Podcast: Food & Wine In! Mickey’s Not So Scary Out!
Disney News on Parade
This week’s Disney News on Parade for the third week of June, 2020 has plenty to share to include late breaking news we predicted months ago, but has finally been announced.
Also, at the end of this section, take our survey by June 30th and enter to win a Disney at Play Prize Package!
So much news! Let’s do it!
Big Changes to Disney Special Events
Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival is Coming–Starting July 15th.
“Today, we’re pleased to share that not only have we cooked up a creative, modified festival experience, it will also be our longest festival yet – giving you plenty of time to enjoy “A Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!
“This new take on the foodie festival will debut July 15 and continue through the fall, offering over 20 signature global marketplaces like Hawaii, Hops & Barley, and Islands of the Caribbean, spaced out around the park. And, if you’ve ever imagined a world where the floral fun of Flower & Garden is sprinkled in with the global goodies of Food & Wine, here’s your chance – guests will be able to see our newest topiary, Remy, in the France pavilion and find Flower & Garden merchandise. For scavenger hunt fans, Remy’s Ratatouille Hide and Squeak scavenger hunt returns. And stay tuned as Food & Wine merchandise joins the fun later on after the festival begins.”
What will be missing is the Eat to the Beat. But this isn’t all that will be missing this fall.
Meanwhile Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is cancelled for this year. We predicted this in our post/podcast on April 15th. Additionally, Disney H2O Glow Nights, the nighttime special ticket event at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, will not take place for the remainder of 2020. Guests who have already bought tickets to these events will be assisted with refunds over the coming weeks.
And what about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, which includes the Candlelight Processional? That’s to be determined. Hopefully good news will ultimately prevail.
The Art of Disney Safety
Last week we spoke of a petition on Change.org to change out Splash Mountain from a Song of the South being redone with a Princess and the Frog Overlay. Now a petition has some 40,000 signatures suggesting that Disneyland should not be opening up so soon.
New Security Scanner Being Tested
This week Disney Springs tested out a new security scanner from a company called Evolv Express.
- Real-Time Detection: Guns and other weapons.
- Fast, Efficient Screening: Screens over 3600 people per hour. Visitors can walk through side-by-side or in groups.
- Addition of a Thermal Sensor. An option to this system is to add a thermal sensor and the Evolv TempCheck™ software application to the Evolv Express weapons detection platform, each visitor can be screened for elevated skin temperature in an average 2-3 seconds followed by immediate, frictionless, and touchless weapons screening. That does dramatically lower the number per hour.
- Frictionless & Respectful: No stopping. No emptying pockets or removing bags.
- Targeted Searches: See in real-time where the potential threat is on a person’s body or in their bag reducing the amount of physical contact.
- Flexible Deployment Options: Easy to set up and move and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
- Integration & Analytics: Integrate into your broader security infrastructure, and use analytics to monitor entrant numbers and alarm rates.
A Word From The Good Doctor
No, this isn’t The Good Doctor on ABC (though that would be interesting), rather it’s a new message this week from Dr. Pam Hymel, Disney Parks Chief Medical Officer.
Sandwiched between comments that assure you that we are trying to create a safe, yet magical experience (or is it a magical, yet safe experience), Dr. Hymel again reiterates key procedures moving forward such as:
- Reducing capacity
- Temperature checks for Guests prior to entering
- Increased cleaning & disinfecting
- Promoting and adjust for physical and social distancing
- Requiring face coverings
- Providing options like contactless payments & access to hand washing & hand sanitizer locations.
Then she goes on emphasize the idea that we must “Promote Safety Together”:
“Many of the actions we all take in our daily lives to help reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 are designed to help protect not only ourselves, but others as well. For example, I wear a face covering in public spaces because it may help protect you, and in turn, you wear a face covering because it may help protect me.
“When you wear a face covering during your visit, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or even make the important decision to reschedule to another day if you’re not feeling well, you help make the experience safer for everyone.
“This shared responsibility is an important strategy to help reduce the risk of infection. And so, when you join us for the first time after reopening, you will find not only enhanced health and safety measures, but also a special group of cast members that are trained to share information about our new policies. They will be available to explain our new procedures, answer questions guests may have, and encourage everyone to follow these measures so we can all have a safer visit to the parks.”
Incredibles Super Safety Tips:
As another part of its campaign to create a safe park environment, Disney has made a series of stylish posters using characters from The Incredibles to remind guests that in order to have an “incredible” stay at Disney, you need to follow safe distancing and hygiene practices. You may recall that we did a previous Disney at Work post about how Disney needs to utilize approaches like this to get guests to comply to doing what is asked of them while visiting the property.
Hong Kong Disneyland Reopened
This week Hong Kong Disneyland reopened to guests with many of the same safety best practices that were implemented in Shanghai, Disney Springs, and soon throughout all Disney parks.
Most notable was the progress on the new Castle of Magical Dreams, which is the grown up replacement to the original Sleeping Beauty Castle. It is expected that construction will be completed around September.
Shanghai Disneyland Extends Standby Pass
A new online reservation tool that reduces the physical wait time in the attraction queue has been extended to several rides beyond the original Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Disney Color-Fest
- Roaring Rapids
- TRON Lightcycle Power Run
- Soaring Over the Horizon
- Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue
Disney Springs Happenings
- Coca Cola Store reopened at Disney Springs
- Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming Opens with New Outdoor Patio
My good friend Brandon showcases the new Baby Yoda balloon is on sale.
You’ll remember Brandon from this magical moment:
Limited hand-made concoctions available at the Candy Cauldron and Goofy’s Candy Company.
Construction & Happenings Around the World
The Speedway gas stations on property have largely been closed over the last several months. But I noticed in my first drive up and around the bus maintenance area that the one nearest the TTC has finally reopened.
TRON has made great progress as construction has recommenced. The show building is quickly being enclosed. The photo does not do justice to the size of this thing. Guests will have a new big favorite at Magic Kingdom for decades to come.
The McDonalds near the All Star Resorts was fortunate in that they chose to do a complete overhaul that happened while the property was closed. It is not far from opening. Signage is needed as you would never recognize it as a McDonald’s driving by.
Finally, The Cove, which is a new tower adjacent to the Swan and Dolphin is well underway. I’m not sure construction ever discontinued on this project during the shutdown. What is disappointing–at least to me–is that the hotel follows none of the architectural cues from the Swan and Dolphin.
Other Disney News
Disney Cast Members being called back on June 28th and July 5th
As expected, Disney Cast Members are being called back to work. What is surprising is that those call backs include the water parks, the miniature golf courses and ESPN’s Wide World of Sports.
Hotel Dining Reservations Accepted from June 18th 2020
Disney will begin accepting dining reservations for its Walt Disney World hotels from June 18 2020. Along with this, My Disney Experience will replace traditional podium check-in at Walt Disney World Resort hotel restaurants with a new contact-less Mobile Dine Check-In feature.
4 Month Disney Annual Pass Extension
When the parks closed in mid-March 2020 due to COVID-19, Disney said that “all active Walt Disney World Resort theme park and water park Annual Passes will be extended for the number of days the parks are closed. The new expiration date will be reflected on the Annual Passholder’s account prior to the reopening of the parks.”
Reports so far are indicating an approximate 4 month extension to their annual pass, which correlates with the March 16 to July 11 closure window.
Although the parks will begin a reopening on July 11, Disney has said that “During the limited capacity period, it may be difficult for Annual Passholders to get park reservations to visit on certain dates. To help manage capacity, total reservation days held at one time will be limited.”
Star Wars Celebration Cancelled.
The Star Wars Celebration planned for the Anaheim Convention Center this summer has been postponed to August 18-22 of 2022. As a token of their appreciation and to say thanks to all Star Wars Celebration 2020 fans who choose to transfer their tickets to the 2022 show, show organizers are offering a free exclusive Star Wars Celebration stormtrooper character pin. This limited edition collector’s pin is only available to fans who opt to transfer their current 2020 tickets to the new 2022 event dates, and will not be offered anywhere else. The Disneyland event scheduled during that time has been postponed to a later date, but that date has not been given.
New LEGO Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance I-TS Transport Set.
A new LEGO® brick-built model of the Resistance I-TS Transport (75293) from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be on sale in September. The set includes 4 Star Wars™ characters: Lieutenant Bek and Vi Moradi, plus Astromech Droid and GNK Power Droid LEGO figures.
Share Your Opinion–You Might Win!
In the days to come, I’ll share with you my time at Walt Disney World and beyond. The best thing I ever did was work at Walt Disney World. The second best thing I ever did was leave. But more about that on another day.
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