MickeyBlog News Update – Edition #6
Okay, Walt Disney World was closed Sunday & Monday, but that doesn’t mean we’re lacking news updates. To the contrary, it’s a big list this week. Let’s get started!
In recent years, Disneyland has unearthed a new way to add life to old attractions. They give these rides overlays specifically for the holidays. The Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain are previous beneficiaries of this practice. And now for Halloween, Disney will update their newest attraction.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! will receive a nightly overlay starting on September 15th. This new version of the ride is Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters after Dark, and it works as a sort of sequel to Mission: Breakout.
The Guardians have escaped The Collector’s Fortress, but they accidentally left Baby Groot behind! When they go back, they discover an all-new mission including a special song created especially for the Halloween version of the ride. It’s called Monsters after Dark (of course) and is written by Tyler Bates, the composer for the movie franchise. This update sounds like a ton of fun.
Coco Will Be Huuuuuge
This isn’t the only Halloween update coming to Disney California Adventure, either. Plaza de la Familia is a Dia de los Muertos type of celebration that includes “A Musical Celebration of Coco.” If you haven’t been keeping up with Disney’s upcoming movie releases, A) shame on you and B) Coco is the next Pixar film. It’s scheduled for release on November 22, 2017.
Disney is ramping up the marketing campaign by starting the Day of the Dead festival on September 15th. So, if you live close to Disneyland, this is going to be a great week for you. If not, you’re going to want to watch your favorite Disneyland YouTube channel this weekend.
Anything You Can Do…
Do you seriously think that Walt Disney World’s going to stand by and do nothing as Disneyland announces a couple of fun holiday updates? NEVER!
Not to be outdone, the Most Magical Place on Earth recently announced a slew of holiday outings. I will now list all of them. *deep breath*
Sunset Seasons Greetings is an entirely new offering at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. They’re still filling in the giant void left by the closing of The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. The latest holiday exhibition is a strong step in that direction. Mickey and Minnie Mouse will host a Christmas gathering.
During the show, everyone’s favorite mice will share their favorite holiday memories as a black and white display turns to color. Characters from Toy Story will speculate about which potential new friends they might have gift-wrapped under the tree (their whole universe is pretty strange if you put any thought into it), a Frozen character will make a contractually obligated appearance, and the Muppets will get past their recent poor treatment at Hollywood Studios long enough to celebrate the holidays.
I’m goofing on the premise a lot, but let’s be honest. Disney’s putting on a show with Mickey and Minnie Mouse and characters from Toy Story and Frozen. This thing’s gonna be wildly popular and an instant holiday classic. You can read the full details here.
Star Wars Galactic Nights
Hollywood Studios will also bring back Star Wars Galactic Nights on December 16th. This exhibition takes place after park hours, opening at 7 p.m. and running until midnight. Fans of the Force will have special photo ops with several characters from the movies, presumably even ones from Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
That’s not the huge benefit of this year’s shows, though. Lucky guests will also get to see a sneak peak of the upcoming Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge expansion. For one night only, a special panel of Disney employees will discuss many of the most exciting parts of the themed land that will singlehandedly alter the perception of Hollywood Studios.
Star Wars Galactic Nights costs $129 per adult. Children aged 3-9 get an extremely modest discount of $5. DVC and annual pass members can get discounted tickets, though. You should buy your tickets earlier if you plan to attend. The Galaxy’s Edge panel will probably turn this into a sellout event.
Headless Horseman Alert!
One of Walt Disney World’s resorts will hold a Halloween event starting later this month. Return to Sleepy Hollow will take place at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Guests will watch the 1949 classic, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow from a special location: inside the Tri-Circle-D Ranch stables! While there, you’ll also enjoy (?) what Disney describes as an “up close and personal encounter with the Headless Horseman.”
So, for $38 per person, you can pay to have a Disney cast member chop off your head. For $22, you can do the basic stuff but not the Headless Horseman meet-and-greet. That seems like better value unless have a large insurance policy and ready to cast off the mortal coil. If you’re a huge fan of Disneyfied decapitation, you can read the full details here.
Same Thing, Different Name
The huge Walt Disney World holiday news involves Epcot. Last year’s Holidays Around the World celebration will return, albeit it with a different name. The 2017 iteration of the event is called Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, which does sound more Walt Disney-approved.
Disney’s actually been light on the details for this exhibition thus far. What we do know for sure is that it starts on November 19th and runs through December 30th. Epcot will host 15 holiday marketplaces this year, which means that anybody who lives in Florida will eat well during the final six weeks of the year. The food at last year’s event was several steps beyond decadent.
My Disney Experience Offers a Better Experience
Disney’s IT staff works hard to make every guest experience magical. Their latest offering addresses some longstanding criticisms of My Disney Experience (MDE) while adding some much-needed functionality.
For starters, Annual pass holders now have the ability to renew their passes straight from the app. That’s only a once-a-year change, though. MDE does a couple of other things that are much more helpful during park visits.
Whenever guests stay onsite, they only find out how much that they’ve spent at Disney when the email arrives in their inbox or the letter gets attached to the door knob. For people who are impulse shoppers or not the best money managers (or both…like me!), that’s less than ideal. Thanks to the recent update, these guests can now check their daily Magic Band purchases.
Similarly, one of the frustrations of the Disney Dining Plan (DDP) is that you never know exactly how many entitlements you have. Yes, many cast members go out of their way to keep you updated, but it’s still a confusing process at times. Thanks to MDE, you can now pull out your phone and see your current DDP totals in real-time. It also tracks snack credits, which means that I may actually leave Disney without a suitcase full of snacks next time. Seriously, I’m the guy who buys snacks for strangers the morning of checkout because I don’t need 20 bags of Disney cotton candy.
*Single Teardrop GIF*
Let’s end the latest edition of MickeyBlog News on a sad note. It’s the end of an era at Walt Disney World. The company is gradually phasing out the red cards from line queues. If you’re not familiar with them, cast members occasionally hand a red card to a guest at the back of the line. When the person reaches the cast member at the attraction’s boarding station, they give the red card to this worker. The person can then provide a more accurate guess about the wait-time for a ride.
The system has worked wonderfully for Disney for decades now. Unfortunately, Magic Band technology has rendered the process pointless and redundant. Disney can simply track the location of a Magic Band to know when a person gets in line and when they board the ride. It’s a much more accurate measurement since cast members time things in minutes. Magic Band technology measures time in microseconds.
But those red cards came with a feeling of power. The holder was the guardian of the time clock, the only one who knew EXACTLY how long they’d been in line. Disney has retired the noble red card and with it, all the honored guests who stood taller in line, knowing that they were more important than anyone else at that moment. Fare thee well, red cards. I held more than a few of you in my day.
Finally MickeyBlog continues to hold the residents and guests in Orlando in our thoughts and prayers during this trying time. Please take care during the hurricane’s aftermath, my friends.