MickeyBlog News – Latest Disney News & Updates
Disney’s plastic reduction initiative doesn’t apply to sponsorships, a closed restaurant has returned from the dead, and Walt Disney World WiFi is about to get better. Read on to learn more in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News!
A Mixed Message
Remember a few weeks ago when The Walt Disney Company announced their plan to reduce wasteful plastic and paper consumption at Disney parks? Well, they have taken your straws and lids, but Disney’s now given you something back in exchange.
The next time that you ride Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom, you won’t have to worry about your electronics! Disney understands that your stuff gets drenched when you take it on the ride. It’s not called Dry Mountain, after all. And the company doesn’t want you soaking your smartphone or the like. So, they have signed a clever new sponsor for this attraction.
Moving forward, guests at Splash Mountain have a clever option to protect their small items. Ziploc, whose bags have protected your lunch sandwiches for decades now, has become a Disney sponsor. They will provide free Ziploc bags to keep all of your electronics dry during your river raft ride.
Once you’re done, you can place the bags in recycling bins, which is Disney’s way of maintaining their green-friendly practices. Please remember to do this as you leave the ride area. Alternately, keep the bag(s) for future Splash Mountain visits.
A few weeks ago, Earl of Sandwich closed amidst much fanfare. Disney ended the beloved eatery’s run at Downtown Disney for business purposes. It wasn’t that the restaurant was doing poorly. To the contrary, it was frequently crowded and received glowing reviews on social media sites. Alas, Disney needed the space for their major expansion project, the announced hotel at Downtown Disney.
As MickeyBlog readers know, that resort is currently on hold. Disney’s received unexpected pushback from the city of Anaheim. While the two sides have achieved a détente and are at peace right now, this hotel is in a holding pattern. So, Disney has done something smart in the interim.
They’ve re-opened Earl of Sandwich for the time being. Since there’s been no announcement about the cancellation of the Downtown Disney resort, this move is likely temporary, so enjoy a sandwich while you still can! Besides, how often do you get to say that you’re eating an undead restaurant?
Some Quick Movie Notes
Let’s start with an exciting announcement. Fifteen years ago, Disney launched a wildly successful film franchise based on one of their iconic theme park attractions, Pirates of the Caribbean. The five movies in that series have earned $4.5 billion, an average of $900 million per title!
A little over a year from now, Disney hopes to catch lightning in a bottle with another film based off of a seminal attraction. Jungle Cruise comes out on October 11th, 2019. The current belief is that it’s going to be a blockbuster, and I’m not just saying that because I, like most people, love The Rock. It seems like a spiritual successor to The African Queen, the 1951 classic that strongly influenced Jungle Cruise as an attraction.
The Rock and Emily Blunt may not be Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, but they’re as famous as movie stars can get these days. Placing them in a romantic comedy with popcorn flick elements seems like a masterstroke. And Disney’s social media has done a wonderful job of building awareness for the film. I previously linked video of the massive scope of the Jungle Cruise set. Today, you should watch this clip to get another update.
While we’re on the subject of Disney movies, my friends at Exhibitor Relations pointed out this amazing tidbit. With more than three months to go in 2018, the company’s films have already grossed more than during the historic 2017 campaign. Their releases this year have already earned roughly $6.46 billion, and the stunning part is that they still have three major blockbusters yet to come.
The Wreck-It Ralph sequel, the Mary Poppins sequel, and a Nutcracker film based on the ballet should all do extremely well. The unmistakable reality is that Disney’s going to shatter box office records this year. In fact, they may reach such heights that their 2018 box office totals will be the equivalent of scoring 100 points in an NBA game.
The Pros and Cons of Running a Great Business
A couple of weeks ago in MickeyBlog News, I said I wouldn’t talk about Disney’s labor status for a while. They seemed to have everything tied up after signing long-term agreements with both Walt Disney World and Disneyland employees. Most of the negotiations were union deals, too, and those are sacrosanct once both parties sign the deal.
Well, Disney’s already made a liar out of me. They did have some high-profile layoffs this past week. Don’t worry. Your favorite cast member is safe. It wasn’t that kind of layoffs. Instead, some high-profile employees in the Consumer Products and Interactive Media group lost their jobs. We’re talking about less than 50 jobs in total, and the only reason why we’re mentioning it is that Variety and CNN both did.
The move isn’t entirely unexpected as Disney restructured all of their divisions earlier this year. They had some duplication in key positions and will have even more in 2019. That’s when the Fox acquisition becomes official, and Disney will acquire new employees with similar job titles. Don’t be surprised if you read about another batch of layoffs on or before that time, possibly even a bit afterward. Disney’s still earning record revenue and profits, so this is a giant nothing burger in the greater scheme.
Something that matters very much is news that Forbes announced earlier this week. The company that’s the gold standard in Fortune 500 rankings lauded the Mouse House in a rare profound way. Forbes named Disney the Top Regarded Company in the World for 2018. They’d previously declared it one of the top ten brands in the world, but this is even better. It verifies that Disney maintains the same mystique it’s had ever since the early days when Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs invented the animated movie.
In recent years, one of the most consistent complaints about Disney theme park visits involves the WiFi. Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World struggle to meet the demand of 100,000 daily guests, all of whom want to upload Purple Wall photos to Instagram. Fixing Disneyland’s internet network has been an ongoing battle that the company aggressively attacked since the introduction of MaxPass.
This month, they’ve started a plan to upgrade Walt Disney World as well. Park planners started the upgrade process with Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Guests at this resort right now have received the pleasant bonus of super-fast connections. If you’re at the hotel and looking for the right network, choose “WDW Resorts Guest.” The plan is for every Disney resort to receive this improved WiFi service over the next few months. You can stream your favorite park ride guilt-free from now on, my friends!