We’re back with another round of news & rumors from Walt Disney World and Disneyland. We have some early park closures at Magic Kingdom and DHS to go along with the recently-announced extended hours, another new Disney Vacation Club resort being planned, the reimagining of Snow White’s Scary Adventures, and more!
Let’s dig right in with Space 220 Restaurant, the highly-anticipated new outer space dining experience coming to Epcot. Over the summer, Walt Disney World announced that Space 220 would open by the end of 2019. We’ve been watching construction closely and have been reiterating for months that it debuting this year is highly unlikely.
We’ve also been pointing out that Walt Disney World quietly reworded the opening timeframe to “this winter” a while ago. That might seem like a distinction without a difference, but the latter runs until March 19, 2020 whereas the former ends on December 31, 2019. Well, now we have some pretty solid evidence that Space 220 won’t be opening this year…
Multiple job listings posted for Patina Restaurant Group, which is the operator of Space 220 and many other restaurants at Walt Disney World, Space 220 is set to open in February 2020. These job listings to work for “Mission Control” at Space 220 cover pretty much every position, including bartender, server, cashier, etc. (The listings also use space lingo pretty extensively, perhaps pointing to the level of immersion that can be expected from crew at the restaurant?)
These job listings have been a source of “excitement” around Space 220. Recently, another job listing for a new executive chef at Space 220 Restaurant. As we posited at the time, that explained the lack of a menu, and was yet another signal that Space 220 Restaurant isn’t going to open before Christmas.
In reality, it’s not an earth-shattering “rumor” that Space 220 has been delayed until February 2020. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if the actual opening is even later…
Next, some early park closures at Walt Disney World this week. First, Magic Kingdom will close at 4:30 pm tomorrow (December 2, 2019) for the annual Walt Disney World Service Celebration, which is essentially a Cast Member appreciation event that honors those hitting milestones with WDW.
We’re not normally keen on early park closures for private events, but this is one huge exception to that. Huge thanks and kudos to the Cast Members for their years of dedicated service–enjoy your special night!!!
Additionally, due to a media event for the grand opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the entirety of Galaxy’s Edge will close at 4 pm on December 4, 2019. Note that the rest of Disney’s Hollywood Studios will remain open until 9 pm that night–if you’re staying late in the park, keep your eyes on the sky…
Continuing with Florida, here’s a ‘save the date’ for history geeks. D23’s Destination D: Fantastic Worlds will occur at Walt Disney World Resort from November 20 to 22, 2020. This event will honor Disney’s many magical places, from the extraordinary to the fantastical.
For the event, the Walt Disney Archives is creating an all-new exhibit that will include 50 iconic treasures, representing the 50 years of the Archives. For the weekend, Walt Disney Imagineering’s Mickey’s of Glendale store will once again open a pop-up shop featuring exclusive items. Additional details, including special hotel rates and ticketing information, will be announced in Spring 2020.
We’ve done several Destination D events and highly recommend them. (That’s also the week before Thanksgiving 2020, so it should be a good time to visit to avoid Christmas-time crowds!)
Next up, Disney Parks Blog has announced enhanced story details and all-new scenes coming to Snow White’s Scary Adventures, which will be updated both inside and out beginning in January 2020, to reopen in time for the ride’s 65th Anniversary next summer at Disneyland.
Walt Disney Imagineering is reimagining how the classic tale of Snow White lives happily ever after, with new scenes including a vignette showing Snow White in a beautiful forest setting waking up from her deep sleep. A new finale will also be added, featuring Snow White as she’s reunited with her animal friends and a shimmering castle is visible in the distance.
Imagineers are implementing state-of-the-art audio and visual technology throughout Snow White’s Scary Adventures, including new music, LED black lighting, laser projections and a new animation system. The exterior of the attraction will be refreshed with fairy tale details to complement the nearby Sleeping Beauty Castle.
As the Disney Parks Blog points out, this is Disneyland’s only “ride-through princess attraction.” Given that both pieces of concept art feature her and the new scene descriptions both highlight her, it would appear that the attraction is being enhanced to emphasize Snow White. Our guess is that in addition to the final scenes, a couple more Snow White figures will be inserted into earlier portions of the attraction.
From our perspective, this is a smart idea. Snow White’s Scary Adventures has always ended abruptly. Moreover, the notion that guests are a stand-in for Snow White doesn’t really work (and wouldn’t even if she still weren’t in the attraction at all), so adding more of the character just makes sense.
It’s also worth pointing out here that Disneyland has been plussing its Fantasyland attractions over the last decade or so. Various minor enhancements have been made, but the biggest changes have occurred with the Alice in Wonderland dark ride and Peter Pan’s Flight–both of which we consider to be nice upgrades that leverage technology in a way that integrates seamlessly with the classic dark rides.
The last big updates occurred around Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary, and it’s nice to see Imagineering starting back up with these. We’re hopeful that Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is next on the agenda–it’d be cool to visit a modernized version of hell! 😉
Continuing out in California, Disney submitted an application to the City of Anaheim for conceptual development review of a proposed 350-room Disney Vacation Club tower as part of Disneyland Hotel. If approved, this DVC property would open at roughly the same time as Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge at Walt Disney World.
While technically rumor in the sense that this has yet to be officially announced by Disney or approved by Anaheim, Disney Vacation Club released a statement to the OC Register indicating that they were working with relevant stakeholders, and emphasized the positive impact of the proposed DVC tower on local jobs and the Anaheim economy.
The new 12-story Disneyland Hotel DVC tower would be located between Goofy’s Kitchen and the Frontierland Tower. The look of the hotel would mirror the existing 1955 design of the other Disneyland Hotel towers. Those are styled after Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Frontierland.
No further details about the theme or style of this DVC tower have been announced, but Tomorrowland is the most logical choice from a continuity perspective. However, given that this Disney Vacation Club tower will almost be a stand-alone property, we could see something more generalized. Main Street with a heavy emphasis on Walt Disney might make more sense. (Hopefully it’s not a Star Wars tower–that’s not the right fit for Disneyland Hotel.)
Frankly, now that a more Disney-friendly Anaheim City Council has been elected, we’re surprised another large luxury hotel hasn’t been announced for Disneyland Resort. Perhaps it’s a matter of cold feet after attendance did surge as expected following the initial debut of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. More likely, Disney is waiting to see what demand and the Southern California hotel market looks like after the slew of other Anaheim luxury hotels currently under construction all open.
Either way, another DVC property at Disneyland Resort is a no-brainer, slam-dunk concept. There is a ton of unsatisfied and pent-up demand for another California DVC property; the Grand Californian Villas are the most difficult to book resort, and also the most costly via the resale market. (If you bought here back when DCA was floundering, your asset has increased in value tremendously!)
All in all, building a new Disney Vacation Club resort as a Disneyland Hotel tower is a savvy move. Although the hotel is historic and iconic, it should be pretty easy for DVC to mirror the existing design. Unless something goes terribly wrong, this should be a nice enhancement, and not another Bay Lake Tower detracting from the Contemporary.
That wraps up this Walt Disney World and Disneyland news & rumor update. As we observed over the weekend at Epcot, there’s also a lot of visible construction progress occurring around WDW. Between that and the December 5, 2019 opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, we’ll have a lot more to report on throughout the week ahead, so stay tuned!
What do you think of this WDW and Disneyland news & rumor round-up? Are you surprised that Space 220 Restaurant won’t be opening until 2020? Excited or disappointed about more Disney Vacation Club at Disneyland? What about the reimagining of Snow White’s Scary Adventures? Will you attend D23’s Destination D weekend at Walt Disney World? Any questions? We love hearing from readers, so please share any other thoughts or questions you have in the comments below!