MickeyBlog News for January 23rd, 2023
This past week, Disneyland restored Magic Key sales just in time for the Disney100 celebration!
Also, we learned more about Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, a new after-hours event, and the triumphant return of a Magic Kingdom attraction!
We’ve got another full week for MickeyBlog News!
Disneyland Magic Key Annual Passes Return
MickeyBlog has warned you to keep reading in case something happens with Disneyland annual passes. And that’s precisely what happened this week!
On Tuesday, January 17th, Disneyland Resort suddenly reopened sales for multiple options from its Magic Key program.
The company introduced a virtual queue for would-be Magic Key owners. Even this unannounced sale quickly claimed wait times of 60+ minutes.
This turn of events explains why Disney has switched to unannounced sales. It wants to keep its systems from overloading due to Magic Key demand.
Disney reopened sales for the Imagine Key ($449), Believe Key ($1,099), and Inspire Key ($1,599).
Owners could also renew the $699 Enchant Key. However, Disney wasn’t accepting new sales of this tier, only renewals.
Disney also confirmed its new policy for these stealthy annual pass windows.
Guests can book from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific Standard Time as long as the Magic Keys are available for sale.
Let’s say that you enter the virtual queue at 9:30 p.m. at night. You won’t need to disconnect if you fail to book by 10 p.m.
Instead, you should leave your browser window open, You’ll maintain your spot in the virtual queue until the system reopens the following morning.
Unfortunately, if you shut down your browser window, you’ll lose your place in line. So, don’t do that!!!
Here’s the message I received after shutting down my browser window:
“Queue numbers are only valid for 10 minutes, and your queue number has now expired. Would you like you to rejoin the queue?”
The last time Disneyland brought back Magic Key sales, the window lasted for roughly a day.
This past week, Magic Keys were available from Tuesday through (at least) Saturday afternoon. So, it’s already a longer window than last time!
More Disneyland Updates
As a reminder, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens on January 27th. Yes, that’s this Friday! So, Disney’s 100th-anniversary party kicks off soon.
Park officials understandably expect crowds during the early days of the event. Meanwhile, Runaway Railway will prove a huge seller on its own.
Disneyland Park doesn’t open rides often, and it’s the first one starring Mickey Mouse. As such, management has prepared its park congestion plan.
Runaway Railway will employ a virtual queue during its early days of operation.
Each morning, guests will sign up for the virtual queue via the Disneyland app.
The process will feel familiar to those who remember the start of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Disney will open the virtual queue to sign-ups twice per day. The first window arrives at 7 a.m., while the afternoon reservations start at 1 p.m.
Based on Rise of the Resistance’s behavior, it’s safe to expect that both virtual queue windows will book quickly, especially during the opening month.
Park officials indicated that Disney will NOT offer a standard line queue for Runaway Railway initially.
So, your options will be the virtual queue or a Lightning Lane purchase.
Eventually, Disney will drop the virtual queue requirement.
However, with Mickey’s Toontown debuting in March and the Disney100 celebration lasting all year, the virtual queue will likely remain in place for much of 2023.
Something else to keep in mind is that Disney won’t operate Runaway Railway during its fireworks presentations.
That decision will reduce its daily throughput as well.
Belle Is Back!
The pandemic temporarily shut down many Disney attractions. Thankfully, by the start of 2023, almost all of them were up and running again.
The one noticeably absent attraction at Magic Kingdom is Enchanted Tales with Belle. Well, I’m happy to report that this is about to change!
On February 19th, the interactive retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast returns to the park!
Guests haven’t participated in this activity since March 2020! So, we’re talking about a three-year absence for this beloved family presentation.
Similarly, Ariel’s Grotto in Fantasyland will re-open soon. Guests haven’t met Ariel in her Magic Kingdom home since the pandemic’s start, either.
Thankfully, Ariel’s Grotto returned on January 23nd. Yes, that was yesterday!
So, one wait has ended for the Magic Kingdom faithful, while another finishes in less than a month.
Miscellaneous Disney News
Let’s start with the biggest remaining story. Disney has confirmed the dates for the 2023 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival.
This year’s event will operate from March 1st through July 5th. Disney has also promised new topiaries this year, and I’m excited about that.
Meanwhile, at Magic Kingdom, Disney has announced the cast member preview dates for Tron Lightcycle Power Run.
Disney workers can register for a ride from February 6th through March 3rd. The reservation window opens next week (January 30th).
Cast members can bring up to three guests. If you know a Disney employee, now is the time to be very, VERY nice to them!
By the way, Disney also has some housekeeping to do…and I mean that literally.
The company spent the body of the pandemic short-staffed in its housekeeping department.
Finally, Disney has staffed the position enough that it will restore daily housekeeping at Deluxe tier resorts.
Moderate and Value tier resorts will receive housekeeping service every other day.
At Disneyland Resort, San Fransokyo may not open at Disney California Adventure for a while. However, work has commenced on the project.
Disney is draining the water at the former Pacific Wharf to turn it into the quasi-futuristic metropolitan city seen in the Big Hero 6 franchise.
This drainage process won’t be easy since the location shares water with the Grizzly River Run wet ride at DCA.
Finally, Disney Cruise Line has announced some amenities for its Silver Anniversary at Sea, which occurs from May through September.
The biggest reveal is a fireworks presentation, making DCL the first cruise company to offer such an event.
Please note that only select cruises will offer the fireworks. As such, you should speak to a MickeyTravels agent for booking advice!
Have a great week, everyone!
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