MickeyBlog News for April 25th, 2022
Has an era ended at Walt Disney World? We don’t know for sure yet, but it’s a historically significant MickeyBlog News.
The Reedy Creek Vote
Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s comical run of misfortune and unforced errors continued this week.
Last month, Disney employees expressed outrage and some even walked out as a protest of Chapek’s refusal to denounce HB 1557, the so-called Don’t Say Gay bill.
Eventually, Chapek did just that and in the strongest terms. However, he’d waited too long by this point, losing some respect and support from workers.
Even former CEO Bob Iger had suggested that some issues are moral ones, a not-so-subtle dig at his replacement.
Meanwhile, Chapek also got hit from the right, as he drew the ire of Florida politicians.
This past week, during a special session to vote on congressional redistricting, they added the Reedy Creek Improvement District to the conversation.
Eventually and predictably, these politicians voted to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District, an institution that had stood since 1967.
We should include a couple of facts about this situation. The first is that the matter will almost certainly get settled in court.
There are many questions about the legality of these maneuvers, which is a weird thing to say when lawmakers vote on new laws.
However, most interpretations of Florida’s existing laws suggest that a dissolution must involve a vote by the residents of the impacted area.
Obviously, Florida lawmakers wrote the language to sidestep this issue, but they also have had a lousy track record of their laws holding up in court lately.
Meanwhile, Disney pays the best lawyers on the planet and has a hard-earned reputation as being nearly impossible to beat in court.
Second, the law won’t even go into effect until June 1st, 2023. There’s an entire election before then.
So, everything here is written in pencil, not pen. We’ll all have to wait and see what happens next.
Masks No Longer a Thing
If you don’t pay attention to political theater, this past week actually included plenty of great news for Disney.
To wit, a Florida judge did Disney a favor by negating a healthcare policy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Disney officials believe it’s important to lead by example. So, they had followed all CDC recommendations to date.
The court ruling meant that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would no longer enforce the face mask requirements on planes.
Amusingly, some guests learned about this change in mid-flight, which caused much confusion and some celebration as well.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your pilot speaking. This is the most important announcement I’ve ever made. The federal mask mandate is over. Take off your mask if you choose!”
— Ben Dietderich (@ben_dietd) April 18, 2022
At this point, Disney officials decided that they would drop their remaining face-covering requirements.
Those restrictions primarily involved Disney transportation, specifically monorails and buses. Yes, those requirements are no longer in place!
Disney is a mask-free environment again. However, I should stress that if you feel more comfortable wearing a mask, park officials encourage you to do so.
By the way, you obviously won’t need to worry about face masks on planes or at Orlando International Airport (MCO) now.
Face Mask Update: TSA will no longer enforce Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs. Face masks are now optional in our airport and facilities.
— Orlando International Airport (@MCO) April 19, 2022
Also, MCO just announced that Terminal C will finally open on September 19th.
This expansion will accommodate up to 12 million travelers annually. It’s a big deal.
On today’s Board meeting our CEO, Kevin Thibault, announced that the projected opening period of our South Terminal C will take place over two weeks, starting on September 19th, 2022. We can’t wait to C you there! pic.twitter.com/yyHIfb0QAE
— Orlando International Airport (@MCO) April 20, 2022
More Good News
After an absence of more than three months, Hong Kong Disneyland has finally reopened.
You may recall that the latest wave of COVID forced a closure in early January. At the time, park officials believed the closure would last less than two weeks. It…didn’t.
Disney theme parks aren’t currently back to full strength yet. Shanghai Disneyland remains closed. Still, this news represents a strong step in the right direction.
Speaking of triumphant comebacks, nighttime presentations have returned to Disneyland Resort!
Here’s the return engagement of Disneyland Forever:
And here’s the updated Main Street Electrical Parade:
Also, Fantasmic! comes back on May 28th. So, the park has almost returned to pre-pandemic norms.
And Now for the Bad News
I honestly don’t know what’s going on with Disney annual passes. I mean that for Disneyland AND Walt Disney World.
Last year, park officials made a big deal out of the impending debut of new annual passes.
At Disneyland, they were Magic Keys that came in four different tiers. The most expensive of them were the Dream Key and the Believe Key.
Soon after Disney sold these annual passes, owners complained about the language. The wording suggested that they would always have access to the parks.
That wasn’t entirely accurate due to the new requirement for Park Passes. Annual passholders quickly discovered that their Park Pass allotment sold out fast.
So, they paid for annual passes but couldn’t enter the parks the way they had in the past.
Disney officials recognized the problem and listed the Dream and Believe Keys as sold out on the site.
Now, Disney has updated its policies to indicate that annual passholders won’t have the option to renew Dream or Believe Keys.
Since Disney considers them sold out, nobody can purchase more, even people who already own them. It’s a mess, y’all.
Disney Park Updates
If you’ve been keeping up with MickeyBlog – and you always should! – you know that Connections Café has opened at EPCOT.
For many Disney fans, this can mean only one thing: Starbucks Coffee!
Yes, the former temporary home for Starbucks has gone away. Now, Connections Café represents the permanent home for your favorite coffee.
As this video shows, people had really missed their coffee, too!
The other story this week involves Discovery Trading Company at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. As of this past week, this store uses Mobile Checkout!
Finally, early reviews are in for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. And they’re glowing!
— Nick – MagicalNewsLIVE ✨ (@MagicalNewsLIVE) April 17, 2022
Guests have sounded blown away by the storytelling aspects of the coaster. It’s a much more immersive thrill ride than we’ve ever seen before.
Better yet, some lucky Disney fans are only five weeks away riding it as often as they want! Cosmic Rewind opens on May 27th.