Big Disney Announcements for August 13, 2018
The Rock is filming on location, and any self-respecting Adventureland fan will want to see this Jungle Cruise set! We have some depressing but secretly great news about a beloved Tomorrowland attraction, too. The latest edition of MickeyBlog News is for Disney lovers, so let’s get started.
Walt Disney Would Beam with Pride
The Walt Disney Company struck gold with the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise. Their attempt to translate the beloved theme park attraction into a film series succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Next year, Disney will try to duplicate their achievement with a new would-be franchise. And we have much more cause for optimism about the project after a single tweet.
On October 11, 2019, Disney will finally release a film adaptation of Jungle Cruise, a project that has gestated for more than a decade. Its star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, filmed a video announcement on August 9th, and it caused even the most cynical of movie production observers to gawk.
The tweet on the official Jungle Cruise page revealed the size of the Jungle Cruise set. You should watch this video. It’s going to blow your mind. Disney is filming the production in Hawaii and judging from that video, they’ve built a campus that’s comparable to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Seriously, I’ve been an invited guest on major motion picture sets, and I’ve never seen anything like this. Disney’s putting their money where their mouth is on Jungle Cruise.
Speaking of Disney movies, Tron debuted in theaters a little over 26 years ago. Two years ago, Shanghai Disneyland opened to the public for the first time. Its signature Tomorrowland ride was/is Tron Lightcycle Power Run, which Disney revealed they would introduce at Magic Kingdom by 2021.
To foreshadow the coming brilliance, Imagineers have constructed a new Tron billboard. The Parks Blog bragged that this sign is “now visible from Storybook Circus.” It’s a clever ad due to its stylish recreation of the Tron universe. The billboard displays Tron: Legacy-inspired visuals of a Lightcycle rider. The text simply states, “Tron Now Programming.” It’s a tantalizing taste of what’s to come at Tomorrowland.
And Now, the “Bad News”
Alas, Imagineers will have to do some adjusting to open enough space for the giant Tron Lightcycle Power Run stadium. To do that, they’ll have to rob Peter to pay Paul, so to speak. They’ll need to alter the course for a classic Magic Kingdom attraction.
In early 2019, Tomorrowland Speedway will close for an indefinite amount of time. The current plan calls for this attraction to re-open during the summer of 2019. At that time, the speedway will feature a slightly different design. It will have a modified track to give the Tron ride its needed space.
You shouldn’t view this closure as bad news, though. For years now, rumormongers have suggested that Disney will shut down Tomorrowland Speedway and use its land for something else. The fact that Disney’s updating its track strongly suggests that Magic Kingdom’s answer to Autopia isn’t going away any time soon!
By the way, the Walt Disney World Railroad will also close for undetermined period, starting in December of this year. Disney promises that guests will have unique photo ops at Main Street Station while the train is out of operation. Presumably, it will open on a similar timeline with Tomorrowland Speedway, but Disney didn’t specify an expected return date for the railroad transportation system.
Disney’s dutiful obsession with perfecting the My Disney Experience (MDE) app hit another level this past week. Programmers added new functionality that will satisfy all of us who have a merchandising itch we can never quite scratch.
The latest version of MDE enables Shop Disney Parks purchases straight from the app!
Let me be clear about what this means. When you see something in the app that you want, you no longer have to visit the ShopDisney website! Instead, you can add the item to your bag (i.e. shopping cart) and complete the purchase in the app! It is wonderful news for you, Disney, and your credit card company.
As long as the app doesn’t sell items from Mitsukoshi Department Store at the Japan Pavilion, my wallet can survive this. Probably. Maybe. Oh, this is bad…but in the best possible way.
More Happiness at the Happiest Place on Earth
Disneyland’s making plans for the fall, y’all! First, they’re going to throw a party for the dead, and then they’re going to bring back some robotic birds. Okay, a lot of that sounds it’s from a horror movie. I swear this is great news though.
The party is Día de los Muertos, which Disney has turned into a seasonal experience. From September 7th through November 2nd, Disney California Adventure will recreate several concepts introduced in Pixar’s recent award-winning masterpiece, Coco.
At a special area called Plaza de la Familia, guests can celebrate the lives of loved ones thanks to the interactive Memory Wall. You can also take special photographs at the Mexican Árbol de la Vida and learn a new skill, mask making. This ability stems from the alebrije (you know, the weird-looking “dog”). You’ll impress your friends with your newfound crafting talent.
The event will include The World of Coco, an art exhibit that highlights the dazzling imagery from the film. I’m of the opinion that it’s the mostly visually stimulating animated movie ever, and I look forward to this exhibit. While you’re in the area, you can enjoy special mariachi music and Mexican cuisine, too. It’ll be the happiest Day of the Dead ever…and it will last for 67 days.
Disney provides one other nice Pixar touch at DCA during the festivities. While Cars has nothing to do with Coco, it’s a part of the new Pixar motif at DCA. And the Cars franchise lost one of its primary characters. During Día de los Muertos, Cars Land will pay tribute to Doc Hudson. He’ll have a special ofrenda (remembrance altar) at Ramone’s House of Body Art.
Finally, Disneyland has one more piece of great news. Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room will return on September 21st. It’s currently in the midst of a two-month renovation. Part of it is related to the opening of Tropical Hideaway, something we discussed last week.
Disney PhotoPass Day Is Almost Here
Each August, Disney hosts the special PhotoPass Day event. On August 19th, 2018, park guests at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will have rare character experience opportunities. By my count, you’ll find 28 different photo ops on the Orlando campus and another 13 at the Anaheim parks. That’s too many to highlight individually.
Instead, I’ll link you to Parks Blog details for Walt Disney World and Disneyland. You can cull the list down to the engagements that appeal to you the most. Let’s be honest. They’re all wonderful, and it’s a shame that they’re only available for one day!