Disney World Construction & Refurbishment Update

“Pardon our pixie dust.” For Disney World guests, those four simple words inspire both disappointment and anticipation. After all, there’s almost nothing as disappointing as finding out during your Disney vacation that a new-to-you attraction must go unseen or a favorite ride must go unridden. At the same time, nothing quite beats the feeling of trying to peer over Disney construction walls and wondering what it will look like once it’s all finished. 

There’s no doubt about it; no matter which park you visit around the world, Disney ride closures and construction are annoying but necessary, keeping the attractions, resorts, restaurants, and everything else sparkling clean, safe for guests, and new and exciting with fresh helpings of magic. 

As frequent guests know, it isn’t exactly a question of “Is Disney World construction happening?” as much as “Where is Disney World construction happening and what kind is it?” Things are always being built at Disney. It’s just a matter of whether that something is a refurbishment, reimagining, or something new altogether. 

So, if you’re planning on traveling to The Place Where Dreams Come True in 2021 or 2022, here are the new Disney attractions you will *hopefully* be able to visit (fingers crossed!), along with all the Disney World ride closures and refurbishments you can expect. (Updated February 25, 2021)

Walt Disney World Construction Updates

Roller coaster being built outside

We don’t know about you, but we get especially excited when it comes to Walt Disney World construction updates. Call it oldest child syndrome or blame it on some first-park favoritism, but when it comes to getting new Disney attractions, Disneyland tends to hit the jackpot while Disney World always seems to get the shaft. 🙄 Not that we’re complaining about Cars Land or the Avengers Campus or anything – we just think that every now and then, Walt Disney World deserves some lovin’ too. 

So, as you can imagine, when Disney announced all the huge changes that would be coming to Epcot in 2020, 2021, and beyond, we were preeeetty excited. That was until COVID-19 hit, anyway. Since then, some things have been indefinitely postponed (sorry, Mary Poppins), while others are definitely still in the works, albeit with some up-in-the-air opening dates. 

Now, without any further ado, let’s dig into what new Disney attractions, restaurants, resorts, and more are coming soon to Disney World. Keep in mind that any opening dates for Disney World new attractions we give are based on information that’s already been shared by Disney and are best guesses, not guarantees. As you can imagine, Disney has been staying pretty tight-lipped about things due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, we’re hopeful that as the vaccine rollout continues and things start to look up in terms of social distancing, Disney will feel more comfortable setting open dates for the new rides coming to Disney World. 

Magic Kingdom Construction Update

There is one thing and one thing only under construction at Magic Kingdom right now. Fortunately, that one thing, is really, really exciting. 

  • TRON Lightcycle Run Roller Coaster | TBD – Summer 2022?

Blast off on this futuristic launch roller coaster inspired by the world of TRON. A clone of the same attraction from Shanghai Disneyland, Tron Lightcycle will be a short-but-thrilling ride, complete with a loop and unique, bike-like seating similar to that used on Flight of Passage. 

Originally set to open in time for Disney’s 50th celebration, that seems highly unlikely now, as construction was pushed back due to COVID-19 and there still appears to be a lot to do before this is even close to finished. That being said, we definitely think that a summer or fall of 2022 opening seems very possible. Of course, we will update here as well learn more.   

Epcot Construction Update

Spaceship Earth with water fountain

Tons of construction is currently in the works at Epcot, and let’s just say, it is about time. Although things don’t look exactly the way we had hoped they would at this time when the park’s exciting (that’s putting it mildly) expansion was announced, things are still moving along quite well with some of the planned attractions. As you’d expect during a pandemic, things are pretty up in the air right now when it comes to opening dates, but we’re hopeful that some attractions will join the roster for Disney World’s 50th celebration. 

  • DuckTales World Showcase Adventure | TBD – 2021?

Taking the place of past interactive scavenger hunts through World Showcase, the DuckTales World Showcase Adventure was set to be open by now, but has since been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s no word from Disney yet on when this will make its first appearance, but as soon as we hear something, we’ll update it here. 

  • Epcot Main Entrance Transformation | Spring 2021?

Construction on Epcot’s main entrance revamp is almost complete. While some walls are still up, those that once surrounded the reimagined fountain have come down, and the Leave A Legacy photos have moved to a new location just to the side of the park entrance. 

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind | TBD – Summer 2022?

Journey across the cosmos with the Guardians of the Galaxy in this enclosed roller coaster featuring a new ride system called the “Omnicoaster.” 

Originally set to open in 2021, it’s looking more and more like the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride will make its arrival in 2022. Unlike with Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, construction is still very much in progress on the exterior of the ride, so we can only imagine what kind of work still needs to be done inside. Rather than trying to power through in time for a 50th Anniversary opening, it seems more likely that the new Guardians of the Galaxy coaster will open in 2022, after social distancing restrictions hav decreased. 

  • HarmonioUS | TBD – Summer 2021?

Culture meets character in HarmonioUS, Epcot’s upcoming nighttime spectacular featuring beloved Disney characters, massive set pieces, fountains, lighting, lasers, pyrotechnics, and musicians and artists from around the world. 

Things are looking promising to say the least over on World Showcase Lagoon. Some of the huge showpieces that will be part of the show have already made their way out into the lagoon, and testing is occurring regularly. All that’s to say that while nothing is confirmed, we think things are looking pretty good for a 2021 opening. Is summer too hopeful? We shall find out soon enough. 

  • La Gelateria | TBD – Spring/Summer 2021?

Construction looks just about complete on this soon-to-be-permanent gelato stand. No word on an opening date yet, but we’d say that spring break or summer seems like a decent possibility. We’ll need to wait and see whether social distancing restrictions will have an effect. 

French buildings with gas lite lamps

  • Le Creperie de Paris | TBD – Summer 2021?

Tucked away in the expanded section of the France Pavilion, Le Creperie de Paris will feature cuisine by celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse. As far as we know, construction on the new restaurant is complete. So, the restaurant will likely open once social distancing guidelines are relaxed. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a summer opening, but we’ll update here as we learn more. 

  • Moana: Journey of Water | TBD – 2022? 

Retreat into the beauty of nature in this lush, interactive water maze inspired by Moana. Due to the pandemic, we were pretty worried that Journey of Water would go the way of the Mary Poppins ride and be canceled. Luckily, that doesn’t seem to be the case, as Disney has given a few updates on the project recently, indicating that things are still moving on as planned, albeit delayed. There’s no official word yet, but we think 2022 seems like a very good possibility for an open date. 

  • PLAY Pavilion | TBD – 2022? 

Taking up residence in the former home of the Wonders of Life Pavilion, the Play Pavilion is set to become an innovative, hands-on metropolis filled with interactive games and activities featuring your favorite Disney characters. 

While the roof of the Play Pavilion has been replaced, we have no idea how construction is progressing inside and, as a result, no idea the new attraction will open. Disney has also been silent on the subject, so we’re imagining at least a 2022 opening. 

  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure | TBD – Summer 2021? 

Shrink to the size of a mouse in this 4D attraction inspired by the beloved Pixar film. You’ll scurry through the kitchen of Gusteau’s restaurant, soaking up all the sights, smells, and sounds as you try not to get caught. 

Construction seems just about complete on Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. While the walls directly around the ride remain, guests are able to walk back toward its entryway now, and the sign for the ride has been spotted lit up at night. We’re taking all this as a very good sign. There’s still no opening date, but we’re hopeful that Disney will decide to set the opening for sometime during the 50th Anniversary celebration. However, with the pandemic still raging on, it’s possible that they’d rather wait until health and safety restrictions have decreased. Stay tuned! 

  • Space 220 Restaurant | TBD – Spring/Summer 2021?

Take an elevator ride 220 miles above the Earth’s surface for a truly out-of-this-world dining experience. If that doesn’t sound like a thrilling idea for a restaurant, we don’t know what does! Although spoiler alert: You don’t actually go 220 miles into space – this is all done with projection technology. We know, talk about overselling it. We joke, of course. Anyway, Space 220 was originally set to open Winter 2020. As that has come and gone, we’re keeping our hopes up that Space 220 will be open in time for spring break, or summer, at the very least. 

Hollywood Studios Construction Update

Grey and brown cement buildings in front of rock structures featuring the millennium falcon

There is currently no construction in the works or upcoming at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Feel free to check back regularly for updates. 

Animal Kingdom Construction Update

There is currently no construction in the works or upcoming at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. Feel free to check back regularly for updates. 

Disney Springs Construction Update

  • Beatrix Restaurant, Market & Coffee Bar | TBD 

Coming sometime to Disney Springs, Beatrix will feature comfort food with a healthy twist including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, construction has stalled on the restaurant, and there’s no word yet on when it will begin again, let alone open. 

Hotels and Resorts Construction Update

  • Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort | TBD – 2021? 

Live your own Star Wars story at the Galactic Starcruiser Resort, an immersive and interactive two-night hotel experience like no other. Although many projects have been stalled or canceled due to the pandemic, construction on Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser continues on, and there have been some very promising developments of late including a flurry of permits and a job posting for a “seasoned hotelier” to run the property. There’s no specific opening date yet, but from what Disney has indicated, plan on sometime in 2021. 

  • Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge | Canceled 

Although the construction walls remain, what was set to become the new Reflections resort has been empty for the past several months, and all mention of the resort has been stripped from Disney’s websites, leading many to believe that the project has been canceled. 

Disney World Ride Closures and Refurbishments Schedule

Construction wall around building

As we mentioned earlier, as sad as it makes us when our favorite Disney World rides, shows, and restaurants are closed during our trip, these closures are almost always for the good. Ride maintenance and upgrades during regular refurbishments are crucial for keeping guests safe, while occasional reimaginings keep individual attractions – and Walt Disney World as a whole – fresh, exciting, and, in some cases, relevant and with the times. 

Normally, Disney does a pretty good job of spreading the refurbs around, making sure that your vacation isn’t overly impacted by an absence or two. And while that is still largely the case, things are a bit wonky right now, with more things being closed that usual due to the pandemic. As a result, you will see several Disney World refurbishments on our list that are lasting longer than usual or were scheduled last minute, as well as some Disney World ride closures that are for health and safety purposes or as a result of reduced demand due to social distancing. 

Please note that these are all of the scheduled Walt Disney World refurbishments we know of for the year right night, however more could be announced at a later date. We know that the Splash Mountain refurbishment and reimagining is in the works, but we don’t know yet when to expect it to close. No re-opening date has been given for attractions, shows, or dining closed due to the pandemic. 

Magic Kingdom Refurbishments and Closures

Magic Kingdom currently has the most refurbishments of all the parks, as well as many attractions, shows, and dining options that have had to close as a result of the pandemic. Fortunately, there is still a ton of things to do, like take a trip down Splash Mountain or hop along with Tigger on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and you don’t ever really feel like you’re missing anything even though there’s quite a bit that’s unavailable. 

The following rides, shows, and restaurants are currently closed or are scheduled to close temporarily in the near future either due to COVID-19 or for regular maintenance and improvements.

Closed for Refurbishment

  • Walt Disney World Railroad | December 2018-TBD

As a result of the its popular route around the park – it’s track runs right through sections of construction for the upcoming Tron coaster – the Walt Disney World Railroad has been unavailable for quite a while (December 3, 2018, to be precise). Whether that means that the railroad will reopen once construction on Tron completes, we aren’t sure, but it seems like a reasonable guess.  

  • Swiss Family Treehouse | March 12-25
  • Mad Tea Party | February 20-March 4
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover | March 2020-April 3

The PeopleMover has seen its fair share of setbacks, with its opening date being delayed multiple times. So, it remains to be seen whether this will happen again with the new April 3 reopen date. If anything changes, we’ll be sure to update!

  • The Hall of Presidents | January 20-TBD

The Hall of Presidents closed on inauguration day, just like it has in the past to make way for the addition of President Biden’s new animatronic. We aren’t sure how long this will last, and it remains to be seen whether any further changes will be made to the attraction. 

Closed Due to COVID-19

Construction wall around site

  • Attractions: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station, Casey’s Corner Pianist, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Flag Retreat, Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade, Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, character meet-and-greets (Princess Fairytale Hall, Town Square Theater, Ariel’s Grotto, and Pete’s Silly Side Show), 
  • Shows and Other Entertainment: Cosmic Dance Party, Dapper Dans, Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade, Happily Ever After, Main Street Trolley Show, Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party
  • Dining: Aunt Polly’s Dockside Inn, Casey’s Corner, Columbia Harbour House, Golden Oak Outpost, Prince Eric’s Village Market, Tortuga Tavern

Epcot Refurbishments and Closures

Epcot doesn’t currently have any scheduled refurbishments that we know of so far this year, so you don’t have to worry about missing a journey around the world on Soarin’ or having to skip a voyage through Spaceship: Earth. Unfortunately, Epcot has suffered from the loss of a lot of entertainment options, several dining venues, and a couple attractions as a result of the pandemic. Overall, however, there’s still plenty to do such as the Festival of the Arts or Flower & Garden Festival

The following rides, shows, and restaurants are currently closed or are scheduled to close temporarily in the near future either due to the COVID-19 pandemic or for regular maintenance and improvements.

Closed for Refurbishment

  • COMING SOON! “Reflections of China”, the China Pavilion’s 360° movie, is set to be replaced soon by a new film, “Wondrous China” – we’re expecting that this should happen sometime during 2021

Closed Due to COVID-19

  • Attractions: Character meet-and-greets, Turtle Talk with Crush
  • Shows and Other Entertainment: All entertainment offerings have been canceled except for Voice of Liberty, JAMMitors, and Mariachi Cobre
  • Dining: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Monsieur Paul, Nine Dragons Restaurant, Promenade Refreshments, Restaurant Marrakesh, Takumi-Tei, Tokyo Dining, Tangierine Café

Hollywood Studios Refurbishments and Closures

Hotel signage at night

As of right now, there are no Hollywood Studios refurbishments coming up in the very near future, however this is always subject to change. Luckily, that means you can take as many limo rides with Aerosmith on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster as you want, or make yourself scream to your heart’s content on Tower of Terror. Additionally, aside from some shows and restaurants, Hollywood Studios has been fortunate to have escaped much of the pandemic closures. In other words, as long as you don’t mind missing out on some non-moving sit-down entertainment and not being able to end your day at Fantasmic, you’re still bound to have a magical time. 

The following rides, shows, and restaurants are currently closed or are scheduled to close temporarily in the near future either due to the COVID-19 pandemic or for regular maintenance and improvements.

Closed Due to COVID-19

  • Attractions: Character meet-and-greets, Star Wars Launch Bay, Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  • Shows and Other Entertainment: Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage, Fantasmic!, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!, Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, 
  • Dining: Catalina Eddie’s, Dockside Diner, Fairfax Fare, Tune In Lounge, 

Animal Kingdom Refurbishments and Closures

Tree of Life at night

There are only a couple of refurbishments either upcoming or already happening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but more could be added later in the year. So, you won’t have to worry about not being able to say hello to the yeti on Expedition Everest or soar on the back of a banshee on Flight of Passage. Due to the pandemic, however, Animal Kingdom has seen the closure of a number of attractions, shows, entertainment, and restaurants. And some changes, like the closure of Rivers of Light and Primeval Whirl, were permanent. Though overall, there is still plenty to do and see for fun and animal-filled day at Animal Kingdom. 

The following rides, shows, and restaurants are currently closed or are scheduled to close temporarily in the near future either due to the COVID-19 pandemic or for regular maintenance and improvements.

Closed for Refurbishment

  • Kali River Rapids | Closed for Refurbishment – Now-April 1
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug! | Closed for Refurbishment – March 8-11

Closed Due to COVID-19

  • Attractions: Character meet-and-greets at Adventurers Outpost, The Boneyard
  • Shows and Other Entertainment: Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo – The Musical, Tree of Life Awakenings, UP! A Great Bird Adventure, all musical groups/streetmosphere performers/dance parties
  • All entertainment offerings have been canceled except for Voice of Liberty, JAMMitors, and Mariachi Cobre
  • Dining: Dino Diner, Pizzafari, Tusker House Restaurant

Disney Springs Refurbishments and Closures

There are currently no closures or refurbishments planned at Disney Springs, so feel free to eat and shop ‘til you drop (from a safe social distance).

Hotels and Resorts Refurbishments and Closures

Peace Out Pop Century building and pool at night

  • All-Star Resorts | Ongoing

The All Star Sports, All Star Movies, and All Star Music Resorts are currently in the midst of a redesign and refresh. All Star Movies is complete and is set to reopen March 22. All Star Music will likely open next, though no date has been announced. Work is also being done there on the Calypso Pool. Refurbishments have yet to begin at All Star Sports, and it remains to be seen whether they will still happen as planned due to the pandemic. 

  • Art of Animation Resort | January 11-Early April 2021

The Big Blue Pool is currently closed for refurbishment; however, the resorts other pools remain open. 

  • Contemporary Resort | April-September 2021

Certain guestrooms in the main tower will be out-of-order for refurbishment. 

  • Polynesian Village Resort | Reopening Summer 2021

A major overhaul to the entryway, as well as refreshes for the lobby and monorail station, is currently in progress at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Guestrooms are also receiving a Moana-inspired reimagining. Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows remain open. 

Work is currently being done on the waterslide of the Paddock Pool at Saratoga Springs. As a result, the bridge connecting The Paddock to other parts of the resort has been closed. During this time, the Paddock Pool will still be open.  

  • Wilderness Lodge | Reopening June 6, 2021

A massive redesign is currently underway at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, with guestrooms receiving a complete reimagining including wall art, walk-in showers, platform beds, and the removal of the kid-favorite bunk beds. In 2022, Boulder Ridge Villas will get its turn for a redesign as well – stay tuned for updates as we learn more. 

Disney World Water Parks Refurbishments and Closures

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

Typhoon Lagoon closed way back in January 2020 due to COVID-19, with no reopening date in sight. Blizzard Beach has been closed as well, but will fortunately be reopening on March 7, 2021 just in time for the weather to start getting warmer. 

Well, that wraps up our roundup of all the construction, closures, and refurbishments currently happening or on the horizon at Walt Disney World. We’ll be sure to update things here as more information becomes available. Until then, did we miss anything? If so, be sure to let us know so we can get it added to our list!

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