Before the global pandemic, Disney made many huge announcements for future projects coming to the Disney parks. Fans were delighted to hear of the new rides and additions. Unfortunately, once the parks reopened, many of the projects were put on an indefinite hold. Let’s look at which projects are still in Disney limbo.
Spaceship Earth Overhaul
Right before the parks shut down, Disney dropped some major news that Spaceship Earth would be closing in May 2020 to undergo a long refurbishment that would “enhance” the ride. Many fans were divided on the news because Spaceship Earth is an opening day Epcot attraction. It also has a strong nostalgia feel to as you travel through each room.
Disney announced in a statement that “Many of the moments you know and love will be updated in amazing ways, blended with brand-new scenes to tell a story about our human experience.” The classic version of the ride told the history of communication and technology. The overhaul would focus on the art of human storytelling. Once the parks reopened in July 2020, Disney quietly shelved the project. No one has heard anything about this renovation since.
Mary Poppins Attraction
At the 2019 D23 Expo, major changes in Epcot were announced. One of the most exciting changes was that a Mary Poppins neighborhood was going to be added to the UK Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase. The “Cherry Tree Lane” expansion was supposed to be its very own neighborhood, and there were even rumors of a Mary Poppins attraction! The UK Pavilion is one of the only pavilions in World Showcase without a ride or attraction. There was even a scene in the Epcot Experience that teased the Mary Poppins expansion.
Unfortunately, that scene was quietly removed once the parks reopened, and the expansion was shelved. In a recent Disney Shareholders meeting, CEO Bob Chapek confirmed that the attraction was indeed one of the projects on hold. This was largely due to the closure of the parks and the billions of dollars in losses sustained over that period of time.
Splash Mountain Reimagining
Just before the parks reopened in July 2020, Disney announced that they would be reimagining the mega-popular Splash Mountain attractions at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. The ride was to be re-themed to the 2009 animated Disney movie Princess and the Frog. According to Disney, the ride would pick up right where the movie left off. Guests would follow Princess Tiana and friends on a musical adventure as they prepare for their first ever Mardi Gras performance. Different sneak peeks of concept art were released since the announcement, but no definitive date has been given as to when the reimagining would take place.
Main Street Theater
In 2017, Disney announced that a massive outdoor theater was to be built at Magic Kingdom on Main Street USA. This would be very similar to the Hyperion theater in Disneyland’s California Adventure. The theater was supposed to be located near Tony’s Town Square, and act as a live entertainment theater with daily performances. There were permits filed and concept art released for this project. Land was also cleared between Tomorrowland and Main Street USA to make room for it. In 2018, for unknown reasons however, the project never took off and was removed from Disney’s list of projects that were “coming soon”.
Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Lodge
Did you know that there were plans to build a new resort between Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge? Disney was planning on building its 16th Disney Vacation Club resort. The resort was supposed to be built on the land that once was River Country Water Park. Much like other projects on this list, Disney had permits filed, land cleared and the whole nine yards. Since the closure of the parks in 2020, there has been no activity on the construction site, and it was assumed that the project was shelved all together.
This isn’t the first time that Disney shelved a resort construction project. There were plans to give Pop Century Resort another building, and it was going to be called “Legendary Years”. As many Disney fans may know, Pop Century Resort is themed after popular decades from the 20th century. Unfortunately, the plan ended up getting scrapped after construction had already begun. The buildings were abandoned for a while until Disney began construction on Art of Animation where the buildings once stood. There has been no word if Disney would be continuing with the construction of “Reflections” or if it will join the ranks of projects on hold and in Disney limbo.
Just because Disney puts a project on “hold”, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is canceled. The global pandemic and closure of the parks pushed back the opening dates of many Disney projects and shelved others indefinitely. It will be interesting to see when and if these projects open.
Which of these “on hold” projects are you most looking forward to seeing? Do you think that they will ever get built?