Late last week reports began surfacing online that attendance at Walt Disney World was slowing down to a pace that was below what the resort was forecasting, and budget cuts were being considered to help save money while the resort waits for guest numbers to increase next year. And now it looks like Disney has gone ahead and pulled the trigger on several budget-saving measures that will be felt in the near future at almost every single park, with most of these cuts happening before the end of this month!
1. Rafiki's Planet Watch to go seasonal
According to sources posting on the WDWMagic forums, Rafiki's Planet Watch will be going seasonal as of September 30th. This means that, until the holiday season kicks off later this year the Wildlife Express train will not be running, the conservation station will not be available, the Affection Section petting zoo will be closed, and character meet and greets like Doc McStuffins and Rafiki will not be available for the near future.
Unfortunately, though this attraction is not closing for good, as is typically the case with all "seasonal" attractions, it probably won't come back at 100% this holiday season, as the character meet and greets will likely stay gone, and some other components of this attraction could be downsized as well.
Though rumors have surfaced periodically online about this attraction eventually being replaced with something else (many have suggested Zootopia as a possible theme for a new land in this area, as this film also features a train), right now there is no indication that Disney plans to shutter Rafiki's Planet Watch permanently, and is simply putting this attraction on hold for a bit as a cost-cutting measure. However, there are some other attractions that are not going to be as fortunate...