MickeyBlog News for February 24, 2020
Disney has decided to change a few icons this week. Your favorite theme parks will add gold to a castle, capital letters to a name, and a show in place of another show. Plus, a new restaurant is dishing out the BBQ, another show will make its triumphant return, and Mulan makes some surprising headlines. There’s a lot to unpack in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News.
Welcome to the Golden Age of Cinderella Castle
Did you know that 2020 is the 70th anniversary of Cinderella? The timeless Disney classic arrived in most theaters on March 4th, 1950. So, it’ll celebrate a birthday next Wednesday.
As a way to pay tribute to the film’s longevity, park officials just announced renovations at Magic Kingdom. Cinderella Castle will undergo some improvements this year that will make the landmark more…golden.
Disney hasn’t revealed specifics yet. However, we do know from the pictures what the general plans are. Imagineers will paint the top of the castle with a baby pink color that should make it pop more.
Simultaneously, other parts of the castle will take on a golden hue. The goal here is to add to the shine of the Most Magical Castle on Earth.
Epcot Has Changed Its Name…Slightly
In a move that will only impact those of us who write about Disney a lot, the company’s decided to change the name of Epcot. Don’t worry, though! I’m not talking about a switch to something entirely different. In truth, the modification is of a technical nature.
The Epcot of old is now…EPCOT. Yes, the only difference is that the name is entirely in capital letters now. It’s a tribute of sorts to the early days of the park. Initially, Disney named its second gate as EPCOT Center back in 1982.
Twelve years later, park officials dropped the capital letters and the word “Center” from the name. Disney has called the park Epcot ever since. However, as Imagineers renovate Future World into a series of three distinct themed lands,
Disney’s chosen to go back to the future. Everything old is new again, as Epcot has switched to EPCOT.
Please forgive me over the next couple of years as I type the wrong name repeatedly.
Disney Movie Magic Will Return
Here’s something of a surprising update. A few days ago, Disney’s Hollywood Studios hosted Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away for the last time. The park needs the space in front of the Chinese Theatre for the impending arrival of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
Well, that was the presumption. Park officials just caught everyone off-guard by announcing the temporary return of a different presentation. Disney Movie Magic will come back in March for a limited time. It’ll technically replace Wonderful World of Animation, which is finishing its run on March 12th.
Everyone had expected Disney to keep that space clear during the early days of the new attraction. Instead, the Chinese Theatre will continue hosting a nighttime spectacle for a while longer.
Regal Eagle Now Open
I have great news for Muppets lovers and fans of tasty dry rubs. Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue has opened at the World Showcase.
Guests at The American Adventure pavilion can stuff themselves on some of the finest smoked meats at Walt Disney World. Of course, you can smell the smoker from a couple of pavilions away, too.
Disney closed Liberty Inn last July and indicated that a BBQ restaurant would replace it by the end of the year. While those projections proved optimistic, the Smokehouse is undeniably worth the wait. Guests have raved about the hearty flavors here. It allegedly rivals Flame Tree BBQ in quality and may even approach The Polite Pig.
Also, Muppets fans will treasure the theming. The interior features several charming touches that you can study in the video above. So, you should walk in even if you don’t plan to eat. However, I predict that the intoxicating aroma here will persuade you to grab a bite during your visit.
Queen of Katwe Actress Dies
This past week, we received some tragic news. Nikita Pearl Waligwa, the star of Queen of Katwe, died at the age of 15. In the highly regarded 2016 film, Waligwa memorably portrayed Gloria, the friend of Phiona Mutesi, a 10-year-old chess prodigy from the slums of Uganda’s capital city.
As I type this, Queen of Katwe is 93 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. It was also one of only a handful of 2016 releases to earn an A+ Cinemascore. So, I strongly recommend that you watch it on Disney+, where it’s available to stream right now.
Waligwa’s story is quite sad. Feel free to skip this part if you don’t want to get bummed out. At the age of 12, the girl developed a brain tumor. Her parents took her to India to receive the best possible healthcare. Doctors managed to eliminate the cancerous growth. Unfortunately, it later returned and proved incurable.
Lupita Nyong’o paid tribute to the actress in a moving Instagram post. You can read it here:
View this post on Instagram
It is with great sadness that I post about the passing of Nikita Waligwa, the sweet, warm, talented girl whom I worked with on the film, Queen Of Katwe. She played Gloria with such vibrancy. In her real life she had the enormous challenge of battling brain cancer. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and community as they come to terms with having to say goodbye so soon. May she truly rest in peace. May it be well with her soul.
Mulan Receives PG-13 Rating
Here’s a first for Disney. Mulan just became the first of their live-action remakes to receive an MPAA rating of PG-13. You should understand that this rating isn’t enforceable, allowing anyone under the age of 13 to enter the theater.
Still, the rating demonstrates that Mulan will feature more mature themes than prior Disney live-action remakes. It’s an understandable decision for a movie with such nuanced subject matter. Disney preferred more accurate action sequences, and this decision led to more violent scenes than usual for the company.
PS: If you’re wondering, the animated version of Mulan had a G rating.
Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Live returns
Here’s a bit of terrific news for Epcot fans who love great music. Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live! will return to the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot’s World Showcase this summer! It’s a cheap excuse to listen to Hooked on a Feeling during an Epcot park visit. Who could possibly say no to that?