MickeyBlog News for February 8, 2021
Over the past few days, we’ve had some significant developments. The Walt Disney Company’s tourism segment remains in flux due to Coronavirus.
However, some recent information could change everything…in a good way! I’ll explain in the latest edition of MickeyBlog News.
Let’s Talk Disneyland
We’ve witnessed unexpected movement at Disneyland this week.
When California’s governor announced reopening plans, the guidelines appeared shockingly stringent.
Disneyland Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood officials lamented that the health restrictions in place prevented the parks from reopening.
In fact, Disneyland lacked any real possibility of coming back. Under California’s current rules, only one to two people out of every 100,000 can have COVID.
Until numbers fall beneath those landmarks, Disneyland cannot return. The guidelines are a big ask that keeps the parks sidelined indefinitely.
Disney had petitioned all its friends in local politics to request less restrictive measures. After all, the company has proven it can operate a theme park safely.
Alas, nothing changed, and the situation appeared hopeless…until now.
On Thursday, two California state representatives introduced a bipartisan bill.
Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Buena Park, and Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, are co-sponsoring AB 420, legislation that could save California’s theme park industry.
Under this proposed bill all major theme parks would fall under Tier 3, Orange, rather than the nearly impossible Tier 4, Yellow.
This change would effectively double the number of local COVID numbers deemed acceptable for Tier 3 businesses to operate.
In more straightforward language, Disneyland could reopen as long as Orange County’s daily positive COVID tests are under 5 percent.
The other parameter is that the county must have less than four cases per 100,000 guests. That’s vastly easier to achieve than fewer than two cases.
Should this bill pass, it’d still face challenges since the governor could veto it.
However, a widespread bipartisan vote in favor of AB 420 would pressure him to accept the will of local legislators.
So, the next few days could restore hope for Disneyland fans. Keep checking MickeyBlog to find out!
Let’s Talk Disneyland Resort
While we await word on Disneyland’s park reopening, other good news comes from Downtown Disney and Disney California Adventure.
Governor Newsom recently canceled the stay-at-home order that impacted Southern California. As such, Disneyland Restaurants have returned.
Ballast Point Brewing Company, Black Tap, Naples Ristorante e Bar, Tortilla Joe’s, and Uva Bar & Café have reopened, and others will come back soon.
The places I mentioned are all third-party owned and operated. However, Disney has brought back some of its restaurants, too.
Award Wieners, Carthay Circle Lounge – Alfresco Dining (reservations recommended), and Smokejumpers Grill returned on Friday, February 5th.
What do all these places have in common? They’re outdoor eateries.
The current rules preclude indoor establishments from coming back yet.
You’ll struggle to sympathize, but this aspect has caused some problems. California dipped into the mid-40s at one point during the week.
That’s the equivalent of Antarctica on the West Coast. So, management installed some space heaters under tables to keep guests warm.
Your heart bleeds, I’m sure. I mean, even my valley in Tennessee got snow this week, and many friends got bombed with ice storms.
Wearing a jacket at Disneyland doesn’t evoke much sympathy, does it? Then again, Walt Disney World has required layered clothing this week, too.
Anyway, the post-holiday COVID wave has crested. Infection rates are on the decline.
I do have one sad bit of news to report. Gone Hollywood at Hollywood Land (and by Buena Vista Street) has closed.
Yes, you’re remembering correctly that it just reopened the week before Christmas.
I presume that Disney brought Gone Hollywood back for the holidays, but there isn’t enough sustained interest to keep it going in February.
Finally, Downtown Disney is now offering a PhotoPass you’re gonna want. You can take a retro WandaVision picture!
On Feb. 5, Legacy Passholders will be among the first to access a retro WandaVision-inspired photo op located near the Disneyland Resort Backlot Premiere Shop in Buena Vista Street. Subject to availability and capacity. For more details visit https://t.co/5yi8cbfrwG https://t.co/PndfGdvyiE
— Disneyland Legacy Passholders (@DisneylandAP) February 1, 2021
Let’s Talk Cruises
The situation remains grim for Disney Cruise Line fanatics and, well, cruise industry supporters/workers in general.
Canada has banned cruise ships from entering its waters until 2022. The current cutoff date is March 1st, 2022.
Until then, cruise ships must remain in international waters rather than entering any Canadian territory.
Your cursory evaluation here might be that this is a trivial concern. Cruise lines simply cancel trips into Canada, right?
Alas, the structure of international law is rarely so simple. Here’s the ruling from Canada’s Minister of Transport:
“Today, I announced a 1-year ban on pleasure craft in Canadian Arctic waters and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters, these prohibitions will protect the most vulnerable among our communities and avoid overwhelming our health care systems.”
Here’s the ripple effect for Disney and others in the cruise industry. Trips to Alaska and Seattle (!) appear impossible due to this ruling.
Also, here’s a Seattle news report on how this effectively cancels the city’s billion-dollar cruise industry for a second straight year.
This article adds the following piece of information:
“The big reason why it impacts Seattle is that there is no getting to Alaska without stops being made in Canada.”
Disney has already canceled most cruises through April of 2021. It’s adopted a month-by-month approach as immunizations occur across America.
Disney’s home country is currently pacing for 75 percent vaccination (herd immunity) of all Americans by the end of 2021 (barely).
Canada’s current rate would mean 75 percent immunization…in ten years. So, governmental incompetence has paralyzed our friends to the north thus far.
This situation could change based on a more reliable vaccine distribution system in Canada. Still, it reinforces the problems with the entire cruise industry.
Each country needs to near/reach herd immunity to bring back cruises safely.
Let’s Talk Walt Disney World
First, let’s talk about the pink elephant dancing in the living room. You just watched the Super Bowl and are wondering about something Disney-related.
Last year at this time, we didn’t have a pandemic. So, the Chiefs rode down Main Street, U.S.A. as champions.
Disney just confirmed that the same thing won’t happen this year. It cannot maintain social distancing practices for a Super Bowl victory parade. Ah well.
At least the “I’m going to Walt Disney World!” commercial maintains its streak.
Most Disney park news this week involves two themed lands at Magic Kingdom: Liberty Square and Adventureland.
Liberty Square has cycled through some renovations and brought back some stuff.
For starters, Liberty Square Market has reopened. The chaos factor here is gone, as park officials added some much-needed structure.
The interior separates the cash registers, and the grab ‘n’ go items like chips and fruits reside in the middle. And yes, the Turkey Leg is back!
Meanwhile, the Liberty Square Riverboat is back in business, which leads to the new subject.
As I mentioned last time, Disney has restored the water at Rivers of America. So, the riverboat can safely sail around and travel its regular path again.
Similarly, Tom Sawyer Island has returned to action, and MickeyBlog was there for the grand reopening!
I think it’s safe to describe these sections of the park as operating at full strength now.
Yes, I miss Columbia Harbour House, but I can visit Tomorrowland Terrace for that.
Speaking of restaurants, my beloved Rose & Crown Dining Room will close for renovations starting on February 17th. It should return in the spring.
Okay, that’s it for this week. Enjoy your post-Super Bowl leftovers (and diet), everyone!