MickeyBlog Disney News – Year End Edition
Happy holidays from the MickeyBlog team! Don’t let the slow news week fool you! There’s plenty going on at Disney theme parks, and I’m not just talking about the crowds. Disney’s released a remarkable amount of news and updates in December. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the highlights.
New Disney Resort Cleaning Rules!
When you stay at Walt Disney World, do you leave the Do Not Disturb sign on the door? I know that my family does quite often, but we won’t be doing it ever again. The Walt Disney Company has altered the rules for guests staying at their resorts. Moving forward, the old signs are no more. Instead, they’ve been replaced by Room Occupied signs.
Why has Disney changed one of the oldest policies in the hospitality industry? The company is proactively addressing security issues stemming from the Las Vegas tragedy. You may recall that the gunman holed up in a hotel room. When police arrived on the scene, they discovered a staggering weapons cache. Privacy laws and general business procedures prevented that hotel from checking the room the day of the tragedy. Had someone entered that room, they could have possibly saved the lives of 58 people while preventing injuries to another 527 others.
Given these events, Disney has re-evaluated their policies and correctly decided that their staff should enter every room on a given day. It’s a strong step toward protecting Disney’s guests. I actually worked in the hospitality industry for a few years in college, and I say with confidence that this should become the new standard that all major hotel chains embrace. It’s a needed precautionary measure to guarantee that your family is safe and sound while on vacation. I commend Disney for leading the way in the field of hotel safety.
This change has one additional advantage for folks who participate in the Disney Vacation Club program. DVC owners now get trash service daily as opposed to the prior system, which included trash pickup every fourth day. So, there’s a small benefit for a tiny portion of Mickey Travelers.
Donald Trump Arrives at the Hall of Presidents
Don’t worry. This isn’t going to be a political post. We’ve all had enough of those awkward conversations over the holidays, right? Let’s just state the facts here in the most neutral manner possible. In January of 2017, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.
As Disney usually does when a new person becomes President, they shut down the Hall of Presidents at Magic Kingdom for a period of time. The needed renovation was the addition of a new audio-animatronic for President Trump. An odd number of delays occurred during this process, keeping the Hall of Presidents closed for the body of 2017.
On December 19th, the new version of the attraction opened, and it answered at least one lingering question. Trump does have a speaking part, something that seemed in doubt for most of the summer. As for the new audio-animatronic, it’s the rare situation where something has united people of all political slants. The near-universal opinion is that the Trumpbot looks nothing like the current president.
The new robot does have an odd resemblance to Hillary Clinton, however, which has led to plausible speculation that Disney might have readied the audio-animatronic prior to the election night surprise. If that’s true – and it’s the most entertaining aspect of this entire conversation, independent of your political ideology – the mystery is why Disney didn’t simply discard it and start over again. Whatever the explanation for the entire year of intrigue, the Hall of Presidents is finally open again. And one more attraction available at Magic Kingdom is a good thing.
The American Adventure Update
While we’re on the subject of patriotic attractions at Walt Disney world, there’s important news about The American Adventure at Epcot. The entire pavilion will shut down from January 5th through February 5th as part of a needed renovation.
Note that this ONLY applies to the pavilion. The America Gardens Theatre will still offer musical performances as planned. Those shows will take place at 5:30, 6:45, and 8 p.m. nightly from Friday through Monday each week.
Rumors abound about the cause for the renovation. Some folks think it involves the Muppets, but my money’s on Club 33. As far back as last spring, The American Adventure was getting bandied about as a potential destination for the most exclusive of Disney restaurants.
Now Is When I Pretend Like I Understand OpenTable
Hi, I live in Knoxville, Tennessee, and I eat at the same five restaurants so often that we’re on a first name basis with several employees of each business. In other words, I don’t have much need for OpenTable. I apologize in advance if what I’m about to say is gibberish.
My friends in Manhattan, Los Angeles, and Chicago have been talking about OpenTable for years now. It’s apparently an app that lets you book restaurant reservations ahead of time. Now, when I need a table, I walk up to the hostess and say, “Hi, is Morgan working tonight? If so, I’d like a table in her section.” I understand that it’s not like this for people in major metropolitan areas, though. These folks need to book well ahead of time to guarantee that they’ll have the meal that they crave.
Well, Walt Disney World is apparently now enough of a major metropolitan area that they’ve been added to OpenTable. Thus far, only nine Disney restaurants participate, and they’re exclusively Disney resort restaurants such as Kona Café, The Wave, Grand Floridian Café, and Olivia’s. You should still keep an eye out for this change, though.
There’s one HUGE advantage to booking via OpenTable. You don’t need a credit card to secure your reservation. Your OpenTable account is good enough. Presumably, this strategy also takes you off the hook for the $20 cancellation fee if you don’t eat at the restaurant. I haven’t found any confirmation either way on this yet, though. You should ask just to make certain. I’d hate to cost you $20.
Cirque du Soleil Isn’t Dead Yet!
Yes, La Nouba is dead at Disney Springs, but don’t count out Cirque du Soleil just yet! The most stylish of circuses recently announced their plans for a new show, one that replaces the old one at Disney Springs. The company revealed that they’re crafting a nightly performance based on Disney animation, a first for the unaffiliated circus. On the Disney Parks Blog, Cirque du Soleil made this thoughtful statement:
“We are incredibly inspired by Disney’s immense creative universe. We are convinced that bringing Disney’s magic to life on stage will touch audiences and bring them back to their childhood.”
While you wonder about the mysteries of the next show, I’ll leave you with this pitch-perfect Simpsons parody of Cirque du Soleil. It’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.