Walt Disney World is shutting down all current construction projects in an effort to comply with the new federal recommendation barring gatherings of more than 10 people.Our friend Richard Bilbao at the Orlando Business Journal is reporting that
The Journal quoted the president and CEO of the Central Florida chapter of Associated Builders & Contractors as the source for its story. The source said that he expects other construction projects in the area to close soon, too.
#BREAKING: Local construction experts have heard construction at @WaltDisneyWorld has halted due to the 10-person rule. This could put A LOT of #Disney timelines in flux. Check out the story by @OBJCRE and myself. $DIS — https://t.co/bJYVziT0Lt— Richard Bilbao (@RichOBJ) March 17, 2020
I have reached out to some of my sources in the Central Florida construction community for their perspective.
One of the silver linings that fans were looking to when the parks announced their closures was that having guests off property would allow the parks to accelerate their construction and refurbishment projects. At Disney, one of its most visible current projects has been the repainting of Cinderella Castle, which seemed to be moving briskly toward conclusion. But the big work is over at Epcot, where the whole front half of the park has become a maze of construction walls, as Disney works on the transformation of the Future World section of that park, including a Play Pavilion in the old Wonders of Life space and a new Guardians of the Galaxy-themed "story coaster" in the former Universe of Energy pavilion.
But the biggest project in town is Universal's next gate, the Epic Universe theme park under development near the Orange County Convention Center. Epic Universe was mostly still site prep rather than vertical construction, but that's still essential work in a construction project.
If construction pauses, obviously that could push back the estimated completion for works in progress. Disney's been coy about announcing opening dates for its Epcot projects, but Universal had announced a 2023 opening for Epic Universe. Again, it all comes down to how long shutdowns last. If it's eight weeks - using the CDC recommendation from last week - a project slated to open in three years has more of a chance of making up that time than a project schedule to open next summer. But if delays last longer than that, even a project that's supposed to be completed three years or more down the road might not be able to meet that deadline.
If Disney applies the same standard to California, that obviously endangers Disneyland's announced July opening for its Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure, as well as potentially its planned 2022 opening for Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway in Disneyland's Toontown.Tweet
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