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Walt Disney World is finally reopening to guests, with annual passholder previews happening later this week and then a phased system that will see parks gradually reopen from July 11-14. And when they open, the Disney experience will be a LOT different, with all existing dining reservations cancelled, FastPass+ service unavailable, and character interactions, fireworks, and parades unavailable indefinitely. 

And while this all is taking effect immediately, long term Walt Disney World, as well as other parks including Universal Studios Florida, Universal Studios Hollywood, SeaWorld and more are cancelling, downsizing and delaying future projects.   

1. Cirque du Soleil: Drawn to Life

Park: Disney Springs

Original Opening Date: March 20, 2020

Status: Delayed

Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba at Disney Springs closed forever at the end of 2017, but just before it did, Disney confirmed that a new Cirque du Soleil production was being developed for this theater. But this time, this all-new show will have a uniquely Disney flair, and be unlike anything else either Disney or Cirque du Soleil have produced in the past. Based around some of Disney's most iconic films, this new show will “draw its inspiration from Disney's heritage of animation,” and will “celebrate Disney’s legacy of storytelling in Cirque du Soleil’s signature way, with a tribute to the one-of a kind craftsmanship that makes Disney so extraordinary.”

This new show was supposed to begin preview performances on March 20th, but the show was suspended and postponed indefinitely. However, Cirque du Soleil officially filed for bankruptcy protection after weeks of rumors and has said that they are  developing a plan to restart its business amid the pandemic. And while this may initially sound like bad news, the company has said that it expects to resume its resident shows in Orlando as soon as possible, and Cirque du Soleil: Drawn to Life could premiere at Disney Springs as soon as this fall if there are no government regulations in place prohibiting large gatherings later this year. 

2. The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!

Image: Universal

Park: Universal Studios Hollywood

Original Opening Date: March 27, 2020

Status: Delayed until reopening

One of the first casualties of the theme park closures due to COVID-19 was The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash! at Universal Studios Hollywood, which is a dark ride that takes riders on a journey through New York City to reach a pet adoption event and, using facial recognition technology, actually transforms guests into stray puppies in search of their forever homes. This new attraction will blend live, dimensional and animated characters with hyper-realistic media and projection mapping to achieve this effect, all while guests are seated within ride vehicles that resemble cardboard boxes. 

This exciting new ride was scheduled to soft open to annual passholders on March 13 (the day Universal Studios Hollywood closed!), and then was to officially open on March 27, 2020. However, the good news is that this attraction is completely finished, and though it may require some testing when Universal Studios Hollywood reopens, we'd imagine it will be able to welcome its first guests within the first week of this park's return to operation, which is now in flux as theme parks in California have had to put their reopenings on hold due to rising COVID-19 cases in the state.  

3. Fantasyland Expansion

Image: Disney

Park: Tokyo Disneyland

Original Opening Date: April 15, 2020

Status: Delayed indefinitely 

Earlier this year the Oriental Land Company revealed that the Fantasyland expansion at Tokyo Disneyland expansion which will include new rides like The Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast and The Happy Ride with Baymax as well as the Minnie’s Style Studio meet-and-greet would open on April 15th, 2020. However, with Tokyo Disney Resort now closed though at least mid-May, the opening of this land has been officially delayed. Like many other projects on this list construction on this new land was basically complete before Tokyo closed earlier this year, with ride testing happening behind the scenes. 

Though the Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea theme parks reopened on July 1, but no grand opening for this new area has been announced yet, and Disney may be reevaluating their plans to give this new expanded land the grand opening it deserves. 

4. Super Nintendo World 

Image: Universal

Park: Universal Studios Japan

Original Opening Date: Summer 2020

Status: Delayed until further notice

One of the most anticipated new lands to be built anywhere is Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan, which features a new "realistic" Mario Kart ride, a Yoshi omnimover dark ride attraction that will be a hybrid indoor/outdoor attraction, and plenty of interactive experiences that make guests feel like they are inside their favorite Nintendo games. 

And though this land was originally supposed to debut this summer to coincide with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Universal Studios Japan has decided to postpone the opening indefinitely over concerns that its popularity could cause a spike in COVID-19 cases in the area. So even though this land is basically done and the theme park is welcoming guests once again, it looks like we're going to need to keep waiting for this new land just a little longer. 

5. Avengers Campus

Image: Disney

Park: Disney California Adventure

Original Opening Date:  July 18, 2020

Status: Delayed until later this year

Though the Marvel-themed Avengers Campus was supposed to open this summer along with the new WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure ride, with work completely halted three months before its grand opening, we'll likely have to wait a little longer before experiencing this new area at Disney California Adventure as Disney has changed its official website to now read “Coming Soon” as opposed to the previously-announced opening date. However, as long as we end up seeing a 2020 reopening at this park, we'd guess this new land will up and running soon, as work on the interior of the Spider-Man ride was basically complete back in February, with mostly facade work being done around this new area. 

As for the rest of the land, unfortunately we don't know how "done" the various eateries and character meet and greet areas are yet, but with the new Spider-Man ride being the main draw for Avengers Campus, we can see Disneyland Resort perhaps doing a phased opening if the restaurants and meet and greet areas are not open yet. Disney has confirmed that work on this project is nearly complete and they will be opening it as soon as possible once the Disneyland Resort gets the go-ahead to reopen its theme parks. 

6. Spaceship Earth reimagining 

Park: Epcot

Original Refurbishment Start Date: May 26, 2020

Status: Cancelled   

Disney announced earlier this year that Spaceship Earth would close for refurbishment on May 26 2020 to begin its transformation into Spaceship Earth: Our Shared Story. And though this ambitious project was set to close this attraction for 18-24 months, insiders have said that this was one of the projects that Disney has cut early on, which means that it looks like Spaceship Earth will stay in its current form indefinitely following the park's reopening, whenever that may be. 

Though this cancellation has not officially been confirmed, Disney has updated the Spaceship Earth website to indicate that the ride will be reopening with Epcot in July, even though it was supposed to close for refurbishment last month. 

7. Space 220

Image: Disney

Park: Epcot

Original Opening Date:  Spring 2020

Status: TBA

Space 220, an ambitious new dining concept that will be part of the Mission: Space pavilion, was originally slated to open earlier this year, but an issue with broken glass delayed its opening to Spring 2020. And unfortunately Walt Disney World will not open at all this spring, meaning that this restaurant, which is basically ready to open, will of course miss its opening date. 

However, even when the parks reopen, Space 220 may not be able to operate immediately, as we don't know if staffing is available for this restaurant yet. 

8. Ice Breaker

Image: SeaWorld

Park: SeaWorld Orlando

Original Opening Date:  Spring 2020

Status: Delayed until 2021

SeaWorld has been betting big on their new Ice Breaker roller coaster attraction which was supposed to open this spring, and will blast guests through four different launches, both backwards and forwards, culminating in a reverse launch into the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida — a 93-foot tall spike with 100-degree angle. 

And though this new record-breaking roller coaster has been fully built and its trains placed on the track, SeaWorld's recent financial woes may keep it from testing for awhile, which could delay the opening of this coaster for several weeks or months after this park returns to operation. During a recent earnings call, SeaWorld has said that it is likely that this attraction's opening will be delayed until next year, when the park can return to full operation. 

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Comments

Your article says Iron Gwazi looks good to open with Busch Gardens. It's been open for weeks at the time of publishing, so I'm not sure where your information is coming from.

Iron Qwazi is still waiting to be opened at Busch Gardens. It states "coming soon" on their official website. Kind regards.

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