MIckeyBlog News – Disney Updates for October 8. 2018
Lots of Disney parks and restaurants have announced changes over the past few days. We’ll bring you up to speed on the latest happenings at all your favorite places in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News!
Stitch Is Out, Is Ralph In?
We’ll start this update with confirmation of an attraction’s demise and the renovations coming to a few others. The finished attraction is Stitch’s Great Escape. Perennially ranked as the least satisfying ride at Walt Disney World, this Magic Kingdom ride seemed like it was on its last legs when Disney changed it to seasonal.
This past week, WDWNT learned that a previous rumor that they’d posted was in fact true. Despite Disney’s protests to the contrary, it appears that key parts of Stith’s Great Escape have been taken apart. This reveal proves that the ride isn’t coming back, which isn’t a huge surprise.
For years now, rumors of a Wreck-It-Ralph attraction have persisted. With a second film in that franchise arriving in a few months, the timing seems right for Disney to reveal an exciting new ride at Tomorrowland. This themed land is poised to look quite a bit different in coming years. Speaking of which…
In with the New
We’ve previously discussed the changes coming to Tomorrowland. The construction at Tron Lightcycle Power Run dictates that Tomorrowland Speedway close for a time during early 2019. Imagineers need to alter the path of the tracks to free up space for the Tron stadium.
Disney’s suggested that the process will take several months, starting in January of 2019. So, get in all the rides that you can on the current version of the ride while you can. It ain’t coming back in its current state.
This week, we learned something else about upcoming renovations at Magic Kingdom. Peter Pan’s Flight will need some downtime at the beginning of 2019, also. From January 7th through February of next year, Disney will address some behind-the-scenes aspects of Peter Pan’s Flight.
They’re being proactive since the end of 2019 will witness historic traffic levels at Walt Disney World when Star Wars Land opens. As a signature attraction with one of the longest lines of any Orlando theme park, Peter Pan’s Flight needs to run smoothly when the huge crowds arrive.
Disney’s changed up some other stuff at Magic Kingdom, too. They recently closed the Pirate tutorial at Adventureland. While an entertaining show, it had a tendency to create traffic bottlenecks in this already-tight walking space. Pirates still have a presence at Adventureland, though, and I’m not talking about a boat ride.
The themed land now features a character meeting with Jack Sparrow in the same space. This addition has a more organized line area, giving Disney better control of the throughways and guests more room to maneuver. You can see the schedule of Captain Jack’s appearances via the My Disney Experience app. Head over to Adventureland to hang out with him and ask why the rum’s always gone.
Speaking of Disney movies, Hollywood Studios has a new sneak peek this week! The Nutcracker and the Four Realms opens in theaters on November 2nd. You can see several minutes of the footage at Walt Disney Presents. Guests on the West Coast can do the same at Sunset Showcase Theater at Disney California Adventure. The film’s star, Mackenzie Foy, actually showed up at Disneyland last week to commemorate the new presentation.
A Few More Renovations
Do you like riverboat rides and island playtime? Well, I have some bad news. The renovations on the Liberty Square Riverboat haven’t happened as quickly as anticipated. It won’t open until this winter, although Disney continues to maintain that it will be back before the end of 2018.
At the same time, Disney’s closing Tom Sawyer Island to fix some of the riverboat track and perform additional renovations. The Frontierland island escape will close on October 14th and remain out of operation through December 21st. Park planners hope to have both places re-opened before Christmas week, the most crowded time on the entire Disney calendar.
Let’s Talk Food!
Fall means food at Disney theme park…and I’m not talking about the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (for once). Disney has already cornered the market on park cuisine, but they’re always pushing to do better. In coming weeks and months, you’ll understand just how much effort they expend to give you the best possible meals at Disney.
The biggest restaurant news this week is the highly anticipated debut of Sebastian’s Bistro. The comic relief from The Little Mermaid hosts a daily seafood bash at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Since he’s a crab and loyal advisor to Triton, ruler of the seas, the idea of serving seafood to strangers seems kind of traitorous. It’s probably best not to think about that.
Instead, take a look at the menu and imagine all the delicious goodies that Sebastian probably shouldn’t be cooking for you but is anyway. This bistro will serve lunch and dinner. While you calculate your future meal plans, go ahead and book your Advanced Dining Reservation. Sebastian’s Bistro is now accepting reservations and will be open for business by the time you read this today!
One thing to keep in mind if you’re on the fence about eating here is that Sebastian is a legendary composer. The music here will put a song in your heart.
Speaking of new reservations, Storybook Dining with Snow White at Artist Point is now available to book! The official website lists December 16th as the starting date for this character meal experience. You may find that it’s already picked over, at least for the first couple of weeks. Your best bet is to plan to eat here early in 2019.
Even More Food! (Loosen Your Belt)
We have a few more Disney food tidbits to discuss. The most important one is that Disney has raised prices on many popular snacks and beverages, the ones you’re likely to see on carts. The sticker shock change is the churro, which increased from $4.50 to $6.25.
Items like ice cream bars and pretzels have gone up by as much as a dollar, as have bottled water and other beverages. Guests using the Disney Dining Plan won’t notice any changes since everything remains a single snack credit.
Over at Be Our Guest, there’s a new addition on the breakfast and lunch menus. When the restaurant became the first Magic Kingdom establishment to sell alcohol, the practice was confined to dinner. As of this week, Disney has changed their policy. At breakfast, mimosas, sangrias, and other alcoholic beverages are on the menu now. The same is true at lunch. So, you can have a drink whenever you want at Be Our Guest now.
Another surprising news item is that PizzeRizzo has gone seasonal. The Hollywood Studios pizza joint is fairly new, having opened in its current form in November of 2016. Disney’s already changed several aspects of the restaurant’s service, including operating hours and menu options.
Since PizzeRizzo located in a key walking space near Grand Avenue, it will become a critical spot when Star Wars Land opens in a year. The belief is that Disney’s rethinking options here and may use the space for something else. Alternately, they could do a simple fix here and return PizzeRizzo with slightly better pizza.
The slices here haven’t impressed guests going all the way back to the days when it was Pizza Planet. At the moment, Disney has indicated that it will return next spring. Don’t be surprised if they decide to change that plan, though.
Disney Entertainment News
Let’s finish this week with a couple of Disney streaming notes plus an unexpected bonus. Jon Favreau, the director of the blockbuster hit, The Jungle Book, had previously announced that he would direct a Star Wars series for the upcoming Disney streaming service. This week, he revealed that the name of the show is The Mandalorian. You could read the details from Favreau’s Instagram post.
Also, Disney announced a fascinating eight-part documentary series for the service. Ink & Paint is an adaptation of Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation by Mindy Johnson, a book that reveals the triumphs of many female cartoonists throughout the course of Disney’s storied history. The well-regarded book came out last year and naturally lends itself to short-form adaptation.
Some of the tidbits will blow your mind, starting with the story of Ruthie Tompson. She started working with Disney back in 1937 when she was 27 years old. She performed interviews for the book in 2016…when she was 106. She’s 108 today and will likely have a huge presence in Ink & Paint.
Tompson is also the oldest member of Women in Animation and still gives out scholarships to students seeking a career in the industry. Ruthie Tompson is who we all want to be when we grow up.
Finally, I’ll close with one other movie news item:
DISNEY IS PRODUCING A LIVE-ACTION REMAKE OF LILO & STITCH!!!!!!