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Park Updates from Josh D’Amaro at IAAPA 2020

There are so many new and updated projects coming to Walt Disney World over the next several months and years! Much of what was shared with us during the 2019 D23 Expo (see that list HERE), was delayed or even canceled due to this year’s pandemic.

To many of us, this comes with disappointment. With all of the challenges we have faced this year, it’s been difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel, and find hope that Disney will continue forward, and eventually return to where they once were pre-COVID.

Orlando recently hosted its annual IAAPA Expo (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions), and Josh D’Amaro, Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products was this year’s keynote speaker. He shared progress on projects across all Disney theme parks globally.

After listening to Josh D’Amaro speak, I can say with full assurance, Disney is going to be better than ever and come out on the other side of this even stronger. To quote D’Amaro “What I do want to convey is our confidence and our ability to recover, and the fact that we are still building our future”. I am very excited to see what the future holds!

Here’s a list of what was shared and everything happening at Walt Disney World!

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is on track to open in 2021!

This dark ride where you shrink down to the size of a rat and set out on a grand adventure was originally scheduled to open in Summer 2020, but was pushed back due to COVID and park closures. An officially date has not been confirmed, although I have heard late Spring/early Summer.

Harmonious is still underway! This new nighttime spectacular celebrates how Disney music inspires people around the world, and will feature massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics and lasers. This will be the permanent nighttime show at Epcot once it debuts. Stay tuned for more!

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is scheduled to open in 2021. The first-of-its-kind programmable roller coaster ride system, the Omnicoaster can be rotated along the ride track in any direction while traveling at high speeds. Disney shared a first look at the ride vehicle HERE. The Omnicoaster name builds upon the tradition of the Omnimover ride system in which Imagineers are able to point guests in any direction and focus their attention on a specific scene or element. 

Splash Mountain’s re-theming to The Princess and the Frog will be fast-tracked. According to Disney, this has been in the works for quite some time, but they have chosen to speed up the work. As part of the overall re-theming, Disney is focusing on “inclusivity” for their Guests, and that there will be more to come in the future. Disney has added “Inclusion” as its fifth key to complement the existing Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency.

Progress has been made on the new Star Wars hotel: Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. Guests will live aboard a starship for 2-days and 2-nights and become the hero of your own Star Wars story in a new type of immersive experience. For more details on this experience released earlier from Disney, click HERE.

Space 2020 is on track to open in 2021. This new space restaurant, operated and owned by Patina, will be located between Mission Space and Test Track. It will seat more than 350 Guests that will enter the restaurant via space themed elevators. This new restaurant will make Guests feel like they are actually traveling through space using a 250-ft long digital screen wrapping around the dining room simulating outer space.

And last but most certainly not least, Josh D’Amaro confirmed that entertainment closed recently (and throughout the park closure) will come back. This is great news for Cast Members and fans alike. I hoped this would be the case, and it’s nice to receive the official word. We can breathe a sigh of relief; this is a very good sign!

At the closing of Josh’s presentation, he left us with this…

“In the world that we find ourselves in today, optimism, innovation, and courage, they will ultimately win the day,” D’Amaro said. “With the emboldened spirit that comes from the challenges of the COVID crisis, with the hope and optimism that our brand captures even in the toughest of times, let’s ask ourselves why not take our guests to the moon or bring the moon to our guests? Why not dream as big as possible? And challenge the very meaning of the word impossible.”

Notably missing from the update lineup was a TRON LightCycle update. Rumor has it, this won’t be complete in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, rather it will be done in 2022. We’ll have to wait for official word. And speaking of WDW’s 50th, there were no details revealed for that either. In his presentation, Josh D’Amaro noted that there will be more to come at a later date on the plans for the upcoming celebration.

To see Josh D’Amaro’s full keynote, click HERE.

Here’s another video sharing sneak peeks, click HERE.

I’ll continue to update and share details as more information is released on the ongoing projects at Walt Disney World.

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And to keep the magic with you all the time, check out my small shop Wish Upon A Cozy, and get yourself a Disney-inspired coffee cozy! Carry your love of Disney with you wherever you go!

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