MickeyBlog News Mickey Updates – November 19, 2018
Happy 90th birthday to Mickey Mouse! Yes, the mouse that started it all is now a nonagenarian. As a special way of celebrating his birthday, Disney officials unleashed a wave of news items.
You can learn about the four International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) reveals in this article. MickeyBlog will post a recap of Destination D soon, too. Between Disney’s earnings report, the earnings call that revealed upcoming Disney plans, a lot has happened.
This week’s MickeyBlog News will focus exclusively on the other stuff. And there is a TON of that, too. Here’s what you need to know!
The most divisive topic in Disney circles this week stems from an unexpected announcement. Park officials announced that nine different character spots such as Tinker Bell at Town Square Theater are about to change. No, the characters aren’t rotating or anything. The change will occur behind the camera.
At these nine spots, Disney will relieve cast members of their camera duties. In their place, automated kiosks will record the entire encounter. Yes, Disney is removing the human element from photography. MickeyBlog first reported the story here. The subject proved a bit controversial on our Facebook page, so much so that Disney sent out a press release. You can read it in its entirety here.
The gist is that park officials believe this change will improve the customer experience. Rather than having a couple of pictures during a character meeting, Mickey Travelers will have their choice of many options. Since the automated camera records video of the entire encounter, it will capture all of the moments that a human photographer might miss.
The concern is that Disney tested this service previously. The results were lackluster at best, at least according to customer surveys. Presumably, Imagineers have enhanced the system since then. We will know soon whether these changes are good enough for park guests. Either way, the belief is that Disney wants automated cameras blanketing the parks. It’s the best way to capture all the magic, and it’s not really possible without automation.
Speaking of Character Meetings…
Did you know that there are currently only two Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) standalone movies on the movie schedule? One of them is the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, which will open on July 5, 2019. The other is the most important title in the MCU other than the sequel to Avengers: Infinity War.
During the post-credits for Infinity War, Nick Fury signaled Captain Marvel aka Carol Danvers, the sometimes leader of the Avengers. We haven’t seen her in a film yet, but that will change on March 8, 2019. In anticipation of the upcoming blockbuster, Disney California Adventure will host a Captain Marvel character meeting in early 2019. It will take place at Hollywood Land, with Carol Danvers joined by other Avengers such as Black Panther, Captain America, and Spider-Man.
Also, while we’re talking about all these Marvel movies, it’s only fitting to show our respect for the man who created many of them. The great Stan Lee died at the age of 95 this week. A cultural icon, the comic writer invented legendary Marvel characters like Spider-Man, The Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Thor, and the X-Men among others.
Rather than feel bad about the man’s death, I’ll simply ask you to appreciate what his works meant to your life. Then, I’ll point out that at the age of 25, Lee married the former Joan Boocock, and their marriage lasted until her death last year, also at the age of 95. Yes, they were married for 73 (!) years and are now reunited in the afterlife.
Speaking of Disney Movies…
While we’re on the subject of upcoming Disney blockbusters, this week featured a couple of huuuuuuge new trailers.
The first one is the 90-second teaser clip for Toy Story 4. You can watch the video here. Toy Story 3 was the biggest box office hit for Pixar for almost eight years, earning $1.07 billion during its domestic run. The Incredibles 2 recently surpassed it in terms of box office, but Toy Story 3 also won two Oscars, Best Song and Best Animated Feature. To date, it’s the most successful Pixar project ever in terms of critical acclaim combined with box office. So, this sequel is highly anticipated. While the teaser didn’t give away any of the story, it’s still a joy to watch.
Somehow, the other Disney trailer out this week is even more important to lifelong fans. Disney is making a live-action version of Dumbo, one of the true classics in the studio’s library. From a young age, every child learns the story of the elephant with ears big enough to allow him to fly. Dumbo was only the fourth animated movie ever, and the live-action adaptation is directed by legendary auteur, Tim Burton. It’s one of the most important titles on the schedule. Obviously, you’ll want to watch this trailer.
While we’re at it, you might as well watch this special sneak peek of Mary Poppins Returns, too. We’re in the second golden age of Disney cinema, my friends. Relish every second of it.
Let’s Talk Restaurants!
Storybook Dining at Artist Point is almost ready to debut. We are only a few weeks away from the first character meal involving Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Back in October, the Parks Blog displayed pictures of some of the edible goodies available at this meal. Now that the opening is here, they’ve finalized the menu for the Signature Dining experience at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
The one thing that’s clear in looking at the menu is that theming drives everything here. The soups are served in tiny black cauldrons, giving them the appearance of a witch’s brew. Much like the hag that Snow White encounters, the Hunter’s Pie is deceitful in appearance. It looks like a pastry, but it’s similar to the pods at Satu’li Canteen in that it’s a savory burger-style food.
Even the children’s meals are perfect in style. The Princess Pasta is disgusting looking in a way that kids will (literally) eat up. And the desserts are so enticing that you’ll willingly risk an eternal slumber to take a bite of the delicious fruit. The highlight of this character meal is a “Poison” Apple featuring white mousse and a sour center. Folks, the Snow White dinner will be special. You should book it for your next Disney trip.
During a later Disney trip, you will want to book an entirely different dining experience. We’ve known for a while that Mission: Space would receive a nearby themed restaurant. This meal will take place in outer space, which is to say that the theming will make you feel like you’re dining in the Earth’s atmosphere.
This week, we learned the name of the restaurant. Space 220 will “offer simulated views into space.” That sounds great right up until the aliens invade. Ah well, that’s why we have Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum. Kidding aside, Disney is promising an International Space Station (ISS) theme, too.
Guests will encounter plenty of Europeans, just as they would on the ISS. Due to this choice, Space 220 almost qualifies as another World Showcase eatery. You’re dining on international cuisine while getting served by non-Americans. The restaurant will come with two elevators and digital projections of outer space.
When you eat here, you will buy into the illusion that you have left the planet behind and entered outer space. It should be unlike anything else in the history of Disney theme parks, reason enough to prioritize a meal at Space 220 when the place opens.