Amazing Disney News You’ll Really Want to Know
What’s happening at the wide world of Disney this week? Well, Jedi Training is half-canceled, a luxury hotel is all canceled, Walt Disney World has a new favorite fruit, Animal Kingdom’s got special pictures available, and a new restaurant is opening this week…and next year. It’s that kind of week in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News.
How Important Is Jedi Training Anyway?
As someone on The Simpsons points out, Luke Skywalker never finished Jedi training school. How important could Jedi training be if the guy who took down the Empire failed to graduate? Keep this in mind as I relay the following information.
The Walt Disney Company has confirmed that Disneyland’s closing Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. The Tomorrowland attraction has taught many younglings in the way of The Force. As of November 3rd, however, the training has ended, and potential Jedi disciples are left to fend for themselves. Hey, that’s what Luke had to do in the original movie AND what Rey had to do in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If they got by without Jedi mentoring, you can, too.
The belief is that Disney will relocate the experience when Star Wars Land opens next summer. At a minimum, they’ll host something similar at some point. Until then, you can still get all the Jedi training that you need at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Disney isn’t closing Jedi training there anytime soon. And it’s a lot closer to travel to Orlando than Dagobah! (This is apparently the planet where Yoda trained Luke. I had to google it, so don’t feel bad if you didn’t get the reference.)
The Downtown Disney Hotel Is Dead
Over the past few months, MickeyBlog has chronicled the odd trajectory of an upcoming hotel project. Oops, I mean a former hotel project. At D-23 and other events, Disney had revealed a massive new hotel at Downtown Disney in Anaheim. The luxury accommodations were intended to aid the current hotel room crunch at Disneyland.
Unfortunately, Disney ran into some unexpected issues with the local government. A few people ran for office specifically to prevent the corporation from receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in tax incentives. A couple of them won, and they took a hardline stance on the project, forcing Disney officials to reconsider. While the parties largely kissed and made up, the city of Anaheim wouldn’t relent on the tax incentives.
For this reason, Disney formally announced that they will NOT build the previously announced Downtown Disney resort. It’s a sad end to the saga, although people closely involved with the project have suggested a resurrection is possible after the next city council election.
Disney Has Cuties!
A few weeks ago, we discussed the oddness of Disney’s latest sponsorship agreement. Ziploc bags have an agreement in place at Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom. When guests prepare to ride the attraction, they receive complimentary Ziploc bags to store their electronics and other belongings they want to keep dry.
This week, Disney introduced an even stranger sponsor. From this point forward, Cuties is the official citrus fruit Disney’s American resorts. Yes, when you eat anything citrus at Disneyland or Walt Disney World, you can be sure that it’s a Cuties product. The upshot of the agreement is that many Quick Service kid’s meals will now feature a healthy option, some sort of Cuties fruit.
There’s also a certain symmetry to Disney have an official citrus fruit. The 160 acres of land Walt Disney purchased in anticipation of building Disneyland were orange groves at the time. So, this agreement is a kind of coming full circle for the Anaheim park.
Animal Kingdom Magic Shots!
In recent years, Disney has enhanced the value of its PhotoPass service through Magic Shots. These pictures involve a bit of technical wizardry. A person takes a regular picture, only the photographer asks for a special kind of pose. Once the person sees the photograph, it reveals a secret. Some Disney character is doing something memorable. Magic Shots incorporate these characters into the shot. It’s a special dose of Disney creativity, and the overwhelming majority of PhotoPass users are huge fans.
Starting this week, Magic Shot aficionados should head over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Both the Asia and Africa themed lands at this park have new Magic Shots available. In Africa, the evil hyenas from The Lion King will encircle you, creating a menacing image. Over at Asia, characters from The Jungle Book appear, including a tiger that isn’t sure that you should be in his lair. There’s even a Magic Shot option near the front entrance. Iago the annoying parrot will fly into your shot. A couple of these images are only available during October, so hurry over to the park!
Even More Restaurants and Stores!
Disney seems to open a new restaurant or store every week, don’t they? Well, this week is no exception and in fact a big one at Downtown Disney AND Disney Springs. At Anaheim’s entertainment district, a much-anticipated ice cream parlor is ready to debut. Salt & Straw, the Oregon institution, is now selling its unique brand of handmade ice cream at Downtown Disney! As the name implies, it’s…salty. They’re the Voodoo Doughnuts of ice cream, so you should also expect some wild flavor combinations.
Disney Springs counters with a trio of new stores. The most exciting one for pet owners is Disney Tails. Here, you can become one of those people who dress their animals up in human outfits, thereby becoming the sworn enemy of Monica Gellar from Friends. Yes, it’s an entire store full of Disney toys for pets! I should warn cat lovers that Disney’s confirmed that the store will have a decidedly dog-centric slant.
The other two new stores are illustration-centric. Lovepop is like a modern Hallmark store, selling greeting cards that Disney promises will have state-of-the-art 3-D computer-generated images. With that many hyphens, you know they must be good! The other place is The Art of Disney Presents Greg McCullough, a limited engagement outlet that sells the works of Greg McCullough. The artist will be on hand from 1 p.m. through 7:30 p.m. from Tuesday through Sunday each week to sign copies of the prints. This store will close on New Year’s Day, so act quickly if you’re interested!
Disney also announced yet another Disney Springs restaurant coming in 2019. City Works Eatery & Pour House is the oddly named craft beer sports bar coming to the West Side of the entertainment district. This place is actually a franchise, with seven locations already in existence, proving that a good name isn’t always important to a business’ success.
This place promises to have a lot of televisions including a massive 165-inch screen that will make you feel shame about your living room HDTV. So, when it opens, it’s going to be the best place at Disney Springs to catch a game. The 80 beers on tap help, too.
Two Other Nice Disney News Items
Let’s finish up this week’s edition with a couple of news stories that will cause you to feel good about your love of all things Disney. First of all, the company generously donated to the Florida Disaster Fund this week in the wake of Hurricane Michael. Their donation was at least $1 million and could end up being substantially more since they’re matching other donations from Disney employees.
Also, Disney Cruise Line continues to rack up major awards. The readers of Conde Nast are the latest admirers. They selected Disney Cruise Line as the finest cruise service for Large Ships. Conde Nast categorizes these as ships capable of hosting 2,500-4,000 passengers. Disney also finished in the top seven in the Medium Ship category, which is for 500-2,500 passengers. If you’ve ever been on the fence about a Disney cruise, this news should make your decision easy. Speak with an agent at Mickey Travels to schedule an exotic getaway on a luxury cruise ship!
We hope you enjoyed this week’s version of MickeyBlog news covering all the amazing Disney news from last week!