Disney Headlines for September 26th, 2023
This past week, Disneyland hinted that it might go back to the future, Brightline tried to change the future, and something wild happened in China.
We’re looking down the road a lot in the latest batch of Disney Headlines.
Oddly, transportation has become a focal point of Disney fans this week, and it affects Walt Disney World and potentially Disneyland as well.
In Florida, the long-anticipated Brightline route from Miami to Orlando finally opened.
Brightline had missed its target window for high-speed rail service by…a lot.
The pandemic forced many of the delays, but technical and construction hurdles also slowed down the process.
During the past three months alone, Brightline delayed the opening of this route multiple times.
On Friday, September 22nd, the service finally started, thereby connecting two of Florida’s largest cities by train.
According to AP News, more than 36 million people drive between Miami and Orlando annually.
Brightline will operate a fleet of 32 trains daily in hopes of persuading those drivers to take a high-speed train instead.
Simply Railway was one of the first organizations to review the service. You can watch the highlights here:
The video indicates that the trip takes three hours and 38 minutes by train.
In the process, guests save themselves the aggravation of dealing with traffic in these heavily populated metropolitan areas.
For convenience, guests pay $79-$298 for a single ticket, depending on whether you choose Smart, Premium/Business, or First Class.
As the review indicates, most customers have expressed tremendous satisfaction with the Brightline service.
Sure, some question the price, but Brightline spent billions of dollars connecting dense parts of Florida via railways.
Also, I’d be remiss if I failed to note that Brightline already faces safety concerns.
On Friday, a Brightway train struck and killed a pedestrian in Palm Beach County. Remarkably, that’s the sixth such incident in the county in 2023 alone.
Brightline has launched a safety protocol initiative, but if you live near one of these, be careful. These trains travel 125 miles per hour.
Here’s the real crux of this project.
Florida tourists love Walt Disney World, and many visit Universal Orlando Resort as well.
Part of the plan for an interconnected train service in Florida involves transporting guests directly to the parks.
Brightline just announced a new business agreement with Mears Transportation.
As part of this arrangement, Mears will pick up guests at Brightline stations in Orlando and transport them to the parks.
The two parties refer to this new program, Brightline+, as a door-to-door solution for tourists.
While that overstates the matter somewhat, it’s true that once you reach a Brightline station, your worries end.
From that point forward, Brightline and Mears will do all the work in taking you to your Walt Disney World hotel.
That’s how they’re advertising the service right now, anyway. We won’t know for a bit whether they’re overselling the product.
Still, presuming that Brightline+ delivers, it’ll allow Floridians near a station to reach Walt Disney World more conveniently than ever.
The only downside here is that you’re using Mears, a paid service that doesn’t always receive the best reviews.
Since Magical Express apparently isn’t coming back, Brightline+ becomes the only viable option for those who would prefer not to drive.
This story is obviously still unfolding, but there’s plenty of cause for optimism here.
Somehow, Brightline is not the most exciting Disney transportation story, though.
The Disneyland Bombshell
The DisneylandForward project recently updated with – I kid you not – 17,000 pages of new documents.
I’m reading everything I can, but progress is understandably slow. However, someone recently tipped off Scott Gustin about a fascinating possibility.
The crux of DisneylandForward comes down to Disney selling the Anaheim City Council on updating various zoning laws, ordinances, and regulations.
Disney made agreements with the city during the 1990s that have proven restrictive today.
In a perfect world, Disney would take some of its current parking lot space and repurpose it into a theme park expansion.
However, when Disney does that, the cars must go somewhere else. Also, it would redirect the traffic flow around Disneyland.
Currently, Disney hopes to solve this problem by adding some pedestrian bridges on a higher level than the current traffic in the area.
What’s the best solution for getting through solid objects? You go over them. It’s no different than a football player hurdling a defender.
Okay, it’s a lot different since cars (hopefully) won’t be flying through the air, but you get the point.
This concept should cause your wheels to turn in a different direction, though.
Do you know what else could achieve a similar goal? Disney could build a gondola system akin to the Skyways of old and the Disney Skyliner of today.
Those places exist as a possibility, and that’s not even the best part!
Disney has also returned to one of Walt Disney’s solutions from the 1960s as a traffic solution.
The company has at least considered bringing back the PeopleMover…but not as an attraction. Instead, it would provide utility now.
Disney would direct the flow of traffic from the parks to the parking lots via the PeopleMover. That’s exactly what Walt Disney pitched for E.P.C.O.T.!
Disney Did WHAT in China?
I’ll talk about the PeopleMover more in Disney Rumors next week.
For now, I’d rather focus on a frankly unbelievable political story. No, not that one.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Disney used the blanket excuse of corporate layoffs to eliminate more than 300 employees in China.
Disney didn’t fire these people for that reason, though.
The report states that “Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger was scheduled to meet the following week with Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher.”
As an FYI, Gallagher “chairs a congressional committee focused on U.S. competition with China.”
Iger and other Disney executives anticipated that Gallagher would ask detailed questions about corporate data security in China.
Someone at Disney got the bright idea that they could sidestep that question by firing anyone capable of answering it!
Presuming that this report is true – and Disney has FIRMLY denied it – Disney caused a cascade of tech service issues in China.
The thought process is that Disney took that hit to avoid a congressperson asking Iger why Chinese workers had data about American subscribers using digital services.
Earlier this year, Gallagher got caught lying about his debt ceiling voting, which indicates he’s not the most reliable source for this stuff.
Still, if even a shred of this is true, it’s absolutely bizarre that Disney attempted something like this.
Thanks for visiting MickeyBlog.com! Want to go to Disney? For a FREE quote on your next Disney vacation, please fill out the form below, and one of the agents from MickeyTravels, a Diamond Level Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, will be in touch soon!
Feature Photo: Miamiandbeaches.com