We’ve been anxiously awaiting our chance to enjoy a meal at Space 220!
We’ve been keeping a close eye on the progress of construction on Space 220, the new table-service restaurant and lounge coming to Epcot! The concept art for the new dining location shows off its next level theming. Upon entering, guests will board an elevator that takes them up into the spacecraft hovering above Earth, with “windows” showing the view below!
The unique concept has generated a lot of hype, and excited guests are eager for the chance to eat onboard Space 220. Construction has also been taking place for quite a while; the location was originally set to open last Winter. So, when Disney World reopens, will the opening of Space 220 follow close behind?
NO: Why Space 220 Might NOT Open Quickly After Disney World
As ready as we are to enjoy a meal on a luxury spacecraft (space station?), we have to be realistic about some roadblocks the restaurant will face.
Construction on the Restaurant is Paused
Disney World has paused construction on all of the projects in the parks during the closure — and that includes construction on Space 220.
The restaurant had an initial opening date of Winter 2019. So even though the project ran into delays that pushed back the opening, the construction is likely close to being finished, given the original timeline. But still, with all construction currently on hold, we aren’t sure how quickly teams will get back to work when the parks reopen to finish up.
It Will Take Time to Get Back Up and Running
When Disney World is ready to reopen its gates, it won’t be as simple as flipping a switch. Disney will need to do a lot of groundwork just to get back to the basics of operation. For example, they will likely need to replenish the food stock across property, retrain Cast Members on potential health and social distancing protocols, and ensure sanitation measures are being maintained.
With all of the health and operational concerns that Disney will need to attend to when the parks first reopen, the opening of a new restaurant is not likely to be the top priority.
Disney Will Want to Highlight the Opening of Space 220
When other highly anticipated restaurants like Topolino’s Terrace have opened, Disney has made a point to shine the spotlight on them. And we definitely don’t think this restaurant will be an exception, especially considering how much hype Space 220 is getting from excited guests. Disney will want to make a big deal of the grand opening.
When the parks first reopen, we’re likely to see reduced capacity and increased focus on basic measures like keeping surfaces sanitized. That doesn’t make for a great environment for the grand opening of a restaurant that, prior to all of this, could have been loaded with media figures and important Disney team members for its launch.
YES: Why Space 220 Actually Might Open Quickly After Disney World
Of course, there are two sides to this story. Despite the uncertain timeline and shift in focus, there’s also reason to believe that the opening of Space 220 might follow quickly after the parks reopen.
Construction is Further Along Than Other Projects
As mentioned above, the construction on Space 220 was paused when the parks closed. But, even though the restaurant may not be finished completely, it has made much more progress than many other projects across Disney property. Some projects like the Mary Poppins attraction (from what we can see with our own eyes) and the refurbishment of Spaceship Earth haven’t even really begun.
It is possible that Disney may choose to prioritize construction on things like Space 220 that can be finished more quickly (and with less additional financial investment) than other projects.
Space 220 Will Generate Revenue
The Walt Disney Company has been hit hard by the closures. In fact, The Orange County Register estimated that with all of the parks closed, the loss in theme park revenue will cost Disney over $500 million dollars. With the amount of money Disney is losing, we wouldn’t be surprised if they’re quick to find ways to pull in additional revenue when the parks reopen.
Disney will bring in money as a direct result of opening Space 220 — guests will purchase meals at the restaurant and head to the lounge for drinks and food as well. In contrast, some of their other projects won’t provide an immediate revenue boost.
New attractions that are currently under construction like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind might eventually inspire more guests to take a trip to Disney World down the road. But by opening Space 220, Disney will have an immediate source of additional revenue without incurring the kinds of crowds a big new ride would attract.
Table Service Restaurants Can Practice Social Distancing
Concerns about guest safety will be at the forefront when the parks reopen. Table service restaurants are uniquely positioned as one of the easier environments to manage. Entry can be managed to conform to capacity limitations via Advance Dining Reservation allotments. And since guests are seated at their tables, it’s easier to maintain social distancing here than at a counter service restaurant or attraction where queues form.
Also, since the meals will be individually prepared, Space 220 won’t face the same level of sanitary concerns as buffet restaurants where guests serve themselves.
There are definite arguments for a Space 220 opening following quickly after Epcot opens…and there are arguments that can point to it being delayed even longer. The Walt Disney Company is in the process of making decisions now that will affect guest experience in the parks for the rest of the year and beyond, and we’ll be reporting all the latest updates as soon as we get them here on DFB and via our newsletter — so don’t forget to subscribe.
What do YOU think is going to happen? Let us know in the comments if you think Space 220 will open as soon as the parks do, or if Disney will wait a while to launch this highly anticipated Patina Group restaurant.
Do you think that Space 220 will open quickly after the parks reopen? Let us know in the comments!