One of the biggest new additions to Walt Disney World is about to get underway, but that means the park will have to get a bit smaller before it gets bigger. Last year at Disney's D23 Expo it was officially announced that the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland would be getting its own version of the TRON Lightcycle Power Run roller coaster, currently at Shanghai Disneyland. However, with construction set to get underway later this year, closures have been announced that will impact the Disney World Railroad and the Tomorrowland Speedway.
Beginning this December, the Disney World Railroad will cease operation and the train will remain parked at the Main Street Station for the duration. On the plus side, the locomotive will be available for photo opportunities that aren't normally an option for guests, so that will be the trade-off guests will need to make. The Disney Parks Blog calls the train stoppage temporary but gives no indication when it will start back up. Construction on the Tron rollercoaster might only require the tracks to be blocked for a few weeks or a couple months, but depending on how much work needs to be done, it could actually stall the train much longer.
Then, sometime in early 2019, the Tomorrowland Speedway will also close for a period of time. Work will be done on the Speedway that will change the course of the track, as the footprint of the new roller coaster will apparently require some of the Speedway's space. Exactly when this closure will happen was not announced, it will likely be dependent on the speed of other work, but the Tomorrowland Speedway is expected to reopen in the summer of 2019 with the newly designed course.
Usually, a new attraction only requires the closure of the one that is being replaced. Here, however, nothing is being replaced. The new attraction is being built in a mostly empty space adjacent to Space Mountain. While the initial rumors were that the new coaster would replace the Tomorrowland Speedway entirely, it seems that all that's really happening is a minor track adjustment.
The new coaster is set to open at Walt Disney World by 2021, in time for the 50th Anniversary of the park. It's based on a similar attraction already in service at Shanghai Disneyland. While that attraction is called the TRON Lightcycle Power Run, the Florida version has yet to be given an official name, which may mean it will deviate from the Shanghai version in some way and be called something else.
While it's possible construction will end up closing other attractions later on, or possibly these same attractions again, it doesn't look like the new Tron roller coaster will cause too many disruptions to the guests. And eventually, it will all be worth it, because who doesn't want the opportunity to ride a Tron Lightcycle?