MickeyBlog News for February 17, 2020
Change is afoot at Disney theme parks, while the movie studio and Disney+ are planning their next batch of blockbusters. Yes, the latest edition of MickeyBlog News will focus on your two favorite things: theme parks and movie/television projects.
Disney at the Oscars
Let’s start with a bit of celebration. When CEO Robert Iger announced that Disney would acquire most of Fox’s assets, he had a hidden goal in mind. Iger’s company hasn’t performed well at the Academy Awards during the 21st century. Sure, it’s locked down Best Animated Feature and Best Animated Short, but the top categories haven’t gone Disney’s way.
The purchases of the former 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight provided Disney with more ammunition. Sure enough, Ford v. Ferrari earned two Academy Awards, while Fox Searchlight’s Jojo Rabbit claimed Best Adapted Screenplay.
Since Toy Story 4 also won Best Animated Feature, Disney walked away with four Oscars. That tied the studio with Sony and CJ Entertainment (Parasite) for most Oscar victories this year. Mission accomplished!
Huge New Disney Projects
Disney executives are always thinking about the next wave. That statement is more accurate than ever right now, as Disney revealed a slew of movie and television projects this week. All of them are attention-grabbing in their own ways.
For starters, a sequel is in the works for one of Disney’s seven billion-dollar blockbusters last year. The film studio has hired the writing team responsible for Straight Outta Compton to find a viable story for Aladdin 2. This project is currently in the early stages of pre-production. In fact, we don’t yet whether director, Guy Ritchie, or any of the film’s cast will return.
Similarly, we don’t know the details about a live-action version of Tangled/Rapunzel yet. However, we understand that a project is underway that will receive a theatrical release. All that anyone can confirm right now is that Rapunzel is the central character.
Given that Tangled has a rather detailed back story through the movie, television series, et al., Rapunzel can use/discard whatever parts of the story its producers prefer.
And Retro Disney Projects
Another upcoming Disney movie will take us back to the 1980s…in a way. You may not believe this, but Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was a top-five domestic blockbuster in 1989. Since then, Disney has produced two sequels and a television series.
This week, we learned that Rick Moranis will come out of retirement to return for a new film in the franchise! Ignoring voice work, the actor’s last gig was Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves…in 1997!
Finally, a Mighty Ducks television show is in the offing on Disney+! Lauren Graham will star, while Emilio Estevez will return to his signature role as Coach Gordon Bombay. Clearly, Disney’s banking big on retro with all of these sequels/reboots to memorable projects.
Epcot Restaurant Delays and Closures
This week represents the end of an era at Epcot. A few months ago, park officials closed or relocated several memorable stores. Now, the rest of the bunch has shut down.
Electric Umbrella, Pin Central, and the surrounding merchandise and food carts in the area have closed. Their last day of operation was February 15th. To replace the popular Quick Service restaurant, Disney intends to open Taste Track Burgers and Fries soon. However, it’s not ready yet.
Another end of an era has occurred. Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure has had its last day. Phineas and Ferb are out, as Disney’s DuckTales World Showcase Adventure will replace it starting this week.
Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away Ending
Epcot’s not the only place going through changes. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has finally done the expected. Its daily showcase, Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away, is finally ending. Many analysts had expected this move since the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
The last performance for this show in its current space will occur on February 22nd unless last-minute popularity causes Disney to add a couple of extra dates. That’s something that has happened before, but I’m unsure whether this particular show has that sort of popularity.
The belief is that Disney will move this show or create a new and better one at Black Spire Outpost. Also, the current space will become more trafficked with the impending arrival of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. So, the Star Wars exhibition had to go.
Disneyland Price Increases
For several straight years now, Disney has increased theme park prices during the first quarter. And 2020 is no different, as we just learned about the new pricing structure at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
For Disneyland, the most significant change, at least percentage-wise, involves MaxPass. The digital FastPass service now costs $20 per person, an increase of 33 percent from its 2019 price of $15 each. Of course, we’re only talking about five bucks, and Disneyland announced that Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will join the service in a matter of weeks. That’s worth a fiver, right?
The headline story at the Happiest Place on Earth is a bit overblown. CNN and other sources discussed that some single-day admission tickets cost over $200. While that’s technically true, it’s really only one specific situation.
Disneyland has broken its surge-pricing program into five tiers, along with upsells. In reality, guests will find several money-saving opportunities when they visit during less popular times of the year. The people who will pay the most are the ones who visit on a Tier 5 day and get Park Hopper. Overall, tickets increased only three-to-five percent.
Walt Disney World Price Increases
At Walt Disney World, the news is mostly the same. The most expensive annual passes increased by six percent, although the price remained the same for Florida residents and some others. At the same time, Disney added a new package, Water Park and Sports, as part of regular admission ticket options. It entitles guests to a set number of visits to water parks, golf courses, ESPN Wide World of Sports, and NBA Experience during a Disney resort stay.
You can find a full list of updated prices on Disney’s official website. However, as always, the smartest strategy is to contact a MickeyTravels agent. These talented people already know the best ways to maximize your vacation budget for a 2020/2021 Disney trip!
A Message from Mickey Mouse
Disney appreciates the loyalty of its customers. As a fun way of expressing that admiration, the company’s added something new for 2020. Historically, whenever guests have stayed at an official Walt Disney World resort for a few nights, Disney has mailed a Thank You Card of sorts after the fact.
Starting this year, the cards have a new wrinkle. Anyone who stays for three or more nights will receive one of these letters. On it, vacationers will find a QR code. When you access this code in the Play Disney Parks app, you’ll receive a special message from Mickey Mouse himself! How great is that? Nobody can make you feel special the way that Disney does.