A new entertainment venue was announced for Main Street U.S.A. at the 2017 D23 Expo. The venue was to be inspired by the Willis Theater in 1920s Kansas City and promised to bring new entertainment to the park.
However, a report on WDWMagic.com in February 2018 indicated that the project has been cancelled. It is unknown if the project will be built elsewhere or if it has been cancelled entirely. One suggestion was that funds for this project were reallocated to a new fleet of Monorails for Walt Disney World. Alternatively, the funds may have been reallocated to a replacement for Stitch's Great Escape.
The original plan was as follows:
The theater capacity was expected to be roughly 2000 guests with an interior lobby. 1500 guests were expected to have seating in the orchestra level with an additional 500 in the balcony. The expected opening date was by 2021 and the initial show offering was expected to be linked to the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World.
The theater's location was expected to be on top of the existing management parking facility between Main Street USA and Tomorrowland with guest access being made off the Main Street USA Bypass.
We are currently classifying this project as "Dead", although the possibility exists that it can be revitalized.
May 21, 2018: On Episode 60 of Big Fat Panda's YouTube show, John interviewed former Vice President of the Magic Kingdom, Dan Cockerell. In the interview Dan confirmed that a new nighttime parade will come to the Magic Kingdom by 2021. Outside of the interview, Dan also advised John that the budget for the Main Street Theater project was re-allocated to a replacement for Stitch's Great Escape.
April 16, 2018: WDWNT.com is reporting that a new fleet of Monorails has been ordered for Walt Disney World. The trains will reportedly be built by Bombardier of Canada, the same company that manufactured the current Mark VI trains. The article also speculated that the trains would likely be a version of Bombardier's INNOVIA 300 model. This model is currently being used in Brazil and Saudi Arabia.
Part of the article also alleges that funding for the cancelled Main Street USA theater project was reallocated to the new fleet of Monorails.
Permits were recently filed and construction on this project seemed imminent. The report indicates sources familiar with the project informed them that the project has been cancelled. It is unknown if the project will be built elsewhere or if it was cancelled completely.
December 13, 2017: WDWNT.com is reporting that the theater will hold approximately 2000 guests with 1500 in the Orchesta level and approximately 500 in the balcony.
November 20, 2017: WDWMagic.com user danlb_2000 is reporting that Disney has filed a water management permit for work related to the theater project. The placement of the theater is roughly on the existing Management Parking lot facility with access coming off the Main Street Bypass.
October 24, 2017: Orlando Theme Park News is reporting that the current backstage parking lot between Main Street USA and Tomorrowland will be closed to Cast Members on October 28th for filming. Following the filming, construction is expected to begin on the new entertainment venue.
July 20, 2017: On the latest episode of The Unofficial Guide's Disney Dish podcast, Jim Hill and Len Testa discussed that the new theater will go behind Main Street USA on the Tomorrowland side where the Main Street bypass currently exists. The theater is expected to seat at least 2000 guests and will have an interior lobby. The innagural show is expected to be in place and tied to the 50th Anniversary in 2021 with new shows expected to cycle into the theater.
July 15, 2017: At the 2017 D23 Expo, Disney officially confirmed that a new entertainment venue is coming to Main Street U.S.A. The venue is inspired by the Willis Theater in 1920s Kansas City and promised to bring new entertainment to the park.
The entertainment offering coming to the theater has not been announced.