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Big Changes to Rivers of Light, Primeval Whirl, Spaceship Earth and More

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Well, we have some major casualties due to the coronavirus and the lengthy closures that the Walt Disney World Resort experienced. A number of both current and recently announced attractions are now being impacted.

First, let’s get to the attractions that are closing permanently. It appears that Stitch’s Great Escape, Primeval Whirl, and Rivers of Light are now no longer going to be available to Guests.

Stitch’s Great Escape isn’t too much of a surprise. The attraction was already pretty well closed in its current form anyway. Primeval Whirl also isn’t that big of a surprise. The wild mouse coaster has been seasonal for a few months due to the rumored issue with the fact that replacement parts for the coaster have been increasingly difficult to find. The big surprise from this list though is Rivers of Light. The attraction has been plagued with issues from the beginning, however.

Now, let’s move on to the attractions that have been rumored to have been postponed. Three big projects for Epcot appear that they will not be moving forward, at least for the time being. The Mary Poppins attraction, the Epcot Festival Center as we knew it to be announced, and the update to Spaceship Earth have all been shelved. All three were announced at the last D23 Expo.


What are your thoughts about these big changes for the Walt Disney World Resort?

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Rikki Niblett

I am a co-host of the Be Our Guest Podcast and do lots of other fun Disney stuff all around the interwebs! You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram at @RikkiNibs or on Facebook at

11 thoughts on “Big Changes to Rivers of Light, Primeval Whirl, Spaceship Earth and More

  • I really don’t get the ‘needs a sponsor’ thing.
    Disney has the deep pockets on it’s own. It’s an old business model to expect everything to have a sponsor that isn’t Disney.

  • As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, perhaps they could freshen Spaceship Earth at low cost simply by recording a tweaked script with a new narrator. (Morgan Freeman, anyone?) Or, with some technical editing work, bring back the Jeremy Irons or Walter Cronkite script. Or cycle through more than one of them. Little to no work required on the structure itself, though it seems they could spend some thousands and update the last scene or two to bring it out of the 1980s. Would this not be doable at a modest budget and minimal downtime?

  • But still full price, correct?
    Cherish your memories. It will be years before anything is “back to normal.” Especially places designed for huge crowds.

  • Yeah, that’ll drive attendance recovery–fewer things to do.

  • We were SO CLOSE to getting rid of the silly video at the end of Spaceship Earth… sigh…

  • Can’t say I disagree with any of their choices, except perhaps the update to Spaceship Earth (depending on what they had planned). I like the idea of a Mary Poppins attraction, but the plan as I’ve heard it was too underwhelming to inspire the desire to see it, so I won’t be sad they aren’t going forward there. I’m honestly just pleased that so far none of the ‘big’ attractions that were started are being abandoned.

    Splash mountain is a politically correct stunt. I mean, I get where they want to say “here, look at us be all woke” or something, but that still makes me cringe since the folk tales of Briar Rabbit were not (at least as far as I understood this) inheriently racist. Song of the South might have been, but not the source material (someone correct me if I’m wrong here!). And the ride is lovely and creative and fun and I’m sorry to see it changed (I didn’t care for the Princess and the Frog movie, so don’t have any more attachment to that theming than I do to Song of the South, but I’m probably in the minority on this view).

  • Sad about RoL, PW, and MP. Glad we were able to enjoy RoL and PW. MP is an attraction that we hope will be in back on track before too long. Actually glad that SE is not getting an update. Really enjoy the current version.

  • Agreed. Why not postpone that upgrade as EPCOT is already torn up and needs the love right now.

  • But they are going to spend money on changing one of the most popular rides I Splash Mountain? Unbelievable.

  • Dinoland is already a tough place. Dinosaur is there, but that is about it for anyone over 36″ in height. Dino Dig is a great playground, but not a must see for many guests. The triceratops spin is a ubiquitous spinner seen in 2 of the 3 parks.With rivers of light and whirl gone…. yikes. That stadium might as well get some misting fans and shade to be a no mask zone because it’s an eye sore until a replacement comes on line.

    I always thought the EPCOT festival center was too good to be true. 3 levels, will now be 2 levels, if that. It’ll me 1 level with a rooftop party deck for VIP groups to rent.

    Spaceship Earth needs a sponsor and Mary Poppins deserves more than a storytime or carousel.

  • Understandable. But sad especially about Poppins being taken off the table!

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