MickeyBlog News for September 16, 2019
What happened at Disney this past week? Well, the Muppets suffered through a pair of Disney-related struggles, an Enchanted Rose is ready to bloom at the Grand Floridian, more cool buses drove around Walt Disney World, and Robert Iger quit…but not Disney. Let’s get you brought up to speed in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News.
The Muppets Lose Some Fluff
Disney loves the Muppets so much, although you won’t believe that after the first two updates this week. The park news isn’t something that Magic Kingdom fans will like.
The Muppets Present Great Moments in American History is apparently no more. Park listings cease for this show on September 30th. At that point, the three-year run of this Liberty Square presentation will end. It’s not the only change coming to the park, either.
The Royal Majesty Makers at Fantasyland are also about to leave Magic Kingdom. And Disney has scaled back the performances of Move It! Shake It! Mousekedance It! Street Parade down to twice a day, too. Clearly, park officials have prioritized better traffic flow over the mid-street shows.
But the Muppets news is doubly bad. A new person is in charge of Disney programming, and he quickly moved to kill a potential television project. A Muppets revival had been in the pipeline for Disney+. Josh Gad, aka Olaf from Frozen, had worked on the project along with the team behind Once Upon a Time.
Gad described this project as – I kid you not – The Muppets meets Stranger Things and was to take place during the 1980s. The new executive at Disney understandably had questions about such an experimental premise and eventually decided it didn’t work.
Muppets fans needn’t worry. Disney+ still has a show in the offing. Muppets Now is an unscripted series with some talk show elements. But two Muppets cancellations in a week isn’t going to bring out the best in Miss Piggy.
The Enchanted Rose Will Bloom This Fall
We’ve known for a while now that Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa would receive a new lounge. And the theming for this place is Beauty and the Beast.
This past week, Disney unveiled more tantalizing details about what’s sure to become the best resort lounge in the company’s history.
The new place is named The Enchanted Rose, and its location is on the second floor of the hotel, just above its majestic lobby. The Parks Blog promises that this trendy hot spot will “celebrate the magic and romance of Disney’s popular live-action movie.” For example, Imagineers have crafted an entire chandelier based on Belle’s famous dress.
Disney also revealed a bit more about the menu. Shareables are the foods of choice here, with smoked rib sliders and artisanal cheeses. Small seafood plates are readily available, too. You’ll even find truffle fries and a few flatbreads here.
As for the drinks, many of your favorite cocktails and beers will have a place here. Yes, champagne and wine are also on the menu. In short, The Enchanted Rose will become a lovely family hangout spot when it opens later this fall.
New Buses in the Fleet
Only a few weeks ago, Walt Disney World introduced a new fleet of buses. These vehicles came with better theming and features. Disney’s Sensational Six, Mickey Mouse and his best friends, covered the buses. Inside, guests discovered USB charging ports under some of the seats, a welcome and much-needed improvement.
Over the past few days, Disney’s added even more buses to the fleet. These sport more recent movie themes such as The Lion King, Moana, and Monsters, Inc. Yes, Simba, Sully, and Mike Wazowski join Moana as the stars of these new rides.
Each film gets its own bus, and another for Frozen is apparently in the offing. I should point out that not all of these vehicles sport the USB ports, at least not yet. Disney hasn’t stated whether they will become standard equipment or not.
More News from Magic Kingdom
I bring you good news and potentially bad news from Magic Kingdom. Let’s start with the positive. Tomorrowland Light & Power Co., the place where you go to design your own iPhone cases and Magic Bands, has altered their seating area in the back.
This section now includes USB ports. You can kick back and relax in a chair while your smart device recharges. And that’s a good thing since change may be afoot at the FuelRod stations.
These kiosks sell tiny USB chargers that add somewhere between four and eight hours of life to your smart device. The price of a battery is $30, and the deal at Disney is that you get to exchange it as many times as you want.
That is not the deal with FuelRod everywhere else, which is important. Eagle-eyed park guests have noticed that these kiosks no longer have a phrase stamped on them. And that phrase is “Free Unlimited Swapping.” Yes, it appears that the good times may be over.
From now on, you might have to pay for replacement batteries. Disney hasn’t officially commented yet, but the removal of the sign seems like a clear indicator of their intent. So, hang out at Tomorrowland Light & Power Co. and on Disney buses to recharge your current battery!
Bob Iger Quits
Okay, don’t freak out. Iger hasn’t left Disney, a move that will make national headlines when it finally occurs. After all, under Iger’s stewardship, the company has become more successful than at any other juncture since Walt Disney’s tenure. And that’s also the problem.
Iger’s recent plans for Disney’s media department primarily center on the upcoming Disney+ streaming service. Iger also happens to be a member of Apple’s Board of Directors, a title he has held since 2011. After Disney purchased Pixar, Apple grew quite chummy with the Mouse.
Now that Disney’s entered the streaming video field, the situation has changed. The two companies are no longer aligned in goals. To wit, Apple just announced its own streaming service, which will launch in November. That timeframe likely sounds familiar, as it’s also when Disney+ will debut.
In fact, Apple’s launch date of November 1st sounds precisely timed to get the jump on Disney. Our beloved company’s service opens in the United States on November 12th. Yes, the corporations are effectively fighting for the same consumer dollars.
Understandably, Iger and Apple both recognize that this situation isn’t tenable. He cannot in good conscience speak in the best interests of Apple when they’re the competition now. Therefore, Iger did the right thing and resigned from Apple’s board on September 10th.
Realistically, the streaming service war isn’t much of a fight since Apple’s service will have a paltry amount of original shows at launch. Still, this move needed to happen if for no other reason than to end those longstanding, wholly unfounded rumors that Apple might buy Disney.