MickeyBlog News for August 24, 2020
What’s happening at Disney this week?
Well, there’s trouble behind the scenes at Saratoga Springs, a quarantine update in Hawaii, and several exciting changes at Walt Disney World.
Let’s talk about everything happening at Disney in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News.
The Saratoga Springs Lawsuit
Even before the pandemic started, Disney officials struggled with some construction woes. The company had several projects underway, most of which included contract work.
Whenever corporations deal with third-party developers, communication and payment issues arise. At Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, a contractor has sued Disney over unpaid bills and broken promises.
Here’s what we know. Nicole Wickens, the owner of Validus Construction Services, worked previously with Disney on multiple builds.
Wickens and her staff recently performed renovations at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter.
Based on the success of these tasks, Wickens earned more work at Saratoga Springs. She was responsible for the renovations still underway at the hotel.
Well, that project should have finished by now. It hasn’t because Wickens indicates that her team unearthed code violations that required immediate fixes.
When she reported them to her Disney liaison, problems began. A Disney employee stonewalled the requests for a delay to fix the issues.
Depending on which party you believe, either Disney didn’t take a code violation seriously, or a constructor tried to overbill the company.
A court will resolve the matter, as Wickens has sued Disney, claiming that she’s still owed money and that a Disney worker threatened her.
We won’t know how much of this is accurate until the matter resolves itself in court. So, stay tuned to MickeyBlog for more information.
Disneyland Hotels Accepting Reservations Again!
We remain in a holding pattern regarding the return of Disneyland. The state of California has reported tens of thousands more COVID-19 cases than anywhere else.
So, the governor and other state officials haven’t updated Disney on theme park reopening plans yet.
However, the tide may have turned. Over the past few days, Disneyland hotels have canceled existing reservations through September 12th.
Yes, that sounds depressing, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Disney has reopened its hotel reservation system. Guests may book reservations at Disneyland Resort for September 16th and beyond.
Of course, one important caveat exists. You may only get rooms at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel in September.
Disneyland Hotel won’t reopen until October 1st at the earliest.
The reopening of the reservation system foreshadows the potential return of The Happiest Place on Earth. If you want a room, please reach out to one of the professionals at MickeyTravels.
They’ll have the most updated information about Disneyland, and their services are absolutely free!
Speaking of booking reservations, Disney understands that you have concerns about planning a vacation during a pandemic.
The company had previously adjusted its cancellation policy to give guests more options.
Thankfully, Disney recently doubled down on this decision, as it has waived cancellation fees up to the day of arrival.
This extremely lenient cancellation policy applies to all hotel stays between now and the last day of 2020.
In other words, you can book with confidence for the rest of the year! If your plans fall apart, Disney won’t bill you any cancellation fees!
Again, check with someone at MickeyTravels for additional information.
Cirque du Soleil Drawn to Life Delayed until 2021
Okay, this update shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody, but we can confirm it now.
The upcoming Cirque du Soleil show, Drawn to Life, won’t debut in 2020.
As we’d mentioned earlier this year, some MickeyBlog folks possessed tickets for a show right when the pandemic happened.
In the blink of an eye, Drawn to Life went from imminent to heavily delayed.
The pandemic has destroyed many live performance businesses, and Cirque du Soleil is undoubtedly one of them.
After society shut down, the circus owner laid off 95 percent of the staff as an emergency method to remain solvent.
Cirque du Soleil has prepared to relaunch its sublime shows, but it’ll take time.
Only a few people in the world can perform some of these acts. They’ll need to re-train and prepare.
Unfortunately, Drawn to Life must wait until 2021, and that’s smart for a different reason. The Disney Springs venue that hosts these shows must maintain social distancing practices anyway.
So, Cirque du Soleil wouldn’t make much money from this show in 2020 anyway.
So Much for that Hawaiian Vacation
I’m certainly not trying to be glib here, but I know that many Disney fans have a trip to Hawaii on their bucket list.
Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa surpasses some of Disney’s highest-profile resorts in terms of amenities and exotic nature.
Alas, the resort has remained closed throughout the pandemic, and that fact apparently won’t change anytime soon.
The island of Oahu is currently suffering from an outbreak that has devastated the local economy and the health of many citizens.
The government has introduced new restrictions on social gatherings, limiting most of them to five people or less. The situation on the island is quite scary, with an average of 242 new cases reported daily over the past week.
Obviously, the tourism industry cannot host guests until the outbreak slows. So, Aulani has canceled all reservations through September.
Realistically, the hotel will be closed even longer than that, as October is less than six weeks away.
However, the governor of Hawaii has explored a Resort Bubble concept akin to what Disney has achieved with the NBA Bubble.
Under this premise, tourists could island-hop to the various popular destinations, as long as they’re willing to wear trackers for contact tracing purposes.
Hawaii officials rely heavily on tourist dollars to finance the economy. The pandemic has devastated this area, possibly even more than Las Vegas and Orlando.
Let’s Talk Walk-Ups!
As you know, Disney has altered the way it releases Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs). The 180-window has ended due to the pandemic.
Currently, your restaurant booking window opens at 60 days. Also, Disney has reduced the number of available tables at each establishment.
So, you have a short time to get ADRs before your trip begins. Since popular restaurants sell out quicker than ever, you may get shut out.
From Disney’s perspective, ADRs can cause a second wave of issues. Since capacity is so low, cancellations cause problems.
An uncrowded restaurant grows even emptier, and Disney’s out the money. We’ve known this all along and had expected restaurants to allow walk-up waitlists.
That time has finally arrived, as My Disney Experience has introduced a new feature.
You may already view a restaurant’s details in the app. Now, you’ll notice a Walk-Up List notice.
How Walk-Ups List Works
Parties of up to seven guests may join the list. It’s no different than a regular waitlist.
Once your time has come, you’ll receive a notification that your table is ready.
Also, the app displays wait-times, letting you know how long you’ll have to wait to be seated.
I think anyone who has ever waited at a restaurant would agree that this feature is brilliant.
Disney has implemented this measure to increase capacity at restaurants. Of course, the company can’t allow guests to walk up to the host stand, though.
Everyone would violate social distancing that way, which is the reason why Disney added QR code check-ins when Walt Disney World reopened.
So, the Walk-Up List feature is critically vital for multiple reasons.
Currently, Disney offers this option at Kona Café, Sanaa, Whispering Canyon Café, and Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera.
We may safely expect that many more restaurants will add it soon, though.
Okay, that’s everything for now. Have a terrific week, my friends!