MickeyBlog News for October 18th, 2021
Don’t let the calendar fool you! It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Disney theme parks.
Okay, no, the decorations aren’t up yet. However, the various parks have confirmed their holiday plans.
I’ll tell you what you need to know in the latest MickeyBlog News.
Happy Holidays to You!
I’m someone who watches Hallmark Christmas movies during the summer. So, this update makes me very happy.
Over a muted 2020 yuletide holiday at the parks, Disney will return to normal with its Christmas-related amenities.
Recent pandemic numbers represent the lowest they’ve been in ages. As such, park officials feel confident that they can safely provide a full seasonal schedule.
To wit, Disney has confirmed that the Candlelight Processional will return in full force at EPCOT this year.
In fact, Disney has even published the first batch of celebrity guests. They include Jodi Benson, Lisa Ling, Blair Underwood, and Pat Sajak.
EPCOT will also offer Candlelight Processional Dining Packages for 2021.
You can start booking them with a MickeyTravels agent on October 26th, which is only a few days away!
Of course, the Candlelight Processional only represents a small part of Walt Disney World’s festivities.
Other favorites like the Living with the Land holiday overlay are also coming back. Of course, that one’s not a surprise since Disney hosted it during the pandemic year, too.
What IS a pleasant surprise is that the holiday storytellers will return as part of the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, which starts on November 26th.
Also, Disney will have Kris Kringle all over the place. So yes, Santa Claus is coming to all Walt Disney World towns. I mean the four theme parks plus Disney Springs!
This year, guests will watch Santa in some of the Cavalcade-type events like the motorcades and flotillas.
However, that’s not all! Park officials have promised “individualized time” with Ol’ St. Nick in character greetings, too!
These events will officially begin on November 12th, although Disney usually jumps the gun on much of this stuff.
What about Disneyland?
That’s a fair question to ask. Don’t fret, though! The Happiest Place on Earth will overflow with holiday joy as well!
Starting on November 12th, Anaheim will also celebrate the Christmas season!
Disneyland will do something clever this year. Mickey & Minnie Mouse will wear new holiday outfits for the first time.
Lovers of this new look will get to purchase merchandise based on their new clothes! It’ll be the winter fashion choice for the discriminating Disney fan!
All this merchandise would look wonderful under a Christmas tree! We’re talking about backpacks that show the loving couple on a ski lift.
There are Mouse Ears that match the “red and green” joke about holiday movies. And there’s even a shirt that shows various Disney characters playing in the snow.
Disney merchandise has really leveled up the past couple of years.
As for the parks, we’re still awaiting the final word on some stuff. However, the Disney’s Very Merriest After Hours event has already sold out all nights.
Also, Park Pass availability is already running low on many weekends for the rest of the year. So, everyone’s ready to spend the holidays at the Happiest Place on Earth!
Park News and Notes
We’ve got a bunch of smaller stories to cover this week. The most exciting one also involves Disneyland.
The Disneyland Monorail has returned to service for the first time since the pandemic! A park staple since 1959, it’s been a glaring omission until now.
Also, the Disney Junior Dance Party! has returned at Disney California Adventure.
Fans have expressed pleasant surprise at this, as Google (!) was showing it as permanently closed. Google lies!
You can watch Doc McStuffins and Vampirina dance several times a day at DCA!
On the other coast, Mickey’s PhilharMagic at Magic Kingdom has closed for a month. However, it’ll reopen on November 12th with renovated tech and a new Coco scene!
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney Presents… has a new replacement for the former Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge section.
A detailed display of the upcoming Disney Wish, including a stunning scale model, is available for you to examine up close. Suffice to say it looks incredible.
Disney Resort News
I’ve got three resort-related updates for you, two of which are excellent.
Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside has reopened after a prolonged absence! The sister resort, Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter, will join it on October 28th.
Many guests at Riverside (and visitors as well) have already experienced a thrill. Legendary performer Yehaa Bob Jackson is performing again!
Yes, the star of the River Roost Lounge made his triumphant return this week.
Last year, he’d indicated that his Disney career was over. So, this felt like a huge fan for loyal fans.
In other resort news, Disney has enforced a policy for most of the rest of the year. As a result, guests cannot book a single-night hotel stay for now through December 5th.
A caveat applies here. You CAN book a single-night stay as part of a package with park admission.
Honestly, your best bet is to speak with a MickeyTravels agent and have them explain it to you.
Disney Company News
In company news, Alan Horn has confirmed that he’ll leave Disney at the same time as Bob Iger.
Horn stakes a claim as one of the most successful movie producers of the past half-century, having worked on The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Marvel movies.
Disney had already promoted him up to get somebody else in his old role.
So, this move isn’t a surprise, but we all owe Horn a debt of gratitude for the past decade of Disney movies.
In more frustrating news, Imagineer Kevin Lively has tweeted the explanation for why he’s quitting.
After 14 years at Disney I’m going to be hanging up my mouse ears. I never thought I’d be stepping away, but sometimes life throws you a curveball. In June we learned that Imagineering would be relocating to Florida. My wife and I looked long and hard at the possibility, but we pic.twitter.com/YRUlwwh6G1
— Kevin Lively (@Livelyland) October 13, 2021
The gist is that he’s one of the displaced Imagineers whose job now resides in Lake Nona, Florida.
Lively chose not to relocate to a new state. Instead, he asked Disney whether he could stay in California and perform his duties. Sadly, that wasn’t possible.
You may have seen Lively doing press for Jungle Cruise, where he worked as a beloved Skipper before his promotion to Imagineer.
Fittingly, Lively’s last project is the modernization of Jungle Cruise.
Disney also lost another icon, which I discussed in this week’s Disney Headlines. Can you imagine living to 111?
Finally, by the time you read this, the Disney Genie era might have already started at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Please read MickeyBlog for our running commentary on the pros and cons of this new feature.