Today’s update concerns rides, shows, and entertainment. Most attractions will be available at each park–for example, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will offer popular attractions like Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (which was only open for a couple weeks before the parks closed) and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (which previously required an infamous boarding pass dash).
At Magic Kingdom, classics such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean are waiting to welcome guests with thrilling adventures for the whole family. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, the magic of nature awaits with Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, and Avatar Flight of Passage.
Epcot’s iconic Spaceship Earth attraction will also continue to be available in its current state while its previously-planned reimagining is paused. Other popular attractions like Soarin’ Around the World, Frozen Ever After, and Test Track will operate as normal.
When Magic Kingdom park reopens on July 11, the following attractions, entertainment and shops will be available.
“it’s a small world”
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Country Bear Jamboree
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Liberty Square Riverboat
Mad Tea Party
Peter Pan’s Flight
Pirates of the Caribbean
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
Swiss Family Treehouse
The Hall of Presidents
The Haunted Mansion
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Tom Sawyer Island
Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover
Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
Main Street Philharmonic
Character Cavalcades along the parade route:
The Royal Princess Processional
Mickey & Friends Cavalcade
Fantasyland Friends Cavalcade
A Goofy Cavalcade
Tinker Bell & the Lost Treasure
Box Office Gifts
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin Photos
Hundred Acre Goods
Island Supply by Sunglass Hut
Main Street Confectionery
Mickey’s Star Traders
Plaza del Sol Caribe Bazaar
Strollers & Wheelchairs
Tomorrowland Light & Power Co.
TTC Cart / Wheelchairs
Uptown Jewelers & Cinema
Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe
When Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park reopens on July 11, the following attractions, entertainment and shops will be available.
Avatar Flight of Passage
Discovery Island Trails
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
It’s Tough to be a Bug!
Kali River Rapids
Maharajah Jungle Trek
Na’vi River Journey
The Animation Experience at Conservation Station
The Oasis Exhibits
Character Cruises with Disney friends appearing in boats around Discovery River:
Discovery River Character Cruise
Discovery Island Drummers
Donald’s Dino Boat Bash!
Mickey & Friends Flotilla
Africa Hub Cart
African Heritage Wood Carving
Chester and Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures
Discovery Trading Company
Garden Gate Gifts & Strollers
Kilimanjaro Safari Cart
Out Of The Wild
Serka Zong Bazaar
The Dino Institute Shop
When EPCOT reopens on July 15, the following attractions, entertainment and shops will be available.
Canada Far and Wide
Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
Friendship Lagoon Boats
Frozen Ever After
Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
Impressions de France
Journey Into Imagination with Figment
Living with the Land
Reflections of China
Soarin’ Around the World
The American Adventure
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Turtle Talk with Crush
Walt Disney Imagineering presents the Epcot Experience
America Gardens Theatre Presents…
Character Cavalcades throughout the day, featuring Disney friends traveling around World Showcase promenade:
Mickey & Friends World Tour
Art of Disney
Galerie Des Halles
Glas Und Porcellan
La Bottega Italiana
Mexico Indoor Plaza
Mission: SPACE Cargo
Mouse Gear Temporary Location
Pin Traders – Camera Center
Port of Entry
Sea Base Alpha Gift Shop
Strollers & Wheelchairs
Test Track Simporium
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
When Disney’s Hollywood Studios reopens on July 15, the following attractions, entertainment and shops will be available.
Alien Swirling Saucers
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Slinky Dog Dash
Star Tours — The Adventures Continue
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™
Toy Story Mania!
Vacation Fun (at Mickey Shorts Theater)
Walt Disney Presents
Character Cavalcades throughout the day, with favorite Disney friends on Hollywood Boulevard:
Disney Junior Stars Motorcade
Mickey & Friends Motorcade
Celebrity 5 & 10
Crossroads of the World
Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities
Droid Depot Experience
Droid Depot Store
Legends of Hollywood
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Mickey’s Of Hollywood
Once Upon A Time
Sid Cahuenga’s One-of-a-Kind
Rock Around The Shop
Strollers & Wheelchairs
Tower Hotel Gifts
Toy Story Mania Shop
What is NOT Opening
Magic Kingdom — Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor & Enchanted Tales with Belle
Animal Kingdom — Finding Nemo — The Musical, Festival of the Lion King, and Primeval Whirl (if you count that)
Epcot — Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along (IMPRESSIONS DE FRANCE ALLLL DAY!)
Disney’s Hollywood Studios — Frozen Sing-Along, Star Wars Launch Bay, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Savi’s Workshop
With the fewest rides (but lots of headliners) and most shows, Disney’s Hollywood Studios was already imbalanced. It’s definitely the park hit hardest by the modified operations. (More on that in the commentary below.)
You might notice a bunch of character cavalcades listed above. Despite parades, nighttime spectaculars, meet & greets, character dining, and other experiences being temporarily paused when the parks initially reopen due to physical distancing limitations, we have some news on what it means that characters will still be in the parks to “entertain and delight” guests.
Previously, in our Character Dining Cancelled at Walt Disney World post, we assumed this meant more “smile & wave” cavalcades and impromptu greetings from balconies and other distanced locations. The latest update from Walt Disney World more or less confirms this, with some additional info describing what’s on the bullet-point list above…
If you’re hoping to see some familiar friends or take in the tunes of treasured performers, you’re in luck!
Just as you may have seen recently at Disney Springs with Stormtroopers “enforcing” modified rules, characters will appear in new and different ways that are mindful of physical distancing.
These will include special cavalcades down the Magic Kingdom parade route, characters sailing the waterways of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, processions along the World Showcase promenade in Epcot, and motorcades down the boulevard in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Suffice to say, different areas of the park will come to life with impromptu performances throughout the day.
Looking beyond the Disney characters, several musical groups and entertainment acts will also return.
You can look forward to seeing Main Street Philharmonic at Magic Kingdom Park, plus the Mariachi Cobre and everyone’s favorite funky drumming crew the JAMMitors at EPCOT, just to name a few.
Of course, several other entertainment acts were cut just prior to the parks closing, and presumably will not return.
Prior to the parks closing, several groups had their final day of performances: British Revolution, the popular music group that performed in the United Kingdom pavilion; Sergio, the mime and juggler in the Italy pavilion; and Matsuriza, the taiko drummers in the Japan pavilion.
Overall, nothing earth-shattering here–mostly just confirmation of what we already knew about attractions and entertainment that will be offered once Walt Disney World’s theme parks reopen. The one promising tidbit is the cavalcades, which could enough to scratch the “parade itch” for some guests.
Nevertheless, this is obviously significantly less entertainment than pre-closure. Cynically, we also question to what degree some of this is “necessary” and what’s a thinly-veiled cutback.
How does Walt Disney World justify showing the enclosed and indoor MuppetVision 3D, but not using the outdoor and open-air venues for Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular? While the equity performers are part of unions and thus may be the reason Disney is not proceeding with these shows, it’d be great to see these colossal amphitheaters used for alternative entertainment.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios was already very top-heavy (see our DHS: Walt Disney World’s Best Rides & Most Frustrating Park post from right before the closure), and the non-operational shows definitely won’t help with that. If Disney doesn’t use the venues in DHS, they might end up with crowd issues in that specific park–even with significantly reduced attendance.
On the one hand, every aspect our daily lives has temporarily changed, so it’s unreasonable to expect the same Walt Disney World as before. Some compromises are in order, and guests returning this year need to understand that they’re experiencing a modified and diluted experience. That’s just reality, and no amount of complaining will change it.
On the other hand, if Walt Disney World wants to attract tourists back to the theme parks, something has to give. Either in the form of aggressive discounts, quality alternative entertainment, or other special enhancements that help guests justify visiting. Right now, it’s a really tough sell to anyone who isn’t a local, Disney Vacation Club member, or diehard fan.
Perhaps Walt Disney World is fine with that. Reopening vacation package sales for 2021 before the remainder of this year almost suggests that Disney is viewing the rest of this year as something of a lost cause or de facto soft opening for locals and extremely motivated visitors.
Nevertheless, it’s a risky approach. Word of mouth, reviews, and social media feedback from the remainder of this year will reverberate and influence bookings for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. We remain optimistic that there’s upside to visiting this year (my expectation of empty parks is a strong personal pull) and hope as more time passes, Walt Disney World is able to roll out plans to improve and enhance the guest experience.
What do you think about Walt Disney World’s entertainment plan? Any thoughts on how they can compensate for the lack of parades, fireworks, nighttime spectaculars, meet & greets, and more? Will you be attempting to visit Walt Disney World this summer or fall, or are you waiting until 2021 when things (presumably) start getting back to normal? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!