MickeyBlog News for April 27, 2020
I don’t have great news here, my friends. The song remains mostly the same in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News. However, there are a few Disney tidbits that you need to know.
When Will Disney Re-Open?
If the staff at MickeyBlog had a dollar for every time someone has asked us when the parks will reopen, well, we’d all own annual passes for life. Holly Ramey recently put it bluntly and honestly in this article.
Nobody knows for sure when the parks will operate once again. Even Disney executives are writing in pencil rather than pen right now. So, we’re all left with educated guesses about what happens next.
The latest news is that Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, went on live television and indicated that Walt Disney World is way ahead of schedule in planning a return.
That’s not the same as saying the park will reopen soon, just that the company has prepared well for that day. However, Disney is like many other companies with Florida interests. Its executives don’t want to jeopardize the health of cast members or workers.
The Re-Open Florida Task Force met on Friday to discuss this topic, and Disney officials are participants in this group. They recently added a public comment portal for citizens and small business owners.
The task force is soliciting feedback about people’s concerns about altering current social guidelines during the pandemic. Many states hope to juice their economies by encouraging people to go outside again.
The problem is that April 24th and April 25th had the largest daily totals for new infections since the Coronavirus outbreak began. So, a lot of people worry that it’s too soon to lessen the restrictive stay-at-home guidelines.
Disney must walk a tightrope here to do the right thing. Also, just as importantly, customers must perceive Disney as doing the right thing. Otherwise, the brand could suffer.
Impending Changes to Reservations?
Analysts are all over the place with their predictions. Some believe that Walt Disney World will open within the month. After all, the park calendar lists operating dates in mid-May.
Others state that the return will occur in June or possibly even July. One person recently grabbed headlines for saying that Disney won’t open until 2021.
I’d bet all the money in my pockets against all the money in their pockets that they’re wrong. We live in a cashless society, so that’s not much of a wager anyway.
Still, we have learned some things about what will happen when Disney returns. For starters, a twitter user posted an image that online check-in is a requirement now.
I can’t link it because of other NSFW images on the person’s timeline, but it appears legitimate. Other Disney fans confirmed similar messages for upcoming trips.
Presuming it happens, this move makes a ton of sense. Many Disney changes will involve the reduction of interactions between customers and cast members. It’s just not safe right now.
Of course, Disney introduced online check-in as a way to phase out desk check-in anyway. The practice is archaic and poor use of cast member prowess.
The other thing that we’ve learned is that Disney has removed park hours through May 16th. This statement is true at Disneyland and Walt Disney World alike.
Beyond that, Disneyland has had a relatively quiet week. I don’t have anything of note to report that’s not about furloughed cast members or idle speculation. And we’ve already covered a lot of it on MickeyBlog.
The Next Few Days Will Determine a Lot
With so much in doubt in the United States, we’re all watching other Disney theme parks to catch hints about what might happen next.
At Tokyo Disney Resort, a few shops qualified as essential. So, Ikspiari has three businesses operating right now. This is happening despite the national stay-at-home order.
One of them is – I kid you not – Maihama Mermaid Dental Clinic. Make of that what you will, folks who don’t like dentists when there’s not a pandemic going on.
Anyway, the point is that officials at Oriental Land Company can monitor guest behavior at these shops. Then, it can leverage this information to choose the best social distancing practices when the parks reopen.
Shanghai Disneyland is even closer to returning. School starts back in the city on April 27th. And Fantawild has already reopened 19 theme parks across China. So, Disney has some information from its competitor about what to expect.
Social media users have posted pictures of the preparations that Shanghai Disneyland is taking. Twitter user Gourmetddy has posted two tweets show the work being done:
— DONGDONG (@gourmetdyy) April 22, 2020
Breaking：look at these stickers in line-up area before security check
，keep social distance to avoid #speakmoistly #ShanghaiDisneyland #SHDL #上海ディズニーランド #Disney #Disneypark #Disneyland pic.twitter.com/6pj4xJ31Bk
— DONGDONG (@gourmetdyy) April 22, 2020
Obviously, Disneyland and Walt Disney World will require similar testing before the parks can reopen. When that happens, you can expect images to appear across social media.
For now, we’re all waiting to see how Shanghai Disneyland does, though. It’s apparently going to return before Hong Kong Disneyland, where city officials are using part of the campus as a temporary facility for COVID-19 victims.
However, I recommend that you check the #HKDL hashtag every day or two. Social media users frequently post pictures of construction work on some of the upcoming expansions.
Grim DVC News
I rarely discuss Disney Vacation Club news here, but a recent update bears mentioning. On Friday, Terri Schultz, the head of the program, updated members on impending changes.
DVC as a system works by booking rooms well ahead of time, much like timeshares. Disney does it better, of course, but that’s beside the point. All variations of timeshares have a sudden problem due to Coronavirus.
When owners cancel reservations, they expect to re-book. That’s not possible right now, and the matter causes ripple effects. DVC will face overbooking problems in the coming months due to past cancellations.
DVC has announced how it will address these concerns. Members can read Schultz’s email to learn specifics. However, the gist is that Disney will disallow owners from borrowing all DVC points from the next Use Year.
Instead, DVC members may only borrow up to half of their points, a first for the program. The other limitation involves canceled vacations. Owners who couldn’t stay at Disney will have either six or twelve months to utilize those unused points.
This half-measure will help some members who caught a bad break due to Coronavirus cancellations. Unfortunately, it’s still an imperfect solution, and many members are angry about it.
Honestly, Disney’s doing the best that it can in impossible circumstances. The company just can’t catch a break right now, though.