MickeyBlog News for October 14, 2019
Over the past few days, Disney has released a couple of new trailers, suffered another strange theft, and presented further information about the transportation incident last week. Meanwhile, Tokyo Disneyland has had a more eventful week than expected. Let’s bring you up to speed on everything going on in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News.
Danny Ocean and His Team Strike Again
Quick! Name the last time you committed a felony at Disney! No, I’m not trying to entrap you. I’m just setting up one of the weirdest stories in recent memory.
Remember late last year when we learned that some thief stole the Buzzy Audio-Animatronic? Well, that story created a kind of Streisand Effect. The musician/actress famously didn’t want anyone to publish photos of her home. And the story is famous because her attempts to squash such photos led to intense interest in her residence.
At Walt Disney World, something similar has occurred. Disney’s desire to punish the thieves has caused observers to realize that a vast market exists for such goods. It’s a “name your price” scenario for Disney fans with deep pockets. Frankly, it’s the strangest black market I can ever recall.
Disney fell victim to attraction theft again recently, as reports just surfaced about a $20,000 heist. This time, the perpetrators somehow stole three seats from Space Mountain and a set of sails from Peter Pan’s Flight.
You’re undoubtedly wondering how someone can walk out of Magic Kingdom with a handful of seats and sails. I…don’t have a good answer to this. But I will tell you what I know.
Disney operates several storage sheds, many of which contain current and outdated attraction parts. On October 2nd, a cast member performed an inventory and realized that the shed was missing several items. The shed had a padlock, and the police noticed no signs of a break-in. Ergo, it’s probably an inside job.
So, if you see Space Mountain seats on eBay, you should alert the authorities. Now that criminals know that there’s a market for this stuff, Disney theft may become a more frequent issue. And let’s be honest. We’d all buy a Space Mountain seat if we could.
New Movie Trailer Time!
Disney’s not content with their total domination of the 2019 movie box office. Nope, they’re not resting on their laurels at all. Instead, the company’s already plotting its 2020 strategy to maintain total marketplace dominance.
Disney released two new trailers over the past few days. Both of them seem likely to become top ten releases for calendar 2020. In other words, we’ve just seen the first trailers from future billion-dollar blockbusters.
Pixar’s Onward cleverly sends up a standard conceit of Disney animation. Usually, a parent dies, leaving the abandoned child to fend for him/herself for the first time. Onward works the opposite way.
Two human…like creatures discover a spell that promises to bring their dead father back to life. There’s a catch, of course, but it’s a marvelous bit of wish fulfillment for anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one. Really, you should watch the trailer just because it works as a fantastic standalone two minutes of entertainment.
For Disney park fans, even a Pixar movie isn’t the most prominent movie trailer this week, though. Disney’s Jungle Cruise just unveiled its first trailer. Suffice to say that it’s a magical blend of storytelling elements from several of your favorite movies.
You may notice a bit of The Mummy and Raiders of the Lost Ark in the clip. Of course, the primary inspiration is The African Queen, the film that Imagineers used as a model for parts of Jungle Cruise as an attraction. Oh, and one of the all-time great Skipper jokes gets a mention in this trailer!
While 2020 can’t possibly be as big a movie year for Disney as the current one, the studio still seems poised to retain its place at the top of the box office hierarchy.
When MickeyBlog News went live last week, the Disney Skyliner incident was still in flux. Disney’s initial comments…were not great. And misinformation was seemingly everywhere about what had transpired.
A week later, we know at least a bit more. Thanks to a (better) official statement, we now know that Disney has described the situation as a “malfunction” somewhere in the gondola system. We really don’t know anything specific, although speculation is rampant.
However, Disney did apologize to all affected guests. More importantly, the company has kept the Disney Skyliner offline the entire week. Three hours after the minor crash, the gondolas operated again for a few minutes. Cast members did this to retrieve stranded guests.
Obviously, the park’s maintenance team hasn’t signed off on a full-fledged system restoration, though. At this point, we simply don’t know when the Disney Skyliner will come back online.
The other update we have is that someone did request hospitalization after the incident. Disney has maintained its stance that no one suffered injury. As such, the prevailing belief is that the hospital trip was a precautionary measure.
Buses Just Got Better
While Disney’s mood is somber about the Disney Skyliner, one transportation system has undeniably improved. On the heels of a successful rollout of the new themed buses, Disney has another trick up its sleeve.
A few weeks ago, park officials unveiled the latest fleet of buses, all of which have exterior wraps. They look like some of your favorite Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Mike & Sulley, and Simba. The bus interiors are equally impressive, as some of the seats include USB ports, allowing guests to charge their smart devices.
When Disney introduced USB ports, some speculated that WiFi might be coming to the buses. Sure enough, that’s precisely what has happened! Guests have spotted buses on the campus that have a new sticker. It says, “Wi-Fi on board.” Riders who have tried the service indicate that the network is Disney Transport Guest and works well from any bus seat.
Free WiFi, y’all!
A New Hotel and a Typhoon at Tokyo Disneyland
I’ll be honest. I read The Japan Times daily as part of my job as a Disney writer. Most of the time, I learn more about Japanese culture than anything park-related. Tokyo Disneyland only makes the news about twice a week on average.
This week was much different. It started with a groundbreaking ceremony for the upcoming Toy Story Hotel. This much-needed resort expansion will aid the current congestion problems that the park faces. The official Disney hotels have occupancy rates that approach 100 percent on most days.
The new hotel will add 600 new rooms to the inventory. It will feature a similar theme to Toy Story Lands around the world, with a premise that guests shrink down to the size of toys. While this Toy Story Hotel will presumably be similar to the one at Shanghai Disneyland, I should mention that a different ownership group is involved. The Oriental Land Company actually owns and operates Tokyo Disneyland. So, this hotel may vary significantly from the current one.
Another hotel at Tokyo Disneyland is a significant enhancement, but it didn’t turn out to be the most impacting news item of the week. Typhoon Hagibis struck Tokyo and other parts of Japan over the past 48 hours. It’s the most devastating typhoon in several decades and has forced the park to close.
This event was the first time that Tokyo Disneyland had closed since 2011, back when the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred. Stunningly, Tokyo suffered a 5.7 earthquake yesterday, too.
Pray for everyone in this part of the world, my friends. They’ve suffered through a brutal weekend.