Unlike Disneyland in California, Florida’s Disney World has been open since mid-July, but that doesn’t mean every single ride, attraction, resort, shop and restaurant is operating. In fact, a healthy portion is either dark or running at reduced capacity. This includes one of my absolute favorite rides, PeopleMover, which has been shuttered since Disney World reopened. Fortunately for me and my fellow Transit Authority fans, however, it seems like the prolonged closure may be able to come to an end.
PeopleMover is currently being refurbished, which is Disney’s way of saying a ride is having something done to it. Sometimes that means a complete overhaul. Sometimes that means minor cosmetic alterations or even just basic maintenance. That refurbishment was originally thought to be only running through the end of October, but it has since been pushed back. There was buzz it would open last week, but that didn't happen. Many were concerned the reopening would be pushed even further down the road, but Walt Disney World News Today spotted the Mouse House running full speed tests of the ride earlier this week. That’s typically a very good sign that forward progress is being made and a ride’s reopening is imminent, at least provided there weren’t any issues with the tests.
Why PeopleMover has been closed so long remains a bit of a mystery. The slow moving tour that crisscrosses its way through the other rides at Tomorrowland was shut down like everything else at the beginning of the pandemic in March. When everything reopened in July, it was not one of the rides that came back. I suspect it may have been due to its line queue being so close to Astro Orbiter’s and to a lesser extent, Buzz Lightyear’s. Disney has definitely been trying to space things out more, but we haven’t gotten an official announcement. It’s possible it just needed some maintenance and now was the ideal time to do it.
I catch a lot of grief from friends and family members about my undying love for PeopleMover, but to me, it’s such a great changeup from so many other rides at Magic Kingdom. It’s relaxing, peaceful and outdoors for large portions. It helps you really understand and appreciate the sheer scope of Tomorrowland, and even before the pandemic, lines were rarely long and it was usually easy to snag a car without too many people around you. It might not have the same wow factor as the thrill rides or the ones busier with Imagineering, but it’s a great changeup and something I look forward to every single time I go to Magic Kingdom.
Right now maintenance on PeopleMover is currently scheduled to go through January 30th. Maybe that means it’ll be open the next day. Maybe it’ll get pushed back one more time, but regardless, it now seems like a reopening is imminent and I’m here for it. If you’ve never given it a chance before, please consider checking it out on your next visit. I’m not out here hoping it gets popular enough to generate real lines, but it would be nice for a few more people to understand why it’s always part of my plans.