MickeyBlog News for October 26, 2020
This week, Disneyland got sucker-punched by the government, the Morocco pavilion switched owners, and a new festival published its dates.
MickeyBlog News is mostly brimming with happiness this week…unless you’re a Disneyland fan, in which case, you’re gonna haaaaate me!
We Used to Be Friends
Remember back at the start of the pandemic, which feels like it happened 72 years ago?
The Walt Disney Company and the governor of California acted like big buddies, agreeing on virtually everything.
Disney’s former CEO, Bob Iger, even joined the governor’s business reopening task force.
Well, the honeymoon ended, and now we’re watching an acrimonious divorce unfold.
After weeks of back and forth, California published its theme park reopening guidelines.
How bad are they for Disney? Think back to the angriest text, email, or phone call you ever received from an ex.
Yeah, that’s a Hallmark card compared to what just happened with Disneyland.
The governor established stringent criteria for California theme parks to reopen.
Realistically, Disney has no chance to clear these hurdles in 2020. In fact, the company probably cannot do so until a COVID-19 vaccine exists.
I don’t like being so doom and gloom, as I’ve remained optimistic for the longest time. Alas, you can read Disney’s tweet to get a better picture:
— Disney Parks News (@DisneyParksNews) October 20, 2020
I don’t know about you, but the temperature dropped 10 degrees here as I read that. Others disagree with this assessment, too.
Here’s Anaheim’s mayor:
Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu: statement on California's disappointing guidelines for reopening theme parks. pic.twitter.com/EN2yubYabZ
— City of Anaheim (@City_of_Anaheim) October 20, 2020
I could add a slew of other theme park statements, as this subject shares a rare degree of universal consent.
Anyone who works at a California theme park feels furious right now.
The Next Steps
Where will Disney go from here? Obviously, the company wants and needs Disneyland open.
Everyone understands that parts of the United States have suffered another outbreak.
However, Walt Disney World and Downtown Disney have operated without incident for several months now.
Disney has done its part to protect its customers from Coronavirus infection…and then some.
https://t.co/DoAu0opKSO. It seems to be going ok at Disney World.
— Carlos Granda (@abc7carlos) October 20, 2020
So, this decision rankles park officials and adds pressure on Disney for more layoffs.
Before that happens, the company will weigh its options. It has already announced one of its first steps, a protest move of sorts.
— Disneyland Resort (@Disneyland) October 23, 2020
Disney will reopen Buena Vista Street to extend Downtown Disney into Disney California Adventure (DCA).
The reopening guidelines for theme parks include more restrictions for theme park vendors than for shops or restaurants.
Disney emphasizes this point by allowing guests into DCA solely for shopping/dining purposes.
This step solves a secondary problem. Downtown Disney has suffered overcrowding issues, at least by pandemic standards.
By adding more stores and restaurants from one of the parks, Disney can stretch guests out into a larger space.
The company increases capacity AND revenue this way. And it’s excellent for DCA fans, too.
Park favorites like Carthay Circle Lounge and Smokejumpers Grill will give you more dining options.
Disney is contemplating even more aggressive responses about the guidelines, though.
Several theme park vendors have discussed individual or collective lawsuits against California’s new rules.
This approach may seem like a moonshot. However, the National Organization of Theatre Owners just applied a tactic.
They sued the state of New York to reopen its movie theaters. New York officials compromised soon afterward.
This step is probably Disney’s best chance at reopening the Happiest Place on Earth anytime soon.
The Festival of the Arts Will Return!
Quick, name the last EPCOT festival that ran completely without any Coronavirus disruptions!
Okay, fine. You guessed it by the header, but yes. The 2020 EPCOT International Festival of the Arts finished just before the world caught fire.
Perhaps normalcy will return when the festival runs in 2021? Hey, a boy can hope.
Anyway, Disney has confirmed the dates for the next iteration of the Festival of the Arts. It will operate from January 8th through February 22nd in 2021.
Given this information, we now know that EPCOT will host festivals almost every day from now until February 22nd.
The only exceptions are November 23rd through the 27th and New Year’s Eve through January 7th.
Those dates represent the transition from one festival to the next.
Speaking of which, Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays will feature a new scavenger hunt with a fitting host. It’s Olaf!
The inquisitive snowman will explore EPCOT’s World Showcase, learning about the traditions from each country’s pavilion.
You’ll match the tradition with the applicable country to finish the scavenger hunt and earn a reward.
Kids always love these scavenger hunts, and Olaf will make the 2020 version that much better.
Speaking of the World Showcase…
Back in the day, King Hassan II loved the idea of the World Showcase at Walt Disney World and wanted his country represented there.
The Moroccan ruler paid for the privilege and imported some of his country’s antiquities to enhance the pavilion’s authenticity.
Over the years, the Morocco pavilion has dazzled guests with its remarkable cultural representations.
Unfortunately, King Hassan II died in 1999, and his son, the new ruler, hasn’t shared the same love of Disney.
During the pandemic, the Morocco pavilion has suffered mightily, causing concerns that it might go bankrupt.
Believe it or not, Disney doesn’t technically own this pavilion, as it’s a joint business venture between Morocco and EPCOT.
A few weeks ago, MickeyBlog reported that Disney had sued the Morocco pavilion. In truth, it’s a bit more nuanced than that, but you get the idea.
Disney did this to ensure that it could continue Morocco’s operation at the World Showcase. This savvy strategy has paid dividends.
Moving forward, Disney will assume full control of the Morocco pavilion. Don’t worry, though.
This situation has worked out amicably, with Morocco’s government maintaining a role as consultants to sustain authenticity.
Park and Entertainment News
This is one of those weeks where there’s too much to talk about. So, I’m going to do some quick hitters.
Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort will finally make its comeback in 2021.
Park officials revealed that (arguably) the least expensive Disney property will return on February 9th, 2021.
Adventures by Disney has experienced a brutal year, what with Americans unable to travel and whatnot.
So, the travel entity has canceled all trips through the end of 2020.
However, Adventures by Disney has introduced something even better for 2021! Disney will operate private tours for up to 12 guests.
You and your friends/family members can visit any of these five destinations – Costa Rica, Egypt, Greece, Italy, or Peru.
This rare opportunity could give you and your loved ones the vacation of a lifetime.
You should speak with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner at MickeyTravels to set one up. Remember that MickeyTravels is always free to you!
At the parks, Disney has modified hours for December 20th through the 30th.
When Disney first announced its holiday operating hours, they were shorter than expected. Disney has since adjusted to add more, a welcome move.
In other park news, the Friendship Boats for EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will return on November 1st.
If you’re staying at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground for Halloween, I should alert you to some changes.
Disney understandably won’t allow Trick-or-Treating this year. Similarly, the golf cart parade is off. However, the resort will host a holiday scavenger hunt.
I’ve also got phenomenal news for those of you dreaming of a Disney marriage. Fairytale weddings have returned to the parks!
Obviously, some pandemic rules are in place. You can read the full details here.
Finally, I’ve got two entertainment tidbits for you. The long-rumored Willow series at Disney+ is a go! This is cause for celebration.
Also, Disney released the trailer for Raya and the Last Dragon. It is breathtaking!
Feature Image: Disney