MickeyBlog News, Updates & Magic for April 9
This week, Disney has introduced new Lightning McQueen and Princess dining experiences. Haunted Mansion gets a new feature and a special celebration, too. And Virgin Trains is ready to bring the rest of Florida straight to Walt Disney World’s front gate. A lot is happening at your favorite theme parks this week. Here’s the latest edition of MickeyBlog News to bring you up to speed.
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy Opens
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is already the best place to catch a show in Orlando, and it introduced a new presentation last week. Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy is a celebration of the Cars film universe, one of the most popular and lucrative Disney intellectual properties. As such, the show is a huge deal.
Lightning, Mater, and the other residents of Radiator Springs teach guests how to go faster than ever before. The Racing Academy is a high-tech affair, with digital monitors seemingly everywhere in the theater. It also features an incredibly realistic Lightning McQueen audio-animatronic that will cause you to forget that he’s a fictional car rather than an anthropomorphic show host.
The new attraction is by all accounts terrific. While early expectations were low, Imagineers have once again surprised Disney fans with another triumph. You’ll absolutely need to watch the Racing Academy presentation the next time that you’re at Hollywood Studios. In the interim, here’s a Tim Tracker video of the experience.
A New Princess Breakfast Opens at Disneyland Resort
Disneyland Princesses are one of the biggest Disney brands. Anytime a new character meeting with a Princess opens, everyone stops what they’re doing and pays attention. Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa at Disneyland Resort is the latest place to host such a gathering, and this one is soigné.
Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures at Napa Rose is now open to the public after months of anticipation. This character meal immediately joins Cinderella’s Royal Table and Akershus as one of three ultimate princess gatherings in America. Since this one is only available at breakfast, it’s a much more limited engagement and is priced that way. It costs $125 per person…and no, children don’t get to eat cheaper here.
What do you get for your money? At least six Disney Princesses will spend time with you before, during, and after your breakfast. There’s also a three-course breakfast as part of the proceedings, and parents receive a glass of champagne as part of the purchase price. Gifts are also included in the price. If you’d like to see whether the experience is worth the cost, here’s a Jordie Andrade video that chronicles the meal.
Behold the Face of Fear!
The face of fear is yours! You’re always terrified when you board a Doom Buggy and take a trip through the Haunted Mansion, right? Disney wants to capture your terror forever, and that’s why they’ve added an on-ride photo experience. From now on, each of your trips through the ghastly residence of 999 Happy Haunts will be commemorated with a PhotoPass picture. You must have PhotoPass on your account to receive this feature, of course.
Haunted Mansion’s on-ride photo experience is symbolic. It’s the 13th such offering at Walt Disney World. To celebrate the occasion, Disney will host a Haunted Mansion party on April 13th. You can take special pictures including one with a Tomb Sweet Tomb prop and another that’s a Magic Shot co-starring the Hatbox Ghost. It’s similar to the one offered during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
Another entirely new Magic Shot is also available. Plus, Disney will sell a couple of special Haunted Mansion snacks! Haunted Mansion fans simply must visit Magic Kingdom this Saturday.
Trains Come to Disney’s Gates
The Orlando Sentinel scooped everybody this week. They revealed that Virgin Trains, formerly Brightline, has received permission to extend their rapid transit Florida train system. Specifically, they have the funding and authorization to add track from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to West Palm Beach. This part was long-expected.
The shock is that a Walt Disney World station is confirmed. Virgin Trains revealed that they have signed a letter of intent with The Walt Disney Company to connect their train line to the Most Magical Place on Earth. In the future, residents in all parts of Florida may ride the bus straight to Disney’s campus.
Similarly, out-of-state guests may take a train from MCO to Walt Disney World rather than waiting on Magical Express. While that’s a more expensive and less Disney experience, it would maximize park time for guests. Whichever way you prefer, the news here is unmistakably positive. The logistics at Walt Disney World are getting better all the time. This project is expected to be completed in less than three years, meaning that the future is sooner than you think.
Bad News for Delivery Fans
You know all of those times that Disney advisors like me have suggested that you ship stuff to your Disney resort? Well, you’ve taken our advice on the subject, possibly too much. Disney’s gotten a bit chippy on the point. As of this week, they’re now charging a handling fee for any deliveries made directly to rooms.
The cost is $6, whether you order something that weighs an ounce or 600 pounds. Don’t…order anything that weighs 600 pounds, though. You may avoid this fee by picking up your delivery in the lobby. It’s an understandable tactic for Disney. They must expend resources in having items delivered to your door, as cast members cannot do other tasks when they’re transporting your goods. Disney needs workers for these tasks, and they’re passing the bill along to the customers.
That’s the business perspective. From the customer perspective, you’re getting charged $6 for delivery on top of any vendor delivery fees that may apply. And that’s kind of annoying.
Bo Peep Meet and Greet Is Coming
A couple of months ago in our Disney Rumors for February, I mentioned that Disney was likely to host a Bo Peep character meeting at some point this summer. “Don’t Call Me Little” Bo Peep has a crucial role in the upcoming Pixar blockbuster, Toy Story 4.
In connection with that film, Ms. Peep will appear at several Disney parks. In fact, she may show up at all of them. Thus far, Disney has confirmed character meetings in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, in Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure, and somewhere at Disneyland Paris. The Parks Blog also suggests that the Bo Peep world tour will make a stop in Asia, but they haven’t revealed which park(s) yet.
Disney Will Host Some Special Events
Let’s close this week’s update with news about some upcoming special events at Walt Disney World. One of them is another V.I.Passholder night. The exciting part is the location. For the first time ever, passholders will have Typhoon Lagoon to themselves.
Yes, passholders can now register for Typhoon Lagoon events on Tuesday, April 28th, Saturday, May 18th, and Monday, June 3rd. The April event runs from 11 p.m. through 1 a.m., while the April and May offerings last from 5 p.m. through 8 p.m.
Meanwhile, Magic Kingdom will host more Disney After Hours events this summer. These will be different from previous sessions, though. The black hats will take control of Disney Villains After Hours.
This event will have special villain-related shows and attractions. The Parks Blog lists the following:
- “A Brand-New Disney Villains Stage Show – Hades and Meg from “Hercules” will set the castle stage ablaze in this all-new stage show, Villains Unite the Night, which will also feature appearances by Jafar, The Queen, Dr. Facilier and Maleficent.
- Spot Maleficent the Dragon – Maleficent the Dragon, with her Steampunk style and signature wicked grin, will be let loose for the first time at night – breathing fire as she creeps through the park as a one-of-a-kind experience for party guests.
- Villainous Enhancements:Discover surprising, villain-inspired additions at Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain.
- Wickedly Good Food & Beverage -A variety of special food & beverage offerings will also be available for purchase, including tasty desserts, drinks and dishes inspired by The Queen, Cruella de Vil, Maleficent, Hades, Dr. Facilier and even Emperor Zurg.
- Event Merchandise – Event attendees can also purchase new logo merchandise, as well as items from a curated collection of the best Disney Villains merchandise available.
- One Notorious Item to Note: Ever driven to stand out in their unpredictable and audacious fashion, while the Villains will be entertaining guests in the new stage show, they will not be participating in character greetings during the event.”
The dates for the Villains version of Disney After Hours are:
- Thursday, June 6, 2019
- Thursday, June 13, 2019
- Thursday, June 20, 2019
- Thursday, June 27, 2019
- Monday, July 1, 2019
- Thursday, July 11, 2019
- Thursday, July 18, 2019
- Thursday, July 25, 2019
- Thursday, August 1, 2019
- Thursday, August 8, 2019
The one caveat here is that the Villains version costs slightly more since Disney is offering more. Prices start at $139 plus tax and will be $144 at the gate on the night of the event. Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members can get a $30 discount, though.
You should expect all of these events to sell out and plan accordingly. The easiest way to guarantee that you’re not shut out is to speak with an agent at MickeyTravels. Their services are free, and they’ll know the best ways to book your event of choice.
PS: Tickets for Avengers: ENDGAME are now on sale at your favorite movie ticket vendor. You should buy them immediately. Otherwise, you’re likely to get shut out on opening weekend.