Should Walt Disney World Bring Back These Things?
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about what has and hasn’t returned to the parks. However, something we haven’t done is discuss Disney’s perspective.
Sometimes, a theme park campus can use space better than it currently does. So, we know what’s still closed at Disney. But should Disney bring back these things?
1900 Park Fare
At Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, guests can spend plenty of time at the lobby without ever noticing this charming restaurant.
I say this because it resides off to the side, and it’s in a nook near Grand Floridian Café. So, people spot the one restaurant and presume that’s it.
During the pandemic, this strange setup has worked to Disney’s advantage. Only diehard fans are even aware that 1900 Park Fare exists.
For this reason, people like me are the only ones screaming for its return.
This restaurant hosts two character meals per day and an All-You-Care-to-Enjoy breakfast/dinner.
Both these dining options come with a certain amount of status, as superfans consider them arguably the finest in Disney character-based entertainment.
So, I cannot imagine a scenario where Disney doesn’t eventually bring back 1900 Park Fare. But, in truth, I’m confused why this hasn’t already happened.
I’m equally at a loss regarding Akershus, one of the most popular dining experiences at EPCOT.
The park hosts a Disney Princess character meal here that people adore. And the food is excellent, too.
During the early stages of the pandemic, this indoor restaurant proved too small to honor social distancing requirements.
Disney temporarily used it as a Relaxation Station, but those days are long gone. So, why isn’t the restaurant back up and running?
I honestly have no idea. It’s the perfect companion to Frozen Ever After, whose entrance is only about 25 steps away from the restaurant.
If Disney is replacing this restaurant, it makes no sense to me unless we’re getting an Elsa & Anna character meal instead.
Even that idea may not prove as appealing as the current Akershus offering, though.
Annual Passes for Out-of-State Guests
I suspect that what we’re witnessing with annual passes is akin to what just occurred with Disney Genie+.
Park officials changed the language of the contract so that guests would modify expectations.
Now, Disney Genie+ only guarantees “2 or 3” ride experiences, even though you’re likely to enjoy several more thanks to the service.
The current language for Walt Disney World annual passes doesn’t mention Park Passes, something you need to enter the parks.
So, I presume that Disney is waiting for the current annual passes to end. Then, it’ll offer the same thing with different legalese. It’s a small but legally vital step.
Why wouldn’t Disney bring back annual passes? The only reason is if park officials believe that they don’t need diehard fans to boost attendance.
In such a scenario, Disney would estimate that it’d gain the same general attendance figures by cycling entirely new people each day.
That strikes me as a long shot, but the financial rewards are undeniable. Single-day tickets cost soooo much more than annual passes for people who visit 10+ times annually.
Enchanted Tales with Belle
I keep going back and forth on this one. Yes, parents love it because of the memories they make with their children. And it has some sublime tech.
Recent paperwork suggests that Disney is working on the building as well. For this reason, I’m inclined to believe it’s returning, hopefully soon.
However, this work could also be demolition. We won’t know for sure until Disney makes an announcement or someone captures pictures of the work done.
From Disney’s perspective, this discussion was never cut and dried. After all, space in the New Fantasyland area is at a premium.
If Disney believes that it could introduce something else more popular in the same building space, it should do so.
I say this as a Maelstrom superfan who understands the brilliance of the Frozen Ever After re-theming.
Park officials must also consider the future of Disney theme parks, not just the past. I expect Enchanted Tales with Belle to return, but I won’t be shocked if it doesn’t.
The reputation of Disney’s BoardWalk doesn’t match what it is. Disney planned this entertainment complex as the home to several restaurants and shops.
You’ll find plenty of the latter and some of the former. However, the restaurant total is frankly lacking.
I believed that statement before the pandemic. But, unfortunately, now that ESPN Club remains closed, it’s that much worse.
There’s Flying Fish and Trattoria al Forno and Big River Grille and…well, a funnel cake cart and pizza window.
You can definitely drink here, but the eating options strike me as lacking.
So, I fully expect a restaurant to open in the current ESPN Club. I just don’t know whether it’ll be ESPN Club.
The place was rarely crowded, and I say that as someone who has eaten there a lot.
A Disney announcement of a re-theming wouldn’t surprise me in the least. After all, the Tangled/Under the Sea character meal did wonders for Trattoria al Forno.
Tables in Wonderland
He’s dead, Jim.
Seriously, Disney’s entire business model at the moment obsesses on maximizing revenue.
Disney doesn’t want tourists saving 20 percent on their vacation food budgets.
The company’s CFO once joked that Disney should reduce meal portions. Well, we hope it was a joke.
Either way, the statement espouses Disney’s philosophy about maximizing revenue. And that’s why you should read MickeyBlog.
We’re always telling you ways to save money! But, unfortunately, Disney is making tourists jump through a few more hoops right now to do that.
So, you should speak with an Authorized Travel Planner at MickeyBlog as well. They’ll know other ways to maximize your vacation budget.
Sadly, I don’t expect Tables in Wonderland to be one of them, though. Prove me wrong, Disney! Do right by your loyal customers!
The Disney Dining Plan
I intentionally messed up the alphabetization here to slot this under Tables in Wonderland because, in many ways, the conversations align.
Disney has the same justifications for not offering the dining plans as Tables in Wonderland.
Now, I would argue that the dining plan savings isn’t anywhere near as significant as with Tables in Wonderland, at least not unless you really know what you’re doing.
Still, the same premise applies. Disney does possess enough financial incentive to shelve the dining plan indefinitely.
I don’t believe the company will do that once the current enthusiastic wave of tourism ends. But Disney is right to maximize profits while it can.
People have been locked up in their homes for more than two years. They want to get out and visit Disney.
So, anyone paying less at the parks will negatively impact Disney’s bottom line. Of course, we all despise that line of thinking, but it’s based on economic realities.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
I love this show, but I get why Disney hasn’t reopened it yet. Voyage of the Little Mermaid claims prime real estate at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
That park’s popularity has soared since the arrivals of Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
The last time Disney made a land grab, we lost The Great Movie Ride. If the original Hollywood Studios attraction isn’t safe, nothing is.
As for Voyage of the Little Mermaid, I struggle to come up with a reason why this attraction should return, and I’m saying that as a superfan of the film.
Park officials are presumably waiting to track the buzz for the upcoming live-action movie that will open in 2023.
However, the crowds at Hollywood Studios may force park officials to decide quicker than that. If so, I doubt this show survives in any incarnation.
So, which ones on this list do you believe Disney should bring back, and which ones would you never miss? Let us know in the comments!
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Feature Photo: Disney