Disney World 2019 Closures: Say Goodbye to These 5 Things

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One of the most wonderful things about Walt Disney World is the nostalgia it brings. As a life-long Disney addict, there's so much “Oh, I remember…” during our visits. On the flip side, part of the magic is in the changes, even though we hate saying goodbye to beloved favorites to make room for new ones. A lot of new things are happening in Disney World and they are happening very quickly. We are excited for expansions and new coming attractions. However, we also have to prepare some Disney World 2019 closures as well. Be sure to bid farewell to these five things upon your next Disney World visit.

Related Post: No more plastic straws at Disney and people have some feelings

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Disney World 2019 Closures: Say Goodbye to These 5 Things

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The long-running nighttime show at Epcot has changed very little since opening day back in 1982. Next year it is leaving entirely. The final night of the show will be September 30, 2019. Interestingly it's replacement will not be far behind. A brand new show with updated technology and Disney character involvement will debut the very next night on October 1! The new show will somewhat resemble the Fantasmic! in Disneyland Tokyo, so we're definitely excited to see what's next.

2019 will bring a goodbye to Illuminations

We sort of saw Illuminations last month…it was pouring down rain and we watched it while huddled under an umbrella near Frozen: Ever After. My kids still thought it was cool. I was mostly wet and cold and over everything. We're making a repeat trip to Walt Disney World in April, so we're excited for the opportunity to say farewell to Illuminations properly…hopefully in better weather.

Want to see what we're saying goodbye to at Disneyland in California?

Disneyland 2019 Closures


Plastic Straws

Disney uses the term “environmentally” to describe their waste-conscious attitude. They have a long history of protecting nature. Disney banned plastic straws and other potentially hazardous products from Animal Kingdom park in order to protect the animals there. However, in the wake of the massive push against plastic straws in 2018, plastic straws at Disney World will now be banned entirely. The campaign heavily relied on a nine year old student's nearly 300% over-estimation of plastic straw usage in the US, back in 2011. Be that as it may, Disney has announced that starting in mid 2019, plastic straws will no longer be an option for guests anywhere on Disney property. I'm really interested to know how you feel about this change. Leave a comment below.

River Country

“Disney had another water park before Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.”

“No they didn't.”

“Yes they did.”


This is representative of pillow talk between my hubs and I. We're pretty exciting people, I know. It turns out, he was right. River Country is a long since abandoned water park that's had an aura of mystery since it closed in 2001. Since then, the internet has fanned the flames of curiosity with unauthorized footage and urban myths surrounding the eerie piece of forgotten property. It's almost been 20 years, but Disney is finally going through with plans to transform the area into a new hotel.

The nature-themed hotel will overlook Bay Lake and appears to echo the essence of Villages Nature in Paris. There has been a rumor that Hoop-Dee-Doo Review will be closing in connection with this new DVC resort. It is only a rumor, so hopefully an abandoned water park is all we will have to say goodbye to.

Epcot “Secret Entrance”

If you have enjoyed the luxury of slipping into Epcot quickly and quietly through the International Gateway, be prepared for disappointment. The hidden and rarely used entrance to the park will see much more traffic in the latter half of 2019. That's because Disney's new Skyliner system will have a station right by the gate. The new cable suspension transit system will drop off guests from Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, and the new DVC hotel– The Riviera.

Tomorrowland Speedway

Editor's update: Tomorrowland Speedway is back up and running as of Summer 2019. Whew! Read THIS POST to find out what's NEW at Walt Disney World in 2020.

Tomorrowland Speedway is closing in 2019 for a refurbishment, although it is scheduled to reopen in the summer. However, Disney has a history of closing attractions “temporarily” and quietly choosing not to reopen them. Tomorrowland Speedway has had many Disney fans scratching their heads for some time now. Permanent closure was speculated immediately after the announcement of the new Tron coaster, slated to open in 2021. You can see this article for more info and get a visual on where the new Tron coaster is being positioned. While that did not happen, the removal of this attraction in favor of some Tomorrowland updates would be a fitting change for Walt Disney World's upcoming 50th Anniversary celebration. I hope it sticks around. This is one of our favorites and we have a lot of memories on this attraction.

We shall see.

Waiting in line for a ride on Tomorrowland Speedway

However, change and moving forward is one of the things that makes Disney…well, Disney. So far I haven't been disappointed in the way they've balanced keeping iconic attractions around with innovation and moving forward.

2020 Opening Date Targeted for These Walt Disney World Attractions

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  1. Ugh! I didn’t think of the increased traffic from the gondolas going through International Gateway. That’s a very small entry area, maybe six magic band readers. I hope they are planning to expand the area.

    1. I wonder if they will make people go through security before getting on the Skyliner like they do when people get on the monorail at the hotels?

  2. I am very very happy about Disney banning plastic straws! And I hope more companies wil follow Disney’s lead on this!

  3. I hope they are going to have an alternative to the plastic straws! I understand the environmental problem but as a victim of Bells Palsy which caused facial nerve damage I genuinely need straws.

  4. Plastic straws are the least of anyone’s worries. Everyone is so environmentally friendly; yet, companies have gone from glass packaging to plastic. What sense does that make, and what sense does banning plastic straws make? Banning plastic straws in itself is not going to make any noticeable impact given the rest of the plastic.

  5. I’m all for banning plastic straws. Very few people NEED to use them. Why is it so difficult for people to drink from cups? More importantly, why aren’t people drinking from reusable bottle instead of creating more waste with cups? Trash doesn’t magically disappear. It lasts forever!

  6. I am in favor on the ban. On fact they should also promote the use of reusable bottles and cups. I plan to bring my reusable water bottles to avoid the purchase of more plastic.

  7. Guess I’ll have to add plastic straws to my packing list for October 2019 trip. I HATE paper straws. The sticking of paper to your lips is disgusting and don’t forget the double or tripe use of replacing said paper straws as paper does not last when wet…even in straw form…

  8. The plastic straw hysteria is, as you mentioned, based on a bad study done by a single student. There are so many more impactful ways to protect the environment without hurting the disabled, having bunches of kids soaked in their drinks, or even making having a cold drink painful for many with tooth sensitivity. Paper straws require paper, which of course means TREES being cut down and more areas being deforested. And the chemicals used in paper production are a true nightmare. Even better…I am seeing paper straws in restaurants…INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED IN PLASTIC! Yuppers! I will just bring my own straws, thank you. And I predict this ban will be short lived. The first injury due to a child choking on a paper straw (a real risk) or falling on a metal straw (Starbucks had to recall ALL of their steel straws for this reason), and the ban will go away.

  9. Leaving tomorrow for Disney World. Just in case, guess I’ll throw a handful of plastic straws in my bag. Paper straws are full of glue and get soggy along with changing the taste. I strongly dislike paper straws.

  10. Banning plastic straws and bags will not make a dent in the real issue of plastic in the ocean. China, Indonesia, The Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam are the worst culprits in polluting producing 8 million tons of plastic per year and until they are held to task nothing will change. It’s not just the physically disabled that will be impacted. Make a Wish kids and those undergoing Chemo for cancer, folks like ME who have autoimmune\Rare diseases, folks on the Autism spectrum and that have PTSD will also now have the added inconvenience of one more thing to bring with us into the parks when we are already dealing with so much just to be there.Disney is just seeking publicity to counter the negative pushback it has received by stating they will not film in Georgia anymore because of the recent!y passed legislation limiting abortion. They have no problem filming in the UAE where both homosexuality and abortion are illegal and punishable by death though. Imagine that, a corporation that supposedly caters to children supports killing them in the womb but only in the US!

  11. Aw man! So disappointed about the secret entrance being closed. We used it a ton on our last visit since we were at the yacht & beach resorts. And seriously — the Speedway!! It’s a classic! where else can kids drive cars like that 🙁

    My hubby and I honeymooned here years ago (we’ve visited another 6 times since then) and had still remember the Sky Ride in Magic Kingdom along with 20,000 Leagues under the Sea (and Mr. Toad too!) Glad we always take so many pics on our trips so we have memories of all these great spots.

    1. Jacquie, I have a little bit of good new – Tomorrowland Speedway has reopened and I’ve just updated the post. Disney said they’d re-open it and they did. It is one of my kids’ favorites and I’m glad it’s still around.

      And, we honeymooned at WDW, too!