MickeyBlog News for April 19, 2021
This week, we’ve got Disneyland updates aplenty, information about cast member policy changes, and a few surprises in store for Haunted Mansion guests.
Let’s talk about our favorite subject, Disney, in the latest MickeyBlog News!
Cast Member Rules Changes
For the first time in many years, the famous Disney Look is changing.
The Walt Disney Company has announced that it has relaxed many of its policies on cast member appearance.
Walt Disney established guidelines for the Disney Look when Disneyland opened in 1955.
Since then, park officials have rarely changed the style away from the founder’s edict.
Alas, that stringent evaluation of appearance hasn’t aged well. Men couldn’t even wear beards until 2012, and some of the requirements for women were just…wow.
In 2019, Disney brought in new inclusion experts to modernize the company’s rules.
While the pandemic delayed some actions, we’ve finally gotten to the parks.
From now on, employees may possess visible tattoos, “gender-inclusive” hairstyles, updated nail styles and jewelry, and other changes.
While the company never intended any malice, some of its rules prevented cast members from paying tribute to their heritage and beliefs.
The relaxed rules will celebrate the new Fifth Key for Disney employees, Inclusion.
The company released an incredible video to commemorate the change:
I’m not crying! You’re crying!
We are less than two weeks away from the return of Disneyland Resort. For this reason, Disney has provided several recent updates.
Notably, we know ticket prices now. The lowest admission sells for $104 for adults for a single park for a one-day visit on a Tier 1 date.
Prices go up to $209, which is more than double, for a Park Hopper ticket on a Tier 5 date.
As always, your best bet is to contact a MickeyTravels agent to discover the best financial savings on your trip.
Even as a Disney vet, I must admit that the five-level tiered pricing structure makes me feel a bit overwhelmed.
Disney has posted some explanations on its site, which helps some.
The company had introduced this ticket structure in February of 2020, but…well, you know.
Tickets have officially gone on sale at Disneyland, which has led to plenty of guest frustration.
As usual, the first day on the new system proved challenging. Customers reported wait-times in excess of an hour.
Even worse, the system wasn’t updating, making some of the waits much longer.
Both Disneyland parks have sold out on the reopening day, although Disney could always add more availability later.
Due to the capacity limits, I’m skeptical, though. Several Disney influencers posted videos of their attempts to book tickets. It…wasn’t pretty.
Disneyland Park Updates
Disney has also answered one of the lingering park questions. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance WILL employ Boarding Groups when it returns.
I’d always expected this, but some locals had heard that the park may do something different.
The other new information involves character greetings. Yes, they will come with social distancing, but Disneyland WILL have some!
The park will apparently follow the same pattern as Walt Disney World, with randomized interactions.
You’ll want to pay attention as you roam, as you never know when you might see a mouse, a princess, or an Avenger.
By the way, if you’re a cast member, you will receive a park preview on April 27th-29th. Even currently furloughed employees may attend.
Ride Photos Add Watermarks
A long-anticipated change has finally occurred at the parks. Ride photos have added watermarks.
The advent of smartphones has created a headache for park officials. Disney wants to sell PhotoPasses to customers.
Ride photos provide one of the most enticing propositions, as these surprise moments lead to priceless pictures.
I know that I always look super-intense when riding/playing Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.
The problem for Disney is that guests can pull out their smartphones and take a picture of the wall displays for ride photos.
Disney shows these displays to encourage guests to buy. There’s no need since they can just take a picture of the picture.
So, some ride photo sections now include watermarks that say PhotoPass.
When you purchase the PhotoPass service, your images won’t include the watermarks.
For park visitors, this change stinks, but it’s an understandable move by Disney. They were giving the milk away for free.
Parks and Resorts News
Let’s start with a rumor that borders on fact. Disney hasn’t decided for sure yet, but the company has contemplated changing Haunted Mansion.
Specifically, park officials are debating the idea of changing the Stretching Room. No, they won’t do anything with the iconic pictures or elevator system.
The change would involve the removal of the hanging corpse. Some critics have correctly noted the awkward associations with suicide and lynching.
Disney has heard those complaints, as an LA Times article quotes a company official on the subject: “It’s definitely something that we’re thinking about.”
When Haunted Mansion returns at Disneyland, it’ll include restored elements such as the April to December painting.
Disney has even posted a YouTube video to build anticipation for the attraction’s return:
Also, now that half the American adult population has started the vaccination process, Disney has announced some grand plans for 2022.
With the world ready to recover and travel, Adventures by Disney will make its triumphant comeback!
You can find the complete list of potential itineraries on the official site. There are legitimately dozens of them.
That’s a strong sign that Disney executives believe that the worst is over.
However, everything isn’t completely ready to return to normal. To wit, the Disney Magic has canceled all its sailings through the first week of October.
In other park news, Jungle Cruise has removed almost all its questionable elements this week.
Several of the ride landmarks have had pieces removed, while the shipping office has undergone several changes.
I should mention that some of the office changes stem from the impending ride re-theming. Disney is eliminating potential storyline inconsistencies.
So, not everything is about the Fifth Key of Inclusion.
Okay, that’s everything for this week. Be well, everyone!