Both Disneyland and Disneyworld intend to use the pandemic’s attendance slowdown to update rides and attractions. Construction persists through the pandemic, preceded by Disney’s Star Wars-themed Galaxy’s Edge land, which opened for visitors just months before the theme parks closed in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic.
Currently, Splash Mountain stands beneath scaffolding in both parks. Disney hasn’t revealed planned changes to the water flume rides other than moving away from the “Song of the South” theme to “The Princess and the Frog.” Both themes feature singing and dancing animals in a swamp setting, easing retrofitting efforts. The company hasn’t released ride opening dates. Said Melissa Valiquette, Vice President of Magic Kingdom: “When we are reimagining a new attraction or area, this can be a lengthy process.”
The Disney subsidiary Buena Vista Construction Company leads all building efforts.
The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will also feature updates. Disney hasn’t disclosed specifics on changes to this attraction, which remains closed after months of renovations. However, Buena Vista’s recent construction permit application intends to “Provide labor, material and electrical for construction.”
Finally, Disney filed another construction permit related to the Disneyworld castle. Vague wording on the permit, usual and customary Disney behavior, could allude to work as minor as cosmetic repairs or as significant as a complete renovation. Nevertheless, Disneyworld hasn’t closed the castle; no blackout dates appear on the theme park’s schedule.
Disneyland attracts just under 19 million visitors per year. Disneyworld brings in 58 million. Unfortunately, both parks currently operate at a fraction of capacity due to health restrictions.