MickeyBlog News – Updates, Announcements and More
This week, Disney fans learned about alternate universes, upcoming Tokyo attractions, and a particularly helpful group of cast members. Plus, a new Disney Springs restaurant received an impressive honor. The news wasn’t all good, though. A couple of unfortunate news headlines emanated from Walt Disney World, and Disneyland had one, too. It’s been a weird week, as you’ll learn in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News.
Welcome to the Spider-Verse!
We’re not in the habit of discussing non-Disney films in MickeyBlog News. This past weekend was an unusual circumstance, too. A beloved Marvel character starred in a new Sony movie…and an animated one at that. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse debuted in theaters, earning $35.4 million.
This release highlights the strange situation involving Marvel/Disney. The Walt Disney Company owns Spider-Man the character and everything else in Marvel Comics. Rival movie studios own the licensing rights to some of these characters, though. Sony’s latest release signifies that they aren’t letting go of the Webslinger anytime soon, either.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the release is its Cinemascore. Into the Spider-Verse became only the sixth film this year to earn an A+ grade…and half of those titles are either Pixar or Marvel characters. Black Panther and The Incredibles 2 are the other two titles.
Speaking of Pixar, the animation arm of Disney also revealed details about their upcoming 2020 release. Entitled Onward, it features voice acting work from Chris Pratt and Tom Holland aka Star-Lord and Loki from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Onward is set in a suburban fantasy world and tells the story of two teenage brothers…who happen to be elves. They want to prove that there’s still magic in their world and set out on a quest to find out.
Finally, while we’re talking about Disney cinema, one of the true classics earned a rare honor this past week. The National Film Registry added Cinderella to its list of the 750 most culturally significant films of all-time. It joins prior Disney animation entries such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Pinocchio, and the Steamboat Willie animated short that started it all.
Tokyo Disneyland Updates
Last week, we discussed the Beauty and the Beast attraction that will anchor the Beauty and the Beast Castle. Entitled Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast, it’s an eight-minute dark ride with unprecedented Audio-Animatronics. But it’s not the only new update coming to Tokyo Disneyland.
In recent days, park officials have doled out new details about other new features. For starters, Fantasyland Forest Theatre will become the first full-scale indoor theater at the park. It’s presumably a character meeting spot of massive proportions. Along the same lines, Minnie Mouse will hold court as a “fashion designer” in a new Toontown location called Minnie’s Style Studio.
In Tomorrowland, Disney will introduce a Big Hero Six attraction. Fittingly called The Happy Ride with Baymax, it’s being described as a “whip ride.” To my mind, that sounds at least somewhat like Alien Swirling Saucers at Toy Story Land, but the proposed specs for the Baymax attraction don’t seem similar.
Tokyo Disneyland will spend 75 billion Japanese Yen on the new updates. As I type this, it’s the equivalent of $660 million US dollars, although there’s a lot of play in that number due to exchange rates. Disney’s announced it as a $700 million expansion. This park’s already phenomenal, but it’ll become a must-visit location when the new additions debut in 2020.
Helpful Cast Members!
Okay, all cast members are helpful by nature and just generally wonderful people. Starting this week, Magic Kingdom has introduced some especially helpful ones, though. The Guest Experience Team is an actionable group that can relieve guests of the most aggravating issues pertaining to a theme park experience.
For first-time visitors or folks who haven’t been in a while, a Walt Disney World trip can feel overwhelming. The purpose of the Guest Experience Team is to streamline the process and thereby maximize enjoyment.
Located on Main Street U.S.A. near the castle hub and the area adjacent to Stitch’s Great Escape and a couple of other spots, these cast members wear easily identifiable logos to identify that their primary purpose is to help. Whether you have FastPass issues, My Disney Experience problems, or a general lack of park knowledge, a Guest Experience Team professional can walk you through the process and thereby eliminate your stress.
And the Best New Restaurant Is…
Wine Bar George has received several terrific reviews and even a few honors during its brief existence. Recently, it garnered an even more impressive headline. The National Restaurant Association shortlisted 20 new businesses as the best new restaurants of the year. An upcoming vote will narrow the list to ten, which will receive the official honor of Best New Restaurant.
Are you a big fan of Wine Bar George? If so, you can participate in the vote at this website. You have until January 7th to vote, and you can vote once a day. The National Restaurant Association will announce the official winners on January 18th. Either way, Wine Bar George is one of the 20 best new restaurants in the United States!
Disney’s Strange Week
Do you know what a scary moment is? It’s when you hear that two buses crashed at Epcot, knowing that you have a family member in the Epcot area that day. This is what happened to my family the other day when news broke that two Epcot buses had collided at the Epcot toll booth area.
Apparently, a Disney bus driver with seven passengers failed to notice a stopped Mears Transportation bus ahead of him. The Mears driver had stopped to perform a safety check but hadn’t done so in a proper spot. The Disney driver didn’t expect a stopped vehicle and rear-ended it hard to crack the windshield of trailing vehicle.
Police officers cited the Disney vehicle operator for Reckless Driving, but traffic reports didn’t absolve the Mears Transportation driver. Both parties could have done their jobs better. The police ruled that the 21-year-old driver of the Disney bus was at fault, thereby endangering 51 passengers. The cited driver and 14 guests were taken to a local hospital to treat injuries generally described as cuts and scrapes, although some more serious injuries were reported, too.
From a meta perspective, I’m amazed that this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often at Walt Disney World. After all, buses run ceaselessly from two hours before opening until every park visitor has returned home at night. The law of averages suggests that more bus wrecks should happen than they do, which speaks to the quality of the safety measures that Disney has in place.
Still, it would still suck to be one of the people riding on those buses the other day. Thankfully, my family member was at a different theme park, although they indicated that the bus wreck was the talk of Walt Disney World that morning. I suspect that everyone riding a bus that day was a bit nervous.
Another unexpected news item this week involves a crime that actually took place in 2016. After an investigation, police officers recently arrested a former Disney resort employee. They discovered that during his Disney tenure, he’d stolen $49,000 in brazen fashion.
The cast member would issue credit card refunds for unhappy customers, only the customers were fake. He’d file the refunds and then transfer the money to his own bank account. No guests were impacted by this behavior, but it is still embezzlement.
This wasn’t even the only crime committed by a Disney employee last week. A now-former cast member got busted trying to take cellphone pictures of a man in a bathroom at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Even the makers of Eyes Wide Shut think that’s perverted.
Just to show you what a strange week Disney had, Santa went flying at Disneyland the other day. No, it wasn’t a planned flight. A float in the A Christmas Fantasy Parade broke. Due to the location of the mechanical failure, Santa’s sleigh tipped over, causing Santa to fly out of his seat. He was still strapped in so he was never in any danger. It’s weird when Santa Claus is parallel with his sled, though. You can see what I mean on this Instagram post.
For a moment there it looked like Christmas might not come this year as Santa was ejected from his sleigh during the Christmas Fantasy Parade at Disneyland on Saturday. Scary stuff, but Santa makes it out safely in the end. Much thanks to Jorge Monzon, Mollie Gomez & Suzanne Lee for capturing photos and video. To see what the parade looks like without Santa’s float, here’s your link: https://www.facebook.com/129985147012954/posts/2241672612510853/
Posted by MiceChat.com | The Happiest Place in Cyberspace… on Sunday, December 16, 2018
Stating the obvious, Disney’s had better news weeks. Keep checking back for more MickeyBlog news!