Photo Update: Canceled and continued projects at Disney World

by Tharin White

Walt Disney World is never finished, with new projects beginning each year. Even though the closures have affected the opening schedule of some endeavors, construction continues strong. These photos, provided by Bioreconstruct on Twitter, give us a look at what to expect in the years to come.

disney world

TRON Lightcycle / Run was originally slated to open in 2021. This is certainly still a possibility, but could be much more of challenge for the teams that lost valuable time during the park’s temporary closures.


Seen here are a couple items that are important to mention. The orange line appears to be the eventual pathway for the Walt Disney World Railroad. Looking at the structural beams, the train may have to weave-and-bob around supports to pass under.

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Zooming in, you can see obstacles for the train. Circled in yellow are the starts of the supports for the complex roofing structure. The architecture for the ride is a show-stopper. With intricate wavy and hexagon-shaped designs, the outside of the building is truly a marvel. It will be interesting to see the flowing design of TRON Lightcycle / Run next to the sharp angles of Space Mountain.

magic kingdom

On Main Street, U.S.A., we can see the shimmering rose gold Cinderella Castle. When the parks reopened, we got a close-up look at the new paint scheme for this iconic structure. This view also gives an idea at the capacity of the Florida-based parks right now. Many guests still visit, but it is a stark difference from the swarming crowds we normally see in mid-August.

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This overview of Magic Kingdom gives great perspective for the sizing of certain structures. It is clear to see how huge Space Mountain and TRON Lightcycle / Run are compared to everything else in the park. You can also see the famous hub-and-spoke design that makes everything connect to the castle in the park.

splash mountain

A recently announced project is the retheming of Splash Mountain to “The Princess and the Frog.” Currently, there has not been an announced closure date for Splash Mountain, though we expect the ride to stay open for at least the rest of the year. This image showcases the mountain that guests see and the large hidden building behind-the-scenes, where most of the ride actually happens.

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Right outside of Magic Kingdom is something no one would have guessed would be a thing prior to 2020, the NBA Bubble. To restart the 2019-2020 season, the NBA needed a way to stay safe and isolated. With its huge assortment of hotels, convention centers and sports arenas, the Walt Disney World Resort was the right answer.

Teams are placed in different hotels all around Disney property. Seen here is Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The colorized area shown above is where some teams are currently being hosted. If you have to stay isolated in a hotel for months on end, the Grand Floridian is certainly not a bad place to be.

grand floridian

Outside of the Grand Floridian is the new bridge connection being built to the Magic Kingdom entrance. Once completed, guests will finally be able to walk from the resort hotel to the park. This will also complete a walking path loop around all of the Magic Kingdom resort hotels. I, for one, would certainly be interested in walking the entire loop upon completion.

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Nearby, construction has apparently stopped on the upcoming Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge. Due to major profit losses with the parks’ temporary closures and the lack of tourism in the area, the project appears to have been shelved. Some of Disney’s websites still have the announcement of the resort, but it is no longer searchable on the main Walt Disney World website.

Other projects, like Spaceship Earth’s renovation at Epcot, had announcements for their delays, but this resort seems to have simply disappeared. We think it is likely we may not see this resort for a long time, if at all.


Speaking of Spaceship Earth and Epcot, there have also been numerous positive construction updates around Future World. You can read in detail about these construction efforts here.

disney world

Epcot’s parking lot also gives a great example of how Disney is socially distancing its guests, even with parking. Cars are separated by one parking spot as they fill in each morning. Then, as guests head into the park, eventually the parking teams will fill the empty spots as well. This helps keeps guests from grouping and makes it easier for everyone to exit their vehicles. I hope this procedure continues after social distancing is no longer needed.


You may have already seen this photo floating around on the internet, but do not worry! There have been no announcements about a closure or change to “Fantasmic!” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This appears to simply be a maintenance procedure. While the show is not happening right now, what better time to spruce up the show’s lagoon?

Earlier this year, we showcased a video of operations cast members recreating the classic show at home. While the show is currently closed, recent talks between Disney and actors’ unions could allow equity performers to come back soon.

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Right outside of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we get a look at Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. This will be a luxury, multi-day, Star Wars-themed resort hotel. With a lack of windows or outdoor construction, it will also be a difficult project to gauge for completion. Walt Disney World’s website still claims an opening year of 2021.

Rumors have suggested that this will be one of the most expensive resorts in Disney history, but the hefty price tag will come an experience unlike any other.

star wars: galactic starcruiser

The hotel will offer places for kids to play, multiple character interactions, lightsaber training, excursions to the planet of Batuu (Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge), time on the bridge of the Halcyon, and much more.

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A notable part of the entrance, which is most likely only noticeable from the sky, is the coffin-esque roof over the entrance. This will be the first place guests visit when coming to the resort. From numerous aerials, we have yet to find a true parking lot for the resort. This has lead us to believe that it will be valet only, with the resort sharing a parking lot with the cast members of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Guests will enter here and board a simulator to take them from Earth to their luxury Starcruiser, known as the Halcyon. From this point, it will be possible to not lose the Star Wars immersion for the entirety of their stay. This multi-day resort is truly an ambitious feat and one I am excited to try some day.

the cove

Lastly, we head over to the Swan and Dolphin Resort to get a look at The Cove. This expansion to the resort hotels will be a 14-story-tall structure right next to the Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf. It will feature a rooftop reception space with views of the nightly firework shows around Walt Disney World, as well as have an elevated deck space with a pool and fire pit.

This hotel has had some fights to keep going forward, like when lighting struck its main construction crane, but it continues on. The Cove was originally expected to open this fall.

disney world

There is still a lot of work to be done, but its is likely that the hotel will still open this year. There has been major progress since our last update in May.

While park closures did delay a lot of work, the construction continues on now. What upcoming project are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments below.


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Paul August 20, 2020 - 4:07 pm

I think it’s quite arrogant of Disney World Execs to not reduce the price of their under utilized Parks and Hotels. I’ve been coming to these properties since I was 12,and I’m 52 now. Its seems you pay more and get less every year. I’ll spend my money at Universal Studios, at least you get experience actual rides!

Rockman August 22, 2020 - 3:56 pm

Apparently you haven’t been to Universal since reopening. They closed some hotels and closed several attractions. They give you a “discount” now because of low season but still nothing more than a expensive Six Flags park. Total dump!

Francis August 22, 2020 - 8:23 pm

Sadly for you, I really don’t think Disney cares at all. No matter the price they ask, they know people will come. It doesn’t matter to them that a small percentage of people think like you do since the vast majority is still willing to pay full price. I don’t like that either, but I expected nothing else from Disney. In the past year they really showed how they’re not scared to raise prices without raising benefits for the guest and there’s nothing the guests can do about it since the parks are still full.


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