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Disney World's Tron Coaster Has Taken Another Big Step Forward, Could It Open Sooner Than We Think?

olivia wilde protecting garrett hedlund in tron: legacy
(Image credit: Disney)

The Tron Lightcycle Run roller coaster has been under construction at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom since back in 2018. Four years and one global pandemic Disney World shutdown later we’re still not entirely sure when the highly anticipated attraction will actually open to the public. We know the Tron ride is getting close to finished, but it has taken a vital step forward this week that makes one wonder if the ride could be opening sooner than we think.

Blog Mickey captured photos at Magic Kingdom yesterday that are the first that show Tron Lightcycle Run with actual human beings riding the coaster. Test runs have been going for quite some time, using dummies in the ride vehicles. Now the safety checks have progressed to the point where Walt Disney World feels ok letting people on the ride. And if people can test the ride now, we must be close to guests being able to do the same.

Conventional wisdom right now is that Tron Lightcycle Run will open at Magic Kingdom next year, likely around Memorial Day Weekend. Late May is when Pandora: The World of Avatar opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and when Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opened earlier this year. It’s common for new rides to open at the beginning of the busiest time of the year.

And because Cosmic Rewind just opened, it would seem unlikely that Walt Disney World would open another roller coaster this year. It makes more sense to wait until at least some of the newness has worn from Cosmic Rewind before opening, and promoting, a new E-ticket attraction.

But it seems almost certain if we’re in the human testing phase that Tron is going to be ready to open a lot sooner than next May, and if it’s ready earlier, is there a reason to wait? A new roller coaster will bring new guests to the park, add capacity to help with crowds, and just generally make Disney World better whenever it opens, so if it’s ready to go later this year maybe it will just open then.

It’s also possible that we could see Tron open sooner because Magic Kingdom is looking down the barrel of a closure of a major attraction as we know Splash Mountain is going to close down sooner rather than later. That closure could very well happen later this year so opening Tron to help compensate for that isn’t a terrible idea. 

It’s all but certain that we’ll know Disney’s plan for Tron in just a couple of weeks. The D23 Expo takes place the second weekend of September and on that Sunday there will be a panel dedicated to the future of Disney Parks. We fully expect to get some sort of opening window announced there. We probably won’t get an exact date but an opening season of Fall 2022 or Summer 2023 is likely. 

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.