MickeyBlog News for May 31, 2021
Are you ready for Jungle Cruise to return to Disneyland? Or Avengers Campus to debut at Disney California Adventure?
Folks, you’re gonna love the month of June! I’ll explain in this week’s MickeyBlog News.
The Big A Is Just Days Away
When Disney bought Marvel in 2009, critics pointed out that Universal Studios possessed theme park rights in perpetuity.
At the time, many argued that Disney could never bring the Avengers to theme parks. On June 4th, 2021, these people will look foolish.
Yes, Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure will hold its grand opening on Friday.
Before then, Disney will host an opening ceremony on June 2nd, meaning that we’re only three days away from video of the new themed land.
Park officials have released new information about the attraction. For example, it’ll employ a virtual queue to prevent guests from standing in line for hours.
Disney has taken this approach with Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Also, CEO Bob Chapek recently indicated that virtual queues are here to stay.
Will they accentuate FastPass or replace it? That remains to be seen.
We do know that Disney California Adventure will sell WEB Power Bands, which will work in some way with WEB SLINGERS – A Spider-Man Adventure.
The base model costs $35, but that’s not the strange part. You must upgrade your Power Band to turn it into Spider-Man or one of the other Avengers.
That upgrade costs another $30, meaning it’s a $65 purchase if you want to web sling with Spidey.
The Parks Blog indicates that a Power Band will provide you with a different ride experience than a regular guest, making it a form of pay to play.
We’ll learn more about it this week when Avengers Campus opens.
Jungle Cruise Updates
Disneyland and Walt Disney World received an update about the status of one of their beloved attractions.
When Disneyland reopened, Jungle Cruise wasn’t part of the first batch of attractions. As I’ll discuss in a moment, that wasn’t unusual.
The explanation for the delay was, though. Imagineers are currently modernizing Jungle Cruise to ensure it honors all five Disney Keys.
Plus, let’s be honest that some of the scenes could use some new life after decades of sameness.
At Disneyland, the plussed version of Jungle Cruise will debut on July 16th, which is earlier than most had expected.
Walt Disney World didn’t receive a firm date. We know that the updates in progress will finish by the end of summer, though.
So, we’re only a few weeks away from the debut of the 2021 version of Jungle Cruise. And we’ll have both versions to compare within three months!
Speaking of Disneyland…
Disneyland reopened to low capacity. I’m talking about 25 percent. Since then, the parks have expanded to 35 percent and will add more on June 15th.
For this reason, management has gradually reopened various attractions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
The recent returns at Disneyland include Astro Orbiter, Autopia, Gadget’s Go Coaster, and Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.
Disney California Adventure has also brought back Grizzly River Run and Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind.
Park officials are bracing for an influx of crowds in June. As a reminder, on June 4th, Avengers Campus will open.
However, an equally big story unfolds a few days later. Disneyland has received the okay to allow out-of-state guests starting on June 15th.
On this date, the parks could feasibly increase attendance again, which CEO Bob Chapek has indicated will happen gradually.
So, Disneyland Resort will have gone from closed to operating at a decent capacity in six weeks!
The parks must account for this influx of traffic. Disney will increase operating hours at both parks and Downtown Disney starting on July 1st.
Disney California Adventure will operate from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., while Disneyland will go from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Guests who don’t want to call it a night can visit Downtown Disney until 11 p.m., but it also opens at 8 a.m.
The early bird will get many worms at Disneyland this summer.
As a reminder, Disneyland will end temperature checks on June 15th as well. For people wondering when the parks will go back to normal, June 15th is the date!
I’ve got one other park update from out west. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh will undergo refurbishment on July 5th.
Disney didn’t provide any additional information about why or how long.
Other Disney News
Chapek declared something else during a recent interview. He stated that Park Passes are here to stay, presumably at both parks.
MickeyBlog had previously reported that the Park Pass system includes listings into 2023. Apparently, that’s by design.
Disney hasn’t commented yet on something that some competitors did.
Universal Orlando Resort jumped the gun on other theme parks when it removed all face mask guidelines indoors.
As long as you have received complete vaccination, you don’t need to wear a mask at Universal’s Orlando theme parks.
Management doesn’t require proof of vaccination, either. It’s up to the guest to follow the honor code here.
SeaWorld Orlando has taken a different approach. Vaccinated workers no longer need to wear masks. So, the competition has rolled back COVID-19 restrictions.
Disney has had enough time since both announcements to follow suit. It hasn’t done so yet, which means it may not for a while.
I should mention that Orange County, Florida, has reached the level the Mayor had indicated to eliminate face mask rules.
Disney may be waiting for the Mayor to make an announcement before it does the same.
Then again, an announcement could come at literally any moment. Please keep checking MickeyBlog to stay informed about modified pandemic guidelines!
Other Park News
The one change we can confirm at the parks is that many shows and rides now seat guests in every row.
We’ve witnessed such changes at Muppet*Vision 3D at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Mickey’s PhilharMagic at Magic Kingdom, and other shows.
For rides, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Splash Mountain, and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror have all changed their boarding practices.
Tower of Terror and Journey into Imagination seat guests on every row now, which has led to a dramatic reduction in wait times on Twilight Zone.
At the time of publication, Splash Mountain still employs some modest safety measures, but it’s seating more guests per boat than at any other point during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Star Wars Launch Bay has switched from its recent usage as a Relaxation Station. It’s now a walkthrough attraction experience.
You cannot interact with characters yet, but it’s back to being a Star Wars thing again.
In more “The pandemic is mostly over!” news, the Walt Disney World COVID-19 testing site is no more.
Now that the vaccination numbers have risen and daily infections have declined, Disney no longer needed it.
Also, if you’ve ever wanted to be a cast member, now’s your chance! Many Walt Disney World Quick Service restaurants are hiring!
These jobs currently pay $14 per hour, although Disney has built in an increase to $15 per hour for many employees this October.
Behind the scenes, Disney made one fascinating change to the Disney College Program’s housing.
Workers who can prove that they’re vaccinated get to pick their roommates.
Those who haven’t been vaccinated will receive random roommate assignments with other non-vaccinated folks.