I know that some might say that it is cliché or old-fashioned, but with the start of a new year, I always feel that there is an opportunity for new beginnings and new adventures. As a DVC fan(atic), one of the new adventures that I look forward to is what 2020 will bring during our annual pilgrimages to our second home. Some of these will be resorts that we have never stayed in, some will restaurants that we have never tried, and some will be some of the exciting updates, enhancements, and attractions that Walt Disney World is rolling out as they lead up to the 50th anniversary in 2021. While this is not intended to be a comprehensive list, here are some of the exciting things that I am personally looking for to this year:
This is more of a personal new, as there are no new resorts openings for 2020, but we are excited to try Disney’s Beach Club Villas for our July stay this year. One of the first half dozen DVC resorts to open, this resort has always been one on our DVC bucket list that has eluded us on the past ten years of WDW vacations. With their famous sandy bottom pool, newly renovated Beaches and Cream Restaurant, and proximity to Epcot, this is sure to be both an exciting and relaxing stay. Being within walking distance to the Boardwalk and all of the excitement that that resort has to offer, I am anticipating this being the perfect storm of dining and fun.
Speaking of dining, while other new restaurants are opening on property, there are two that I am most excited to try, both of which are in Epcot. The first is The Regal Eagle Smokehouse opening in what is currently the Liberty Inn in the American Pavilion. With southern BBQ options such as the Texas Beef Brisket Sandwich, Kansas City Smoked Chicken, and North Carolina Chopped Smoked Pork Butt to go along with WDW ever-expanding plant-based options and a large selection of craft draft beer, this is sure to be a crowd favorite right from the start. The restaurant is expected to open at some point during the first quarter of 2020.
The second is the restaurant that I am most looking forward to, and that is the opening of the Space 220 restaurant, which will be located in the Mission: Space pavilion area in Future World. While I am unsure of the exact culinary offerings that will be on the menu, I can tell you that the entire concept of taking a “space elevator” 220 miles up into “space” and watching a revolving planet as diners enjoy a selection a classic dishes from around the globe is sure to be one of the toughest reservations to get in 2020 (and beyond). The entire premise will be an exhilarating experience for both novice and experienced WDW vacationers alike, with nothing of its kind being offered. While it has had its delays from its late 2019 anticipated opening, I am confident that this will finally arrive on the scene by early Spring 2020.
2019 was a fantastic year for attractions for the lightsaber-wielding, force-junkies like myself. This included the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, specifically with Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the Droid Depot, Savi’s Workshop, and all of the interesting dining and beverage options (who knew that blue milk was so good with rum!). I am equally excited about the attractions opening in 2020! Here are two that look amazing:
In Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, guests are” shrunken down” and taken on a family friendly adventure through Gusteau’s kitchen on a trackless ride vehicle (this is anticipated to open during the summer and will be located behind the France Pavilion at Epcot).
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, opening March 4th at Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers again a trackless ride, which puts you right into the action, inside a Mickey and Minnie Cartoon. This has been described as incorporating a new visual effect, called 2 and ½ D, which will seemingly give the effect of a fully immersive experience like no other. I am particularly excited about this attraction, which will sit within what was once one of my all-time favorite rides, The Great Movie Ride in Hollywood Studios. It is one of the few attractions that the Imagineers will be building without the constraints of having to incorporate existing IP from Disney owned movies (though one could argue that Mickey Mouse is the OG of IP, since as we all know and can never lose sight of, that is was all started by a mouse).
While I am not necessarily a “show guy” on our trips, there are a few that I am intrigued to see for a first time. These will include Awesome Planet (at the Land Pavilion in Epcot), Canada-Far & Wide Circle-Vision 360 show (at the Canada Pavilion in Epcot), and the newest nighttime fireworks show entitled Harmonious, replacing fan favorite Illuminations at Epcot. This grand finale of your day at Epcot will apparently include a combination of fireworks and LED barges displaying various IP characters, much like the highly entertaining Happily Ever After castle show over at Magic Kingdom. While I am skeptical that anything can replace Illuminations (in my humble opinion), this will be an exciting chance for Epcot and the Imagineers to try.
All in all, this is sizing up to be an exciting year to travel back “home” and the perfect buildup to everything that the 50th anniversary in 2021 will have to offer.
What are you excited for in 2020? I would love to hear about it!