MickeyBlog News for November 8, 2020
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, pandemic or not.
We’ll talk about that plus a Disney dining mishap and some other stuff in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News.
Christmas at Walt Disney World
What a difference a week makes!
Last Saturday, Disney fans enjoyed an understated Halloween celebration, with most decorations and a few minor events.
Guests on the Disney campus wondered whether the holiday season would be a bust, too.
Well, I’m here to tell you that the spirit of Christmas is alive and well at Walt Disney World.
Even before Halloween had ended, some yuletide decorations had gone up at Disney resorts, and merchandise was readily available.
On November 1st, Disney started the transformation process inside the parks.
The early decorations looked modest, but then the giant Christmas tree went up at Main Street, U.S.A., and all was right with the world.
Over the last 72 hours, Disney has really stepped up its game, though.
The Mouse has defiantly unveiled a slew of new holiday offerings, all of which will thrill fans.
MickeyBlog was on the scene Saturday morning, capturing all the glorious festivities.
To our surprise and delight, Magic Kingdom hosted a seemingly unending series of Christmas Cavalcades, each one better than the rest.
You’ll notice that cast members are decked out in holiday costumes, and the park features a hefty amount of decorations.
Some of these floats may look familiar to you. Yes, many of them come from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Since Magic Kingdom cannot host the themed event this year, Disney’s giving the action away for free.
Park officials ordinarily do this during Christmas week. However, you can check the calendar to verify it’s still early November (although 2020 feels eight years long).
Disney’s ready to celebrate now, and park guests get to join them! Isn’t it wonderful?
The Disney Dining Snafu
I’ve got several other stories to cover this week, but let’s start with the one that might impact you.
The other day, the Walt Disney World reservation system unexpectedly released a massive batch of openings.
Quick-reacting guests could book Advanced Dining Reservations at eateries that had previously sold out.
Virtually all Disney-related sites, including MickeyBlog, alerted guests to this unexpected opportunity.
Some of you happily snatched up hard-to-book reservations at some of Disney’s best restaurants.
Alas, the whole thing proved too good to be true. In fact, a system error caused the sudden availability.
None of those restaurants had the availability the system showed.
Yes, Disney accidentally double-booked due to a technical glitch.
The company has canceled all the reservations guests made on November 3rd from 2 a.m. until noon.
The news isn’t all bad, though. As a make-good apology, Disney will send a $25 digital Disney Gift Card to all affected.
MickeyBlog’s Sarah Phillips provides additional details here.
So, if you listened to MickeyBlog and snagged a reservation on Tuesday, you’re $25 richer! Stuff like this is why you should check the site religiously!
Okay, that headline sounds bad, but it’s not.
Instead, I’m informing you that Disney has started both the renovations previously mentioned here.
In fact, one of the projects has already finished!
Frozen Ever After at EPCOT closed for a few days for a quick refurbishment.
The work started on November 2nd and was supposed to last through November 6th.
Recently, Disney’s been a bit scattershot about reaching its deadlines. Still, I’m happy to say that Frozen Ever After was back in business on November 7th!
As I type this, there’s a wait of 90 minutes, which speaks to the attraction’s popularity.
After only a few days without Frozen Ever After, guests get twitchy.
Of course, the other refurbishment will take a while.
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has closed down the historic monorail station while the entire Great Ceremonial House undergoes upgrades.
We were at the resort the first day the monorail was offline, and it definitely confused some guests.
However, the Polynesian is running at half-mast right now anyway, with the regular part of the resort not accepting reservations.
So, the timing is perfect for performing the changes, and few people suffer any from the situation.
In fact, guests staying at the other monorail resorts will get to Magic Kingdom faster than usual since there’s one less stop!
Also, people staying at the Polynesian get private Friendship Boats to and from Magic Kingdom, a nice bonus.
Other Disney News
Let’s talk about the holidays a bit more. Magic Kingdom isn’t the only theme park that’s already switched to Christmas.
The Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is once again illuminated with digital projections. And it looks more beautiful than ever.
Disney has really done a phenomenal job in enhancing the technology each year. You’ll find a similar projection system at Cinderella Castle, too.
Hollywood Studios has also added the holiday twist to For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. Yes, Olaf’s back!
Elsewhere, holiday merchandise seems plentiful, with all the parks and resorts offering options. A big hit so far is the Christmas tree popcorn bucket.
Magic Kingdom offers one more surprise, as the Muppets have returned to their former Liberty Square home. They’re putting on a Christmas show!
The most significant policy change at the parks involves safety measures.
Disney officials noticed many guests eating and drinking while standing in line for attractions.
I must admit I’ve been guilty of this one as well. I took a few sips of water to hydrate during my most recent visit.
Well, nobody will do it from now on, as Disney has notified guests that it’s no longer okay.
Anyone who wants to eat or drink must leave the line queue to do so, thereby ensuring other guests’ safety.
This measure asks a lot of guests, but it’s the right call. People will be much safer in line now.
Even More Disney News
Let’s close out this week with a few other news items.
Disney recently revealed the ride carts for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
View this post on Instagram
Here is an exclusive sneak peek of two of our ride engineers as they prep some of EPCOT’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind vehicles at our warehouse in Florida. If you look closely at the colorful paint design on the vehicles (called coaches in roller coaster engineering parlance), each one is unique with different wear patterns and impact marks. Imagineers were inspired by markings that appear on NASA Space Shuttles and other spacecraft upon reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. We can’t wait to share more on this truly out-of-this-world, awesome attraction as we make progress on construction and put these coaches on the track!
They’re hot, and if Disney sells a Funko Pop! of one, I’m totally getting it. However, the more interesting reveal is that each cart will differ slightly.
The idea is that the vehicles traverse intergalactic space. So, each one absorbs a slightly different amount of damage, changing the paint a bit.
Imagineers think about everything, don’t they?
In other news, Downtown Disney will charge $10 for parking when Buena Vista Street reopens next week at Disney California Adventure.
Finally, here are three Disney Springs updates. TUMI won’t reopen, as the luxury luggage vendor suffers mightily during the pandemic.
Similarly, Lucky Brand is done as well. It’s a bad time to sell high-end products at Disney Springs.
On the plus side, Disney Springs recently introduced contactless security scanners similar to the ones at three of the four theme parks now.
Magic Kingdom’s the only place still using the older method of metal scanning.
Disney’s continually improving during the pandemic, which is remarkable.