MickeyBlog Disney News for 1/22/18
Are you freezing to death at your home, wondering when winter will finally end? Folks, I have terrible news. You still have two more months to go, and you just know that stupid Groundhog will see his shadow, too. Face it, you’re going to be wearing multiple layers for a while yet. So, the best thing that you can do is dream of your next Disney vacation. Here’s what’s happening at The Walt Disney Company this week.
Tricks with Magic Bands (Or Smartphones?)
I recently wrote an article about how awesome Magic Bands are. Well, only a few days later, they’re getting even better! The new version of the Magic Band includes Bluetooth activated. Okay, that’s true for everybody quite yet, but guests at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa may have the functionality added. Don’t get too excited, though.
The Bluetooth only has one purpose thus far. Starting soon, you can open your doors using a Bluetooth connection. There’s actually some debate about whether Disney will allow it via the Magic Band or your smartphone or both. Either way, these two resorts should have hands-free door unlocking in the near future. Anyone who has ever had luggage or shopping bags tying up both hands will love this new feature.
Magical Express Changes Again
As MickeyBlog News mentioned last month, Disney took steps to address the congestion at Orlando International Airport during the holidays. For December and the first few days of January, Magical Express required guests to check in four hours before their flight departure time. They did so to guarantee that everyone made their flight.
Still, anyone who has ever taken a ride on the Tragical Express understands how demoralizing the Disney vacation exit is on its own. Making people leave an hour earlier is just cruel. Thankfully, the end of the busiest time of the year at Walt Disney World means that Magical Express is back to its regular schedule. Guests only need to arrive three hours prior to flight departure. Sure, it’s still sad having to leave Disney, but at least you get an extra hour now.
Another Animal at Animal Kingdom
We don’t commemorate the birth of every new animal at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but some additions are special. For example, Disney’s Parks Blogs recently announced the birth of a new hippo. What’s the big deal about that? One hadn’t been born at the park in 13 years! This is a tremendous achievement for the loving zoologists on duty at the park. They work tirelessly to keep the world’s most popular zoo operating smoothly. Births like this are a huge triumph. After all, the Nile Hippopotamus isn’t an animal you’d expect to propagate the species in…Orlando, Florida. People just don’t appreciate the monumental achievement of Animal Kingdom enough in my opinion.
An Even Wider World of Sports
This year is a huge one for the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World. It’s the final year that the Atlanta Braves will make the stadium their home before heading to greener pastures, which is to say a more lucrative stadium deal in a nearby city.
2018 also marks the opening of the third competition venue at the complex. This new space is 30,000 square feet in size and capable of hosting 8,000 people. In other words, it’s a huge new arena where Disney can host even more athletic competitions. Disney has promised men’s and women’s basketball, gymnastics, and volleyball events at the third arena.
Realistically, everyone knows the new arena’s main purpose, though. Disney loves cheerleading and dancing competitions, which frequently sell out and lead to dramatic upturns in park attendance during the events. Also, it’s just fun to see a bunch of proud kids sporting medals as they walk through the parks. Understanding the benefits of this arena, Disney actually partnered with Varsity Spirit in constructing the new facility.
Speaking of an Hour’s Change
A couple of months ago, MickeyBlog News mentioned the inaccuracy of one of the best known jokes at Walt Disney World. Magic Kingdom moved up the start time of the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade. That change turned a good gag into a confusing one.
For years, cast members laughed that guests would sincerely ask them, “What time is the 3 o’clock parade?” In recent months, the correct answer was, “2 o’clock.” And that just messed with everybody. Thankfully, Disney has changed the time again. Apparently, the switch to 2 p.m. was temporary, and the parade is back to its regularly scheduled start time, 3 p.m. So, when somebody asks what time the 3 o’clock parade is, you can go back to wondering what’s wrong with them.
The Benefits of Concierge Service
Do you ever stay on the concierge floor of a Disney resort? Well, I’ve got great news for those of you who do! Disney’s experimenting with a new upsell service. As of right now, you can book extra FastPasses! Of course, these extra FastPasses come at a price. Specifically, they’re $50 per person per day.
For that money, you get to book three additional FastPasses beyond the three that everyone gets. My calculator tells me that this is a grand total of six (!) FastPasses. Even better, the three you pay to purchase have special abilities. They’re not tiered or restricted in any way. Instead, you can book three rides on Avatar Flight of Passage or one ride each on Frozen Ever After, Test Track, and Soarin’.
Think of them as blank FastPasses that you can use any way that you like. Plus, you can book them 90 days ahead of time instead of the regular 60 days for guest staying at Disney resorts! To qualify for these FastPasses, all you need is a reservation for a concierge floor room and admission via park tickets good for three days or longer.
This deal is wonderful for successful people who want to maximize their park time. If you’re interested in finding out additional details, contact a MickeyTravels travel agent to get some free advice and help in booking your trip.
David Mumpower is the author of the Disney Demystified series. For only $4.99 each, you can read book one about Disneyland or book two about Walt Disney World. The softcover books also make great gifts for that person who prefers the old school way of reading.