MickeyBlog News for May 18, 2020
This week has been full of win for Disney fans. One park is back in business, and Disney Springs returns in a couple of days.
Oh, and Disney’s going to open some of its shops over the next 10 days, too. I have all the happiness in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News.
Disney Springs Reopens
On May 20th, park officials begin the first phase of Walt Disney World’s reopening plan. The Disney Springs entertainment complex will return to limited operations.
As I mentioned last week, the only stores that will reopen on day one are third-party operations.
Businesses like The BOATHOUSE, Blaze Pizza, Chicken Guy!, and Wine Bar George will host guests for the first time since March 16th.
To protect the health of Disney Springs guests, Disney has brought back several of its custodial workers.
Some of them returned to work on May 15th, while others will begin their jobs on the 20th.
Disney worked out an agreement with one of its largest unions to make this possible. Cast members understandably sought reassurance that Disney would protect their safety.
For its part, Disney stepped up by promising that anyone who shows signs of COVID-19 will be sent home. Then, they will receive their standard pay while quarantining for two weeks.
Also, Disney is encouraging cast members who fear that they have COVID-19 symptoms to call in sick. They won’t receive any attendance policy violations for such days.
So, nobody has to worry about getting sick and then winding up fired, as has happened at other, less scrupulous businesses.
Meanwhile, Disney’s actions prove to guests that the company is serious about protecting the safety of customers and cast members alike.
Of course, Disney Springs won’t feel like it’s really reopened until Disney businesses are open. And that’s why I have the best possible news!
The Important Date Is May 27th.
Recently, a union worker commented on the record that Disney was only days away from restarting its Disney Springs ops.
On May 16th, we learned that this person spoke the truth. Disney confirmed that it would reopen several of its Disney Springs stores a few days later on May 27th.
So, Disney’s plan is to allow third-party vendors to run their businesses for a week. Then, Disney will join them.
As with the rest of Disney Springs reopening locations, we don’t have a full list yet. However, we do know that World of Disney and the Marketplace Co-Op will return.
I don’t want to say that those are the only stores that matter. If I’m honest, they’re the ones I frequent the most, though.
Disney will also reopen some of its restaurants like D-Luxe Burger.
Presuming that all goes well, the company should continue to restore its core businesses over time. Speaking of which…
On May 11th, Shanghai Disneyland became the first Disney park to reopen after a Coronavirus-related closure.
In a matter of minutes, park guests excitedly purchased all opening day tickets. Then, they reaped the benefits of their rewards.
Admittedly, the post-pandemic version of Shanghai Disneyland looks a fair bit different than the previous version.
The play’s the thing, though. The ride and attraction experiences still look and feel the same.
The difference comes from the social distancing measures. Yellow markers throughout the park indicate where guests should stand.
Conversely, some messages on the ground identify where guests shouldn’t huddle.
The markers are in place on rides, at show areas, and in restaurants. The symbols are at park admission line queues and the like.
The goal here is to keep guests as far apart as possible. The temporary benefit is that attraction wait-times are ridiculously low.
Disney has enacted strict admission limits, which has the side effect of fewer people waiting in line.
On opening day, many of the most popular attractions came with consistent wait-times of 10 minutes or less.
Over the past few days, the numbers have increased a bit, at least at times. However, in a weird way, early adopters receive the best park experience possible right now.
This aspect is something you should keep in the back of your mind when the other parks reopen. Fortune favors the bold here.
Walt Disney World
Speaking of a potential reopening, Florida’s governor has laid the groundwork for the return of Walt Disney World.
I’m not talking about Disney Springs, either. I mean full-fledged theme park action!\
State officials have requested that Florida theme park planners submit their reopening plans.
Once the government signs off on these requests, businesses like SeaWorld, Universal Studios, and Disney can reopen their parks.
This step is legitimately the most significant one. Once Disney clears this hurdle, a day at Magic Kingdom is closer than you think.
Florida has entered what officials are describing as “full phase one.” This change means that restaurants can increase indoor capacity to 50 percent.
Yes, the modification also explains why Disney Springs businesses are returning. It’s easier to turn a profit at 50 percent occupancy than at 25 percent.
Anyway, Disney has sent many mixed signals about when it will reopen the parks.
Walt Disney World hotels and restaurants are accepting reservations starting on July 1st.
However, Disney has canceled reservations for the first week of June.
Company executives have also stated that the financial world shouldn’t read anything into the July 1st reservation option.
So, Florida’s government wants Disney to return asap. We’re merely waiting on Bob Chapek and Bob Iger to pick a time when they feel it’s safe for employees and visitors.
The success of Disney Springs over the next two weeks would go a long way in proving that Disney can safely reopen the parks.
Let’s all root for that!
Hamilton and The New Mutants
Finally, let’s talk about a couple of Disney movies.
Disney zigged when everybody expected a zag this week.
The New Mutants, a movie that many expected to go straight to Hulu, has received a new release date.
The last significant Fox project from the previous regime will open on August 28th.
Based on everything I’m hearing, that will be fairly early in the reopening phase of American movie theaters. Many of them are targeting July or the start of August.
So, the shortage of movies before that point could help The New Mutants at the box office.
In truth, it’s a trial balloon by Disney, though. If The New Mutants does poorly, Disney may delay other projects.
Of course, the real shocker this week involves Hamilton. I’d previously mentioned that Disney should consider strengthening Disney+ by debuting some movies on the service.
Well, Disney tripled down on the premise this week. Hamilton, the project that Disney paid $75 million to acquire, will debut on Disney+.
Surprise! The original Broadway production of Hamilton, filmed LIVE onstage at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, is now coming exclusively to @DisneyPlus this July 3rd. Shout it to the rooftops! #Hamilfilm pic.twitter.com/Uha1RBo6NB
— Disney (@Disney) May 12, 2020
Yes, on July 3rd, we can celebrate our nation’s independence by watching Hamilton on Disney+.
I view this decision as a masterstroke. It will give Broadway fans a reason to subscribe to Disney+.
Simultaneously, current subscribers won’t even think about canceling with Hamilton on the horizon.
Disney+ just keeps getting better. Really, everything in the wide world of Disney is looking up right now.