Important Disney Questions We Still Need Answered
We still don’t have answers about FastPass or the Disney Dining Plan, I’m afraid. We’ve asked for months, but Disney still hasn’t provided definite plans.
Frustratingly, those aren’t the only topics that remain in flux. Here are a few other lingering Disney questions where we’re all awaiting clarity.
Will Upcoming Disney Attractions Suffer from the Financial Shortfall?
Okay, you may have forgotten by now, but Disney was super-broke for a while. The company laid off more than 10 percent of its staff during the pandemic. It simply couldn’t afford everyone.
Simultaneously, Disney announced that it had cut theme park capital expenditures by nearly a billion dollars. Yes, a billion with a B!
Some previously announced attractions suddenly vanished from the official Disney site, most notably a Mary Poppins ride at the United Kingdom pavilion at EPCOT.
Other proposed plans fell by the wayside, at least temporarily. For example, Spaceship Earth should have already undergone re-theming and be close to returning.
I’m not even joking. The scheduled refurbishment date was in May of 2020. At the time, insiders expected that the ride would return in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World.
Well, that date is fast approaching, yet Spaceship Earth remains in its current form.
Meanwhile, the two impending roller coasters, the ones themed to Tron and Guardians of the Galaxy, should have opened in 2021. We’ll be lucky if both are running by early 2023.
Also, we have no idea what form the proposed Moana water feature and PLAY! pavilion will take. Did Disney pull back money from those projects, thereby limiting their upside?
Such a strategy wouldn’t be unprecedented. In truth, it’d be a demonstration of history repeating itself.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom notoriously suffered from a financial shortfall. Similarly, Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios faced cutbacks, which explains why it lacked exterior cover at first.
We all want the best for Disney, especially with the complete overhaul of EPCOT. So, we’d love to hear some clarification about whether the park will get at least most of its promised upgrades.
When Will the Big Attractions Open?
I’m just going to piggyback this question off the last section, as I just explained the why of it.
Tron Lightcycle Power Run, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Journey of Water (the Moana water feature), and the PLAY! pavilion lack confirmed dates.
Right now, the only ride whose opening date we know is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. That attraction will open on October 1st.
So, the others are all running late for the previously mentioned reasons. For that matter, so is Ratatouille, which should have opened more than a year ago.
The current belief is that all these amenities will arrive over the next two calendar years, possibly even the next 18 months.
However, we’re all just guessing until Disney updates us on the various timelines. Hopefully, the company will do this at Destination D23 in November.
Will Disney Phase Out MagicBands over the Next Few Years?
When you speak to people in the loop at Disney, they’ll acknowledge that the internal buzz hints at the eventual elimination of MagicBands.
Park officials made a rare miscalculation when they failed to anticipate the impending ubiquity of smartphones.
Now, anyone under the age of 35 touches their phone more than their pillow each day. Yes, that’s kind of depressing, but that’s where we are as a people.
Over the years, Imagineers have enhanced the functionality of My Disney Experience so that it can do virtually everything possible with a MagicBand.
So, guests really don’t need a MagicBand AND a smartphone during a Disney visit. Here’s the unexpected development, though.
Many guests really enjoy MagicBands, as they allow us to show off our favorite Disney characters and think about them whenever we tap our band.
Also, research and development come with a dirty secret, one that Pharma workers quote a lot.
The second pill may cost a few cents to produce, but the first one costs $100 million.
That statement applies to MagicBands as well. Disney spent more than a billion dollars (again, yes, with a B) developing MyMagic+.
Developing new MagicBands only costs a few pennies, as the only thing that changes is the aesthetic design.
As long as the parks have demand for MagicBands, Disney possesses the incentive to keep them in use, at least until it’s no longer technologically feasible.
When will that happen? We don’t know because Disney won’t say!
Is There a Plan after Magical Express?
In case you haven’t heard, Disney plans to eliminate Magical Express on January 1st, 2022. Dear Disney, please reconsider. I’m BEGGING you!
Alas, at this stage, a change in plans appears unlikely. After more than 15 years of taking care of guests the moment they reach Orlando, Disney has changed gears.
From now on, you’ll be on your own to find your way from Orlando International Airport to Walt Disney World.
Disney officials are quick to point out that a Brightline station is coming to Disney Springs. However, opinions vary widely on when that will happen.
Brightline recently met with Central Florida officials to plot its next steps.
Even after that discussion, we still have no idea when the company will break ground at Disney.
Some reports suggest that the high-speed train station could finish by late 2023. Others indicate that Brightline won’t even break ground until 2024.
So, at a minimum, Disney vacationers will feel stranded at the airport for the body of two years. It could stretch out to nearly five years.
We really need some clarity from Disney about the long-term plan. Unfortunately, the rumor and whisper campaigns won’t stop until executives say something.
Could Face Masks Return?
You have no idea how much I hate returning to this subject. Yet, unbelievably, it’s recently become topical again.
In Los Angeles, the Mayor requested that guests start wearing face coverings indoors again. The Sheriff claimed that he wouldn’t enforce the policy, though.
Still, Universal Studios Hollywood returned to its previous policy that requires face masks indoors.
Importantly, Disneyland Resort resides in Orange County, California, instead. So, officials there can sidestep the issue for the moment.
The other Orange County, the one in Florida, isn’t so cut-and-dried. The Mayor of the county where Walt Disney World resides has called for a return to indoor face coverings.
Disney has ignored all politicians thus far and trusted the CDC on all COVID-19 matters. So, we have no reason to believe anything will change soon.
However, we do know that Florida has suffered the worst Delta variant outbreak of any state.
Meanwhile, 56 percent of the American population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Overall, roughly 68.2 percent of adults have taken at least one shot.
As such, Disney has reason to hope that it can maintain the current status quo.
Still, park officials probably should come forward and offer some insight into what the current plan is.
None of us has any reason to believe that the situation will decline enough to require the return of face coverings.
I think we’d all appreciate some reassurance, though.