MickeyBlog News for March 7th, 2022
This past week, Disney introduced fans to the next generation of immersive experiences.
Also, Disney Cruise Line delivered the announcement you’ve awaited, and the latest festival debuted at EPCOT.
Friends, this is a huuuuuuuge week for MickeyBlog News.
Welcome Aboard the Halcyon
On March 1st, the first set of official guests entered the Chandrila Cruise Line offices. From there, these tourists took a brief flight through space.
Eventually, they reached their destination, the intergalactic luxury cruise vessel, the Halcyon.
There, they holed up on the ship for a day before reaching their ultimate destination, the storied planet of Batuu, the final sign of civilization before Wild Space.
Yes, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser has opened to the public, and it has VASTLY exceeded expectations, much to Disney’s relief.
Disney executives bristle at the notion of a Star Wars Hotel, as they believe this facility represents something much more. It’s the future of Disney entertainment.
At Galactic Starcruiser, guests live out their personal Star Wars adventures.
Disney has loaded this hotel with unique offerings, virtually all of which are unprecedented in scope.
When you enter the hotel lobby ship’s main deck, you’ll meet Disney cast members who possess no knowledge of Mickey Mouse.
Instead, they remain in character as cruise ship employees on the Halcyon.
Some of them portray costumed characters, including the ship’s captain and a musical diva.
If anything, that’s the shocker here. Disney requires these performers to act like somebody else for the entire cruise itinerary, which is three days and two nights.
Many had wondered whether the actors could do that without breaking character…but they can!
Meanwhile, guests have discovered an immaculately themed hotel that honestly does seem like an intergalactic cruise ship.
The various digital projection monitors throughout the hotel maintain the illusion that you’re traveling through space.
Along the way, you must choose sides in a battle between The First Order and The Resistance. You’ll receive quests based on your decisions.
Galactic Starcruiser is a wholly immersive experience that somehow delivers on all of Disney’s promises.
Speaking of Cruises…
Now, we move from the realm of fictional cruises to real ones.
Disney Cruise Line has just updated its health and safety policies, and you’re gonna like the change.
Yes, after two brutal years of pandemic frustration, we’ve officially made it through the worst of the age of COVID.
Pandemic numbers suggest that we’re approaching the lowest infection levels since early March of 2020. Somehow, that’s only two years ago but also forever ago.
The upshot of lower infection numbers is that businesses can reduce COVID restrictions.
After liaising with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Disney has done just that.
The parks had already updated their policies. Now, Disney Cruise Line (DCL) is following suit.
Starting on March 11th — i.e., THIS week — “face coverings will be optional in most indoor locations throughout our ships.”
Yes, Disney has just eliminated the face mask requirement for cruise guests. Obviously, this change does come with some asterisks.
For starters, DCL will maintain its vaccine requirement indefinitely. That’s for the benefit of everyone, as you don’t need to wonder about people’s vaccine status.
Similarly, some places will still require face masks. For example, everyone ages 2 and above must wear a face-covering at Walt Disney Theatre.
We’re talking about an indoor theater facility, which the CDC still lists as part of the higher risk category.
Disney also encourages guests to wear face masks while indoors on its cruise ships. The company simply won’t enforce the policy.
You’ll make your own determinations for yourself and your family.
Finally, since children five and under aren’t eligible for vaccination yet, Disney will require them to wear masks at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and the Youth Activities section.
Overall, the days of mask requirements at Disney tourist locales appear to be over.
The 2022 Flower & Garden Festival Has Arrived
On March 2nd, the 2022 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival opened.
EPCOT will host this event through July 4th, making it a combo spring/summer event for 2022.
Even better, Disney has brought back the Garden Rocks concert series after having to skip it last year.
So, we’re talking about a full-fledged festival rather than a pandemic-forced half-measure, one lacking some of your favorite activities.
The festival has already hosted Skillzmatic and the Guess Who. Rick Springfield is coming tomorrow. Who would have thought he’d find a spot in his busy schedule?
Okay, I’m joking and being a bit mean. I kid a lot about the Garden Rocks series since many of these bands haven’t been relevant in 15 years or more.
I mean, the Guess Who WISH they’d still been relevant 15 years ago…or even 25.
Still, I’m thrilled by the return of this concert series, as it signifies something much more important.
Disney theme parks have returned to pre-pandemic norms. MickeyBlog showed that with any number of festival-related updates this past week.
You can scroll through our archives to find plenty more updates. The overriding point is that EPCOT feels more alive than it has in two years.
We’ve survived the worst that 2020 and 2021 had to offer. No, the world still isn’t great, but the magic has returned at Disney theme parks!
Miscellaneous Disney News
Let’s start with two pieces of unfortunate news. A couple of impactful Disney people died this week, albeit after long and illustrious lives.
One of them is Tony Walton, who died at the impressive age of 87. You know him as an Academy
Award-winning production designer.
Walton performed his most famous work with…Mary Poppins. Yes, the stylish look you’ve loved your whole life came from the mind and hands of this artist.
Meanwhile, you’re more likely to know Tim Considine’s face. He was the oldest sibling on My Three Sons.
A child actor, Considine played Buzz in the beloved Disney movie, The Shaggy Dog. Later, he joined Tommy Kirk on the TV show, The Hardy Boys.
Considine also performed on The Mickey Mouse Club and was inducted as a Disney Legend in 2006.
The actor died last week at the age of 81. His older brother, John Considine, is still alive at the age of 87. Movie and TV fans are likely to recognize both men.
These two worked extensively in the industry during the 1970s and 1980s.
The only other story we’re tracking involves Disneyland Paris. That theme park has just restored full character meetings, the kind with hugs.
Disney hasn’t announced anything about its American parks at the time of publication.
However, signs point toward this happening by the summer. I don’t want to get your hopes up to unrealistic levels, but that’s what I expect to happen.
Please take my speculation with a grain of salt for now.