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Usually a new year is an exciting time for theme park fans. Every great theme park tries to have at least one new attraction every year that will drawn in new crowds and keep others coming back year after year. Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, being the biggest and most popular theme park destination on the planet, always has a lot planned all year long. Of course, 2021 is no normal year. Only about one-third of the normal number of visitors can even get inside Walt Disney World right now. With the resort working with a fraction of the guests and a fraction of the cast members, it would be no shock if there wasn't a lot planned for 2021.
But that's not really the case. The fact is that Walt Disney World has quite a bit planned that will be new in 2021. Granted, a lot of it is stuff that was supposed to debut in 2020 and was delayed after the parks spent a large portion of the year closed entirely, but even beyond that, Walt Disney World's 50th year is still likely to be one for the history books, even if we're still not quite sure what the actual 50th anniversary is even going to look like. Here's everything we know is coming to Walt Disney World in 2021.
Remy's Ratatouille Adventure
New attractions are always at the top of the list when it comes to what theme parks fans look forward to, and 2021 was supposed to be a big year for new attractions at Walt Disney World as the parks wanted to have a lot of new stuff ready for the 50th anniversary. However, at this point, it's unclear if any of those planned attractions like Tron Lightcycle/Run or Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will actually arrive this year. Right now, the only brand new attraction Disney World has confirmed will open this year is Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, which has been built in the France pavilion at Epcot. The new ride was supposed to open in 2020 but the pandemic closure delayed construction. At this point, no specific opening date has been announced, but all signs point to it opening quite soon.
Cirque Du Soleil - "Drawn To Life"
Another event planned for 2020 that got pushed back was a brand new Cirque du Soleil show that was going to debut at Disney Springs. "Drawn To Life" sounds like an absolutely revolutionary show that will combine the acrobatic performances that Cirque du Soleil is known for the talents of both Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering. How this show is going to make drawings come to life is anybody's guess, but any fan of Cirque du Soleil or Disney Animation is going to want to check this show out. Getting tickets to the show is likely to be even more difficult than it might have been considering that social distancing will probably be effect inside the theater at Disney Springs. No official opening date has been announced but Walt Disney World has confirmed the show is set to finally bow this year.
In the fall of 2019, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, Epcot's nighttime spectacular was finally retired after a decade of performances. In its place we were given a new show called Epcot Forever, but even before the replacement debuted we were told it would only be a temporary show, with a brand new spectacular, HarmonioUS, set to debut in October of 2020. While Walt Disney World was back up and running by then, nighttime spectaculars, along with parades and other events that draw crowds, were still on hold, so obviously the show did not debut as planned. But Disney has said that HarmonioUS will debut this year, and we've seen elements of the new show being tested in the Epcot lagoon. The show will likely be ready to go as soon as Walt Disney World is ready for nighttime spectaculars to return.
Disney Springs Shops
Retail stores have been some of the businesses hit hardest by the pandemic. Many have been forced to close. However, at Disney Springs we'll see new shops opening up for guests to enjoy, and they're especially exciting if you've got a sweet tooth. Gideon's Bakehouse has been a popular purveyor of cookies in central Florida since 2016, and after a soft opening at the end of 2020, the eatery had it's grand opening of its second location, Disney Springs, in mid-January. Everglazed Donuts and Cold Brew also recently opened showing off their unique donut creations. Disney Springs will also be getting an entire store dedicated to M&Ms later this year.
There are a number of annual events that take place at Walt Disney World, and while those events will, by necessity, see fewer people than they usually do this year, they are still taking place. The Epcot International Festival of the Arts began on January 8 and will run through February 22. The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is set to begin shortly thereafter on March 3 and will run all the way until July 5. The biggest festival of them all, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival has yet to be dated by Walt Disney World, but with the other events taking place as scheduled, it seems likely this one will as well. It will likely begin in late July or early August and run into October or November.
Of course, it should be noted that all of this should be considered "subject to change." While the fact that a vaccine rollout is happening would seem to indicate things will slowly get better over the course of 2021, we certainly don't know that for sure. In the same way that we're continuing to see movie releases pushed back now, these new additions could also be delayed further if Walt Disney World decides that's the best option. Hopefully, however, we will get all these new additions to the resort this year, and with so much still on deck for the future, the chance that we could get even more before 2021 is over is still out there.