MickeyBlog Disney News Update – January 29, 2018
This past week was huge for The Walt Disney Company. We’ll talk about why in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News!
Academy Awards Nominations
Since nearly the beginning, Disney’s popularity is linked to its movie division. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was nominated for an Oscar and later won an honorary award for significant innovation. Since 1973, the company has coveted Oscar nominations to prove its dominance in the industry. For 2017, the box office performances of various Disney films already did that. Still, it’s always nice to get some love from the Academy.
Disney movies earned 10 nominations for the year across nine categories. The most successful performer is Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which earned four nominations in the various technical categories. Coco garnered recognition for Best Original Song for Remember Me. It’s also the heavy favorite to win Best Animated Feature Film. Finally, Beauty and the Beast also received a pair of nods in the categories of Best Production Design and Best Costume Design.
While some other Disney titles were also more than worthy of selection, 10 nominations is a very good year for Disney. Last year, they only managed eight. A couple of wins would be the perfect capper for a tremendous year of Disney cinema.
A Pleasantly Shocking Minnie Van Update
A surprising document appeared at Walt Disney World this week. A few lucky residents staying on the Club Level of Disney resorts learned that they had access to a new kind of Minnie Van ride. Starting this week, guests may purchase airport shuttle service via the coolest ride in town.
Yes, Minnie Vans will take you to and from the airport now!
Currently, the service has several restrictions. You must book through the concierge. You also need your full travel information, just as if you were booking Magical Express. Also, it has a maximum of six guests, the same as a regular Minnie Van ride. This service has longer hours than Magic Express. It runs from 5 a.m. until midnight, two hours later than its free counterpart (well, the luggage delivery portion anyway).
The trade-off for the convenience and extended hours is the cost. Renting a Minnie Van for airport service is $150. Split six ways, that’s $25 per person, which isn’t bad. For families, however, it’s not cheap. In fact, several critics have noted that many one-way limo services in the area charge roughly that amount. Is a limo ride from the airport better than a Minnie Van? Well, I wouldn’t think so, but your mileage may vary.
In the short term, the Minnie Van paid version of Magical Express only helps guests staying on the concierge level. I expect that it will get expanded over time, but this news really only helps a few lucky Disney guests at the moment.
Club 33 Bay-Bee!
The other huge Walt Disney World news this week is that we finally have confirmation about Club 33. No, we still don’t know the locations of the four new restaurants. We do, however, know the price. And it ain’t cheap.
As you know, Club 33 is an exclusive club at Disneyland that caters to the rich and famous. After decades of requests, it’s finally going to have a presence in Orlando. Each theme park at Walt Disney World will add a Club 33 eatery over the next year or two. To eat at each one, you’ll have to pay the membership fee, which we’ve now learned is $25,000. You’ll also have to pay an annual fee of roughly $15,000, and no, the food isn’t free after that. You’ll still have to pay for each meal.
Club 33 caters to the One Percenters at Disney theme parks. To that end, the first people to receive invitations are the residents of Golden Oak, the on-campus Disney neighborhood. Since the homes here cost $1.8 million to start, the Club 33 price isn’t going to bother anybody who lives here. The rest of us will have to hope for a dinner invitation from one of our rich friends.
Disney still hasn’t announced official opening dates for the four Club 33 properties, either. Expect that news later this year.
New Restaurants at Downtown Disney
While most of the news about upcoming Disney restaurants has involved Disney Springs, Anaheim’s not getting left out. To the contrary, they’re getting new eateries starting this week! Splitsville Luxury Lanes was supposed to debut sooner, but it had a literal dumpster fire. And you thought those only existed in memes! The fire pushed the opening date to January 29th.
A few months from now, another restaurant will join the Downtown Disney lineup. Ballast Point is a gastropub that stems from a San Diego brewery founded in 1996. There are seven current locations across the United States. Downtown Disney will become the eighth. The menu here will highlight California cuisine and flatbreads, but the real story is the brewery. Ballast Point will feature the first onsite brewery on the Disneyland campus.
One other restaurant will open in 2018 while another will undergo serious renovations. The updates will come to a known commodity. Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria opened in 2001 as the original version of what Walt Disney World fans know as Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria, the beloved Table Service restaurant at the Italy Pavilion. The Downtown Disney restaurant is a bit long in the tooth now, and so management is performing construction throughout the first half of 2018 to modernize it.
The other (currently announced) new eatery is Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer, which is exactly what it sounds like: a casual burgers and beer joint. This five-restaurant chain also makes a mean milkshake. Disney’s also adding a home store to Downtown Disney. Plus, they’re re-imaging World of Disney to fit better with the concept of the ShopDisney brand. Basically, 2018 will be as big a year for Downtown Disney as 2016 was for Disney Springs.
Finally and apropos of nothing, something magical happened at Tokyo Disneyland last week. For the first time in several years, it snowed at the park! You can find some gorgeous photos that capture the moment on Instagram and other social media services. Here’s a Travel & Leisure link that has some, but there are plenty of others online.
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