MickeyBlog News for May 10, 2021
This week, we learned that Magic Kingdom will host a bash instead of a parade.
Also, temperature checks are on the way out, and a hotel opening won’t happen until next year.
I’ll explain everything in this week’s MickeyBlog News.
Let’s Talk Boo Bash!
For 15 months now, we have wondered when Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) will return. And the answer is…not this year.
Magic Kingdom WILL host an after-hours ticketed event from August 10th through Halloween this year.
Disney is calling this exhibition Disney After Hours BOO BASH. It’ll include some but not all of the features you’ve come to expect from a Halloween party.
The announcement confirms “party music, decorations and character cavalcades galore.”
On the official Parks Blog, Disney adds that it’ll include:
“Character sightings throughout the park, special performances by the Cadaver Dans, décor, lighting, music, treat stops with plenty of candy and so much more!”
So, the BOO BASH will check off most of the boxes from MNSSHP. And yes, you can wear a costume to this event.
Adults 14 and up cannot wear a costume mask, but Disney will expect you to wear a face-covering for safety reasons.
Clever visitors can theme their face masks with their outfits for maximum enjoyment. You can read the official costume guidelines here for more clarity.
The official announcement makes no mention of parades or fireworks presentations.
I think it’s safe to presume that cavalcades will replace parades during the 2021 event.
That’s perfectly fine, as park officials have turned your favorite songs from MNSSHP into standalone cavalcades.
As for the fireworks, I presume that Disney is keeping its options open here. If the pandemic subsides, nighttime presentations may come back.
This press release promises less, providing Disney with the opportunity to surprise later if everything goes right.
Temperature Checks Going Away
Last week, I mentioned that the ball was in Disney’s court regarding temperature checks.
Both Florida and Orange County health officials decided that they no longer need or require temperature checks.
Well, Disney acted quickly in making a call. As of now, cast members have already stopped taking their temperatures before work.
Disney dropped this policy on May 8th. Starting on May 16th, guests officially won’t need to pass a temperature test to enter the parks.
Right now, park management is working quickly to eliminate all signs of temperature check stations.
Several resort restaurants have already removed them, meaning that you dine at Disney sans temperature check right now.
In fact, Disney has modified its official site to delete any mention of temperature checks at hotel restaurants. It’s just not a thing anymore.
For instance, The Wave… of American Flavors has already taken away the exterior podium where a cast member once took your temperature.
Now, you’ll find a QR code sign to pull up the menu on your phone. And there’s a hand sanitizer station if you want to clean up before the meal.
Disney’s sudden policy change seems noteworthy, and it falls in line with other actions occurring in the greater Orlando area.
If you’re flying into Orlando International Airport, you should know that physical distancing requirements have dropped from six to three feet.
Changes like this are happening across Central Florida. So, keep checking MickeyBlog to learn more.
Oh, and speaking of The Wave, it’ll undergo refurbishment this summer and then return by the 50th anniversary celebration on October 1st.
Disney hasn’t confirmed its rumored re-theming to The Incredibles Steakhouse yet, but anything’s possible at this point.
Eat there now while you still can!
Star Wars News
Lightsabers are real, and they’re spectacular!
I’m not being random here. On May the 4th, Disney’s YouTube channel celebrated the unofficial Star Wars holiday by posting this:
CNet has some thoughts about how this technology is possible. You can watch it here if you’re interested:
Yes, that woman just bought some spare parts and assembled a low-tech lightsaber worthy of a child’s approval.
If she can do that, imagine what Imagineers can do!
Of course, that’s the attention-grabbing headline from May the 4th. Disney used this lightsaber to distract away from a less favorable update.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will not open until 2022 despite previous indications that it would debut toward the end of 2021.
On the surface, that’s a totally reasonable delay of only a few months.
However, some of us are still awaiting the arrival of Space 220. And we remember the extended delays for The Edison and Pandora – The World of Avatar.
Let’s hope that the Star Wars Hotel debuts early in 2022, not December.
On the plus side, Disney has started auditioning for crew members on the Halcyon, the Galactic Starcruiser’s official name.
If casting happens soon, the performers will have at least six months to learn their new roles as members of The First Order or The Resistance.
Can’t wait. Can’t wait. Can’t wait.
Walt Disney World News
Let’s start with something that will put a smile on your face. The Festival of the Lion King has returned at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
MickeyBlog was there and took plenty of pictures! Disney has renamed the modified experience as A Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King.
That’s similar to the approach it’s taken with BOO BASH and Taste of the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival.
This method identifies that it’s not the same show you’ve watched before, but it’s still fantastic.
Speaking of Animal Kingdom, digital sign billboards have appeared at specific locations.
We’ve seen these before at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. They’re new at Animal Kingdom, though.
Disney populates these billboards with tips about the parks, but the ones at Animal Kingdom have mainly shown safety guidelines thus far.
Elsewhere at Walt Disney World, two popular restaurants are ready to reopen, while a third has expanded its service.
Chef Mickey’s has finally brought back its dinner service for the first time since Walt Disney World’s return. It’ll come back on May 16th.
Two days later, Cape May Café will reopen to the public. It’s going back to breakfast and dinner, albeit family style rather than as a buffet.
The Minnie Mouse character meal is NOT a part of the breakfast dining experience for the time being.
Circling back to Animal Kingdom, Tusker House comes back at an undetermined date this summer.
MickeyBlog will tell you more when we learn an exact date. However, you can book reservations for the other two restaurants now!
At Disneyland, the reopening process has gone smoothly. So, management is ready to reopen Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel on June 15th.
Meanwhile, some amenities will return to Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa later this month.
Napa Rose and Storytellers Café reopen on May 28th. On that date, the hotel’s special entrance to Disney California Adventure will return, too.
One other story that bears mentioning involves vaccination. Park officials have set up a temporary vaccination center at Disneyland Hotel.
Starting on Tuesday, May 13th, cast members and their families are eligible to get a dose of Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer here.
As a reminder, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires one shot but is less effective. Pfizer takes two shots but has proven remarkably effective thus far.
Cast members may book reservations for their preferred shot by using the Othena website.
This opportunity is available to furloughed cast members as well. Disney has indicated that the site will operate through at least June. Go get your shots!