MickeyBlog News for January 10th, 2022
This week, we’ve got big changes at EPCOT and a mystery at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Also, the future of delivery has arrived at one resort.
Let’s talk about an eventful week in MickeyBlog News.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure opened at EPCOT barely three months ago. That’s what makes this story such a surprise.
As of tomorrow, the attraction will drop its virtual queue. Instead, from Monday forward, guests will enter a standby line to ride Ratatouille.
Yes, that’s the same process as any other ride at Walt Disney World. In fact, with this change, the parks won’t have active virtual queues.
That’s the first time we can say that since the opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in December of 2019.
Okay, technically, we had a week in September between the end of Boarding Groups at Rise of the Resistance and the start of Ratatouille. You get the point, though.
Management has decided to eliminate virtual queues for the time being. The season likely plays a factor here.
Walt Disney World doesn’t have a true offseason now, but January is among the slowest months.
So, this month seems like the perfect time to test a complete standby system across the four parks.
You should expect Ratatouille’s lines to stretch across the France pavilion for at least the first few weeks.
After that, I’d ordinarily expect things to calm down. But, alas, that takes us to Spring Break, which is always a crowded time.
For this reason, I’m not confident that virtual queues have ended forever. Still, we don’t have any active ones at Walt Disney World OR Disneyland right now.
Does that mean something? Possibly. This lottery system somehow pleased fewer park guests than it satisfied.
Still, what matters is that you can enter a line and ride Ratatouille now at EPCOT. All you need is patience.
A Rock ‘n’ Roll Mystery
Two weeks ago, MickeyBlog mentioned a problem with Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. Unfortunately, it was down during the Christmas holiday.
From Disney’s perspective, that’s the worst time for a ride to go offline, but it happens. The strange part is that outages have kept happening.
This roller coaster has gone down on seven different days since December 29th, including the last two days, January 7th and 8th.
I won’t pretend like I have any idea what’s causing the frequent outages. However, we did mention at the time that Disney evacuated the ride in early December.
Cast members noticed smoke and shooed guests out of the ride building. That was five weeks ago.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster operated fine for four weeks but has since suffered sporadic shutdowns.
The last time something like this happened was the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover and, well, you know… It closed for a year.
I don’t think there’s any chance of that with this roller coaster, but I also won’t be surprised if Disney takes this one down for maintenance at some point in 2022.
Introducing Smart Lockers
Disney’s All-Star Music Resort may have just displayed the future of hotel delivery.
We got our first glimpse of the new storage lockers at this resort. That’s underselling the situation a bit, though.
Hotel management has struggled with food and package deliveries for a while now.
Cast members shouldn’t spend their time doubling as delivery workers, as that’s not their job.
Disney officials recognized this and added handling fees of $6 to all in-room deliveries. This policy applied to holding deliveries at the front desk as well.
Tourists grumbled about this change, arguing that Disney was nickel-and-diming them. However, I always saw Disney’s point here.
They had to hire staff for the sole purpose of delivering items from which Disney didn’t make money. In fact, those items meant people spent less money on Disney products.
The business model was out of whack. So now, Disney has unveiled its new strategy. At All-Star Music, you’ll find storage lockers right by the bus depot.
Moving forward, delivery services will place your orders inside these lockers. Then, the system will text you a five-digit pin and a QR code for said locker.
When you arrive at the hotel, you can unlock your storage locker via either the code or the pin number.
I actually use one of these where I live, and it’s quite smooth as a rule. The one word of warning is that some delivery people get frustrated.
When that happens, they sometimes just drop the item on the ground, where anyone can take it.
I doubt anybody would do this at Disney, as they’d get fired.
Even so, I’d still suggest that you not let your packages sit n the lockers for an excessive amount of time.
Presuming this system works well, you should expect it at other resorts soon.
Other Disney News
Magical Express ends forever tomorrow. Currently, the service only handles departures from resorts. So, we’re in the last 24 hours of Tragical Express.
Disney has already discontinued pick-ups at Orlando International Airport. Currently, Mears Connect is running its service instead.
So, Magical Express is officially a thing of the past, at least for now. However, I remain hopeful that Disney will reconsider the madness of this decision at a later date.
On the plus side, the Voices of Liberty have returned at The American Adventure pavilion. They’ve been on hiatus since the start of the pandemic.
As of yesterday, January 9th, they’re back, though! Let there be singing again!
At Disneyland Resort, we have a couple of changes you should know as well.
The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure will have a quick refurb that starts tomorrow, January 10th.
Presuming all goes as planned, the ride will return on January 14th. Lately, Disney has been good about quick refurb timelines, but nothing’s ever guaranteed.
Speaking of which, the Disneyland Monorail will close on February 14th and remain closed until March 6th.
Although Disney might perform some maintenance, this move doesn’t have anything to do with monorail issues.
Instead, the monorail cannot operate during this timeframe, as Disney will be demolishing the old AMC Theatres building.
So, in a weird way, this closure represents the first step toward the new iteration of Downtown Disney!