Walt Disney World is constantly changing its refurbishment schedule, making it difficult for guests to keep up with the operating times and latest news regarding their favorite attractions, resorts, shops, and restaurants. Here are six big, upcoming changes that are either confirmed by their respective parks or at the least very strongly rumored for the very near future.
For March's Walt Disney World refurbishment update, we take a look at a rescheduled Frontierland refurbishment, a follow-up to recent work done earlier this year in Tomorrowland, plus an unexplained closure comes to Epcot and some (very) brief downtime at one of the most popular attractions in all of Walt Disney World.
1. Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
Dates: March 6-11, 2016
While Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin just returned from a lengthy refurbishment just a few short weeks ago (which brought some behind-the-scenes changes to the ride, but had virtually no noticeable effect on the actual ride experience) this attraction will be closing again for a short refurbishment next week. The closure will begin on March 6 and only go through March 10, with the ride reopening to guests on March 11th. Though we don't know exactly what the cause is for the downtime, some sources are reporting that some issues arose during the last refurbishment that will be quickly corrected during this brief downtime.
2. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Dates: August 8 - November 18, 2016
Back in February, the extended refurbishment that was originally planned for the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad this spring was removed from the Magic Kingdom's maintenance schedule. Though some speculated that this refurbishment was cancelled as part of resort-wide budget cuts, it was confirmed this month that this refurbishment has instead just been rescheduled to later this year. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will now be closed from August 8 through November 18th, reopening to guests on November 19th.
Though we don't know exactly what is going to happen during this refurbishment, it has been rumored that some of the improvements that were made to the Disneyland version of this ride in 2014 (including projection effects) could be coming to the Magic Kingdom version.
3. The Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable
Dates: Now- April 5 (?)
Rather unexpectedly Disney closed The Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable attraction at Epcot's The Land pavilion last month on February 7th. Though this closing was never on Disney's calendar, Disney quickly updated the Circle of Life attraction page on its website with an advisory message indicating a reopening date along with "further updates" would be released soon. Though the message is still on the website, Disney's own calendar now indicates that The Circle of Life will re-open in just a few weeks on April 5th, even though there have been no official updates about the status of this closed attraction
While there is still plenty of mystery surrounding exactly when this attraction might reopen, questions have also surfaced about the reason for this sudden closure. Some sources indicate that this closure is a related to a surprise refurbishment that will include a replacement for the original Lion King film, potentially featuring different characters. However, other sources indicate that this closure isn't actually a refurbishment, and Disney is just keeping this attraction closed during Soarin's refurbishment in an effort to control costs in this area while there is lower guest traffic overall.
Though we're short on answers about what exactly is going on behind the scenes with this attraction's sudden, unannounced, closure, we'll see what happens in April and beyond.