'Sup! Welcome to Tad's toadally awesome list of what's coming to Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort and the other parks in 2020 and beyond! As the Frog Family’s resident thrill-seeker, tech junkie and head frog videographer — thank you very much — I live to keep tabs on all of the attractions and experiences heading to the Orlando theme parks, and I've been doing it for a few years. So far, 2020 has been an unusual year for theme parks, with temporary closures due to the coronavirus. Some openings and projects have been since delayed or postponed indefinitely, but there are still a lot of exciting things to look forward to once the parks fully resume normal operations!
If you're curious about all of the Universal Orlando and Disney World construction around the parks, you're at the right place. Be sure to bookmark this page because I add to it as new rides, shows and other hoppenings are announced! (Hop here to see what opened in 2019 and previous years.)
What's Coming to Disney World and Universal Orlando in 2020 and Beyond
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway — now open — All aboard! As the first ride to star everyone's favorite pair and their friends, this new attraction puts guests inside the wacky and unpredictable world of a Mickey Mouse Cartoon Short, where only mouse rules apply. The short starts with Mickey and Minnie singing a catchy tune on their way to a perfect picnic, and Goofy following along in his train beside them ... before things go wrong. We won't spoil any major details, but Mommy Frog loves the fact that Daisy drinks "Pond Water."
The ride features "2 1/2 D," a new, no-glasses-required experience, and trackless ride vehicles. It's toadally family-friendly and doesn't have any height restrictions. Just be sure to hold on to the lap bar as you whirl through the various cartoon worlds. (Mommy Frog did not get any motion sickness!) Also, listen for the sound from the original whistle featured in the 1928 short, “Steamboat Willie,” and keep an eye out for lots of hidden Mickeys.
Mickey Shorts Theater — now open — It's time for some "Vacation Fun!" Watch an original short in the same wacky style of the Disney Channel cartoon series that follows Mickey, Minnie and Pluto getting ready for a vacation. As Mickey prepares, he reminisces on past trips to Potatoland, China (from the short, "Panda-monium") and more.
Roundup Rodeo BBQ — 2020 — Using three cardboard boxes cut and taped together, Andy is building a rodeo play arena with some of his favorite toys ... at least that's what the concept is behind Toy Story Land’s future table-service restaurant! Originally scheduled for a 2020 opening, construction halted due to the pandemic, but there hasn't been any updates announced for its timeline yet.
Magic Kingdom Park
Cinderella Castle Makeover — now complete — Cinderella Castle has received a royal makeover, in honor of the 70th anniversary of "Cinderella" and just in time for Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary in 2021. The castle now dons a new pink color with darker blue turrets and gold accents. It's so pretty as it glistens in the sunlight!
TRON Lightcycle Run — 2021 — Imported from Shanghai Disneyland, Tron Lightcycle Run will be a coaster-style attraction where riders board a train of two-wheeled Lightcycles. The ride pushes you into the energy, lights and excitement of TRON’s high-tech universe.
Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts and Barbecue — now open — A new fast-casual restaurant is serving up good ol' American barbecue! It took the place of Liberty Inn at The American Adventure pavilion. The restaurant features the Muppets' Sam Eagle as the face of the restaurant, who takes barbecue very seriously.
"Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along" in France — now showing — This sing-along film plays on a loop during the day in addition to the pavilion's current film, "Impressions de France," which shows at night. It features narration from Angela Lansbury, who played Mrs. Potts in the original film.
"Awesome Planet" film — now showing — This new film at The Land pavilion showcases the beauty of Earth and delivers a resonating environmental message. It also has some fun in-theater effects — cold air blasts or flashing lights when there's lightning.
"Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360" film — now showing — This World Showcase show has been updated with a new story, musical score and scenes. It features new narration by actors Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy.
Mickey Mouse's new meet-and-greet location — now closed due to social distancing measures — Before the COVID-19 closure, Mickey moved to a new location at the Imagination! pavilion, as part of the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival. He was greeting guests just inside the entrance while celebrating his starring roles in short films such as "Get a Horse," which is part of the festival.
Space 220 — 2020 — Guests will have the opportunity to dine in the stars in a space station-themed table-service restaurant located next to Mission: SPACE. You'll hop in a special elevator that makes you feel like you're traveling to the space station in real time. Once inside, the restaurant will have panoramic daytime and nighttime views of Earth from 220 miles up. It will feature international cuisine, more than 1,000 bottles of wine and a wide selection of craft beer.
Remy's Ratatouille Adventure — 2020 — The France pavilion will be receiving an imported favorite. Similar to the popular 4-D ride Ratatouille: The Adventure that opened at Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris, guests will shrink to Remy’s size and scurry to safety within Gusteau’s legendary Parisian restaurant. It was due to debut during Summer 2020, but the opening has been delayed without a new targeted opening date.
La Crêperie de Paris — 2020 — As part of the expansion in the France pavilion, a brand-new crêperie will serve savory and sweet crepes, along with table-service and quick-service dining options, featuring a menu from celebrity chef Jerome Bocuse. It will likely open alongside Remy's Ratatouille Adventure.
HarmonioUS — 2020 — After EPCOT Forever's one-year run, the new main lagoon show is listed as “a worldwide celebration of Disney music” with highlights from the show featuring "Moana," "Brave," "Pocahontas," "Hercules" and many others. It's promised to be "the largest nighttime spectacular ever created for a Disney park." The all-new show will feature massive, floating set pieces, LED panels, moving fountains, lights, lasers, pyrotechnics and more. Due to the delays and current health and safety measures as a result of COVID-19, the opening date is still to be determined.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind — 2021 —
Planned to be one of the world's longest enclosed roller coasters, the ride will feature a unique story currently being created by Walt Disney Imagineering and will include a new, innovative ride system that’s guaranteed to “wow” guests. The experience begins in the "Galaxarium," a planetarium-like exhibition that highlights the formation of Earth's galaxy and Xandar. But then the Guardians of the Galaxy arrive, and you're whisked away on an adventure across the cosmos. The D23 Expo revealed that it will be a storytelling coaster that rotates 360 degrees so you can focus on the action, and will include the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster.
PLAY! pavilion — 2021 — Opening in time for Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary, this new pavilion in the former Wonders of Life location will showcase first-of-its-kind experiences devoted to play and fun, including an interactive city where guests will be able to interact with characters. Help Edna Mode on a fashionable quest to rid the world of uninspired style, or compete in a water-balloon fight with Huey, Dewey, Louie and Webby.
"Wondrous China" film — date TBD — This World Showcase pavilion will receive a new film that is presented in a seamless 360-degree format.
Mary Poppins attraction — postponed — At this time, development for this attraction has been postponed indefinitely. The United Kingdom pavilion will host the first attraction inspired by Mary Poppins. Stroll along Cherry Tree Lane, past Admiral Boom's house, and enter Number 17, the Banks family's home.
Reimagined main entrance — date TBD — EPCOT's main plaza will include new pathways, green spaces and a reimagined fountain. The Leave A Legacy photos will move just outside the park's gateaway. There will be additional redevelopment to the area between Spaceship Earth and World Showcase Promenade.
Special events pavilion — date TBD — A new pavilion will provide a home base for the park's annual festivals and live events. The three-level structure will provide stunning views of the park from a plaza level, a middle expo level and a sky level.
Dreamers Point — date TBD — Near the exit of Spaceship Earth, a new statue that celebrates the legacy of Walt Disney will be placed alongside natural environments. It will include a wishing tree and a story fountain that plays iconic music from Disney storytelling.
Journey of Water, Inspired by “Moana” — date TBD — This brand-new walkthrough attraction will "let guests interact with magical, living water in a beautiful and inspiring setting," and you'll get to learn about the importance of the natural water cycle.
Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser — 2021 — Debuting as part of the new Disney 360 vacation concept, this hotel is being billed as a living adventure that allows guests to immerse themselves in an entirely new form of Disney storytelling. Guests will check in for a two-night adventure aboard a starship, The Halcyon. You’ll become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with characters, stories and adventures that unfold all around you. It is 100 percent immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day. It will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits. This new resort will be located near Hollywood Studios, so there will be easy access to Galaxy's Edge! It's still expected to debut in 2021, as one of Disney's top priority projects.
Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Lodge — 2022 — Disney's 16th Disney Vacation Club property is in the works at the former site of River Country water park. Slated to open in 2022, the nature-themed deluxe hotel will be located between Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
"Drawn to Life," A new Cirque de Soleil show — April 17, 2020 (postponed) — With the closure of the most recent show at Disney Springs on New Year's Eve 2017, Disney has announced Cirque du Soleil will develop a new original show, "Drawn to Life," that will pay homage to Disney's history of animation. It tells the story of a girl named Julie, who discovers an unfinished animation piece by her late father. The show takes Julie on a journey through her Disney childhood memories, which allows her to imagine new possibilities for her future. “Drawn to Life” is the product of a collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering. The show was scheduled to debut April 17, but the premiere has been postponed due to COVID-19.
M&M's Store — 2020 — A new M&M'S store will bring a colorful, immersive shopping experience to the West Side of Disney Springs. Sign me up for a sweet supply of chocolate candies!
Beatrix — date TBD — We're excited that this new restaurant coming to Disney Springs' West Side will feature healthy food options, including vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan menu items. Beatrix is your neighborhood restaurant, coffeehouse and grab-and-go market all rolled in one. It will also feature a bakery and full-service bar with beer, wine and fresh-squeezed juice cocktails.
Universal Orlando Resort
Bourne Stuntacular — now open — A new live-action stunt show based off the Jason Bourne film franchise has arrived with a bang to Universal Studios Florida where the former Terminator 2: 3-D attraction used to be. This high-energy, action-packed show features actors, high-tech props and an LED screen that blends stage and cinema together in a cutting-edge form of entertainment.
Jurassic World VelociCoaster — summer 2021 — It finally has a name and a launch date, but little else is known about the coaster that has been slowly rising up in the Jurassic area of Universal's Islands of Adventure. On Jurassic World VelociCoaster, heretofore known as the Jurassic coaster, you'll feel the rush of the hunt as you race along raptors!
Universal's Endless Summer Resort - Dockside Inn and Suites — March 17, 2020 (postponed) — The second half of Universal's Endless Summer Resort was slated to open its doors this spring, after its sister hotel, Universal's Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Inn and Suites, opened last summer. It is Universal Orlando's second value resort hotel. Dockside Inn's opening has been postponed due to the coronavirus.
Universal's Epic Universe — postponed — Universal Orlando Resort announced that it's building a brand-new theme park called Universal's Epic Universe. Little is known about the themed lands, but Universal says it will be its most immersive and innovative theme park yet. In addition to the lands, it will feature an entertainment center, hotels, shops, restaurants and more. Located about 12 minutes away from its existing properties, Universal's Epic Universe will nearly double Universal's total available acreage! Check out the latest developments in our Universal's Epic Universe guide. Due to COVID-19, further development has been postponed at this time.
Super Nintendo World — postponed — Universal has partnered with Nintendo to bring to life experiences based on Nintendo's games, characters and worlds. The first new addition — Super Nintendo World — will open at Universal Studios Japan in 2020. It has been confirmed that Super Nintendo World will be one of the themed lands at Universal's Epic Universe.
What's Coming to Other Florida Theme Parks in 2020 and Beyond
Ice Breaker — spring 2021 — SeaWorld's first multi-directional launched roller coaster is coming! It'll feature four launches — both forwards and backwards — that will ultimately launch you into the steepest vertical drop in Florida at 100 degrees. Expect lots of twists, turns and airtime!
Busch Gardens Tampa
Iron Gwazi — spring 2021 — Gwazi is getting a makeover! The former wooden coaster that closed in 2015 is being converted into a hybrid steel-wooden coaster, manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction. It will feature all-new thrills and restored elements from Gwazi. Standing at 210 feet tall, it will become North America's tallest and the world's fastest and steepest hybrid coaster. Iron Gwazi will also have three inversions, including a 180-degree stall that will keep riders upside down for a few seconds while moving forward.
I hope you've enjoyed this look at what's coming to Disney World and Universal in 2020 and beyond. Make sure to come back to see what's been added as you get closer to your visit. Hop on over to our When to Visit Orlando page for more planning tips, part of our Orlando Planning Timeline!
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