MickeyBlog News – Magical Christmas Eve Edition
Merry Christmas, everyone! While you’re savoring some quality vacation time with your family, Disney’s hard at work guaranteeing that you’ll have the best possible time at the parks. And they’re entertaining you at the movie theaters, too. Let’s talk about what’s going on in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News.
Storybook Dining Is Open!
Last week, Disney finished the conversion of Artist Point into a new character dining experience. Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White recently became the first Signature Dining character meal at Walt Disney World. Many Disney fanatics rushed to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge to see whether the Snow White meal lives up to the hype.
I’m pleased to say that the overwhelming majority of early reviews are glowing. Here are links to several video reviews that range from good to game-changing. The only consistent complaints involve a few opening night hiccups, which are to be expected, and the cost of the meal.
The latter aspect is unavoidable for a Signature Dining experience. Realistically, the character meal isn’t significantly more expensive than a normal meal at Artist Point prior to this addition.
BoardWalk Guests, Rejoice!
We’re approaching endgame for the ongoing construction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For many months now, work on the Disney Skyliner and other projects have wreaked havoc with park admission. Guests have had to take circuitous paths to the front entrance.
Visitors on the path from the BoardWalk have suffered the worst aggravation. This walkway is one of the hidden logistics gems of Walt Disney World, as it’s a 10-minute walk from Disney’s BoardWalk Inn to Hollywood Studios most of the time. Lately, the path has involved a redirect that has added a lot more time.
The normal direct path is still unavailable, but the situation’s improved. You no longer have to walk around the extended temporary bus loop to reach the front gate. The walking time is back down to 15 minutes from the 20-25 minutes than it had been previously. So, this improvement is a strong step forward. Presumably, the modified path will remain in place until right before the opening of the Disney Skyliner next fall.
*Smiley Face Emoji*
Quick, name the Happiest Place on Earth! No, I don’t mean that one…but I do mean a place like it. Instagram, the social media service that believes that a picture is worth a thousand words, recently scored all of their tagged locations. Their goal was to identify the place where everyone seems the happiest.
How does a social media app/site determine happiness? Apparently, they count Smiley Face Emojis. Seriously. Instagram employees calculated which places claimed the largest number of Smiley Faces as part of the post. And the winner of “Happiest Geotagged Place in the World” is…Tokyo Disneyland!
While this honor probably isn’t what Uncle Walt had in mind when he built the world’s first theme park, it’s kind of incredible that Mickey Travelers still find this much joy at Disney parks across the world! You can read the full list of Best of Instagram 2018 here.
Disney Park News for Christmas Week
Good news, Magic Kingdom guests! You can finally get your riverboat fix this year. After a prolonged shutdown, the Liberty Belle Riverboat has triumphantly returned. It opened to the public on December 22nd, its first day of operation since January 8th.
Yes, the pride of Liberty Square has been down for almost a calendar year, but Imagineers have the steam engines steaming once more. It’s a much needed way to draw park traffic during peak season, as the riverboat holds a large number of passengers and lasts 20 minutes.
At Typhoon Lagoon, a different option is available for tired parents. The waterpark hosts a temporary adults-only area called Adult Cove. Sure, it may sound a bit like Hedonism II, but it’s not a place for anyone to go wild.
Instead, it’s a short-term respite for adults who would like to have a short respite from their (and other people’s) kids. It’s open from December 26th through December 31st…but not a bad idea to become a permanent thing. Hint, hint.
Magic Kingdom has another special holiday week opportunity for park guests. Some of the paid stuff from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas is now a free amenity to anyone with a regular admission ticket. A Frozen Holiday Wish plays at 6:15 p.m. each day, while Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade switches to afternoons at noon and 3:30 p.m. (although the first Christmas Day show is an hour earlier).
And Holiday Wishes shoots fireworks into the sky each night at 10 p.m. These performances are all magical and certainly worth your time.
Right after Christmas, Hollywood Studios will do something unusual to cater to more customers. From December 26th through December 31st, they will extend the hours of Walt Disney Presents, Muppet*Vision 3D, and Path of the Jedi. Also, three of their popular shows, Disney Junior Dance Party!, For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!, will have additional performances.
On New Year’s Eve, Voyage of the Little Mermaid will have more shows, too. Plus, all of the nighttime shows will offer a special end-of-year flourish as the clock approaches midnight. Fantasmic! will have two performances, and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular will ring in the New Year with extra fireworks.
For those of you who will NOT be in the parks for Christmas, you should watch the annual Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade. One of the segments is a special inside look at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Disney will preview the attractions and other features of the new themed land.
By watching the holiday special, you’ll be one of the first to see what’s in store for Star Wars Land. And any self-respecting Disney fan will watch the parade anyway. If it’s not already one of your holiday traditions, it should become one starting this year.
Finally, let’s talk movies for just a bit before you return to your eggnog and candy canes. Mary Poppins Returns opened in theaters this weekend and was immediately hailed as an instant classic by critics and movie audiences alike. The film earned an excellent A- Cinemascore and is currently 77 percent fresh at Rotten Tomatoes.
Mary Poppins Returns finished second at the box office this weekend, earning $22.2 million from Friday through Sunday and a total of $31 million since it entered theaters on Wednesday. These numbers may sound modest, but box office insiders know a secret.
Christmas week is the most lucrative period on the box office calendar, causing all movies to do extremely well. Don’t be surprised if Mary Poppins Returns is closing in on $100 million by New Year’s Day. MickeyBlog will update the situation more in next week’s news.
Until then, please have the happiest and safest of holiday weeks! You deserve it!