From Walt Disney World to Across the Globe–Major Disney Park Happenings

From Walt Disney World to Across the Globe–Major Disney Park Happenings

There are so many things happening around the world that are affecting Disney Parks. Look at all we have to cover:

  • Epcot–New offerings coming this summer
  • Magic Kingdom–Several changes and initiatives
  • Disneyland announces character appearances when they open
  • News on Tokyo Disney’s newest hotel and on its new Fantasyland Theater
  • Shanghai Disneyland celebrates its 5th anniversary
  • Big news and constant changes coming from the Disney Cruise Line
  • A major milestone with the new Disney Wish
  • Finally, an update on the new Lighthouse Point

All this and insight on what it all means. So join us for this big Disney Parks update.

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Walt Disney World

Creations Shop & New Club Cool at Epcot

This summer will mark another big step when Disney unveils the new flagship merchandise location, called Creations Shop. Zack Riddley, Walt Disney World Site portfolio director has said that Creations Shop features a bold, sleek design that creates a perfect showcase for the rich variety of items you’ll find as part of your EPCOT experience. It will be an open, bright, welcoming environment with huge glass walls that allow sunlight to pour in and make you feel like you’re in touch with nature even while indoors. We are using color, materials and light in new ways with some unique EPCOT touches that connect back to this park’s storied past while looking to the future. 

Image by Disney.

As you can see in this new artist concept rendering, there’s a large mural of Mickey Mouse along one of the shop’s walls. We were inspired by Mickey as our subject for creativity – but this is Mickey like you’ve never seen him before. You’ll discover original homages to him throughout the space, including large, dynamic murals and new artist expressions that showcase the global, contemporary icon that Mickey has become for generations around the world. We are excited to feature this art program – completely original works that will live on in this space – as a testament to the park’s ability to inspire the dreamer in all of us. 

Adjacent to the shop will be a revitalized Club Cool Hosted by Coca-Cola, which will also open this summer. This will celebrate Coca-Cola in a fresh new way, while keeping the fan-favorite experience that invites you to explore tasty drinks from around the world. This space will also have some new magic to bring the global experience of Coca-Cola to life for you.

Magic Kingdom

Four major developments are happening at the Magic Kingdom

  • Testing on a New Facial Recognition Technology
  • Big renovation to the Main Street Confectionary
  • Ribbons, bunting and other touches being added to Cinderella Castle
  • Trader Sam has been removed from the Jungle Cruise

Check out all this and more in our upcoming Magic Kingdom update.


Mears Transportation, the third party operator of the existing Disney Magical Express, will offer its own service when Magical Express ends this year. Mears Connect will launch in January 2022 and will serve Orlando International Airport and the Disney resort area. Reservations can be made starting May 2021, although not pricing information is yet available.

Finally, Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro held a virtual presentation today for the media, and reiterated that the new Disney Genie app remains in Walt Disney World’s plans.

Image by Disney


Favorite characters may be spotted throughout the day waving to visiting friends, posing in the background of photos and having fun playing in the parks. At Disneyland park, you may see Mickey Mouse and some of his pals from the steps of the Main Street, U.S.A. railroad station. Or perhaps they may be found outside their homes in Mickey’s Toontown, waving a friendly welcome to visitors of all ages.

You may also see Disney Princesses like Mulan or Belle at the Royal Theatre in Fantasyland or look to the beautiful balconies of New Orleans Square to catch sight of Captain Jack Sparrow. At Rancho del Zocolo in Frontierland, you might also catch intermittent appearances by Miguel from Disney and Pixar’s “Coco.”

Character sightings at Disney California Adventure park may include friends appearing at Carthay Circle and the Pixar Pier bandshell. Disney Junior stars, from Vampirina to Doc McStuffins, may say hello from the stage of the Disney Theater in Hollywood Land.

Throughout the day in Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure park, cheer for some of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Black Widow, Captain America, Thor, Spider-Man, Black Panther and the Dora Milaje, as they strike heroic poses from the Hollywood Backlot Stage. These Super Heroes will then be regular visitors at Avengers Campus when the new land opens on June 4th.  

Tokyo Disneyland

Toy Story Hotel Named

Image by Disney.

This resort has announced that its new Toy Story-themed hotel will be called Tokyo Disney Resort Toy Story Hotel. With 595 guest rooms and 11 floors, the hotel’s exterior, entrance, lobby and other areas will bring to life the world of toys based on the Academy Award-winning Disney and Pixar “Toy Story” films. This will be the fifth Disney hotel to open in Japan but the first “moderate type” Disney hotel in the country, offering guests a new option between “deluxe type” and “value type” hotels. The hotel is situated directly in front of Bayside Station on the Disney Resort Line, providing guests easy access to both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea Parks.  

Fantasyland Forest Theater

Image by Tokyo Disney.

Tokyo Disneyland also opened its Fantasyland Forest Theater. The Fantasyland Forest Theatre features a signature Disney entertainment show in a dedicated indoor performance space that is typically beyond what you get in other Disney entertainment shows–more akin to the caliber of shows on the Disney Cruise Line. The spacious 1,500-seat storybook theater will debut the new show Mickey’s Magic Musical World. This original Tokyo Disneyland show features Mickey Mouse and his pals in a spectacular performance of music and dance that makes full use of the theater’s large-scale stage sets and effects. 

Image by Disney.

Shanghai Disneyland

Image by Disney.

Shanghai is having it’s 5th anniversary! The resort opened its gates on June 16, 2016. Starting April 8, Shanghai be celebrating with an exciting lineup of exclusive experiences and sensational surprises across Shanghai Disneyland, the resort’s two themed hotels, Disneytown and beyond.From a breathtaking nighttime spectacular, “ILLUMINATE! A Nighttime Celebration,” to an anniversary-themed overlay to Mickey’s Storybook Express pre-parade, there are new experiences and surprises around every corner.

Image by Disney.

Each beautifully themed land will be illuminated, while fifth anniversary decorations line the streets of Mickey Avenue. Heard throughout the park, new soundtracks will additionally bring the celebrations to life and a collection of limited-edition souvenirs will allow guests to bring home lasting memories. You’ll also want to look out for a fifth anniversary makeover on the resort’s two hotels and Disneytown.

The surprises don’t stop there. Get ready for a warm greeting from your favorite Disney characters, joined by familiar, but rarely seen friends for an extra sprinkling of unexpected magic. An all-new Surprise Squad formed by cast members will also appear throughout the day, greeting guests and unveiling exciting additional wonders, including fun souvenirs and opportunities to be invited to the Disney “Surprise!” Show for a chance to win an exclusive VIP treatment and other prizes.  

Disney Cruise Line

Cruise Cancellations

We are carefully reviewing the recently released guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and working toward resuming operations. As we continue to refine our protocols for our eventual return to service, we are cancelling all Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Wonder sailings departing through June 2021.

Disney Wish

Image by Disney.

Captain Minnie Mouse is already making wishes come true for our newest ship! Today we unveiled that this beloved character will come to life for the first time through whimsical artwork on the bow of the Disney Wish.  The magic of Captain Minnie also came alive today as we reached a significant construction milestone for the Disney Wish marked by the traditional keel laying ceremony. During a ship’s construction, when the first block, or section of a ship, is lowered into the building dock, a newly minted coin is placed under the keel for good fortune. The coin created for the Disney Wish features Captain Minnie! Big news is expected on the Disney Wish later this month.

Lighthouse Point

According to Eyewitness News down in The Bahamas, local environmental groups said that Disney’s Lighthouse Point development represents a “major decision” for Eleuthera and The Bahamas as a whole, noting that “the world is watching”.

Bahamas Reef Environmental Educational Foundation (BREEF) Executive Director Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, during a public consultation via Zoom on the controversial project, noted: “We wrote to Disney and offered to cooperate with them to ensure that their EIA (environmental impact assessment) meets the high standards expected of such a well-known company.

“We got rebuffed and brushed aside. This is something that needs to be addressed no matter where the project is located.”

She added: “This is a major decision for the future of Eleuthera and The Bahamas as a whole. Our campaign petition for better options for Lighthouse Point has gotten over 440,000 signatures.

“The entire Bahamas and the world is watching this process and we believe there is an opportunity for Disney and The Bahamas to show transformative leadership. The world has changed and we need something that has more benefits for Eleuthera and The Bahamas.”

Disney executives last night sought to underscore the economic benefits of its Lighthouse Point development, with executives suggesting that employment opportunities for Bahamians would far exceed the 150 direct jobs it intends to create. Last month they completed and submitted a 550 page Environmental Impact Assessment.

Dr Mark Penning, vice president of Animals, Science and the Environment at the Walt Disney Company, speaking about the EIA, said: “We have spent an unprecedented three years working hand-in-hand with a team of highly qualified and experienced scientists and other professionals.

“We also have engaged with numerous stakeholders throughout The Bahamas, whose thoughtful feedback has enabled us to continue to evolve our plans.

“As we have said from the beginning, we will only move forward with a project at Lighthouse Point if we are able to do so in a way that aligns with our company’s deep and longstanding commitment to the environment. The EIA has confirmed this will be possible with the appropriate environmental management plan in place.”

The Wayfinder Society: A Patreon Site for Disney Fans

We are offering a new program where you have the opportunity to enjoy exclusive offerings from Disney at Play and Disney at Work. Join us as we introduce our new Patreon program, the Wayfinder Society, intended to give you new insights to all things Disney, whether its work or play. I am truly excited to share this new opportunity with you and look forward to creating new experiences that you will enjoy whether at home or at the Disney parks. When you join, you will be given access to unique, interactive apps that explores the parks in new ways, offering stories, photos, videos and more.

And when you donate, a portion of your contribution goes to Embrace Celebration, dedicated to helping Disney Cast Members and others in this area who are unemployed during this pandemic. To learn more, visit our site to discover our offerings and various tiers. Join us!

J. Jeff Kober

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