Incredible Disney Rumors for May 2021
Right now, we’re all looking for clarity from The Walt Disney Company.
Almost overnight, Walt Disney World dropped most of its pandemic measures. Disneyland appears likely to do the same in mid-June.
Where does that leave upcoming Disney projects? We’ll take a look at what we’ve heard in this month’s Disney rumors.
Realistically, this one’s more of a status update than anything else, but we need that right now.
Spoiler: it’s a good month for optimists!
Summer by the Pool
The Centers for Disney Control and Prevention (CDC) did Disney a solid with the recent announcement.
The removal of face-covering recommendations has fundamentally changed the nature of Disney theme park visits.
Since the CDC announcement, Walt Disney World has dropped almost all outdoor face-covering requirements.
Even before that, the one place where you didn’t have to wear a face mask was the area by the pool.
However, to maintain safety practices, Disney didn’t reopen all its pools at first. They’ve trickled back over the time since last July.
Similarly, the Orlando campus didn’t have a water park until March 7th. That’s less than three months ago!
With so many COVID-19 concerns in play, park officials chose to keep the water parks offline for the first year of the pandemic.
Even when Disney’s Blizzard Beach returned, it came alone.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon closed for refurbishments in January of 2020. We haven’t seen it since then…until now.
From a business perspective, the most essential element of the CDC announcement involves park capacity.
Disney fans faced less demand at the parks due to face-covering restrictions. This spilled into the water parks, too.
There simply weren’t enough customers to justify operating two water parks in the area.
In fact, a competitor in the area, Universal’s Volcano Bay, altered its park hours several times and then took a winter sabbatical for the first time ever.
So, this issue wasn’t exclusive to Disney. As such, it’s joyous news when I tell you that plans are underway for the return of Typhoon Lagoon!
Disney’s survey data suggested borderline unprecedented demand at the parks now that the worst of the pandemic has ended.
Over the next three months, the demand will justify the operation of both Disney water parks. You can safely expect Typhoon Lagoon soon!
The Return of Fireworks?!
Similarly, MickeyBlog has tracked the absentee fireworks for many months now.
We even livestreamed several fireworks tests, including one last November.
While park fans have clamored for the return of nighttime presentations, the decision remained primarily out of Disney’s hands.
The CDC unveiled explicit guidelines about large public gatherings, negating Disney’s ability to host fireworks. It just wasn’t possible…until now.
The modified guidelines paint a different picture. Guests no longer need to wear face masks outdoors, signifying that vaccinated Americans are safe.
As such, Disney can start planning social events again. I’m specifically referencing parades and nighttime shows.
Not coincidentally, the parks have phased out Cavalcades, a decision I dislike. I’m a huge proponent of those quick-hitter forms of entertainment.
From Disney’s perspective, they clog the walking paths, which will turn more problematic in the coming days and weeks.
Specifically, park officials view the July 4th weekend as the changing of the guard. That’s the date when the CDC will give its full blessing.
Currently, 40 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated, while 50 percent have received at least one dose.
The vaccination rollout plan calls for 70 percent of Americans to be fully protected by July 4th.
That total may prove ambitious, but it’s the projection as of now. Scientists generally describe 70 percent as herd immunity.
Disney is planning for full-scale adoption of pre-pandemic standards at that time.
In other words, everything will return to the before times, with the full Disney experience available.
So, you shouldn’t expect fireworks before July 4th. If you get them, great! That’s the target date for the return of many Disney amenities, though.
The upshot is that Disney should announce a start date for Harmonious sooner rather than later…even though Epcot Forever may return first.
What’s Up with Disney Hotels?
Last month, I discussed the status of two Walt Disney World resort projects.
Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge is either delayed indefinitely or canceled, depending on whom you believe.
Realistically, even if the project does happen, it’s three or four years away.
Meanwhile, Disney officials have circled back to the idea of constructing a new resort near the front of EPCOT.
I’m referencing the former Future World area that Imagineers are currently splitting into different themed lands.
If this project happens, which is far from guaranteed, it’ll take two or three years as well.
The pandemic has really messed up the construction time on projects, as best demonstrated by the recent delay at Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.
Executives want that resort open because it’s a license to print money. The place will cost roughly $1,000 a day per room.
That’s before we factor in merchandising, meals, and other lucrative upsells possible at Star Wars Hotel.
Disney wouldn’t delay this place unless it had no other choice, and that’s where we’re at right now.
Pandemic restrictions vastly reduced the amount of construction people could do over the past 15 months.
Conversely, Disney expects record crowds over the next 18 months. The 50th anniversary celebration at Walt Disney World will prove wildly successful.
Where will those people stay?
Nobody has provided a great answer to this, which has left Imagineers scrambling to make the best out of an impossible circumstance.
So, Disney has done some improvisation. One building at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will transition into a Disney Vacation Club property.
How does that impact you as a non-DVC member? It doesn’t really. However, it confirms that Reflections is a long time away.
Don’t be surprised if some other previously rumored Disney hotels make a comeback…almost by default.
Feature Image Rights: Disney