MickeyBlog News for September 14, 2020
Were you thinking about a Disney holiday vacation? If so, this week’s MickeyBlog News update is a must-read. I’ve got all the details.
Disney’s Winter Plans
Earlier this year, park officials confirmed that they had canceled Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
At the time, many Disney fans recognized that other end-of-year events seemed unlikely as well.
Well, we have plenty of updates about these November/December plans. Some of it won’t surprise you, but the news is better than expected.
Let’s start with the negatives. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the holiday Candlelight Processional aren’t possible this year.
I think most of us recognized this would happen. The parks operate with limited hours so that cast members may sanitize everything after closing.
Obviously, an after-hours event would wreak havoc with the cleaning practices in place.
The Candlelight Processional comes with an additional concern.
The CDC regards choral singing as one of the most dangerous practices. Many instances of outbreaks link directly to such performances.
Also, this event includes numerous musicians sitting close together. From a social distancing perspective, it’s impossible to do safely. Disney had no choice here.
However, the company isn’t skipping the holiday season. On the contrary, the parks and resorts will kick off the celebration on November 6th.
Starting on that date, parks and resorts will display the Disney decorations you know and love.
They’ll restore some semblance of normalcy to an awful year.
Unfortunately, A Frozen Holiday Wish isn’t possible during the pandemic.
The display would cause audiences to huddle around the castle, especially during the lighting ceremony.
Instead, Disney will add digital projections to Cinderella Castle, which will create unique holiday picture opportunities.
Other Holiday Updates
The most important news comes from EPCOT. During 2020, you WILL get to enjoy a holiday celebration.
The park will host a modified version of the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays.
The event will begin on November 27th and run through December 30th.
Disney has also announced that gospel singers will perform at the World ShowPlace. The Voices of Liberty will perform at America Gardens Theatre, too. You’ll have plenty of musical options this holiday season.
Each of the four parks will present holiday-related Cavalcades, as well.
Guests will see elves and reindeer and maybe even Santa Claus during the random shows.
Meanwhile, at Disney resorts, you will notice decorations, too. However, the various gingerbread houses and cabins are a non-starter during the pandemic.
Don’t worry, though. You lived with Christmas trees as the main Disney decorations for decades. You can go for one year without gingerbread.
Disney has also adjusted park hours for the holidays. You already know that reduced hours went into effect last week.
Starting on November 27th, Magic Kingdom will stay open an hour later. Over at EPCOT, Disney will skip the morning entirely. The park opens at noon and closes at 8 p.m.
The idea here is that Central Florida residents love the festivals.
So, Disney will give everyone an hour later to eat, drink, and be merry this holiday season. God knows we all need it.
Hey, We Skipped a Holiday!
Some of you may be a bit grumpy with me right now. You’re the ones who have already put up your Halloween decorations.
I know you’re out there because I married one. And I’ve seen a staggering number of Instagram posts with Halloween themes.
Well, Disney hasn’t forgotten you! No, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party won’t run this year, but the parks have updated their costume policies.
Starting on September 15th, Disney will allow guests to wear costumes during regular park hours. Yes, that’s a first.
Adults cannot wear anything that covers their faces, but kids under 14 can put on full-body costumes if so inclined.
Disney will offer several other Halloween events for the six weeks from September 15th through October 31st.
Cavalcades will get a little spookier, with gothic theming for the characters.
The Dapper Dans will return on September 20th…as the Cadaver Dans!
In other words, many of the things you’d expect to see during a Boo to You Parade will be available for free at the parks.
Disney Park News
In Florida, the governor has reopened the state a bit more. Bars can host guests at 50 percent capacity as of September 14th, doubling the previous total.
At Disney Springs, this welcome should alleviate some stress, especially at places like Jock Lindsey’s that don’t offer much by way of food.
Over at Downtown Disney, the news is similarly good. Guests may dine inside at restaurants, a long-awaited policy change.
Otherwise, the Happiest Place on Earth is still struggling. Disney has mailed cancellation notices to all guests with confirmed reservations through September 26th.
Also, the Disneyland version of the Candlelight Processional has been canceled as well. This decision was even easier than the one at EPCOT, as Disneyland’s not even back yet.
So, cast members couldn’t possibly expect to host an event like this so soon after reopening.
Possibly the weirdest story of the week involves the Morocco pavilion, where Disney is suing…itself?
Okay, that’s not entirely accurate. The company filed paperwork against Marrakesh Moroccan Restaurant, LLC.
This group is the owner and operator of the shops and restaurants at the Morocco pavilion. They’re also in financial peril due to the pandemic.
This move mostly assures that the pavilion will remain open no matter what happens with the LLC, which may need to declare bankruptcy.
Restaurant Marrakesh has remained closed even though other parts of the pavilion have reopened.
I’d only be speculating about whether the closure involves financial constraints or not.
However, this move indicates that Disney worries whether the Morocco pavilion’s owners can pay their bills, which is a bit alarming.
Last weekend, Mulan debuted on Disney+, albeit at a fee of $29.99.
The movie is very good, and I recommend it. In fact, as I type this, Mulan enjoys a better Rotten Tomatoes score than Tenet.
Unfortunately, lots of people chose to hate Mulan over the past few weeks, and they’re causing Disney headaches this week.
Mulan faced boycott campaigns last year when the star of the movie made some political comments about the situation in Hong Kong.
Now, critics have noticed that the film’s credits indicate that part of it was filmed in Xinjiang, a place where the Chinese have detained as many as one million Muslims.
Some view Disney’s decision to work here as a tacit endorsement of the Chinese government.
A bipartisan Senate letter requested additional information from Disney, but the company’s CFO suggested virtually all the filming occurred in New Zealand.
Given director Niki Caro’s ties to the country, this makes sense.
However, the situation underscores the awkward relationship between Hollywood filmmakers and the Chinese government.
Weirdly, Disney faces criticism from some Americans about its pro-Chinese ties.
Meanwhile, Mulan has bombed in China because the citizens of that country find the story far too Americanized.
This entire debacle falls squarely into the category of, “Can’t win, don’t try.”
Frankly, I’ve tried to ignore this story while discussing Mulan, but it’s grown impossible.
Disney’s not going to receive anywhere near the Chinese box office it needs for Mulan to make money.
The current box office estimate for its first weekend in China is $25 million, which is about 30 percent of what Disney wanted/needed/original expected.
Again, the tragedy within the controversy is that the movie’s gorgeous and entertaining.
Okay, that’s everything for now. Have a great week, my friends!