New Timelines for Upcoming Disney Parks and Cruise Projects

Disney released new opening timelines chart for their upcoming parks and cruise projects during the company’s Q1 2024 investor earnings call. The chart covers many of the biggest announced projects that will be wrapping up later in 2024 through 2026.

The list below doesn’t cover every upcoming Disney project. But, it does offer new guidance on when Disney fans can expect to experience the new cruise ships and theme park offerings.

List of Disney project timelines as of Q1 FY2024.

The chart above isn’t comprehensive and notably leaves out some items such as EPCOT’s Test Track reimagining. We’re still curious about that one. That said, we have some thoughts about what the chart covers and maybe even a rant or two.

Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point – June 2024

Disney's Lighthouse Point Concept Art

Disney Cruise Line opening its second tropical island paradise for cruise guests is a big deal. Castaway Cay is arguably heaven (seriously – our cabana review sums that up), and Disney has a high bar to live up to with its second private destination. Whether or not Lookout Cay lives up to those high expectations remains to be seen.

Will Lookout Cay have the some devoted and passionate fans as Castaway Cay? How does Disney envision the long-term plan for utilizing Lookout Cay and Castaway Cay?

DVC at Fort Wilderness Resort – July 2024

Concept art for Disney Vacation Club cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort.

The expansion of Disney Vacation Club (DVC) properties at Walt Disney World keeps rolling along. The addition of DVC cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort will shake up the quiet resort, and will offer a different type of accommodation for DVC guests.

While the nostalgia of the old and more rustic cabins will be missed, we understand Disney’s drive to move forward. But, the impact of even more DVC at Walt Disney World won’t be truly felt for several years to come.

Speaking of…

DVC Tower at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – Late 2024

New DVC tower at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

Like Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort above, the injection of DVC is also coming to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. We’ve followed the construction of the multi-story DVC tower and questioned how the Polynesian will look and feel when it opens.

Walt Disney World has a serious capacity problem at its theme parks. When will Disney pivot from adding even more DVC properties to address those capacity issues? Will one of these new properties be the tipping point to halt DVC expansion?

Star Tours Updates – 2024

Star Tours at both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will receive an update of new characters and stories. Details on this update have been limited.

Look, we’re big fans of Star Tours and the fact the ride can change and feature different scenes and characters almost every ride. It’s great! But, the fact Disney is promoting this update, which is an extremely minor theme park update in the grand scheme of things, really illustrates how little the company has planned for its domestic theme parks in the years ahead.

Disney Adventure (2025) and Next Wish-Class Ship (2026)

Disney Adventure cruise ship sailing in Southeast Asia.
Disney Adventure cruise ship.

While there aren’t any major expansions approved at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line is full steam ahead with its new ships. The Disney Adventure, which was formerly called the Global Dream when the ship was owned by a different company, will sail in Southeast Asia in 2025. Meanwhile, Disney will have another Wish-class ship rolling out in 2026 after the Disney Treasure makes its maiden voyage in December 2024.

There’s a lot to unpack here. The Disney Adventure will tackle a new market for Disney Cruise Line and will open the brand to a new segment of guests. Assuming it goes well, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Disney Cruise Line expand further into this market. It’s potentially a big opportunity.

Things are a bit more questionable for the third Wish-class ship. The Wish-class ships have been met with good-to-mixed reviews, with many Disney fans questioning some of the ships’ design decisions. Specifically, some wonder how the Wish-class ships will feel on longer voyages and how those design flaws (small adults area, odd flow, no full loop walking track, etc) feel beyond 3-night and 4-night itineraries. Did Disney have any time to address those problems on the third Wish-class ship?

Disney may have missed the boat (bad pun, sorry) with some of their design choices for the Wish-class ships. The innovation, especially compared to Royal Caribbean’s latest offerings, leaves a lot to be desired. While it seems logical to keep expanding Disney Cruise Line, the company may need to get more creative and really listen to guests for whatever comes next.

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David
David
David is a Disney travel expert who created Notes from Neverland in 2018 after visiting Disney theme parks countless times. Previously, David spent way too much time writing about sports, and was featured in Sports Illustrated, MSN, Yahoo!, and in many other publications. Learn more or contact us.

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