MickeyBlog News for July 13, 2020
Sound the celebratory alarms! Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom have reopened!
Obviously, we have a lot to talk about in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News!
Also, hooray! We made it!
Walt Disney World Theme Parks Reopen
Yes, it’s true. On July 11th, two of Disney’s four Walt Disney World gates reopened to the public.
MickeyBlog was there to bring the magic to your home. Of course, Saturday wasn’t the first time that we livestreamed from Magic Kingdom.
Coming to you LIVE from Magic Kingdom for Opening Day!
Posted by MickeyBlog.com on Saturday, July 11, 2020
We were there last Thursday and last Tuesday, as well. So, you should already have a good idea of the changes in the parks.
If you don’t, you need to follow our Facebook page and pay more attention to our live updates!
I kid…mostly. Anyway, I’ll presume that you don’t know everything about park changes. Here’s the gist.
Disney has modified many of the attractions to protect guests until Coronavirus subsides.
You can read the full article for details, but it’s mostly straightforward. Some rides have plexiglass barriers now.
Others have disabled interactive elements that featured high-touch areas.
The most extreme example is Haunted Mansion, which has disabled The Stretching Room. When you enter this place, it’s pre-stretched.
MickeyBlog is covering the reopening exhaustively. So, the smartest thing to do is bookmark our site and check back several times each day.
More Reopening Information
Face masks have also proven to be a non-issue. The overwhelming majority of guests have abided by Disney’s decision to require face covers.
Park officials specified that neck gaiters aren’t allowed, stating that masks should have ear ties or loops. People have followed this rule, too.
Disney introduced Relaxation Stations at the parks to give hot guests a place to remove their masks and cool off when needed.
Really, the most important statement is that Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopened without incident.
At this point, Disney’s primary goal is to return to business while protecting a safe space for cast members and guests alike.
To date, Disney can say, “Mission accomplished!” The magic is back, everyone!
On Wednesday, July 15th, EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will return and hopefully sustain momentum.
MickeyBlog plans to livestream from each park. So, check back for more of the magic!
On the West Coast, Disney has also begun its phased reopening.
On July 9th, Downtown Disney returned, which wasn’t easy. The state of California suffered a recent outbreak that imperiled the process.
Park officials delayed the comeback of Disneyland, while Downtown Disney had to adjust on the fly.
The governor of California closed indoor restaurants and stores for a second time due to Coronavirus.
Disney has a close working relationship with the governor and had already agreed to terms on operating procedures.
So, the new edict applied to Orange County but only partially impacted Downtown Disney stores.
Disney still chose to reopen, and audiences happily arrived to embrace their love of Disney, as you can tell from this tweet.
It's crazy at The World of Disney store in Downtown Disney. 😲
(📽 by @jennydisneydreams on Instagram) pic.twitter.com/PWQxT1VIhE
— Markell Bailey (@tenorbuds) July 9, 2020
Meanwhile, guests who want to book reservations at Disneyland Resort received good news this week.
Anyone who wants to book a hotel room may do so for travel dates starting on August 1st.
Obviously, we cannot draw conclusions about the park’s reopening from this information.
However, I will add that Walt Disney World hotels opened three weeks ahead of the parks.
More Walt Disney World Updates
While Disneyland’s status remains in question, Walt Disney World updates are non-stop.
For example, Walt Disney World ticket sales are back! As of this past Thursday, you can purchase tickets and hotel admissions once again.
As you’ll recall, Disney temporarily shut down ticket sales for the rest of 2020.
The company needed a hard count of current ticket holders before implementing the Disney Park Pass Reservations system.
Now that Disney has opened Park Passes to the public, it has a better idea about availability during the rest of 2020.
Similarly, Disney has reopened some Park Pass dates. A few that had previously listed as sold out are once again displaying availability.
So, in the unlikely event that you worried you may have to cancel a trip since you couldn’t get a Park Pass, hope remains!
Speaking of tickets, annual passholders received an unwelcome surprise last week.
Disney billed monthly subscribers for four payments. Thankfully, it was a mistake that the company quickly rectified.
However, some guests got hit with overdraft fees and other banking expenses.
Disney has done the right thing (again) by reaching out to impacted customers to make amends.
If you’re one of the affected, you should call 407-939-7277 to discuss the situation.
In other park news, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance has fooled us yet again.
Park officials recently stated that Disney wouldn’t employ virtual queuing during the reopening, leaving only standby queues.
Well, someone didn’t get their story straight, as we’ve now learned that the new Star Wars ride will once again employ Boarding Groups.
Yes, those are virtual queues. I cannot explain the discrepancy beyond simple miscommunication or arguments of semantics.
Still More Park Updates
Meanwhile, at Animal Kingdom, Disney has quietly removed Primeval Whirl from the latest park map.
Last year, park officials appeared ready to shutter the attraction. However, it operated as recently as March.
This latest turn of events doesn’t bode well for its future, though.
On the bright side, VIP Tours will return next month. Disney didn’t reopen these tours with the parks.
However, the profit margin for these special events is so significant that the return of VIP Tours always seemed inevitable.
The official restart date is August 16th. So, start saving your money now! VIP Tours embody the best of Disney, but they are quite pricey.
In other reopening news, Friendship Boats will come back on July 29th, two weeks after the return of EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.
So, you will only have to take alternative transportation from July 15th through July 28th.
Also, Chef Mickey’s has reopened. As expected, Disney has eliminated the buffet elements for the time being.
Instead, cast members bring family-style meals straight to your table. This move was one that I expected, and I hope it becomes permanent.
In the wake of Coronavirus, I think most people have realized the horror show that it is a buffet serving station.
Updating a story MickeyBlog has followed for a while, FuelRod has compromised in its legal battle with customers.
FuelRod portable electronics batteries recharge smartphones, tablets, and other USB devices.
Walt Disney World and Disneyland fans use them to avoid the aggravation of lugging around a larger battery during a park visit.
The company had once promised that FuelRod swaps would always remain free of charge.
In 2019, FuelRod went back on its word by updating policies to charge $3 per swap. For park guests, those costs could add up quickly.
Many sued, and FuelRod’s wording came back to haunt the company.
So, the company has settled with a new agreement. Early adopters of FuelRods now receive Founders status.
These Founders may exchange FuelRods for free as long as the service exists. The cutoff date for this status is October 26th, 2019.
If you bought a FuelRod before then, you’re a Founder!
Currently, Walt Disney World and Disneyland swaps remain free to all. Unfortunately, this settlement may open the door to another policy change.
We’ll have to wait and see.