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Disneyland Opening 'Late April,' Epcot's Ratatouille on Oct. 1

March 9, 2021, 1:07 PM · Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek announced at a Disney shareholders' meeting today that Disney is looking to reopen its Disneyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks on a limited-capacity-basis by "late April."

"While last week's announcement stated that theme parks may open starting on April 1, the fact is it will take some time to get them ready for our guests - this includes recalling more than 10,000 furloughed Cast and retraining them to be able to operate according to the State of California's new requirements," Chapek said. "We look forward to publicizing an opening date in the coming weeks."

But Chapek did announce a specific opening date for the upcoming Remy's Ratatouille Adventure ride in the expanded France pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase at the Walt Disney World Resort. The trackless dark ride will open in celebration of Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary on October 1.

Spoiler alert: Here is the on-ride POV of the Ratatouille ride in its original installation at Walt Disney Studios Paris.

La Crêperie de Paris - the new restaurant in the expanded France pavilion - will open on the same day, which will be the start of the 18-month "The World’s Most Magical Celebration" 50th anniversary event throughout the resort.

However, Chapek also indicated that no other attractions would be opening at the Walt Disney World Resort this calendar year, which means the Harmonious nighttime show on the World Showcase Lagoon will have to wait until 2022.

Back in California, Chapek said that the Avengers Campus land at Disney California Adventure would not open with the rest of the park later this month, but would debut sometime later this year.

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Replies (27)

March 9, 2021 at 1:19 PM

Talk about slow walking - Ratatouille was practically finished and ready for soft opening in March 2020. That means it will have been delayed over 18 months when it finally opens on WDW's 50th Anniversary. It makes sense to open a highly anticipated attraction on October 1, but I think most figured that would be HarmoniUS with Ratatouille debuting for the busy summer season.

I guess this also means that the anticipated debut of the Halcyon will also be pushed into 2022, and who knows how much Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and Tron Light Cycle Run will be pushed. I guess Disney is not as bullish on summer travel as Universal, who are debuting Velocicoaster, which never stopped or significantly delayed construction throughout 2020.

This indicates to me that WDW does not anticipate being able to significantly increase park capacity (whether willingly or not) for most of the summer. This appears to mesh with a lot of analysis from travel experts who are anticipating Americans taking shorter, more locally focused vacations this summer with the exception being National Parks.

March 9, 2021 at 1:18 PM

And the dominoes of opening-date announcements begin to fall.

March 9, 2021 at 1:24 PM

Good to finally have a set date as can see them eager to get back but also ensuring enough precautions. Still, good news at last which we can all use.

March 9, 2021 at 1:30 PM

The opening dates for the regional parks will be very interesting to follow this year. We were at BGW on Sunday, and Pantheon appears to still have a bit of finishing work to complete, but looks to be generally ready to go. I think a lot of parks are waiting to see if they can predict when they can welcome full-capacity crowds, or if it makes sense to delay debuts of new attractions to months where they can bring in significantly larger crowds than they can now (probably impacting the debut of a number of big attractions). It's no good to burn off the "newness" of an attraction when just a small fraction of the park's fans can come and see it. The last thing a park wants to do is to advertise a new attraction for 2021, and then have to advertise it as "new" again in 2022 when they can finally lift significant capacity restrictions.

I think sports teams (particularly MLB) are going to run into the same problem, especially those that have large season ticket bases that cannot be accommodated by current capacity restrictions. There are a lot of people out there paying monthly installments on tickets/season passes that won't be able to visit enough this year to offset the cost of the tickets/passes.

March 9, 2021 at 1:31 PM

On October 1st I'll be enjoying a Normal HHN at Universal! Hope everyone else wants to ride the little rat and keep HHN lines shorter.

March 9, 2021 at 1:50 PM

The hot ticket on October 1st is the Magic Kingdom. Reservations disappeared very quickly for all 3 categories (AP’s, resort guests & day tickets). I missed the chance to go but I got a reservation for Epcot instead, so with Remy opening it’ll be interesting to see if that park books up as well.

Other reservations may open up if the pandemic improves enough by then. It’s going to be a madhouse at WDW for the 50th celebrations, so HHN may not be a bad option ... :)

March 9, 2021 at 2:20 PM

I've been hearing an April target for Disneyland since it became clear they wouldn't be opening in 2020, so it's exciting that such is now official. My guess is that will make them neither the first nor the last park in So Cal to open (ironically, I previously thought Knott's would be first and now they're looking likely to be last).

The October 1st opening for Ratatouille is disappointing, however. To me, this indicates Disney has relatively low confidence in summer 2021 being an improvement despite the vaccine, and if the other parks follow suit with their new attractions Florida may not be worth a visit this year.

March 9, 2021 at 2:53 PM

I’m not certain how the pencil pushers concluded that keeping this area mothballed that long is a good idea? The ride is one thing, but I can imagine the restaurant would be extremely profitable. Plus I would think that opening the area would allow for increased capacity.

March 9, 2021 at 3:27 PM

Russell: "Talk about slow walking - Ratatouille was practically finished and ready for soft opening in March 2020."

Me: No it wasn't. Not even close.

March 9, 2021 at 3:29 PM

I get the California parks being shy about opening quickly. They want to get past spring break season to make sure the rules don't change again. The last thing they want to do is hire and fully stock (food!) only to be told, "you've got to hold off another month" because of spring break surge. The real winner could end up being Universal Florida. Once past the spring break season and more people have the vaccine, capacity limits could increase for summer and Universal will be mobbed with the new coaster open.

March 9, 2021 at 4:03 PM

Shout out to everyone who had booked Oct. 1 at Epcot on Disney Parks Pass as a consolation because they couldn't get Magic Kingdom. You're a winner now!

March 9, 2021 at 4:12 PM

Huh....my mother had actually planned a trip with her grandkids for last May, wondering if she's going to try and reschedule for late October.

Also, I agree with formeryogi, the California parks might be smarter waiting to do set schedules just in case another hiccup like last fall but vaccine rollout proceeding better is hopeful.

March 9, 2021 at 7:50 PM

Hey Robert .... not sure about being a winner ... LOL, but I’ll take Epcot before MK every time. With Disney keeping the reservation system running thru to 2023, I have a sneaky feeling there may not be any further park reservation allocations for MK on the 1st. We shall see.

If there’s a chance I can get into MK on the park hop after 2 system then I may go over, but only if the monorail line is working.

A long way off, so it’ll be interesting to see how it evolves over the next few months.

Disney is booked solid all next week, with only Epcot being available next Thursday and Friday. Local schools spring break week.

March 10, 2021 at 2:37 AM

This is very disappointing. To paraphrase THC, Universal is hitting the gas with Velocicoaster, Halloween Horror Nights and Epic Universe. Disney has been keeping construction workers, cast members and even people working the crepe shop out of work just for a mediocre dark ride that was mostly paid for by France.

March 10, 2021 at 4:07 AM

Great business decision. Sure it's a bit disrespectful to the current customers that miss out on a extended soft opening that could show Di$ney cares about the customers that currently spring trough loops to get to their parks but I'm sure it saves a ton of money keeping the ride closed and that is what it is all about.

March 10, 2021 at 9:11 AM

Mr. McMahon: "Disney has been keeping construction workers, cast members and even people working the crepe shop out of work just for a mediocre dark ride that was mostly paid for by France."

Me: Construction resumed across the property months ago (Ratatouille, Guardians, Star Wars Space hotel, etc.). Thousands of cast members have been brought back to work (including food and beverage).

As for the crepe shop ("even people working the crepe shop out of work") I have no idea what you are talking about. That restaurant had not even opened or been staffed. How do you layoff employees that don't exists yet?

Really?

March 10, 2021 at 9:25 AM

@TH - I will defer to your insider knowledge regarding the progress of the attraction, but when we were at the park last January, the exteriors were nearly complete and shortly after we returned, the park was giving interior walking tours of the attraction showing most of that work nearing completion as well (with just final ride system and load testing left). That is why most observers at the time were predicting a soft open in late March and official opening in April/May before the pandemic brought everything to a screeching halt.

Even now, many who are following construction progress around the parks have observed that there has been very little happening in the area since the final landscaping/streetscaping work was completed back in November/December.

To extend work that by all observations was expected to only take 2-3 more months out over the course of nearly 18 months is a prime example of "slow walking".

March 10, 2021 at 12:05 PM

Attendance might actually be pretty good this summer. Disney doesn’t necessarily need a new ride to entice folks to visit over the summer. There’s a demand to go FL but so many hurdles persist: travel quarantines still persist (especially in key densely populated “blue state” markets—like NY, where despite certain ambiguous PowerPoint announcements by the state, the counties and employers may interpret and decide differently fearing hospitalization capacity and workplace break-out risks ), some folks are waiting to get “fully vaccinated” before traveling and schools are not out yet. Even more, optimistic summer predictions SEEM to promise lower transmission in summer and/or severe sickness totals bc vaccinations. Oct 1 might be a “comeback again this year” target to lure cash from fans, particularly given the Fall ramp down in visits before the Holidays. Expect lots more incentives to visit in October and beyond to be announced before then. Lobbyists plan to get all the overseas visitors back over (whether via series of testing-out and/or robust intnl vaccine tracking system). My money (if I had any) would be on the robust testing though —probably not a national threat having intnl travelers get sick as much as bringing in some new variant.

For fans of both Uni and DIS not living in the SE, Veloci opening in May at Uni could bring over some to visit Dis parks while in FL.

One other minor indicator summer travel will increase .... we have COVID FATIGUE. ?? So who’s going with me???? ??????

March 10, 2021 at 12:22 PM

Yeesh, I don’t see why so many people are complaining about this. Judging by how many days all parks are booked up over the next couple of weeks, it’s obvious Disney is banking on the crowds being there during spring break and summer. Why blow your load opening a new ride when you can do so in the fall when attendance is normally smaller?

March 10, 2021 at 12:49 PM

But attendance isn't smaller during October anymore. If anything, summer crowds have normalized over recent years (though who knows what to expect this summer with obvious pent up demand and attendance restrictions), while October and winter holiday (MLK and President's Day) crowds have steadily increased. Wait times and crowds (especially on weekends) are as bad in October as they are in June, and August is actually one of the slower months now because of the heat/humidity and earlier start of school calendars around the country.

March 10, 2021 at 2:00 PM

The most disappointing part of this is no other attractions opening this year. I was still hopeful that one of Disney's two coasters under construction would open this fall and the other one would open in spring or summer next year. Now I'm hoping we at least get one of them. Meanwhile, Universal is pushing ahead with their new coaster. But I shouldn't be surprised as Universal seems to build their new attractions and lands much faster from start to finish than Disney.

March 10, 2021 at 2:31 PM

Disneyland has a year of pent-up demand, they don't need anything new to drive attendance, literally all they need is to be OPEN.

March 10, 2021 at 3:18 PM

The last time I was at WDW was October in 2012 and it was packed, especially Epcot for the Food and Wine Festival. It is a busy time for them, then a bit lighter early November before the holiday rush.

And @thecolonel is dead right, when a park is closed for a full year, they don't need any special attractions to entice guests, just being open is enough.

March 10, 2021 at 4:36 PM

What does all this mean for an Avengers Campus timeline?

March 10, 2021 at 4:47 PM

@timbo23 - It says right at the end of the article...

"Back in California, Chapek said that the Avengers Campus land at Disney California Adventure would not open with the rest of the park later this month, but would debut sometime later this year."

March 11, 2021 at 4:02 AM

Read this in the Orlando Sentinel and it's soo to the point. It's a reaction to Universal announcing the opening of the VelociCoaster this summer.

So ... your leadership team is NOT delaying the ride to Jan 1 & tanking the resort's entire fiscal year, just so they can show better YOY numbers in 2022 to inflate their bonuses? BC I hear that's a strategy in Orlando now.

You crazy kids, putting guest satisfaction first.

— Len Testa (@LenTesta) March 10, 2021

March 14, 2021 at 12:58 AM

@Aaron McMahon
"..... that was mostly paid for by France."
.. by France ???? Beg you pardon ?
Can you show us that on the state budget of the country called France ?
OK, the Muppet show is over :-) :-) :-) :-)

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