MickeyBlog News, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge & More!
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge debuts at Disneyland on Friday! This is not a drill. It’s go time, people! While you anxiously count down the seconds until you either visit the park or watch MickeyBlog’s livestreams, let get you all caught up. Here’s the latest edition of MickeyBlog News.
Last year on Memorial Day weekend, Disney movie executives were apologetic. Solo: A Star Wars Story had opened to $103.0 million domestically over the four-day holiday and a total of $148.3 million worldwide. To many observers, Solo was the most disappointing Disney release of 2018. Some of those folks had targeted Aladdin as a similar disappointment.
Questions persisted about the quality of the film based on one lackluster trailer featuring Will Smith as the Genie. Live-action remakes of animated movies are problematic in this way. A look that people accept in cartoons can be jarring in real life (or whatever a CGI blue Genie is). Disney has once again proved skeptics wrong, though.
Aladdin is an unqualified blockbuster. Its estimate is $105 million over four days, and competitors believe that Disney has lowballed that total by at least $5 million. Internationally, it’s roughly doubled what Solo did in the same weekend last year. Aladdin grossed $121 million, giving it a three-day holiday total of $207.1 million.
Disney’s latest live-action remake is a monster hit and a great film. Audiences gave Aladdin a glowing Cinemascore grade of A. Critics were a bit harsher, as its 57 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes isn’t quite a Fresh rating. The film would need to hit 60 percent for that. Oddly, due to the arcane nature of Rotten Tomatoes, Aladdin still might be certified Fresh at a later date if/when it gets a few more positive grades.
Either way, the A Cinemascore indicates that opening weekend audiences delighted in the return of Aladdin in a new style. It’s yet another blockbuster hit for Disney in what is shaping up to be the greatest year ever for a movie studio.
A Few Star Wars Updates
Disney continues to leak information about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. We’ll know a lot more on May 29th when MickeyBlog receives an exclusive sneak peek at the themed land, and we plan to do some livestreaming that day. Here’s what we know for now.
The check-in protocol for Star Wars Land is a bit of a surprise but also makes perfect sense. Guests who have reservations to visit Batuu will check in at…Star Wars Launch Bay. Remember that you MUST have a reservation to visit Batuu through June 23rd. There is no standby line during this timeframe.
On May 31st, aka opening day, you may begin the process of getting in line at 2 a.m. The parking lot will open at midnight, which could create a second, unofficial line. Park officials request that you do NOT bring coolers or sitting chairs, even pop-up ones. They may move the line queues depending on crowd size. Such cumbersome items could create problems for other guests.
Disney has posted this helpful video about the rules. They warmly encourage DisneyBounding for opening day at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. They politely remind you that standard park rules are still in place, though. Unless you’re under 14 years of age, you’re not allowed to wear a full costume. Be creative, and you may get the eternal bragging rights of being highlighted on Disney social media on opening day!
Those of you who are visiting Star Wars Land this week should download and update your Play Disney Parks app. The Star Wars: Datapad is now active, and it’s an excellent way to enhance your visit to Black Spire Outpost. The app will help you decipher alien languages, hear special transmissions, and even hack droids in the area. Also, a game is available for the line queue of Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run.
Three Other Disneyland Updates
Cast members at the Happiest Place on Earth are feverishly working to ready other aspects of the park. They understand that the wave of people arriving for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will spill over into other sections of Disneyland, too. So, as part of Project Stardust, they’re upgrading several sections of the theme park to improve overall guest experiences.
One of the most noticeable ones is a new digital help board at Main Street, U.S.A. It looks like the standard information boards that you’re used to seeing, only this one is digital. It comes with live updates of park news. If a ride or restaurant is closed, it’s automatically removed from the list, giving guests real-time knowledge of park happenings. Best of all, it’s colored to match the theme of Main Street, U.S.A. The signage won’t feel out of place here and disrupt the immersion.
Unrelated to Project Stardust, Disneyland is doing something else for crowds this summer. In tandem with the arrival of Star Wars Land, Disney California Adventure will bring back Soarin’ Over California for a limited time.
Since this version of Soarin’ is no longer available, park officials believe that it’ll entice some guests to visit Disney California Adventure and thereby alleviate potential traffic overflow at Disneyland. Soarin’ Over California is only available during the month of June. If you’ve missed it, take this rare opportunity to watch it again.
One update that we don’t THINK is related to Star Wars Land is a retirement. Disneyland’s beloved Farley the Fiddler is about to hang up his violin for good. The Frontierland mainstay has, by his own estimate, performed almost 40,000 shows over the past 40+ years. Now, he’s ready to retire. The Orange County Register points out that Farley the Fiddler (real name: Gary Francisco) will continue to do his local educational program.
Hey, Stuff Is Happening at Other Disney Parks!
Disneyland truly is the Happiest Place on Earth this week, but other Disney theme parks have some news, too. For example, Tokyo Disneyland has just confirmed the name of the upcoming eighth Port of Call aka themed land at Tokyo DisneySea. This huge expansion has attractions based on characters from Frozen, Peter Pan, and Tangled and will open to the public in 2022. Its official name is Fantasy Springs, and the artist concept drawings are breathtaking.
Back in the United States, Walt Disney World has altered some of its security procedures once again. This time, the changes are to the benefit of customers. Park entrances are getting rid of the bins at metal detectors. You know the ones that make you dig everything metal out of your pockets, remove some of your jewelry, and slap your cellphone into the bin?
Yeah, you don’t have to do that anymore, at least at a few security checks. Over the next few months, Disney should eradicate all such processes thanks to the new security system in place that isn’t messed up by metal objects. You’ll still need to drop bags and purses in the bin, but it’s a much easier process overall.
The big news at Walt Disney World resorts is that Mobile Ordering has expanded. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort was the first non-theme park location to feature grab-and-go pick-up. Three other resort restaurants will add this functionality.
The Mara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, my beloved Contempo Café at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and Everything POP Shopping & Dining at Disney’s Pop Century Resort will have Mobile Ordering in a matter of days. You should absolutely use it whenever you eat at any of these places. It’ll totally streamline your dining experience.
Okay, that’s it for this week. Obviously, this week is the most important one for Disney theme parks in years. I would argue it’s the biggest one since Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened in 1998. Please check back with MickeyBlog regularly. We’ll keep you updated on everything we learn about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The wait is almost over, my friends!
Happy Memorial Day, everyone!