MickeyBlog News for February 3, 2020
Spider-Man’s ready to fly, Space 220’s approaching orbit, Mickey & Minnie are training, and a virus continues to cast a shadow over Chinese tourists. Here’s everything we’ve learned this week at MickeyBlog News.
Spider-Man Takes to the Sky
Your friendly neighborhood webslinger, Spider-Man, will fly into Disney California Adventure in a few months. And the flying part seems literal.
Back in 2018, Disney unveiled footage of acrobatic Audio-Animatronic (AA). The video showed the robot performing front and backflips along with other high-wire tricks that you’d ordinarily expect at the circus. The videos went viral, as observers marveled at the artistry Imagineers demonstrated in constructing this AA.
This week, we realized that Disney gave us a hint at the future. The official Disneyland Resort YouTube channel published a new video of Spider-Man soaring through the air. Yes, Avengers Campus will apparently employ the AA acrobatics that we watched a couple of years ago! Spidey’s gonna fly, y’all!
Space 220 Finally Has a Date…Maybe
Okay, this one isn’t news inasmuch as a widely believed rumor. So, keep in mind that it’s less certain than what I usually report in MickeyBlog News.
As everyone knows by now, Space 220 has experienced several delays. The upcoming Epcot restaurant tantalized guests since the day that Disney announced it. The Mission: SPACE-adjacent eatery will transport diners into outer space, providing people with a unique perspective of Earth.
Originally, Space 220 was supposed to open last fall. Then, it experienced a series of delays that eventually pushed it out of 2019. Park officials had indicated an early winter debut, presumably by February. Well, it’s February, and we still don’t have a firm date.
However, several sources like WDW Info have received word that Space 220 will open next month. Barely. Apparently, the currently scheduled opening date is March 30th, a Monday. At that point, you can expect a slew of reviews, as Disney bloggers and livestreamers have become obsessed with the restaurant.
Coronavirus Impacts Disney Ops
Last week, I discussed the impact of Coronavirus on Disney theme parks in China. At the time, Shanghai Disneyland had already closed for a few days. Hong Kong Disneyland officials had behaved more stubbornly, keeping the park open last Saturday.
On Sunday, Hong Kong Disneyland acknowledged the reality of the situation by closing for the day. Oddly, the hotels and restaurants at the resort remained in operation for the week. Then, management accepted the ridiculousness of this plan. Starting on February 1st, Disney shut down all Hong Kong Disneyland businesses, including restaurants and hotels.
I really don’t want to discuss Coronavirus every week, as I know that’s not fun for you. However, I’m afraid that this story might linger indefinitely. The Hollywood Reporter recently suggested a doomsday scenario.
North American businesses with interests in China may suffer indefinitely. The publication indicates that theme parks and movie theaters could remain closed for weeks, possibly even months. Such a situation could negatively impact Disney’s revenue by hundreds of millions of dollars.
Coronavirus Forces Rules Modification on Disney Cruises
Also, the fear of an outbreak has caused ripple effects in other parts of the Disney empire. Disney Cruise Line has modified its boarding rules to restrict access for some guests. Unfortunately, the most likely carriers of the infection are people who have visited mainland China recently.
So, residents and tourists to that area won’t get to take Disney cruises in the short term. It’s an understandable decision to protect the health of cruise tourists and cast members.
The pertinent rule is that it applies to anyone who has visited mainland China in the past 14 days. Similarly, anyone who was in that area within 14 days of a scheduled Disney cruise booking cannot board at the moment.
Speaking of Disney Cruises
I’ve always maintained that some of the most exquisite Disney meals are available on cruises. Well, Le Chef just backed me up on the point. The publication just announced its list of the top 10 chefs on the planet.
Remy’s Chef Arnaud Lallement earned placement on this list. Arnaud, who also owns and operates L’Assiette Champenoise, is already the owner of three Michelin Stars.
Still, this latest honorific places him in rare and profound company. It matters more since the voters all possess at least two Michelin Stars. So, the most celebrated chefs in the world perceive the chef of Remy as one of the 10 best chefs in the world. Isn’t that reason enough to book a Disney Cruise and eat at Remy’s?
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Wins another Award
Speaking of awards, Disney recently earned another one. The Visual Effects Society (VES) selected the attraction for a distinguished award. Rise of the Resistance earned the honor of Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project.
Generally, the VES lauds movies and television programs, although it’s sometimes elected other media, too. Rise of the Resistance is undeniably worthy for its breathtaking immersion and stunning special effects.
Of course, Disney dominated the VES awards overall this year. The Lion King remake claimed the top movie honor at the ceremony. Also, The Mandalorian won twice, and Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2 took home awards, too.
Changes at the Top of Two Disney Media Companies
I didn’t mention it last week, but Disney took the Fox name out of 20th Century Fox, thereby ending one of the most storied studio names in history. Disney has named the new entity as 20th Century Studios, but the writing was already on the wall about the studio’s status.
High-level Disney executives haven’t liked the former Fox movie slate. It was only a matter of time before someone took the fall for all of the failed projects. Emma Watts, the President of Production for 20th Century Studios, read the writing on the wall. She resigned the other day, expressing frustration that she didn’t have enough to do in her new job.
This turn of events disappointed many longtime Fox allies. Watts has worked at the company for 22 years and is the rare studio exec to claim nearly-universal respect from the talent. Ryan Reynolds even publicly acknowledged her performance on Twitter:
Deadpool would never have happened without Emma Watts. And certainly wouldn’t have been as good. I hope to continue working with her wherever she decides to go. https://t.co/6oIzv2EkeJ
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) January 30, 2020
Watts undeniably had her supporters, but the same isn’t true at Hulu. Former CEO Randy Freer just fell victim to a reorg within the upper echelons of Disney. He’s out, while his job duties have transitioned to Kevin Mayer, the head of Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International. Mayer’s running the show for almost every significant Disney digital platform now.
Mickey & Minnie’s Training Underway
Finally, let’s talk about an exciting update at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We’re almost exactly one month away from the much-anticipated debut of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. It will leave the station on March 4th, which means that Disney has reached the final countdown.
To prepare for the opening, park officials have started training cast members on the ride! Yes, people are learning the ins and outs of their job stations as we speak! It won’t be long now, my friends!