MickeyBlog News for January 6, 2020
The New Year is here, and Disney’s already off to a fantastic start. Theme parks operated near capacity for most of the past week. Of course, the large crowds caused some unexpected issues. We’ll talk about the most significant ones in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News.
Another Disney Skyliner Shutdown
Here’s a technology that everyone takes for granted. When you have a door, you expect it to close properly. That’s what happens almost every time. However, you only remember when it doesn’t, right?
Well, guests on the Disney Skyliner certainly relate. At various points last week, technical issues plagued the new gondola system.
The doors on some vessels refused to close. Cast members had to make due in trying times. After all, the Twelve Days of Christmas qualify as the most crowded park days of the year.
With no other recourse, employees simply roped off malfunctioning gondolas. Since Disney can’t easily disconnect them from the main line, these ride carts went unused throughout the day. They remained offline until such time as maintenance teams could fix the problem. It wasn’t great.
The first three stories this week all share a theme. It’s that park officials can’t control everything, especially when crowds are constant. Perhaps the strangest and least likely issue occurred at the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover.
This fleet of vehicles performs at one of the highest levels of any Magic Kingdom attraction. That’s why everyone got caught off-guard by a surprising issue. Smoke arose from the entry station for the PeopleMover. And I mean a LOT of smoke.
Disney had no choice but to close the PeopleMover for a couple of hours to investigate. For safety reasons, Astro Orbiter at Tomorrowland shut down during this maintenance test, too. An emergency response team from Reedy Creek Fire Department arrived and verified that everything was in working order.
Within two hours, the PeopleMover and Astro Orbiter operated again. In fact, the fire department states that its employees were only onsite for 12 minutes before verifying that everything was in working order. It’s admittedly strange that such a minor issue caused that much smoke to swirl.
However, no one has reported an issue with the PeopleMover sense then. My uninformed speculation is that the problem came from the escalator, not the ride itself.
This One’s Sad. Skip It If You Like.
The holidays are rough for everyone. I’m as optimistic and good-natured as the human condition allows, yet I engaged in a bit of road rage on New Year’s Eve. I’m not proud of it. Many of us have a bit more difficulty controlling our emotions during the holidays.
Keeping that in mind, an overwhelmed woman tried to do something regrettable on a Disney ferry boat on New Year’s Day. She jumped off the ship into Seven Seas Lagoon in an apparent suicide attempt. Other riders on the boat provided eyewitness testimony to this fact.
Thankfully, a rescue team saved the woman’s life. This bit of heroism did more than help her. It also prevented a bunch of children from observing something horrific during their Disney trip.
Also, Disney officials deserve a ton of credit for their quick and effective response to this crisis. It was the holidays for cast members, too, but they all stood strong in the face of three unpredictable, chaotic events.
The rescue of the woman who fell/jumped off the ferry boat tonight between MK and TTC. Very chaotic and traumatic scene on the ferry boat. #DisTwitter #Disney #MagicKingdom #WaterRescue pic.twitter.com/L2yPFwrVlG
— Mike Plotkin (@MiKiEPNyC) December 31, 2019
A New Guest Relations Station
Speaking of the Disney Skyliner, one of its prominent stations is at the International Gateway. This location at the back entrance to Epcot has become much more important in recent months. More guests are entering the park from here than ever before.
To accommodate this influx of park visitors, Disney’s upgraded the Guest Relations facilities. Epcot has had some sort of customer service in this area in the past, but the new setup is much more official.
— Denise at Mousesteps (@Mousesteps) December 31, 2019
The Guest Relations building is now an elegant, albeit small facility with a few dedicated cast members and computers. The customer service options here should satisfy even the most challenging problems.
You’ll find the new Guest Relations area just past the security screening section. Due to the Skyliner’s logistics, it’s actually a great place to solve any issues on your way in or out of Epcot.
— Denise at Mousesteps (@Mousesteps) December 30, 2019
HarmonioUS Times Ahead
Does it seem to you like IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth just closed? You’re not wrong. The last performance of the show occurred on September 30th, less than 100 days ago. So, Epcot Forever has also anchored Epcot nights for barely three months.
With a new presentation in operation, you may think that the next Epcot show won’t arrive for a long time. Surprise! The official D23 site indicates that HarmonioUS will debut in 2020, which we already knew.
However, other reports suggest that it will arrive this spring! Yes, you’re only a few months away from what Disney describes as the most comprehensive nightly presentation in park history.
Sam the Eagle Loves…Barbecue?
Okay, Disney surprises me sometimes. Epcot officials had already announced that a barbecue joint was coming to The American Adventure. And what self-respecting American doesn’t love BBQ? (Don’t @ me, vegans. I respect and admire your life choices. But I get hungry.)
The shock at Regal Eagle Smokehouse comes from the branding. Sam the Eagle, the most patriotic of all Muppets, will have his face on the restaurant’s emblem. And he’ll take the relationship a step further by hosting Sam’s Centennial Cook-Off: A Salute to All Cook-Offs but Mostly Barbecue.
Between this restaurant and a mention on The Good Place, Sam the Eagle’s enjoying quite the career resurgence.
Return of the PROUD Family
Disney+ fans, I’ve got great news for you! One of the most iconic Disney Channel series of the early 21st century is now available on the streaming service! The Proud Family aired 52 episodes (and a movie!) from 2001 through 2005.
The series starred Kyla Pratt as Penny Proud, an animated teenager whose father lived to embarrass her. The father, played by Tommy Davidson, owned a snack food business but lived for his family, especially his three children.
This program marked a new initiative for Disney in that the company didn’t create it, instead licensing it from Jambalaya Studios. Even now, with the streaming service, most shows come from Disney.
So, The Proud Family possesses a different voice than most animated series on Disney+. And new episodes are in the works for later this year!