MickeyBlog News for February 10, 2019
Do you love Coco or want to stay at Disney’s Riviera Resort? Are you curious about the return of Tangaroa Terrace? Would you enjoy some Lion King-based storytelling? I ask because all of these stories come up in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News. Let’s find out what’s going on in the wide world of Disney this week! Spoiler: A genuinely touching love story is the finishing touch, so read to the end, my friends.
The Mexico Pavilion Just Got Better
Coco won a pair of Academy Awards last year. Since its triumphant box office run, fans of the film have wondered why it doesn’t have a stronger park presence. Yes, Disney’s hosted a few events centered around Coco’s premise, but no permanent events have been added….until now.
Starting on March 6th, everyone’s favorite child guitarist will have his music played at the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase. The talented performers known as Mariachi Cobre have mastered the songs from Coco and will play them during future shows. Fans of Mariachi Cobre needn’t worry, though. The band will continue to play the rest of its repertoire, too. The Coco songs are a happy bonus!
The Folklórico dancers will also participate in the new Coco presentation. They’ll recreate Coco’s story through dance numbers. They’ll encourage guests to join them in the routine, too! This new Epcot show sounds like a real crowd-pleaser. Best of all, you can watch it while celebrating the 2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival!
I’ve got great news for fans of the Disneyland Hotel! The world’s first theme park hotel has finished renovations on one of its most popular destinations. Yes, Tangaroa Terrace has returned, albeit with a slightly longer name. From now on it’s Tangaroa Terrace Tropical Bar & Grill. Would you care to guess what the primary change?
Everyone’s favorite tropical resort restaurant now has a bar! Oh, and it has a Dole Whip pick-up counter, too! In fact, it’s cheaper there than in the park. So, that’s three great improvements right there. More importantly, this space has a more distinctive theme now, as its connection to Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room is unmistakable.
All of the theming will remind you of that attraction’s set. Plus, Disney expanded the patio area to give guests a better view of the Disneyland Hotel pool while they eat. Guests should hang out in this area because the bar stools are adorable tiki statues! The entire renovation looks delightful and should restore Tangaroa Terrace Tropical Bar & Grill to its rightful place as the go-to Quick Service restaurant among Disneyland’s three official Disney resorts.
More News from the Riviera
Even though Disney’s Riviera Resort is more than half a year away from opening to the public, the Disney marketing team is in overdrive right now. They’re doling out tidbits about the resort every few days.
The latest announcement is that a lounge is one of the gathering places here. Yes, the spot beside Le Petit Café will be called Voyageurs’ Lounge, and its intent is unique. Disney has constructed this space for Disney vacationers to relax after a busy day at the park. In the comfort of this lounge, they’ll share all that they experienced that day with friends or strangers who could become friends.
The premise behind Voyageurs’ Lounge is a celebration of Walt Disney’s travels to Europe. Many of the books on display here are from Uncle Walt’s personal library. One of the topics is the famed 1935 European tour wherein Walt and Roy Disney planned movies like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It’s rich subject matter that should provoke serious conversation among Disney fans visiting the Riviera.
To a larger point, resort gathering spaces are an excellent idea at Disney theme parks. Everyone needs to unwind a bit, and some of my most enlightening conversations over the years came from conversations that I had with strangers at Walt Disney World. I love that park officials are encouraging this type of engagement.
Stories of The Lion King
Disney’s remaking The Lion King right now. Maybe you’ve heard. The “live-action” retelling of the story promises to be a CGI-fest on a level with or surpassing Jungle Book. Most movie insiders expect the project to become one of the top three films of the year, along with Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars 9.
In anticipation of the film’s release, you may safely expect several tie-ins at the theme parks. This week, we learned of the first one. Disney California Adventure will host a group of storytellers. These cast members will relay key moments from The Lion King, reminding people of the greatness of the story.
Disney promises music and crafts as part of this celebration, and it’s significant for one other reason. This project is from Disney, not Marvel or Pixar, thereby indicating that Disney California Adventure will continue to host IPs beyond those two branches.
Disney Loses a Legend
For whatever reason, some Disney leaders are more famous than others. For example, Michael Eisner is a name that everyone knows even though quite a few Disney fans despise the former CEO. Then, there are people like Card Walker and Robert Iger who led the company during growth years and have glowing reputations that will sustain for generations.
For whatever reason, one of the quietest Disney leaders was Ron Miller. Perhaps the explanation is his nondescript name, but this entrepreneur served as President of Disney starting in 1978. After Card Walker retired, Miller became the CEO of the company. He’s actually one of the most fascinating people ever to lead the company.
Miller played football at USC. While attending college, he dated a young co-ed named Diane Disney. You see where this is going…
Anyway, after school, Miller joined the army and then became a member of the Los Angeles Rams (yes, they were in Los Angeles before St. Louis). During one eventful game, NFL Hall of Fame defensive player, Dick “Night Train” Lane, knocked Miller out.
After that season ended, one of Miller’s family members suggested that the athlete should retire from football. This person, Miller’s father-in-law, persuasively argued, “You know, I don’t want to be the father to your children. You’re going to die out there. How about coming to work with me?”
Yes, the man was Walt Disney, who worried that his daughter’s husband, an NFL football player, would get seriously injured if he ran into the Night Train ever again. And yes, Ron Miller accepted his father-in-law’s job offer, eventually working his way up to become CEO of what we now call The Walt Disney Company.
After a long and storied Disney career, Miller was forced out of the company by his wife’s cousin, Roy E. Disney, in favor of Eisner and two other Hollywood executives. His Disney legacy is awe-inspiring, as he championed the first computer-animated film, Tron, and greenlighted Touchstone Pictures, the live-action Disney movie studio. Miller also gave Tim Burton his big break in Hollywood.
Alas, Miller passed away on February 9th. He was 85. Touchingly, from the time he was 20 years old, the football player turned CEO was with Diane Disney until her death in 2013. They were married at the age of 21 and spent the next 59 years together.
Miller and Disney had seven children together, all of whom got to see their father live a long and healthy life after taking Uncle Walt’s advice on quitting the NFL to get a real job. They were a Hallmark movie come to life and I kind of hope that Disney+ takes a crack at their love story at some point.