MickeyBlog News – Important Updates and Info
Dumbo flies but not as high as projected, the NBA Experience finally gets an opening date, Tokyo adds digital FastPasses, Disneyland Paris is doubling down on Halloween, and PhilHarmagic is heading to California! We’ve got four different Disney theme parks covered in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News!
Your Favorite Elephant Is Back!
The Walt Disney Company and Tim Burton have shared a long and storied professional relationship. Burton’s visionary direction has earned lots of money for Disney while delighting movie buffs across the world. When news leaked a few years ago that Burton would direct a live-action retelling of the story of Dumbo, film fans were understandably intrigued.
Dumbo opened in theaters this weekend, and the box office news is…just okay. The film grossed $45 million and is the number one release in North America right now. It earned another $71 million in international box office, giving it a first weekend total of $116 million. That sounds great for a title with a budget of $160 million. It’s just less than movie executives had anticipated.
Disney’s internal projections suggested a $50 million debut in North America and another $80-$90 million overseas. So, they were expecting $130-$140 million and only received $116 million. Nobody’s devastated by this result, but it’s a bit of a bummer given the iconic status of Dumbo as a character and Burton’s popularity as a filmmaker.
The problem stems from the quality of the film. Dumbo is only 50 percent fresh on RottenTomatoes, which means that half of critics liked while half didn’t. Its A- Cinemascore suggests that opening day fans, aka the Disney crowd, were largely satisfied. So, you shouldn’t let the box office performance or reviews dissuade you from watching Dumbo in theaters. Maybe you should lower your expectations a tick, though.
Start Tanking to Get a Higher Draft Pick This August!
The NBA season is winding down, and that can mean only one thing! We’re almost ready to learn which team has tanked enough to win the windfall of the century, the draft rights to Zion Williamson! Oh, the NBA playoffs are almost here, too, but only Golden State fans care about that.
If you laughed or nodded at any of these comments, you’re at least a casual basketball fan. I’ve got terrific news for you! The NBA Experience at Disney Springs is nearly ready to open. Park officials just confirmed that the newest entertainment option at the Disney Springs complex will open on August 12, 2019.
You may recall that DisneyQuest closed on July 2nd, 2017. Park planners felt that the old videogame-based building was no longer appealing to most Disney Springs visitors. So, they shut it down and re-purposed the building into NBA Experience, a place where basketball fans can live out their hoop dreams. Modeled after an NBA arena, this building will have more than a dozen interactive basketball games including a slam dunk challenge!
Now let’s all bow our heads together and pray that the Atlanta Hawks win the lottery and draft Zion Williamson.
Tokyo Disneyland Enters the 21st Century
Longtime Disney guests will always have a soft spot in our hearts for paper FastPasses. We knew all of the ways to maximize the system, giving ourselves the best chance to ride all of our favorite attractions. Let’s be real, though. Paper FastPasses are an outdated system in a world where everyone is physically attached to their phone.
In the United States, Disneyland finally added the MaxPass system last year. When that happened, there was an outcry among guests at Tokyo Disneyland. They rightfully wondered when their park would get with the times and add digital FastPasses.
I am happy to report that this day is coming soon. In anticipation of the opening of Soarin’ Around the World at Tokyo DisneySea this summer, Tokyo Disneyland will enable digital FastPasses. Park officials haven’t confirmed an exact date yet, but we know that Soarin’ will open on July 23rd, 2019. The wording of the announcement suggests that digital FastPasses will arrive first. So, we are less than four months away from digital FastPasses at Tokyo Disneyland!
Halloween Will Be Twice As Nice at Disneyland Paris
Disney is now the owner of Disneyland Paris, and their influence is already on full display. For the first time in many years, the park nicknamed EuroDisney turned a profit. And they’re starting to get some of the same stuff that American park guests have come to expect.
For example, Disneyland Paris hosted Soirée Halloween debuted a few years ago, and a delightful time was had by all. The European park celebration of All Hallows’ Eve is a destination event, causing huge crowds in all parts of the park.
To solve a few of the traffic problems, Disneyland Paris will host Soirée Halloween on two nights this year. Please be aware that they’re not consecutive nights, though. The standard date of Halloween is when one of the events will occur. The other is on Saturday, October 26, 2019. The Saturday event is cheaper at a cost of £51.58 (a bit over $67) compared to £59.06 (roughly $77) on Halloween night.
Miscellaneous Park Info
Let’s finish this week’s update with a few park tidbits. The first is that Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has modified the hours on two its popular restaurants. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is now open from 3 p.m. until midnight, while Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace operates from 3 p.m. through 11 p.m.
At Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, park officials have decided how they will control traffic flow. In addition to the previously announced reservation system, Disney has revealed that they will not have standby access to the new themed land. Only guests staying at official Disneyland resorts and the lucky few who get advance reservations may enter Galaxy’s Edge from May 31st through June 23rd.
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s prepping for their opening of Star Wars Land in August. They’re introducing a new option for guests at ABC Commissary. Starting on June 2, 2019, this Quick Service restaurant will accept Advanced Dining Reservations.
The process will be slightly different from Table Service eateries. After 4 p.m., guests with reservations will order their food, receive a pager, and grab a table in this large but always crowded restaurant. The pager will signify that their food is ready. If this service sounds vaguely familiar, it should. It’s similar to the one in place at Be Our Guest.
Given ABC Commissary’s proximity to Galaxy’s Edge, it’s expected to rise in popularity in coming months. Guests who like eating here should expect to need reservations from now on.
At Disney California Adventure (DCA), a wonderful presentation is finally appearing. Mickey’s PhilHarmagic, one of my favorite attractions at Magic Kingdom, will premiere at Sunset Showcase Theater. DCA guests know this spot the best as the place to watch previews of upcoming Disney movies. Starting in April, however, they’ll get to watch Donald Duck stumble his way through several classics of Disney animation. It’s a terrific addition to DCA.
Disney theme parks will have some other major changes in coming weeks. The company has outlawed smoking, loose ice, and oversized strollers at their parks. You may read the official changes here.
Finally, here’s the first show video of Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy! We’ll have a lot more information about it over the next few days.