MickeyBlog News for March 8th, 2021
This week: Disney’s back in the water park business, Californians get more Touch of Disney, some Disney Stores close, and guests behave badly.
I’ll explain in MickeyBlog News!
Blizzard Beach Is Back!
By the time you read this, Disney’s Blizzard Beach will have reopened. And MickeyBlog was there for the comeback!
When Walt Disney World returned in July, the water parks remained closed.
So, we nearly reached a calendar year between water park openings.
In fact, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon closed for refurbishment on January 13th, 2020, and it still hasn’t returned. It’s been closed for 14 months and counting!
As for Blizzard Beach, it’s not the first significant water park to return in Orlando.
Universal’s Volcano Bay came back in June before closing in November due to lack of demand. That water park reopened last week.
Now, Blizzard Beach has joined it, giving Orlando residents and tourists two different water parks to visit this spring.
All signs point to a more normalized 2021 for the theme park industry.
For safety reasons, Blizzard Beach has slightly tweaked Disney’s standard face-covering rules.
Guests will not wear face masks in the water or on the slides. Obviously, wearing them would cause issues with breathing.
Plus, the whole point of face coverings is to prevent the spread of droplets. If everyone puts their face masks in the same water pool, well, you get it…
Disney has socially distanced most of the seating areas to honor CDC guidelines.
You’ll find enough lounge chairs for your party, but cast members have spaced them out to keep you away from other groups.
Signage also reminds guests about policies and expected behavior at Blizzard Beach.
Disney hasn’t indicated a reopening date for Typhoon Lagoon yet. Still, one open Disney water park is MUCH better than none.
March of 2021 is already much better for Disney fans than March of 2020 was.
More Touch of Disney!
Did you try to book a ticket for Touch of Disney the other day? If so, you may have briefly believed that the event had sold out.
That sort of chatter filled social media, as demand for the event shut down Disney’s servers.
For a time, guests received a message that the virtual queue couldn’t fulfill any more orders. However, the event has more tickets available.
There was just such a swarm of desperate Disneyland fans that they overwhelmed the system. I’m not even exaggerating.
Due to this warm reception, park officials quickly decided to extend the event by two weeks.
Last week, I stated that the final day for Touch of Disney would be April 5th. Disney has since changed that until April 19th.
Also, that’s not the only cause for joy in California. The state’s governor recently modified the rules for how California determines tiers.
For example, the Substantial/Red Tier previously required counties to have seven or fewer cases per 100,000 guests.
The rule has since changed to ten per 100,000, which loosens the restriction by 43 percent.
In combination with other legislation in play in the state government, this change gives Disneyland Resort a better chance to reopen quickly.
Park officials had previously targeted July as the best-case scenario, but I think sooner is definitely possible now.
All that must happen is for people to take their vaccinations once they’re readily available. That should happen over the next two months.
In the interim, California declared that theme parks in the Substantial/Red Tier may reopen at 15 percent capacity.
Those in the Moderate/Orange tier may operate at 25 percent capacity. That’s the likely range for Disneyland to make its big comeback.
Guests Behaving Badly
I’ve mentioned a couple of times recently that worker morale is clearly down at Disney.
I noticed it much more during my February trip vs. the November one.
Well, the Orlando Sentinel just reinforced my thoughts in a heartbreaking piece published last Thursday.
Cast members recount numerous instances of guests behaving deplorably during the pandemic.
One person went so far as to try to take a police officer’s gun and shoot them. And that’s not even the worst part!
The police officer had just arrived on the scene to assist the assailant’s wife!
Imagine trying to steal the weapon of the first responder trying to help your partner!
The article emphasizes that many misbehaving guests can blame alcohol for their actions. It calls them “drunkenly defiant,” which would make a great band name.
I’m joking to lessen the frustration that stems from these articles. Cast members already went through so much in 2020.
The thought of them getting berated by obnoxious guests for basic rules enforcement makes me angry.
Cast members are magical and should be treated as such.
I won’t go into other details from the article, but it’s worth a read if you want to know what the past few months have been like for cast members.
Disney had plenty happening inside and outside the parks this week.
At the Golden Globes, Disney movies performed exceptionally well. Soul won for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score.
Before the Fox acquisition, these victories would have seemed like the heights of Disney’s awards season success.
However, the worm has turned. Disney’s Foxlight Pictures also produced Nomadland, the big winner at the Golden Globes.
The Frances McDormand film won Best Motion Picture – Drama, the most prestigious award at the ceremony.
Eternals and Nomadland director Chloe Zhao also won Best Director, cementing her as an anchor talent for Disney.
In business news, you may have heard that roughly 20 percent of all Disney Stores will close.
Sadly, this statement is accurate albeit understandable. Most major retailers have downsized stores during the pandemic.
The world has shifted toward online purchases, and Shop Disney will sell the products you’d find at any of these Disney Stores.
So, the move stinks, but I get it.
At EPCOT, the Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival has started. MickeyBlog was on the scene with some video!
Remember to follow our social media feeds a lot on Facebook! You never know when we may go live to bring you the magic from the parks!
Speaking of EPCOT, during your next visit, you’ll notice a new music loop.
Also, if you stay until after dark – which you should! – you’ll see new lighting.
— Brooke Geiger McDonald (@BrookeGMcDonald) March 3, 2021
You’ve got plenty of incentive to visit EPCOT right now! Keep checking MickeyBlog for details about the Flower & Garden Festival, too!
Finally, you’ll want to watch this:
And here’s the Parks Blog’s description.
Feature Image: Disney