MickeyBlog Disney News Updates – September 24, 2018
This week, we saw trailers for the next great Disney movies, we learned about a couple of attraction closings, we found out the dates for the first 2019 Epcot festival, and we discovered that Disney is retiring their most decorated nighttime exhibition. It’s a big week for Disney news updates, so let’s get started!
(Photo credit above: Reuters)
Retro Movies Are In!
Disney’s movie schedule for the next 16 months will sustain their unprecedented reign of box office dominance. That point isn’t in question. Still, it’s always wonderful to see a new trailer for an upcoming blockbuster. This week, Disney was kind enough to show off two of their most anticipated projects.
Without doing any spoilers, Disney revealed at the end of Avengers: Infinity War that the next film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be Captain Marvel. A post-credits scene hinted at her arrival. This week, Disney debuted the first trailer for the March 2019 release.
It showed a period piece set in the 1990s, one where a woman named Carol Danvers may or may not be an alien. Marvel comic book fans will appreciate (or become irrationally angry at) the merger of a couple of Danvers’ key stories over the years.
While Captain Marvel will make a metric ton of money, it’s not the new trailer that put a song in the hearts of Disney fanatics. Mary Poppins Returns received its official trailer this week, and it’s pure joy. I don’t want to give away the highlight, but something happens around two minutes into this clip that is just perfect. It should put a smile on anyone’s face. Mary Poppins Returns arrives in theaters on December 19th, less than three months from now.
Two Animal Kingdom Attractions Closing
Our friends over at DisBoards and WDWNT are both reporting that cast members at Disney’s Animal Kingdom received some bad news this week. The employees who work at Rafiki’s Planet Watch and Conservation Station will be re-assigned in October. Disney’s chosen to close these two attractions on October 21st. As part of the closures, the character meetings with Rafiki and Doc McStuffins will stop at the end of September.
Since you’re probably wondering, these closures also mean that the train into the area, the Wildlife Express, will end its operations. The veterinarian areas will remain open, of course, but the attraction aspects of this section of the park are finished for now.
Rumors have swirled about Disney’s upcoming plans for the slower areas of the park. Presumably, these closures are the first step toward enhancing the overall park experience at Animal Kingdom. And it was already incredible even before Pandora opened.
Other Park Closures and Modifications
A pair of other Disney attractions/events are about to end their runs, too. One of them should come with an asterisk, though. The Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party will technically close on December 1, 2018.
In early 2019, however, the Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party will replace it. This new version of the Magic Kingdom party event will have more of a focus on Mickey and Minnie Mouse, the stars of 2019 at Disney theme parks.
A similar situation will unfold at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Walt Disney Presents has recently hosted a character meeting with Guardians of the Galaxy superheroes. Guests get to interact with Star Lord and Baby Groot during this event, but Disney has previously indicated it wasn’t permanent.
Later this week, they’ll end the Guardians of the Galaxy meeting and replace it with a Monsters, Inc. meet-and-greet. Mike and Sulley, the stars of that franchise, will become the stars of the character encounter soon after Star-Lord leaves.
A stranger change will occur at Animal Kingdom later this week. In a cost cutting move, Disney will eliminate all live actors from the nighttime show at the park, Rivers of Light. The two mentors and their accompanying pair of protégés have been a part of the show since the beginning. It’s not quite accurate to describe them as narrators, but they certainly tie the story together.
Since a lot of park guests have expressed confusion about the River of Lights story, maybe these human characters hurt more than they helped, though. It’s another indication that Disney isn’t pleased with the current state of the show. It could prove the rumor that Disney wants to make dramatic changes to their nightly show at Animal Kingdom. And speaking of dramatic changes…
The Final IllumiNations
I’ve previously mentioned that IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is the most decorated nightly exhibition in the history of the Golden Ticket Awards. It effectively retired the award due to its dominance. After more than a decade of consecutive victories in the category, the Golden Tickets stopped listing it.
I mention this to point out the historical significance of IllumiNations. It’s unquestionably the best show of its kind ever, at least according to theme park analysts. It’s also a bit long in the tooth. With the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World looming in 2021, park planners want to shake things up a bit. They’re closing IllumiNations for good next year.
The timing is interesting, as Disney indicated it would run through the summer of 2019. The 20th anniversary of IllumiNations would be on October 1st, 2019. I presume Disney will let it run through that date, but their current target date for closure is prior to this, which surprises me. Disney does have another nighttime exhibition for Epcot waiting in the wings. It will apparently begin almost immediately after IllumiNations closes.
Do You Love Epcot Festivals?
The header’s rhetorical. Everyone does. Disney’s hosted exhibitions at Epcot since the 1990s, and they’re up to four of them now. The most recent addition is the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, which debuted in 2017. It expanded to daily operation this past January and will return again in 2019.
We now know the dates. Disney has scheduled the third annual Festival of the Arts for January 18th through February 25th. That’s six days later than 2018 both ways; it ran from January 12th through February 19th.
The event that used to be the first festival of the year is the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. This event started all the way back in 1994 and will celebrate its 26th version in 2019. The confirmed dates are March 6th through June 3rd.
To the best of my knowledge, 2019 will mark the first time it’s ever run into June; however, it’s starting six days later than in 2018. Like the Festival of the Arts, the Flower & Garden Festival will have the same number of days in 2019.
We hope you enjoyed these Disney news updates! Stay tuned to MickeyBlog for more breaking news as it happens!