Wow, it’s been a ride so far, hasn’t it?
We haven’t even been able to go on the new TRON Lightcycle Power Run yet, but we feel like we’ve already been on a rollercoaster following the new attraction’s construction.
It’s crazy to think about, but construction on this new Magic Kingdom theme park ride started four years ago. FOUR YEARS.
To put that into perspective – since TRON began construction at Walt Disney World, we’ve seen Bob Chapek take over from Bob Iger as Disney CEO, a new president, a pandemic, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Space 220 at EPCOT, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Disney Enchantment…and the list goes on.
But what’s even wilder to think about is that TRON Lightcycle Power Run has now taken longer to build than the Disney Park itself!
TRON originally made its appearance at Shanghai Disneyland back in June 2016, when its innovative design and engineering were met with positive reviews.
The steel motorbike roller coaster is based on the TRON movie franchise and features a semi-enclosed track where Guests ride through ‘the Grid” on a light cycle – something we cannot wait to try when the attraction finally opens!
The Walt Disney World version of the ride was announced back at D23 in July 2017, in which Disney Imagineers revealed that TRON would open in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom next to Space Mountain.
Tomorrowland has not seen much major change since Magic Kingdom’s opening back in 1971, so the large-scale ride introduction was met with favorable reactions.
Construction began on TRON in February 2018, with Disney optimistic that the eagerly-awaited attraction would be open in time for Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary celebration, which famously began on October 1, 2021.
Cruising by the construction site on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, Guests can see that the roller coaster is nowhere near completion at this stage, with 2023 looking more like an opening year for TRON at Magic Kingdom.
In the meantime, the Walt Disney World Railroad has been closed since December 2018 as the roller coaster’s construction meant the Railroad’s track had to be moved. Recently, Guests have been hearing testing of the beloved train, so we are hopeful that there will be an announcement soon about its reopening.
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t helped construction efforts, with the pandemic affecting the progress of the attraction’s build due to union and Cast Member layoffs as well as supply chain issues for materials.
This all now means that this infamous new attraction has taken longer to build than the Magic Kingdom itself.
Yes, you read that right. TRON has taken four years so far, but it only took around 18 months to build the entire Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
Even the whole Lake Buena Vista Resort took only four years. Workers started the construction of the Walt Disney World Resort on May 30, 1967 and the Resort was opened by Roy Disney on October 1, 1971.
Construction for Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California began on July 21, 1954, just 12 months before the Park was scheduled to open. Construction companies worked frantically to meet the tight schedule and completed the project on time. Disneyland was formally opened a year later, on July 18, 1955. A whole Park was built in a year!
More than 10,000 construction workers labored for 26 months to create the 300-acre, $1.4 billion EPCOT theme park in time for the grand opening on October 1, 1982; at the time, EPCOT was the largest commercial construction project on earth.
And even the unique (and huge) Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park was constructed in less time than TRON has taken. Construction crews worked on the Animal Kingdom for three years, opening the 500-acre, $800 million Park on April 22, 1998.
So, while we anxiously wait to see when TRON will officially get an opening date, we look forward to the other new experiences coming to Walt Disney World soon.
EPCOT’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is set to open this summer, while Guests can see the return of the Festival of Fantasy Parade and the launch of Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort next month!