MickeyBlog News for August 30th, 2021
This week, we’ve got changing vaccine requirements, the completion of a ride plussing, and Magic Keys up for grabs.
Oh, and it’s already the most wonderful time of the year at the Happiest Place on Earth! That part will make you smile in MickeyBlog News.
Magic Keys Are Here
During the pandemic, Disneyland remained closed for an agonizing year.
Throughout this time, park officials tried to make good with annual passholders. However, management warned that changes were coming.
Recently, Disneyland finally confirmed those changes with Magic Key, the 2021 version of annual passes.
A Magic Key membership looks a lot like annual passes did, albeit with some Park Pass-related changes.
When Disneyland closed, Park Passes didn’t exist. So, annual passholders couldn’t enter the parks whenever they wanted, which was a new experience.
With Magic Keys, Disney allows for this modern era of park visitation. The tier of your Magic Key determines how many Park Passes you can hold at once.
Even the highest tier, the Dream Key, entitles the owner to a maximum of just six theme park reservations.
So, Disney has rebuilt the program to give out-of-towners a better chance at entering the parks.
This week, Magic Keys went on sale for the first time. Unfortunately, as has become the standard with Disney, the early hours included several technical woes.
Afterward, Disney fans started playing with the Park Pass menu and discovered something exciting. Take a look:
It looks like each of the Magic Key tiers DO have their own separate pool of reservations. Dream and Believe Keys are full for Disneyland but Enchant is open. As an Enchant Key holder, I just tried to make a reservation for this Saturday and both parks were available. pic.twitter.com/NoJdluBhUM
— RyanTheme Park (@Ryanthemepark) August 27, 2021
Yes, even though Disney has modified the system to give non-passholders a chance, Magic Key owners still receive a hidden benefit.
Magic Key comes with its own batch of inventory. So, Disney still takes care of its highest-paying and most loyal customers at Disneyland!
The New Jungle Cruise
Speaking of Disneyland’s closure, park officials took that opportunity to redesign an opening day attraction.
The Jungle Cruise of 1955 already looked entirely different from the one of 2020. After all, Walt Disney built that ride as humorless. The jokes came later.
However, some of the humor on the ride hasn’t aged well, much like Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on The Simpsons.
So, when Disneyland reopened on April 30th, Jungle Cruise wasn’t one of the available attractions.
Instead, the Happiest Place on Earth kept the ride closed to plus it with more of a modern vibe.
At the time, Disney indicated that Jungle Cruise wouldn’t tie directly to the upcoming movie. Instead, the Skipper would turn into part of the story.
As a Jungle Cruise fanatic, that’s the news I’ve wanted my whole life. After all, every ride depends on the performance of the cast member playing the Skipper.
Unfortunately, Magic Kingdom kinda got stuck. That park had reopened last July, operating Jungle Cruise the entire time.
Disney faced two options, neither of them perfect. Magic Kingdom could close Jungle Cruise to re-theme it.
Alas, the timing would have dictated that the closure take place during the heart of summer.
This strategy would have eliminated one popular attraction at the most trafficked theme park in the world, thereby increasing wait times for the rest.
Plan B involved rebuilding some Jungle Cruise sets on the fly. And that’s what park officials decided to do.
Now, several months later, the new and improved Jungle Cruise has finally completed its renovations.
Cast members added the final touch, an Alberta Falls mural, to signify the moment. So, now is the time to visit Magic Kingdom and ride Jungle Cruise!
First look at the new mural of Alberta Falls at the Jungle Cruise in Magic Kingdom Park. Attraction enhancements are now complete! Disney Imagineers created new characters, scenes and an expanded story, establishing Alberta as the proprietor of Jungle Navigation Company Ltd. pic.twitter.com/SgKB9JXOaP
— Walt Disney World (@WaltDisneyWorld) August 26, 2021
Disney Vaccine Updates
Okay, we’ve got some updates about Disney policies, all of which I’d previously mentioned were in the offing.
Disney Cruise Line recently decided that all guests aged 12 and up must prove vaccination before boarding.
The company took this hardline stance due to an emergency order in the Bahamas. The government there declared that all tourists must be vaccinated.
Otherwise, residents of The Bahamas risked an outbreak each time a cruise ship docked. It’s a reasonable expectation for this reason.
Disney wanted to comply but had faced an issue in Florida, where the governor had signed an emergency authorization preventing such requirements.
On August 9th, a federal judge threw out this order as unconstitutional. This ruling liberated Disney to make its own rules.
Otherwise, Castaway Cay visits would have proved…problematic. However, that’s not the only tactic Disney has taken recently.
The company previously announced that it would require cast members to prove vaccination before returning to work.
At the time, I mentioned that this ruling wasn’t universal due to union negotiations.
Many cast members participate in unions. So, Disney must collectively bargain to change rules.
Of course, unions exist to protect workers. Ergo, these negotiations always seemed like a formality, an assumption that proved correct.
As such, Disney announced:
“We appreciate the communication and collaboration with the union representatives as we put the safety of our Cast Members at the forefront of our health and safety protocols — the vaccine is the best way to protect each other.”
The Services Trade Council announced the following:
“Employees with medical conditions or sincerely held religious beliefs will be eligible to apply for an accommodation through a negotiated process.”
As such, the agreement appears to take care of everyone.
Let’s start with the best update possible! Disneyland has begun work on the 2021 Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay!
Yes, it’s beginning to look like Christmas AND Halloween at the park! Well, it will when the attraction reopens after this refurbishment.
I won’t go through the entire list since other MickeyBlog writers have covered it well. However, I will highlight the presence of these attractions for one or the other:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Frozen Ever After
- Na’vi River Journey
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Test Track
Really, there are only two attractions I think we’d all like to see on all of the lists: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Otherwise, these amenities appear incredible and are another terrific reason to stay at an official Disney resort.
Other Park News
In other park news, biometric scanning has returned at Walt Disney World. So, you must use your finger to prove your identity before entering the park.
At Disneyland, contactless security scanners are now in place, which will streamline the process during future visits.
Meanwhile, Disney has reopened the Tune-In Lounge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, albeit in a weird way.
The place only serves drinks and doesn’t have chairs yet. So, you can stand at the bar and drink if so inclined.
Finally, I know some of you are asking, but I don’t have any information on this one. Yes, Living with the Land did fail to open for more than a week.
Disney even listed that it would reopen on Saturday, only for the ride to remain offline all day.
Personally, I envision a Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs situation unfolding with the vegetables.
Finally, Disney revealed the digital queue times for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
Guests will get a crack at Boarding Groups or whatever Disney is calling them at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m.
So, as with Rise of the Resistance, you can try your luck from your hotel room first thing in the morning.
Feature Image: Disney