Your Conversations Are Being Listened to on Disney Buses III
Disney bus rides come with an ‘anything goes’ nature. You never know who you’ll sit near or what you’ll hear.
Alas, during my most recent trip, pandemic fallout had altered everyone’s perception of the parks.
Everyone acted extremely grateful that Walt Disney World had reopened. I still heard some fascinating conversations, though.
Which New Ride Is Best?
This one came up a lot. As you know, Disney has introduced two stellar attractions over the past calendar year.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway currently claims the title of newest ride at Walt Disney World, although that could change soon.
Disney also introduced Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance last December, and it’s the most expansive attraction ever.
Runaway Railway holds a nifty honor in that it’s the first Disney ride ever to star Mickey & Minnie Mouse.
Given that these characters are almost a century old, that statement seems crazy, doesn’t it?
When Walt Disney built the Happiest Place on Earth in 1955, he didn’t anchor it with Mickey Mouse! And nobody ever went against that until now.
However, Rise of the Resistance qualifies as a more comprehensive ride experience. It exists in multiple parts, and I would describe it as several rides in one.
I heard several guests debate it. While I disagree with the consensus, most people favored Star Wars over Mickey Mouse.
That doesn’t seem very Disney to me! Ah well. I only get one vote.
By the way, I should mention that Slinky Dog Dash and Avatar Flight of Passage get mentioned a lot, too.
While those rides debuted in 2017 and 2018, strangers on buses still think of them as new…and terrific.
More than one person indicated that Avatar Flight of Passage is their favorite.
When Will Ratatouille/Tron/Guardians of the Galaxy Open?
The conversation above naturally led to a second one. This happened pretty much every time.
Once people talked about the new hotness, they fantasized about what’s coming next.
People sounded particularly curious about when Ratatouille will debut.
As I type this in early November, the ride looks ready to go, at least from the outside.
However, Disney has plenty of reasons not to open it during the pandemic.
Customers want Ratatouille to open now, as EPCOT feels a bit chaotic at the moment.
Getting from one place to another requires different paths and a fair amount of signage.
A new ride would provide customers with more entertainment at EPCOT, although I’m dubious that Disney needs to do that.
At the moment, EPCOT offers the most bang for the buck of any Disney park. Several rides are basically walk-on.
Of course, Ratatouille’s not the only ride coming to EPCOT, and Magic Kingdom will open an even more significant one.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind was scheduled for opening in 2021, although there’s some question about that now.
Similarly, Disney wanted a Tron ride ready for its 50th-anniversary celebration on October 1st, 2021.
Fans want all three rides in operation, but they’re worried COVID-19 concerns will delay at least one of them.
Alas, that’s probably true of Tron and Guardians of the Galaxy. I expect Ratatouille to debut during the next six months, though.
Will Disney Do Decorations This Year?
Amusingly, this question answered itself during my trip.
I overheard several Disney fans complaining about the lackluster nature of Halloween decorations at the parks.
While Disney operated Boo to You and other spooky Cavalcades, Coronavirus definitely took a bite out of Disney’s Halloween spirit.
People on buses understandably fretted that the same fate would fall on Christmas…but they were quickly proven wrong.
By November 2nd, Disney had turned Magic Kingdom into a yuletide program for children and adults alike.
By the following week, gigantic Christmas trees appeared in resort lobbies across the Disney campus.
Some Christmas festivities like gingerbread houses aren’t possible during the pandemic. Still, the overall look of the parks will confirm that the holidays are here!
What Should We Do after the Park Closes?
I’ve visited Disney plenty over the years. However, I must admit that I’m not used to hearing this particular question.
Ordinarily, Disney fans plan to stay at the parks until they close. Afterward, they’re worn out and ready to go back to the hotel.
After a good night’s sleep, they’ll start the whole cycle again the following day.
Well, that plan falls apart when a park closes at 5 p.m. I think only Professor Farnsworth from Futurama would call it a day at 5 p.m.
Obviously, some parks stay open later than the one I’m referencing, Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Still, Disney guests face an unusual proposition during the pandemic.
With the parks closed early, they must make other plans afterward.
Several people on Disney buses pondered doing something unprecedented. They thought about leaving the Disney Bubble and entering Orlando!
I overheard several folks debating which Central Florida activities were open, especially holiday-related offerings.
Ultimately, most of these people chose the same thing that my party did during our vacation.
We all went to Disney Springs to dine and shop after dark.
The end result led to The World of Disney having long lines to get in on most nights we were there.
Thankfully, these lines moved quickly, but it felt like everyone at the parks headed straight to Disney Springs afterward. And I listened to them on the bus!
Will You Come Back for the 50th Anniversary?
This topic ties into the last one, but it came up a lot.
I seemed to bump into many frequent Disney visitors during my trip.
We’d trade war stories about the last time we were at the parks, and most folks indicated that they’d visited just before the pandemic started.
Customers who frequent Disney that much definitely want to participate in one of the most significant cultural events ever.
In October, Walt Disney World turns 50. It’s a rare chance for those of us who weren’t at the park in 1971 to embrace a bit of history.
People vigorously debated whether or not they’d return in October, with some noting that the lack of Halloween decorations discouraged them.
Others correctly argued that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event that no true Disney fan will want to miss.
Overall, everyone agreed that they probably would as long as one matter resolved itself.
When Will the Pandemic End?
I mentioned that this trip was unlike any other, which is true.
Making small talk at Walt Disney World was more challenging than ever before.
The presence of masks caused people within my traveling party to shout to be heard.
Interacting with strangers proved extremely challenging in many instances.
Even so, whenever I spoke with someone, some aspects of Coronavirus entered the forefront of the conversation.
There’s just no escaping the pandemic, even at Walt Disney World. I enjoyed my week at Disney more than any seven combined days since early March.
Still, some parts of the trip felt off, a sentiment that other guests expressed to members of their traveling parties and to me.
While we were there, Disney tightened the rules on eating and drinking. Meanwhile, mask enforcement proved constant (and practical).
Everyone at the parks understood that the Disney of 2020 is unlike any that they’ll ever experience again, a weird story to recount decades from now.
Guests wanted to live out the Disney vacation of their dreams, and they felt like COVID-19 issues prevented that from happening, at least slightly.
For this reason, vaccines, government policies, and the like dominated discussions.
People just want to know when everything can go back to normal.
Thankfully, American and Indian companies are prepping the mass production of vaccines that may bring an end to this nonsense.
We’ll all be ecstatic the moment that happens, and we can return to the kind of Disney visit we expect.
By the way, I visited Disney during election week.
During my entire visit, I didn’t overhear a single political discussion on the buses…or anywhere else for that matter.
For that reason alone, I decided that I will always vacation at Disney during election week. It provided a delightful escape from the real world.