MickeyBlog News for August 18, 2019
The Walt Disney Company’s had a full week as executives prepare for the all-important D-23 Expo. Theme parks have added an unprecedented pair of ticket options, introduced some new Mobile Ordering restaurants, stuck Imagineering concepts in a box, and even planned a good old-fashioned barn raising! Let’s get you caught up on all things Disney in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News.
Mid-Day Admission Tickets
From now through December 15th, Disney fans enjoy a new ticketing option. For the first time ever, guests may choose to purchase a cheaper ticket for park admission.
Called the Mid-Day Magic Ticket, it’s exactly what the name implies. You can visit the park starting at noon and spend the rest of the day there. You’ll even gain early FastPass+ booking up to 30 days in advance.
The cost of these tickets is $88 per day plus tax for the two-day, $84 per day for the three-day, and $79 for the four-day. So, for $176-$316 (plus tax), you could visit your favorite park from noon through closing for two to four days. It’s an inventive way to save a bit of money during a Disney vacation.
You WANT the Party Pass
While the new Mid-Day Magic Ticket is excellent, I’m much more excited by a different ticket announcement this week. Park officials unveiled the Party Pass, which fans of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will love.
The Party Pass gives unlimited access to all nights of the ticketed event from now until Halloween. Since there’s been confusion, I want to stress that the Party Pass will not work on Halloween. It will, however, grant guests access to the November 1st finale of the party.
The Party Pass is the equivalent of purchasing admission to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on every night but Halloween. That’s 38 out of 39 possible dates that you can watch the glorious Boo to You Parade. And the cost is only $299, the equivalent of less than three individual tickets. The Party Pass should prove irresistible to Florida residents and frequent Disney visitors.
Welcome to the NBA Experience!
ESPN’s star broadcaster Rachel Nichols visited Orlando this past week. Her sole purpose for the trip was to host the opening ceremonies for the highly anticipated NBA Experience, the replacement to DisneyQuest, the old videogame haven at Disney Springs.
Disney rolled out the red carpet for the event. Basketball luminaries like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Grant Hill, and Dwyane Wade joined current players like Mike Conley, Brook Lopez, and Victor Oladipo. Of course, Lopez didn’t have travel far since he lives at Golden Oak.
Swin Cash was there to represent the WNBA as well, fitting since the women’s league has a strong presence in the new facility. But the strangest NBA personality at NBA Experience is current commissioner Adam Silver, who has a wax statue there as a photo op. The premise is that you’re shaking hands with him after getting drafted.
Disney’s extremely excited about the NBA Experience, which officials believe is a wonderful interactive entertainment center. The one thing that long-time Disney visitors should realize is that tickets aren’t free for annual passholders, as was the case with DisneyQuest.
The cost to visit NBA Experience is $34 per adult plus tax. You’ll find 13 basketball activities here on two floors. The best of them are the Combine Experience, which lets you prep for an imaginary NBA Draft, and Dunk!, which allows you to prove your skills while taking a picture of your attempt. You can obviously test your abilities as a shooter and dribbler, too.
The whole experience sounds like a lot of fun. Please keep checking MickeyBlog for a more in-depth evaluation of the new entertainment center.
‘Tis a Fine Barn
I won’t lie. I don’t get to cover a lot of barn raisings. This one is kind of a first for me, but here goes.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground wants to care of its residents. I’m not speaking of the resort guests but instead the horses that live there. The Tri-Circle-D Ranch is about to get an upgrade to take better care of the Happiest Horses on Earth.
Starting on August 19th, the Draft Horse Barn and Pony Farm is closed to guests. And the explanation is that Disney will host a barn-raising of sorts. They’re going to construct a modern facility to house their equine friends. Yes, a new ranch will come to Disney during the spring of 2020.
Until then, many ranch activities are still available. Pony rides are always an option at Trail Blaze Corral. Also, the regular carriage rides and trail rides are running as usual. So, it’s mostly business as usual at the ranch, only the horseys are getting a new home!
Mobile Ordering Just Got Better at Walt Disney World
For those of us that visit Walt Disney World often, Mobile Ordering is a way of life. The ability to order what you want is spectacular. Plus, it’s somehow made even better by the fact that you can tell Disney exactly when you want it.
For this reason, every new addition to the Mobile Ordering program is a big deal. And Disney just expanded the restaurant options at various resorts. You can now use Mobile Ordering at:
- Contempo Café at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- End Zone Food Court at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
- Everything POP Shopping & Dining at Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- Intermission Food Court at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
- The Mara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory at Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter
- World Premiere Food Court at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
How big a deal is this? I’m not exaggerating when I say that my wife and I high-fived over the addition of Contempo Café, one of our favorite spots at Walt Disney World.
The one bummer is that when you use Mobile Ordering, you can’t order off the secret menu at World Premiere Food Court. But that’s a tiny quibble.
The Most Magical Box
Disney’s always on the lookout for new Imagineers. In recent days, they’ve published a groundbreaking new YouTube series for kids. Actually, I should say that it’s for kids of all ages, as I’ve found the information tremendously enlightening.
Called Imagineering in a Box, this series is a must-subscribe on YouTube. It details how Disney creates the attractions you love. By my count, Disney has published 33 videos to date. These clips coincide with a special Khan Academy lesson plan that you’ll find here. It’s an incredibly valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn how to think like an Imagineer.
I happen to follow Walt Disney Imagineering on YouTube and watched the first few episodes before Disney even promoted them. I immediately recommended them to a friend whose 13-year-old daughter adores Disney. And I strongly encourage other parents to show them to their kids immediately. In fact, I would suggest the Imagineering in a Box series to anyone reading this. I’ve found that’s enriched my appreciation of all things Disney.
The Great Typhoon Lagoon Robbery
Do you have any crazy co-worker stories? You know the ones that you tell at parties to reinforce how insane some people are? Well, some cast members at Typhoon Lagoon have one that may top all of your stories.
A fired former Disney employee got revenge in a highly illegal, seriously obnoxious fashion. The person used their knowledge of the employee-only areas of Typhoon Lagoon to gain admittance to the water park. Then, this criminal proceeded to rob former co-workers of credit cards, cash, phones, and other personal items while they were working.
The accused, Shariel Agosto, got a job at a third-party vendor in Disney Springs, which is near the employee locker room at Typhoon Lagoon. The woman proceeded to commit credit card fraud with some of the stolen cards.
However, Disney officials alerted the authorities, and Agosto is now in jail for unlawful possession of stolen credit cards and petit theft, the latter of which is a misdemeanor for crimes under $300. In this case, Agosto tried to purchase $250 of alcohol with someone else’s credit card.
A former cast member certainly should have known that Disney security is airtight and that they would get caught. But it’s undoubtedly the crazy co-worker story of the year.
PS for college football fans: The season’s about to begin! To commemorate the 150th season of college football, ESPN’s taking College GameDay on the road. Since the biggest game of the weekend is in Orlando, they’ll host their August 24th broadcast at Magic Kingdom.
So, if you visit Magic Kingdom on Saturday, you can’t help but notice the broadcast. It’s hosted on the elevated train section area of Main Street, U.S.A. Please keep in mind that Disney doesn’t allow banners or signs. Yes, this College GameDay will work a bit differently from standard ones, where silly signs are a vital part of the background.