Avoiding the Refurbishment Blues

Splash Mountain when it was closed for refurbishment

When planning a Walt Disney World vacation, one word that strikes fear in the hearts of many is “refurbishment”. What exactly does it mean? And what can you do to avoid the refurbishment blues?

Refurbishment is the word that is used to describe when something closes for some type of work on it, and then reopens. Sometimes the refurbishment is only for a couple of days. A deep cleaning is done, and a fresh coat of paint is added. It could be that the refurbishment is longer than that. The place in question could shut down for weeks or even months, and extensive work could take place. A recent example is that Pirates of the Caribbean closed earlier in 2018 so that one of the scenes on the ride could be changed. Refurbishment can also mean that something is totally being redone, such as when Star Tours closed in 2010 and reopened in 2011 as Star Tours – The Adventures Continue.

Star Tours underwent a total transformation in 2010-2011

It is not only rides that close for refurbishment. Restaurants also shut down, sometimes for extended periods of time. Stores can be refurbished as well. Refurbishment does not always mean a complete closure. World of Disney in Disney Springs is currently having extensive work done, but the store is still open.

Another refurbishment that you need to be aware of if you are visiting sometime between October and March is at the water parks. One of the two Walt Disney World Water Parks will close for several weeks, while the other will remain open. The park will receive extensive maintenance work during that time. When that park reopens, the other closes and receives the same treatment. The parks rotate which will close first. For example, in 2018 Blizzard Beach will be open through October 27, and then will close for several weeks, before Typhoon Lagoon takes its refurb turn. That means that in 2019 it will be Typhoon Lagoon that closes first.

How can you avoid letting refurbishment get you down? The first thing that you need to do is to be informed ahead of time. Learn what rides, attractions, and restaurants might be closed while you are there. Check the refurbishment list on the Walt Disney World website on the date you plan to visit so that you will have an idea of what might be down. Second, look for a replacement. If Dumbo the Flying Elephant is going to be closed while you are there, enjoy The Magic Carpets of Aladdin instead. Third, if you are really worried about refurbishments, travel during the busiest times of the year. Rides are rarely closed during July or when schools are out for the Christmas break. Fourth, don’t let refurbishment bring on the blues. There is so much to do at Walt Disney World, missing one experience should not define your vacation.