MickeyBlog News for August 30, 2020
We’ve got great news about park safety, frustrating news about some cast members, and an infuriating story about a security guard.
In the latest edition of MickeyBlog News, we will also celebrate a Disney icon who died too soon.
A Health Update from Central Florida
Let’s start with the information that impacts Disney vacationers the most.
Over the past few days, health and safety officials have provided updates regarding COVID-19 in Central Florida.
You’re likely aware of the fact that deaths reached record-highs while infection rates fell substantially during the second half of August.
The explanation for these seemingly conflicting facts is that Coronavirus works insidiously but slowly.
When infection rates are high, mortality rates don’t necessarily match, as the disease takes time to sicken people.
Florida suffered record high daily infection totals for several weeks but has since stabilized. So, the mortality numbers reflect the severity of the previous outbreak.
Meanwhile, the daily infection rate in Florida has slowed dramatically. From August 24th through August 30th, the state averaged 2,681 daily infections.
That’s a dramatic drop from the 10,000+ daily totals the Sunshine State suffered for a while.
Understandably, government officials are ecstatic about the improvement in numbers, as they demonstrate a healthier, safer commonwealth.
The governor of Florida has indicated that the situation has improved so much that he could soon authorize increased theme park attendance.
Elected officials can do this because safety workers have yet to trace any outbreak to a Florida theme park.
Orange County health officer Dr. Raul Pino confirmed that his office has yet to trace any outbreak to SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Orlando Resort, or Walt Disney World.
Since Disney enforces the most vigorous safety measures, this statement should resonate with park fans.
Tomorrow is never guaranteed, but the worst appears over in Central Florida. An announcement about capacity limit increases should come at some point in September, too.
Sucker Punches Disney Security Guard
If you’ve kept up with MickeyBlog or, well, the internet for the past six months, you know that the subject of masks has somehow proved divisive.
Even though doctors and nurses have used them for centuries now, some folks have suddenly, quite randomly, questioned their effectiveness.
The result is that a painfully obvious safety measure has somehow evolved into a political catfight.
When Walt Disney World announced that park attendants must wear masks, some people protested…loudly and repetitively.
Even so, the usage of masks at the parks has provided hope to the rest of society, as guests have honored Disney’s reasonable request.
Still, a few isolated incidents appeared inevitable, and that’s been proven true this week.A couple of days ago, we learned about an EPCOT assault that occurred on August 14th.
Apparently, some entitled guy named Enrico Toro decided he was above Disney’s rules and refused to wear a proper mask.
A Disney security guard did his job while protecting the safety of guests.
The person asked that Toro and his family utilize proper masks. Otherwise, they couldn’t enter the park.
The would-be visitor had brought his wife and three children, but one of the kids didn’t have the right kind of mask.
The security guard couldn’t allow someone without a safe face covering to enter the park.
You know from the headline what happened next. The assailant punched the cast member.
Unbelievably, that wasn’t the moment when he was most unhinged. He also threatened to kill the security guard, all because Toro didn’t want to wear a mask.
The one positive from this maddening story is that it was a first.
I don’t just mean at Walt Disney World, either. An Orange County spokesperson indicated this the only violent incident recorded thus far.
About the Other Orange County
To my non-Disney friends, nothing confuses them more than when I reference Orange County, as many of them are California residents.
Both Walt Disney World and Disneyland reside in Orange County, which is admittedly a bit odd.
I say this because we’re switching coasts to discuss the other Orange County, which has recently received good news. The governor of California has removed the greater Disneyland area from its COVID-19 watchlist.
This vital step lays the groundwork for the return of the Happiest Place on Earth. You may recall that Disney had announced a reopening date of July 17th.
Then, California experienced an outbreak, preventing Disneyland’s comeback. West Coast Disney fans (and cast members) have remained in a holding pattern, awaiting additional news.
I still don’t have anything official to report. However, all signs point to a September park reopening, probably toward the end of the month.
The governor of California revealed the other day that his office has had theme park reopening discussions.
We’re all merely waiting on an announcement.
Also, Disneyland can reopen more quickly this time since cast members already did some of the prep work in late July and early August.
Cast Member Furlough Update
This topic bums me out. I believe that Disney cast members are among the finest people on the planet and the gold standard in employment.
So, I hate to inform you that Disney has extended many of its furloughs indefinitely.
The news certainly won’t surprise anyone, as theme park attendance remains low across the industry. Also, Disneyland’s status remains in flux.
With no other choice, Disney notified thousands of cast members via email that their furloughs will last longer.
Critics have pointed out that it’s a bad look for Disney, as the company recently restored executive pay to non-pandemic salaries.
Disney had the money to pay its management team but not re-hire its low-wage workers, which is admittedly problematic.
However, from a business perspective, Disney needs its executives to plot a new course for its post-pandemic future.
Conversely, with empty parks, Disney would increase payroll for employees it sadly doesn’t need now.
The business decision makes sense but has poor optics.
Chadwick Boseman Has Died
Disney fans around the world are in shock right now, as Chadwick Boseman’s official account posted that the actor has died of cancer.
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) August 29, 2020
The tweet, which 7.1 million Twitter users have liked, indicates that the actor contracted colon cancer in 2016.
That was the same year that Boseman debuted as Prince T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War.
This character, the Black Panther, would grow into one of the most popular and influential in the MCU.
The standalone Black Panther movie proved so popular that it inflated an entire quarterly earnings report for The Walt Disney Company. Disney officials had to stress that the quarterly numbers were an unsustainable one-off stemming from the incredible success of the film.
Boseman continued to work on Marvel projects even after his diagnosis and apparently in between chemotherapy sessions.
Deadline published a heartfelt tribute to Boseman from Black Panther director, Ryan Coogler.
I highly recommend that you read it to appreciate the beauty of Boseman as a person.
Other tributes have roared in from all parts of the internet. Fans and friends alike have eulogized one of the most culturally significant people of this generation.
On Sunday evening, Disney aired Black Panther commercial-free, followed by a tribute special hosted by Robin Roberts.
To me, I will always remember Boseman most fondly from this YouTube video:
The passion that these people feel for Boseman tells the entire story about his last impact.
Chadwick Boseman has died at the age of 43, but, as he somehow intuited, his vision of Wakanda will live on forever in movies, comic books, and society as a whole.