MickeyBlog News for January 11, 2021
This past week, Disney updated the status of several rides, opened a new festival, said goodbye to a legend, and announced a closure.
I’ll explain everything in MickeyBlog News.
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Closing
Some news updates make me sad. This one definitely qualifies.
In February of 2012, Magic Kingdom introduced a new interactive game, one primarily aimed at children.
This game combined cards with interactive screens that Disney carefully positioned throughout the park.
Named Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, it allowed kids to aid Merlin in overcoming various Disney villains led by Hades.
Players use “spell cards” in seven classes like Charming, Quick, or Strong to defeat the baddies.
The tech’s impressive part stems from the Sorcerer Key Card, which you pick up when you enter the park.
This item features an embedded chip that links with your admission ticket.
With your key card, you can return to the park and re-join the game wherever you stopped the last time.
So, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom provided its players with a recurring Disney quest.
Alas, the ubiquity of smartphones has rendered Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom a bit redundant.
The overwhelming majority of Magic Kingdom visitors use games like Pokemon Go instead.
Due to the dwindling usage of Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, Disney has decided to end the game on January 24th.
We’ve got friends who play Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom every Magic Kingdom visit. This news will break their hearts.
I sympathize with those of you who are similarly impacted. Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom enhanced Disney visits for many guests. We’ll miss it.
Festival of the Arts Opening
On January 8th, EPCOT brought back arguably its most unique festival, and MickeyBlog was there!
Yes, the fifth edition of Taste of the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts is underway. It’ll run through February 22nd, giving you plenty of time to attend.
You may recall that this festival didn’t operate every day during its first year. However, its instant popularity led to an expansion of its dates.
Guests adore the stylish celebration of the arts, which comes in several forms.
From a commerce perspective, paintings matter the most. You’ll find plenty of Disney illustrations available for sale at the World Showcase.
Some of the other stuff you know from past years isn’t possible due to social distancing requirements.
However, Disney’s official website proudly suggests that the show must go on, and the schedule backs that up.
The Voices of Liberty play at America Garden Theatre, while the JAMMitors have taken over Mill Stage at the Canada pavilion.
The World Showcase even hosts a piano recital this year. So, even though some things have changed, you’ll still have a grand time at the event.
Believe it or not, Taste of the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts represents the third festival that the park has hosted since the pandemic!
Disney has done a tremendous job in keeping the spirit of Uncle Walt alive. He was the one who wanted a daily World’s Fair at EPCOT.
The current management team won’t allow a pesky thing like a pandemic stop that from happening! It’s quite inspirational.
The Joe Rohde Era Has Ended
Let’s all tip our hats to a remarkable career. Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde retired last week, ending a 40-year career with the company.
I previously wrote an appreciation that you can read here. The point I’d like to make now is that the mainstream media has gushed praise on Rohde.
At Disney, Rohde’s legacy remains secure. Rohde led the design of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa.
The retired Imagineer also anchored the creative team for Pandora – The World of Avatar, his final masterpiece at Disney.
Realistically, no other Imagineer possesses the name recognition and respect of Rohde.
Zach Riddley, who appears to be Disney’s chosen successor for that title, undoubtedly has big shoes to fill.
Rohde set the stage for modern Disney storytelling. He believed that every item that guests see at an attraction should serve a purpose.
This idea of meticulously themed staging has become the baseline for all Imagineering.
As fellow retired Imagineer Marty Sklar once stated, “You can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what is a built environment.”
Joe Rohde did that, and he will remain an Imagineering icon for generations because of it.
For now, the big question is what Rohde will do next. Stay tuned to MickeyBlog to find out!
Disney Confirms Delays
When the calendar graciously turned to 2021, everyone looked forward to what’s next at the parks.
Disney officials knew this would happen and got out in front of a few significant stories.
The company just quietly confirmed some long-standing rumors/open secrets.
You had already guessed one of them. TRON Lightcycle Power Run will not open in 2021.
The pandemic wiped out Disney’s plans to construct this roller coaster at an aggressive pace.
While cast members impressively built much of the framework during the pandemic, the project still requires too much work to complete this year.
Similarly, Disney had previously anticipated that its Moana water feature would debut in 2021.
The Journey of Water interactive experience also suffered setbacks due to Coronavirus.
So, Disney updated its release schedule to reflect that the Moana water feature won’t open in 2021.
In a USA Today article, the writer suggests that it “will probably open after 2021.”
Josh D’Amaro is the source for this information, which means that you should consider these stories as confirmed.
Other Ride Updates
At the parks, I have some other ride updates for you. For starters, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith is back in business.
You may have heard that the roller coaster experienced downtime at the start of 2021.
Yes, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster stayed down for several days, leading to speculation both reasonable (tech issues) to absurd (licensing issues).
Well, it’s back now, and the waits are reasonable. This past Saturday afternoon, you could have hopped on the ride in 25 minutes!
Meanwhile, Space Mountain offered a surprise to guests that same day. A message popped up that indicated the ride was down.
Jason Kirk, Vice President of Magic Kingdom Park, signed the message himself, which is new.
Nobody’s sure what’s going on there, but it bears monitoring. After all, Tomorrowland already lacks one beloved attraction.
The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover didn’t reopen with the rest of Magic Kingdom. Since then, we’ve all anxiously awaited its return.
Alas, Disney just pushed back that date once again. The PeopleMover’s expected return date is now January 31st.
If you’re like me and visiting soon, this news is a bit depressing. However, nobody will take the PeopleMover for granted from now on!
Okay, that’s a wrap on this week’s news. Have a magical week!