8/1/19 Disney News on Parade

8/1/19 Disney News on Parade

We have lots to cover. Let’s start with happenings at Walt Disney World, then move to big news at Universal Studios

Pop Century

We did a short staycation. Pop Century is so worth it–it’s an incredible value, especially compared to the other hotels in this pricing bracket.

Mickey Phone is so Seventies–Right?

Here’s a summary of my impressions:

  • The virtual checkin really works when it really works
  • The rooms were fresh and very clean
  • I appreciate the upkeep on the hotel which seemed scheduled and organized
  • The staff was friendly and seemed better than I generally experience in the parks
Roger is so Eighties–Right?

Next door is Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.

Between Disney’s Pop Century and Art of Animation is a new Skyliner station.

Here are some questions I have about the Skyliner?

  • How early will it operate?
  • How late will it operate?
  • Could it close temporarily mid-afternoon?
  • How will the presence of other transportation be impacted?
  • Will you enter other queues at other stations to make it all the way to the final destination?

Planning for Batuu

What issues surround your decision for planning your visit to Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?

  • Are you staying on property?
  • Are you willing to get up really early?
  • What transportation are you utilizing?
  • Are you wanting to obtain a lightsaber at Savi’s?
  • Are you wanting a reservation for visiting Oga’s Cantina?
  • Are there other things you want to do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
  • How soon can you make FastPasses?

What we do know:

  1. August 29th, 30th, and 31st the park opens at 6:00 and its available to everyone first come/first serve. Park closes at 10.
  2. They have not yet announced a virtual queuing system when crowds are crazy.
  3. Reservations are required for Oga’s and Savi’s, but how they are secured has not been announced.
  4. FastPass+ has been adjusted with nearly all ride attractions being in the Tier 1 class (except Star Tours) and the rest in Tier 2. You only get one choice from Tier 1.
  5. If you are staying on property, the extra, Extra Magic Hours benefit will be offered every day from September 1 to November 2, 2019 at the following theme parks and times:
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios—including Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy  Story Land and more—from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM daily
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park—including Pandora – The World of Avatar and other attractions throughout the park—from 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM daily
  • Magic Kingdom park—including favorites in Fantasyland and Tomorrowland—from 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM daily

For everyone else, park hours will be from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Note also that Rise of the Resistance doesn’t open until December 5th, and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway does not open until Spring.

Is a Universe Bigger Than a World?

Inside are stars, but the surrounding device is a compass? A porthole? Image by Universal.

Tom Williams, chairman and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts, said at the presentation of the new Universal Epic Universe that they don’t want to unveil all their plans for the park just yet because of competition, but “a Universe is bigger than a World.”

Depiction of the park from Universal.

I assume we’ll have to wait and see on this, though I rather think that to not necessarily turn out the way. Here are some observations I have about today’s announcement:

No announcement of a clear opening date.

No sense of what is the price tag for this entire investment.

Neither the lands nor the attractions were announced, though the general fan population in town knows at least what the lands will be.

Big hotel at the edge of it, but it’s uncertain what the theme is.

There is discussion of Universal’s role with the Shingle Creek, but no explanation on what that role is.

There is discussion of the new attraction being connected more closely to the convention center, but no indication of what that looks like.

What about additions to the other parks?

Nothing has really been suggested in terms of how guests will be transported from one end of the resort to the other outside of roads. With all the discussion in the announcement about increased tax revenue, it surprises me that more mass transportation for this congested area was not really discussed/revealed other than road extensions. What was mentioned was the train coming up from Miami to the airport and then to Disney–shouldn’t it stop at the convention center–and thus possibly Universal’s southern point here.

Moreover, Universal says it’s bigger than a world, but they always use the world or a compass of the globe as their logo. Moreover, why are you using a compass style logo similar to Islands of Adventure for your new logo? And why is the redundant Universal’s Epic Universe using the same word as Universal?

A Universal Problem

Despite really hard working Universal team members like this one, not everyone is present and engaged in their work. Disney has a similar problem. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Universal does many of the things Disney does to engage with it’s employees:

  • Measure their engagement level
  • Collaborate across the organization on special projects
  • Celebrate personal and corporate milestones
  • Recognize great performance & leadership
  • Create special groups/communities/club
  • Volunteer on special activities
  • Celebrate diversity
  • Host special family events

Despite those efforts sometimes the engagement level still doesn’t happen. Even at Disney, this problem exists. Why? When such earnest corporate efforts are put on–many by HR, why doesn’t it happen? An organization is no better than its leadership–and that means leadership at the team level.

Remember: “You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world…but it requires people to make the dream a reality.” –Walt Disney

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge: A Complete Guide

If you want to get even more insights insights on Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, then you absolutely must check out our complete guide. It offers hundreds of photos, videos, and one-of-a-kind interactive maps that give you insight to this new land, and all that it entails. This land is not intuitive. You can’t just “happen” through it. There are no signs out front telling you where to go for this or that. You simply must understand all the possibilities before you visit in order to choose your own adventure knowingly.

This complete guide is not only complimentary when you sign up for our Disney at Play and Disney at Work newsletter, it also puts you automatically in for a drawing to win a free DJ “Rex” droid, a $150 value. So join the resistance and sign up for our free guide today!

J. Jeff Kober

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