year.
TRON Lightcycle Power Run
Construction progress for this exciting new coaster in Magic Kingdom continues to be quite promising. Originally rumored to be ready for the 50th anniversary in October, we think this one might slip past the fall for a 2022 opening. This is likely to be similar to the TRON ride at Shanghai Disneyland, where each rider gets their own lightcycle to ride. Other than the addition of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Magic Kingdom hasn’t had a thrill ride on the level of Space Mountain as a new attraction in quite some time (and many would argue Mine Train isn’t true “thrill ride”). Daredevils should enjoy this addition, even if they do have to wait a bit longer.
The Guardians Are Building An Omnicoaster
Leave it to Disney World to come up with a new name for a roller coaster. Dubbed an “Omnicoaster” because of the ability for each car to pivot 360 degrees, this is meant to be incredibly immersive coaster that will start with a backwards launch. It takes the place of Ellen’s Energy Adventure in EPCOT. That was already a massive attraction, but Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is even bigger. Recent footage of ride testing makes me think this one is the most likely to slip into 2022.
The 50th Anniversary of Disney World
This is one we’re really sure will happen in 2021. October 1st, to be exact, 50 years after Disney World opened it’s doors to the public. Walt Disney never got to see his grand dream open its doors. Fifty years later, Disney World has grown in ways maybe Walt couldn’t even have imagined. Or, could he? While we’ll never know, expect an unbelievable celebration for the 50th anniversary. And, given the pent-up demand with many folks holding off on Disney travel right now, we expect the demand to be equally legendary.
The Final Two Pennies
There are so many exciting developments on the horizon for Disney. Many of them will inspire and excite us, and more than a few will probably hurt our wallet. With the past year being largely lost for a true Disney experience, exciting new attractions are likely to bring Disney fans new and old back in droves. Does this mean 2021 will also be the year of record crowds? Time will tell, but we wouldn’t doubt that either.
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