MickeyBlog News for March 22, 2021
Disneyland is coming back next month! Also, A Touch of Disney has started, and MickeyBlog was there!
We’ll talk about these stories and more in this week’s MickeyBlog News.
Return of the Mouse
The Walt Disney Company CEO appeared on CNBC this week to reveal what he couldn’t the previous week.
When California health officials rolled back the requirements for theme park reopenings, Disney didn’t have time to get ready.
After delaying Disneyland on several occasions, the government suddenly reversed course and said that theme parks could return on April 1st.
Disney was never going to be ready by then and said as much during a recent Annual Shareholder Call.
So, Chapek scheduled the CNBC interview when he was ready to announce the official date.
Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will reopen on April 30th. However, you should know about an important caveat.
According to those same theme park reopening guidelines, only California residents can visit at that time.
You may wonder how Disney will monitor this part, and the honest answer is that they can’t.
You will need a Park Pass to visit either park, though. Using that information, Disney can tell whether you reside in California.
Will they cancel Park Passes for non-Californians? That remains to be seen, but you probably shouldn’t drive hundreds of miles to risk it.
More about the Reopening
Many residents of the Golden State will still need somewhere to sleep, though.
For this reason, Disney has confirmed that Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will reopen on April 29th, the day before the parks.
The other two official Disney resorts, Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, will remain closed for now.
At the start, Disneyland will cap its admission at 15 percent. There’s no need for more hotel rooms at that level of park attendance.
Guests WILL have a good reason to visit, though. Snow White’s Enchanted Wish will debut on April 30th.
That’s the modified version of Snow White’s Scary Adventures, the updated one with a happily ever after.
In other terrific news, Haunted Mansion will offer new touches when it reopens on April 30th.
Imagineers had started updating it last January before the world imploded.
Finally, both parks will also feature socially distanced character interactions. These will be of the random pop-up variety akin to Walt Disney World’s.
You never know when a character you love may appear right across the way from you!
In other Disneyland Resort news, A Touch of Disney opened this week, although Disney somewhat stole its own thunder with the reopening reveal.
MickeyBlog was on the scene with some video from opening day. If you missed it live, you should like and follow us on Facebook.
We go live regularly. And when we don’t, our friend Nick at Magical News Live has you covered. Here’s his livestream from A Touch of Disney:
International Parks and Travel
In international news, Disneyland Paris had already confirmed that it won’t return as promised on April 2nd.
Another COVID outbreak in France has sounded alarms, and the situation’s terrifying in Paris.
The French capital has announced a month-long lockdown, but that may already be too late for some.
This outbreak has overwhelmed the city’s intensive care units, with 1,200 patients.
That’s more than the city had during its infamous November outbreak.
So, Disneyland Paris won’t return before late-April at the earliest, and even that timeframe seems optimistic. It’s the last Disney park to return.
The news is decidedly more positive in Tokyo, where the Chiba Prefecture lifted its State of Emergency this morning.
Since that’s the prefecture where Tokyo Disneyland Resort resides, the decision impacts the parks.
Disney may boost capacity to 10,000, doubling its previous total. The shorter park hours will remain through the rest of March, though.
Of course, international travel goes both ways. I don’t want you to get too excited on that front, but CNBC has provided some hope.
The site quotes two anonymous sources indicating that the Biden administration could allow international travel by mid-May.
This would impact potential Walt Disney World – and eventually Disneyland – tourists from England, the rest of Europe, and Brazil.
Changing the Story
Disney previously announced that Jungle Cruise would receive a new storyline update.
That message got muddied a bit by external factors, as some critics assailed Disney for altering a classic.
Lost in the outcry was the cleverness of the decision. Disney will finally do something that should have happened decades ago.
On Jungle Cruise, the Skipper will finally become the star of the attraction, the storyline centerpiece.
The Disney Parks Blog added a storyline update via a fictional newspaper update.
The publication in question is The Daily Gnus, which Disney obsessives recognize as an Adventureland publication.
Ostensibly, The Daily Gnus comes from the Society of Explorers and Adventurers (S.E.A.), the group that is moving to Disney’s forefront.
This newspaper article features an interview with Alberta Falls, granddaughter of the legendary Dr. Albert Falls, a S.E.A. member.
The younger Falls seems like quite the workaholic, as she lists her occupations as manager, bookkeeper, head mechanic, and owner.
Specifically, she owns the Jungle Navigation Company, the proprietor of your beloved Jungle Cruise.
The New Cruise
I highly encourage you to read the full article due to its theming. However, I know that many of you are pressed for time.
So, the highlights involve the evolving nature of Jungle Cruise. Disney will reintroduce its set pieces by making them interconnected.
Everything will run through the Skipper, who will quip with new dialogue. Along the way, you’ll notice capsized ships and trapped tourists.
I cannot help but wonder whether the real-life incident of a Jungle Cruise sinking has led to this entire innovation.
Whatever the explanation, it sounds spectacular. Disney will tell a new story where the animals and locals come out on top over the clueless tourists.
All the while, the Skipper will pretend professional excellence that they don’t display on the job. It’s gonna be grrrreat.
By the way, for those of you against the idea of changing Walt Disney’s vision, please remember that Jungle Cruise wasn’t supposed to be funny.
Disney built an authentic celebration of wildlife exploration. The Skippers were the ones who realized that guests quickly bored of the artificial scenes.
These cast members took the inspiration to quip along the way, fundamentally changing the tone of the ride.
If not for these workers, Jungle Cruise likely would have died long ago.
By altering the story to celebrate Skippers, Disney pays tribute to the ride’s illustrious history.
Other Disney Updates
Walt Disney World suffered through a brutal tech week, which was predictable, really.
With Spring Break crowds in abundance, the past few days qualify as Disney’s most significant stress test during the pandemic.
The parks remain understaffed due to the capacity limits. With attendance at that maximum, the staff gets stretched thin.
Meanwhile, the rides and transportation system get pushed to the limits, which has led to some issues.
Disgruntled Disney fans reported many anecdotal struggles with bus waits, an issue I haven’t personally experienced during my pandemic trips.
However, the recent concerns I expressed about the monorail system came to a head this weekend.
The entire Magic Kingdom monorail system, both the Resort side and the direct route, closed for a while.
There are social media photos of technicians working on the tracks. Nobody has reported any details on this beyond those images.
So, I’ll presume it’s minor since no major news organization has covered it.
Similarly, Disney experienced a weird outage with ripple effects.
A power outage wiped out three different pavilions…simultaneously.
Yes, for a lengthy period, The Land, The Seas with Nemo & Friends, and Test Track were all without power.
This turn of events took Soarin’, Living with the Land, Awesome Planet, and all the other amenities at The Seas with Nemo & Friends offline.
Thankfully, the power outage didn’t last for long, but it’s caused people to wonder about the cause.
After all, those pavilions should be running on solar power. I hadn’t realized that Disney had connected them to an electric grid.
That’s the likeliest explanation for a power outage with solar energy. It’s either that or Disney hasn’t used solar power for those pavilions yet.
Okay, that’s the news for this week. Have fun, everyone!