MickeyBlog News – Star Wars Day, Frozen 2 and More!
Disney wants to sell you lots of stuff. Surprise! You’ll find out the specifics and much more in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News, so read on!
Another Star Wars Day Is Coming!
Let’s start with a story that will warm your heart and scorch your wallet. Disney announced that they’ll hold another merchandising day in October. The last two times, we’ve called these huge retail events Star Wars Day. For 2019, the name would undersell it by a bit.
The upcoming Disney merchandising day will feature two different brands of Star Wars products plus something that’s arguably even better. On October 4th, Disney will reveal new product lines for Star Wars IX, The Mandalorian, and Frozen. Yes, the company’s changed up its marketing strategy by highlighting the new Star Wars television series brand along with Frozen gear. The latter set of merchandise is intended to capture the hysteria over the upcoming sequel.
Frozen (paradoxically?) set the world on fire during late 2013 and all of 2014. Kids couldn’t get enough of Anna and Elsa gear. Disney hopes to recapture this magic via a financial windfall later this year. It’s The Mandalorian aspect that’s most surprising, though.
With the climactic film in the latest Star Wars Trilogy coming soon, you would expect it to receive all of the attention. Since Disney has a new service to sell, Disney+, they’re building a buzz via their anchor television program, The Mandalorian. No one’s ever created a live-action Star Wars series before.
Disney executives believe that the retail event will create hype for The Mandalorian and thereby sell consumers on Disney+. It’s a clever ploy, especially since Star Wars IX and Frozen merchandise will lure people into stores. Then, they’ll ask what The Mandalorian is.
Speaking of Frozen…
The past few days have been huge for Disney’s film division. They’ve released footage from two of their most anticipated 2019 releases. One of them went better than the other.
Yes, you can now watch the trailer for Frozen 2. And I don’t know why I’m telling you this since the data suggests that you already have. The heavily anticipated sequel received 116.4 million views during its first 24 hours. That’s the largest number of daily views ever for an animated film. It surpassed the previous record holder, The Incredibles 2, by a full 2.8 million views. Frozen 2’s going to be huge, y’all.
The unexpected debut of Frozen 2 might have served a second purpose for Disney. Earlier in the week, they’d released the trailer for the live-action remake of Aladdin. It…could have gone better. The extreme, Smurfy blue-ness of Will Smith as the Genie quickly became a source of countless internet memes.
A friend of mine at Forbes suggested that Disney felt pressured to show the Frozen 2 trailer to distract away from the onslaught of Blue Man Group jokes populating social media. I agree with Mr. Mendelson that it looks like Will Smith in blue genie makeup, but the negative publicity certainly has film execs concerned about Aladdin.
World of Color Is Back!
No, this isn’t another blue genie reference. I’m talking about the beloved nighttime presentation at Disney California Adventure (DCA). It unexpectedly closed last April. In truth, it closed without any real warning or fanfare. In the 10 months that followed, DCA fans have loudly wondered when World of Color would return.
Park officials had initially said the fourth quarter of 2018, but they pushed the date back into early 2019. Well, we’re six weeks into the year and still don’t have it. Apparently, that will change soon, though. It will begin testing this week, which may support a currently unverified claim about the cause of the closure.
An underwater platform allegedly suffered damage. Since that section is where Disney performed many of the lights and projections, its operational struggles would be problematic.
Disney currently lists the start of March as the true return of World of Color. They’re testing it for a few days first to verify that everything’s in working order once again. They’ll do a soft opening on February 23rd after a few days of private testing, which we know from park webcams has already begun.
Presuming all goes as planned, March 1st is the official return date, which makes perfect sense. That date also marks the beginning of the 2019 Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival.
A Few Park Changes of Note
While there isn’t any major ride news this week, a few attractions have undergone some modest changes. The most significant one is Twilight Zone Tower of Tower, which will receive modest renovations in the coming months. Park officials understandably want the ride functioning at optimal efficiency when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge debuts in the fall. It’s the attraction on the other side of the park that’s most likely to balance traffic.
Disney simply cannot afford to close one of its few Hollywood Studios attractions right now. Their best solution is to work on some of the elevator shafts while keeping others open to the public. The upshot of this strategy is that you can ride Twilight Zone Tower of Terror all year.
The downside is that the park will offer few FastPasses, and the wait times will be substantially longer. In other words, you’ll have a bit more of a struggle getting on the ride throughout 2019, but it’ll be better than ever this fall!
The other significant change is at Epcot. Disney has moved some of its character meetings from the temporary spot at Innoventions West. They’re now at their permanent place at the Imagination! Pavilion, well, inasmuch as anything’s permanent at Disney theme parks.
The new location is at Imageworks. Disney has built a visually stunning new set based on Ralph Breaks the Internet. As you’d guess, the character meeting here is with Wreck-It Ralph and his bestest buddy, Vanellope von Schweetz. The new character spot even has a clever theme.
Ralph and Vanellope have stumbled across a portal that has accidentally transported them to the pavilion. They seem to be great sports about it, though, as they’re having a wonderful time at their new digs.
The Imageworks character greeting area is poised for bigger and better things, too. Park officials have hinted that the portal here will bring in your favorite characters from Disney movies in upcoming months. It appears that the Imagination! Pavilion will become the new hot spot for interacting with Disney’s finest.
Another Disney Legend Passes
For the second straight week, we must end on a bittersweet note. Disney icon Dave Smith passed away at the age of 78. The titanic impact of this man cannot be overstated. In 1970, Roy O. Disney hired Smith to do the unthinkable. The Disney Legend was placed in charge of sifting through the office of Walt Disney.
Roy hadn’t been able to touch any of his brother’s stuff since the funeral, and so he hired someone to catalog it for him. Smith embraced the role and thereby became the founder of Walt Disney Archives. I’m not exaggerating when I say that virtually anything that you’ve read or seen of Disney history on the internet can be traced back to Smith. He itemized and diligently protected everything, maintaining Uncle Walt’s legacy for future generations.
I warmly encourage you to read Smith’s final article for D-23. Fittingly, it was a Q&A mailbag celebrating the 90th birthday of Mickey Mouse. The title of greatest Disney historian is finally up for grabs again. Smith had held a mortal lock on the title for almost 50 years. He will be missed, but his presence will be felt for as long as the world knows who Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse are.
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