MickeyBlog News – Star Wars, Endgame, Extra, Extra Magic & More
Disney doubles down on Extra, the Phantom of the Manor returns with new but then old music, Galaxy’s Edge proves about as popular as expected, and a Star Wars legend passes away. And there’s some Avengers: Endgame news, too. This week’s edition of MickeyBlog News is so overflowing that I had to split it into two parts! Let’s get started.
Double the Extra!
Will you visit Walt Disney World soon after Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens? If so, I have the best possible news for you! Guests staying at official Disney resorts will receive an unprecedented new benefit in the weeks that follow the debut of Star Wars Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Disney will offer their first-ever Extra, Extra Magic Hours starting on September 1, 2019. Guests visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios may enter the park from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. The only people there will be the ones staying at Disney hotels. Star Wars Land will be MUCH less crowded during these events, which Disney offers daily through November 2nd.
I want to stress that people staying at official Disney resorts will have three full hours of time to experience the world of Batuu before Hollywood Studios officially opens to all. The rest of the park’s rides will be available, too. So, anyone who hasn’t checked out Toy Story Land yet can take advantage of this opportunity as well.
For that matter, you can do the same at Pandora – The World of Avatar. Disney’s Animal Kingdom will offer Extra, Extra Magic Hours, also. From 7 a.m. until 8 a.m., you’ll have an early bird hour to visit the park. Fans of Magic Kingdom are in business, too. It’ll have the same bonus hour for guests staying at official resorts.
The dates for Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom Extra, Extra Magic Hours are August 29th through November 2nd. The reason why these parks have three extra days is that Hollywood Studios will open to everyone at 6 a.m. on August 29th through August 31st. Disney wants to give all visitors a chance to visit Star Wars Land when it first opens.
The strategy here is clear. To offset some of the projected traffic surges from Star Wars Land, Disney will open historically early. The only people who can take advantage of the Extra, Extra Magic Hours are those staying at Disney hotels. This benefit alone is a game changer. I know that I’ll be there at the end of October and cannot wait to take advantage of Extra, Extra Magic Hours. You should absolutely speak to a MickeyTravels agent immediately to book your room.
Tough Break, Titanic
The second-worst thing ever to involve the Titanic happened this weekend. For the first time in 20 years, the James Cameron classic is not one of the top two global box office champions. It got passed in epic fashion, proving that a lot can change in 10 days.
Yes, after only 10 days in theaters, Avengers: Endgame has become the #2 movie ever in terms of global box office. Yes, that happened fast. In truth, I’ve covered box office for more than 20 years and have never seen anything like this, mainly because nobody has.
Disney’s conservative estimate for the second weekend of Avengers: Endgame is $145.8 million in North America. It’s the second-best second weekend ever and will become the biggest if weekend actuals come in higher than $149.2 million. That’s what Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens earned during its second weekend. I suspect that Avengers bests that total, but Disney really doesn’t care. They’ll have the top two for this record either way.
The record that does matter is that Avengers: Endgame is now the #2 international release ever, with $1.569 billion in overseas revenue. It passed Titanic and now has only Avatar to overtake to become the best ever. That’s a recurring theme here, as Avatar is the current #1 film ever in global box office. That James Cameron film grossed $2.788 billion worldwide. Titanic’s number is $2.188 billion.
Endgame somehow already has $2.189 billion after only 10 days. It’s earned $619.7 million domestically, which is the ninth-best total ever. We can put this into perspective by saying that The Incredibles 2, one of the biggest blockbusters of 2019 (and the 2000s in general) made $608.6 million during its entire domestic run. Endgame did that in a week and a half! It’ll pass Black Panther by this time next week to become the third biggest hit in North America ever.
The real prize is the overall global box office champion. As you can see, Endgame is less than $600 million away from that total already. It’s a foregone conclusion at this point that the climactic Avengers movie will overtake Avatar to become the biggest hit ever.
Over the next few weeks, the Marvel title is likely to surpass The Force Awakens for #1 film ever in North America as well. So, by the time everything is said and done, Avengers: Endgame will own every major box office record in existence.
The Phantom Returns
The pride of Disneyland Paris is Phantom Manor, the park’s version of Haunted Mansion. It’s a much more gothic, spooky retelling of the premise than at other Disney parks. Since this attraction is part of Frontierland, Phantom Manor has an Old West vibe that also distinguishes it.
Phantom Manor closed in 2018 for a major renovation but finally returned this past week. Guests were largely thrilled with the changes…with one notable exception. The flaw with Phantom Manor had always been its somewhat confusing story presentation. Guests didn’t understand the purpose of The Phantom in the story.
Imagineers have plussed the ride in several ways to make the corruption of the Bride and The Phantom’s thirst for revenge more apparent. The Bride is now a part of the Doom Buggy boarding process. She also makes a surprise appearance at the end, where she makes you an offer that you really should refuse.
The massive reveal of the new Phantom Manor is the long-rumored identity of The Phantom. As suspected, he (it?) is the father of The Bride. You can watch the video of their complicated relationship here. This footage was taken on the opening night of Phantom Manor’s return. It’s already outdated.
Phantom Manor fanatics (phanatics?) expressed outrage over one change that they felt went too far. Disney updated the music during the ballroom scene. The outcry was so swift and dramatic that park officials restored the old version after less than three days! Otherwise, the plussing of Phantom Manor is a massive improvement.
Peter Mayhew Dies
Star Wars fans suffered a tragic loss this week. Peter Mayhew, the gentle giant of the Holy Trilogy, passed away on April 30th. He was 74 at the time, and we should all celebrate this fact. You see, Mayhew was born with Marfan syndrome, a genetic condition that impacts height. It’s the explanation for his massive height.
Mayhew stood as tall as 7’3” at one point in his life. His enormous but thin frame struck director George Lucas as the perfect physique to portray the costumed character of Chewbacca in the films.
For the past 42 years, the actor dressed as Chewbacca in many of the Star Wars films. In recent years, the physical demands of filmmaking prevented him from acting in the movies. So, Mayhew received the honorary credit of Chewbacca Consultant.
Independent of his acting, however, Mayhew achieved legendary status in the Star Wars community. He was renowned for his generosity. Deeply appreciative of the support he received from fans, Mayhew went above and beyond to give every Star Wars lover a special moment at conventions and special events.
Mayhew also contributed mightily at charitable events. He was a legend with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Wounded Warriors. Later, he formed his own organization, The Peter Mayhew Foundation. I’ve covered the entertainment industry since the 1990s. I can legitimately say that I’ve never heard a single unkind comment uttered of Mayhew, a true English gentleman who adopted Texas as his home later in life.
The Star Wars community has lost one of their most beloved people. The world has lost one of its most beautiful people. But Peter Mayhew is finally at peace after a few years of rapidly degrading health that rendered him unable to portray the character that he made him famous, Chewbacca. Here’s hoping that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge comes up with several appropriate ways to maintain the memory of this titan of a man.
The family of Peter Mayhew, with deep love and sadness, regrets to share the news that Peter has passed away. He left us the evening of April 30, 2019 with his family by his side in his North Texas home. pic.twitter.com/YZ5VLyuK0u
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) May 2, 2019