Before we start this article, we need to do a quick primer on what’s been going on for readers to understand Disney’s situation. There’s been a huge buzz lately around Disney changing strategies in regards to Star Wars (and soon other parts of the company), and I think you’ll see their money situation is the reason why.
First, we reported in September that Disney wanted to have a substantial 2021 opening of attractions, shows, and parades in order to bring back massive crowds once the pandemic was over. The caveat was that if the pandemic didn’t seem to be coming to an end, that plan would have to be scrapped. Our reporting on that was part of information we had received about Cosmic Rewind (another coaster in Epcot) going significantly over an already massive budget.
Disney Originally Planned a BIG 2021
Then, in October, word came out that Disney might actually be moving to halt construction on Tron in the Magic Kingdom. While we couldn’t verify at the time the length of the interior construction stop, we were able to independently verify that it would, indeed, be paused. And the reason for the delay? Money. Our report was even more significant because while we were reporting that Disney couldn’t even finish a marquee, E-Ticket attraction, they were simultaneously telling everyone that it was full-steam ahead on changing Splash Mountain for controversial, social reasons. Maybe the investors should be checking in with us more often to see what’s really going on.
Our October Report that Disney Was Planning to Delay Tron
Now today, on the second day of 2021, we can report that Tron’s construction is almost certainly coming to an end for a very significant amount of time.
Some might say, “well, many projects get placed on a delay for one reason or another.” They’d be right. But typical delays don’t involve companies sealing the project shut. Disney has officially removed Tron from the list of attractions / shows opening in 2021, and they made every visible indication that our reporting was correct. They are likely going to finish the exterior of Tron, but the interior has or is stopped until late 2021. That means we’ll be seeing the opening of Tron in 2022 at the EARLIEST, and Cosmic Rewind is almost certainly behind Tron.
— WDW News Today (@WDWNT) December 30, 2020
So, you probably can start to understand that the investor’s call, the inflated stock value, it’s all smoke and mirrors at this point. If Disney had the money to finish Tron and have it ready to open Day One of lessening restrictions, you’d better believe they’d do it. They’ve already sunk massive money into the attraction, they’ve got a construction nightmare in Epcot that already consumes much of their bandwidth, and it would be nice for the company to get one E-Ticket out the door to bring back the crowds when crowds are allowed.
They can’t do it.
Aerial comparison of TRON May 31, 2019 and Dec 22, 2020 pic.twitter.com/Wvg1Nen9ZO
— bioreconstruct (@bioreconstruct) December 27, 2020
Here’s what I’m going to say. If Disney can’t finish Tron, and then they start to make multi hundred million dollar changes to Splash Mountain, they deserve whatever financial crash they land in down the road. Because that’s gargantuan level stupid. If Disney lets the Pablo Hidalgos and the Kathleen Kennedys continue to drive Star Wars into the ground instead of throwing everything they’ve got to Favreau-Filoni, then they deserve to continue having massive attraction facades standing with nobody allowed inside. Disney has lost their cruise lines, they’ve lost all their parks but Disney World (and they don’t make much off of the Asian parks anyway after Beijing gets their cut). Essentially everything is shot for Disney except for Walt Disney World and Disney+. Only one of those two is currently profitable. It isn’t Disney+.
So get ready, because Tron is the one big visibility staring at everyone saying “the emperor has no clothes”, only in this case, it’s “the mouse is out of cheese”. If they could finish it in a financially safe manner with all that cash they’re holding, they’d do it. In the meantime, the Walt Disney World Railroad will continue to be stationary and the suits in Burbank should start getting nervous — we’re almost in the “execs lose money” stage. And really, maybe it’s time considering they’ve fired nearly everyone else they can.
Help them Luke Skywalker, you’re their only hope.
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.