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Wednesday, Mar 3, 2021
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The Dish on Disney

Some More Disney Updates and a lot more!

Hi everyone! I have some pretty important information that you guys should know about the Disney reopening and more. Let’s get started! At Walt Disney World, they are reminding guests with upcoming resort hotel stays that complimentary magic bands will no longer be provided with arrivals starting on January 1, 2021. Walt Disney World is now sending out reminders to guests regarding this change, with the following message:

    “Your Walt Disney World vacation is right around the corner and we can’t wait to welcome you here! But before you go, we wanted to send you this helpful reminder.

    Magic Bands will no longer be provided complimentary to Disney Resort hotel Guests with arrivals beginning January 1, 2021. For Disney Resort hotel room entry, Theme Park entry and charging purchases to your hotel room with a valid credit card, you may use a Key to The World card (provided at the Front Desk). Or, you may use a Magic Band from a past visit (view potential limitations) or purchase a Magic Band prearrival. For more about these options click here.

    In addition, we highly recommend using our Online Check-In/Direct-to-Room service, which allows you to get to the fun faster with real-time, room-ready updates. Sign up for room ready notifications and use the My Disney Experience app as a digital room key to enter your Disney Resort hotel room. The app is also a great tool to help you plan before and during your visit.” Disney has stated plans to unveil an innovative new offering in 2021 as part of the My Disney Experience app that will bring the features of a Magic Band to smart devices, building on the app’s existing digital key feature.

Federal investigators have seized millions of dollars from what they’re calling a bogus ministry in Orlando.

Some of that money was set to buy a mansion near Disney World.

In the wake of the pandemic, the Secret Service is currently working hundreds of SBA loan fraud cases across the country and has seized over $345 million, with more than $50 million in Florida.

That money has been returned to states and the federal government.

That includes millions seized from Aslan International Ministry, which listed an Orlando address on North Orange Blossom Trail. The address, however, is vacant.

According to the Florida Division of Corporations, the foreign, not-for-profit corporation was set up in 2018 and is still active.

Federal records show it received Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, money in April to keep 486 workers employed.

However, federal complaint alleges it was a scam and a fake religious organization created to commit fraud.

The people behind Aslan are also the registered operators of “Church Of Florida, Inc” with a mailing address at Turkey Lake road’s post office, and a bogus physical location in a St. Petersburg office park.

The complaint claims the principals to the alleged scam, Dr. Evan Edwards, his son Joshua, daughter Joy, and wife Mary Jane used numerous bank accounts, held in different names to launder the PPP money.

Agents seized $7.6 million from Bank Of America accounts, and another $868,250 from First American Trust for a total of $8.4 million in fraudulently-obtained coronavirus relief money.

Investigators say the $868,250 was intended to be a down payment on a $3.5 million home in Disney World’s exclusive Golden Oak Neighborhood.

From the Secret Service: “The American people and particularly those small business owners who are suffering can rest assured that the Secret Service, the Small Business Administration and our Cyber Fraud Task Forces are proactively identifying and investigating any individual or entity that fraudulently obtained a SBA loan.”

The complaint says on Sept. 17, Edwards’ vehicle was stopped by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on I-75. All four people were inside.

Officials say the vehicle contained what appeared to be multiple laptops and tablets which were seized, along with a document shredder.

The complaint does not explain why the Edwards family was released.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office declined to provide comment on this or any other cases related to the Aslan International Ministry related investigations.

Disney is also contacting guests with all-star movies resort reservations prior to March 22, 2021. With the news that Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort will not be reopening until March 22, 2021, Disney is now contacting guests to transfer their reservation to another resort for no extra charge. Guests are also able to cancel reservations.

Below is a sample of the communication being sent to guests.

We hope you’re looking forward to your upcoming vacation as much as we’re looking forward to having you here. Unfortunately, Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort is no longer planned to be open on the dates of your visit. We understand the inconvenience this may cause––especially if your plans had already been changed before. Please accept our sincerest apologies and know how much we appreciate you choosing to stay with us. We’re happy to re-accommodate you at one of the Disney Resort hotels that will be open during your stay. Of course, this will happen at no additional charge. This modification will have no impact to other vacation experiences you may have booked, such as Theme Park reservations or dining.

Thanks for your patience as we all navigate these times together.

Guests with an affected reservation should contact Disney to transfer or cancel their stay.

Walt Disney World is also offering a new ticket that will get you two additional theme park tickets beginning on January 8th through September 25, 2021. The new deal comes as Walt Disney World prepares to reintroduce its park-hopping option beginning Jan. 1.

Disney said in a release that 2021 is packed with plenty of fun for the entire family including the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival and so much more.

Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, The Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance boarding group distribution times are changing Tomorrow, December 20. Calling all members of the Resistance! Don’t forget, Disney is making a slight adjustment to the virtual queue process for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.  Disney released the following virtual queue update:

Beginning Sunday, Dec. 20, distribution times for virtual queue enrollment will be 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. Keep in mind, to access the 1 p.m. virtual queue opportunity guests must have a valid ticket or pass, a Disney Park Pass Reservation for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and be inside the park. Access to a boarding group is subject to availability and not guaranteed. As a reminder, only Guests with a Disney Park Pass reservation for Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be able to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. When Park Hopper hours become available on Jan. 1, 2021, Guests visiting from another theme park will not be able to request to join the virtual queue. We encourage these Guests to explore other areas of the park, including in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge where they may experience Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run among other offerings.

This change is going into effect just before park-hopping returns to Walt Disney World. After some initial confusion, the slight change in hours ensures that guests won’t rush into the park at the 2:00 PM mark in hopes of getting a boarding group. The last change to boarding group procedures took place in November, and at this rate, we’ll likely see even more changes as the phased reopening of Walt Disney World continues. For more information on booking your next trip with our official travel agent sponsor, the Vacationer, visit wdwnt.travel. This is the website to find out more information if you are interested in doing this!

Disney World will no longer be spacing out guests on some rides as part of covid safety protocol

Parkgoers noticed the recent change in loading procedure, sharing photos on social media of ride vehicles with no empty rows.

Walt Disney World has slowly been updating its loading protocol for numerous rides, eliminating empty seats that were used to socially distance guests amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

In recent weeks, Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster, Expedition Everest and Slinky Dog Dash have begun to load guests in every row in a change from the parks’ original health and safety protocol instituted upon reopening in July, a Disney representative confirms to PEOPLE.

Those rides were selected because they feature higher backs that create more of a physical barrier between guests, the representative said, noting that the choice had been made with the support of local Florida health officials.

Park-goers took to Twitter when they began to notice the change, posting photos of the fully packed rides.

“Expedition Everest is loading every row,” wrote user @disneyxc alongside their photo of the Animal Kingdom attraction’s boarding area on Dec. 10. The unofficial Disney news account @WDWnewstoday shared a photo of a similar scene on Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Dec. 15, and another user @magicbandmaniac replied, “They were doing this on Slinky Dog Dash to[sic] yesterday,” referring to the Magic Kingdom coaster.

The Disney representative that spoke to PEOPLE said this is not an official new phase of reopening, but rather an ongoing evolution of park practices.

The change follows similar moves at other area theme parks, including Universal Orlando, which has been filling its Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and The Hulk coasters to capacity since September.

Universal confirmed the change on September 11 in a response to a Twitter user who said they wanted to cancel their reservation due to the “irresponsible” new policy:

“We have been planning toward this for months as part of the next step of our reopening procedures, and we are applying everything we have learned so far. We’ve briefed local health officials about our plans, and they have let us know they are comfortable with us moving forward,” the @UniversalOrl account tweeted, noting in a separate message that they had consulted with local health officials and referenced CDC guidelines.

At Disney World, other attractions with individual ride vehicles, including the Haunted Mansion and Under the Sea: The Journey of the Little Mermaid at the Magic Kingdom, and The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot, have been loading every vehicle for some time, after initially only putting guests in every other vehicle.

Visitors at both resorts are still required to wear masks on rides and throughout their time in the parks, except when eating and in designated relaxation zones.

Walt Disney World Resort began a phased reopening in July after being closed since March. The parks are still operating with limited capacity, social distancing and mask requirements, and enhanced cleaning and sanitation.

Walt Disney is also bringing back the Electrical Water Pageant tomorrow on December 20. On Sunday, December 20, the Electrical Water Pageant will begin its aquatic parade at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, making its way around Seven Seas Lagoon at the following times:

    Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – beginning at 8:45 PM

    Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (including Narcoossee’s) – beginning at 9:00 PM

    Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – beginning at 9:30 PM

    Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground – beginning at 9:45 PM

    Disney’s Contemporary Resort – beginning at 10:00 PM

The Pageant spends about 15 minutes at each stop before moving on to the next location. Showings will take place nightly. You can check out Disney’s official announcement in the video below, where Cast Members show you a behind-the-scenes look at the floats. Recently, guests have been able to catch glimpses of the pageant’s floats staged by the dock, and last night, they were testing with both lights and music on.

The Electrical Water Pageant premiered on the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake for “Dedication Day” at Walt Disney World on October 25, 1971, and the floating nighttime parade has been entertaining guests with whimsical sea creatures and classic Disney tunes ever since.

Are you looking forward to the official return of the Electrical Water Pageant at Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments below!

Over at Disneyland resort, they are trying save their lucrative holiday season. Selling empty popcorn buckets shaped like Christmas trees seems like the perfect metaphor for this year’s holiday season, in which most of the state is still under a stay-at-home order: travel is restricted, restaurants are closed, and many people won’t see their families or carry out their annual traditions. The holidays are still happening — it just feels like we just can’t celebrate them.

Still, California’s theme parks are trying to capture some of the holiday spirit while complying with the stay-at-home order that went into effect on December 6, and recouping some of the revenue from what is traditionally the busiest two weeks of the year. In a year that has been disastrous all around, 2020 has been particularly bad for California theme parks, virtually the only businesses in the state that weren’t allowed to reopen at some point this year. The impact isn’t just to their balance sheets, it’s also to hundreds of thousands of theme park employees across the state. A study from Cal State Fullerton reports that Disneyland alone brings in $8.5 billion dollars annually, and employs nearly 80,000 people, providing over 3 percent of the total jobs in Orange County.

At this time last year, Disneyland was so busy that on December 27, the park hit capacity and stopped selling tickets or allowing passholders through the gates. This year, it’s a different story. Crowds are sparse at Downtown Disney, the shopping and dining district outside the Disneyland parks. Attendance is so low that Disneyland plans to close on Christmas Day for the first time in decades.

While earlier this fall there might have been a two-hour wait to get into World of Disney (the area’s main merchandise shop), there’s little to no wait at all to enter now. The same is true of Buena Vista Street, the main street area of Disney’s California Adventure (DCA) that opened on November 21 to mile-long lines. Visit now and you’re likely to walk right into the Five and Dime store or into Trolley Treats, the bakery that just a few weeks ago had an hour-plus virtual queue. The longest wait of the day might be to get into Off the Page, the Disney art store that just reopened in the Hollywood Land area of DCA, but will likely only last a few minutes. That lowered attendance has cost even more Disney cast members their jobs. Disney has laid off more than 30,000 employees this year, the bulk of them at Disneyland. With the new restrictions from the stay-at-home order, there are even less things to do at the park, so fewer employees are needed. The order shut down all dining on Disney property. Now, not only are DCA’s Carthay Circle and the quick service restaurants closed, but even the churro carts are closed. The popcorn stand will sell you a holiday popcorn bucket that you could resell on eBay for triple the price, if you were so inclined, but there won’t be any popcorn in it. You can’t so much as take a sip of water on the property right now, even though the walk from the parking lot to Carthay Circle is just under a mile.

And yet, Disneyland is still charging for parking — likely because they know that holiday shoppers need gifts and won’t be deterred by a $10 fee. Before California Adventure opened, parking had been free at Disneyland since it reopened in June. Anaheim faces a $100 million shortfall this year because of the park’s closure. “We see the toll being taken on small businesses,” Mike Lyster, chief communications officer for Anaheim, told SFGATE. “I can only speak anecdotally, because there’s no hard data on it, but I take calls from people all the time saying, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to survive.’”

The Haunted Mansion gets a face lift at the Disneyland resort. The Haunted Mansion hosts 999 happy haunts, and there’s always room for one more, 365 days a year…that is, unless Disneyland is closed or the ride is under refurbishment.

In 2020, we got a double whammy. Not only was it announced that the original Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland was closing for a lengthy refurbishment in 2020, but also ever Disney Park around the world unexpectedly closed this year, therefore prolonging the closure of this New Orleans Square staple. Thankfully, there is hope for 2021, and we are eagerly awaiting Disneyland’s reopening. For now, here’s your guide to the Haunted Mansion and the renovations occurring at this famous attraction at the Happiest Place on Earth.

There’s Always Room for One More

Haunted Mansion Holiday

Haunted Mansion Havoc: About the Refurbishment

Josh D’Amaro has shared a look at Christmas Tree inside Walt Disney’s Apartment at Disneyland and It looks really pretty!

Disneyland has launched new video campaign to stop COVID-19 spread. Disney Parks released a new campaign video on YouTube that shows characters from “The Incredibles” offering health tips.

The superhero family encourages people to wear face masks, keep 6 feet of distance and practice proper hygiene to keep people safe. Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said in a statement obtained by Attractions Magazine that the campaign aims to keep people safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    “The campaign emphasizes important health and safety measures, including physical distancing, face coverings, hand-washing and more, and leverages each character’s personality to bring the messages directly to our local communities in a dynamic way,” she said. “Our message is that together we can help the community if we’re all responsible and do our part.”

Fox News reports the campaign will be released on “digital billboards, radio, TV, social media content and other venues.”

Bigger picture:

Disneyland remains closed in California during the coronavirus pandemic. California issued guidelines for reopening earlier in the fall, but Disneyland has to wait on its county, Orange County, to meet those guidelines before it can reopen. Stopping the spread is one way to make that happen.

 Disneyland Should Reopen with an After-Hours Event, but why? The theme parks of the Disneyland Resort have been closed for over nine months now, many fans have been itching to get back into Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

Of course, with COVID-19 numbers rising in California, and a stay-at-home mandate in place, the thought of skipping down Main Street, U.S.A., may seem far away. However, that day will come, and, perhaps, there is a way to create a sort of “soft” opening that allows both Disney and Governor Gavin Newsom to come to an agreement even before Orange County, CA, reaches the “yellow” Tier 4. @thecalibae posted this photo below Instagram with a caption that had us at ITM thinking — and it was this part that really stood out to us:

    …Disneyland will first reopen with after dark events because they are limited capacity, only last but 5-6 hours and can be easy to control and schedule…My speculation is that Disneyland come the uplifting of the stay-at-home orders will be reopening in the form of after dark nite events and the first one will be Star Wars Nite with photo ops, food and social distance meet and greets and possibly the long awaited Mandalorian meet and greet that was rumored back in March. Saying it now rides will be closed for the after dark events but who cares we inside Disneyland again!!! The idea of Disneyland reopening to After Dark events may be the solution to creating a very safe, socially distanced, reduced capacity environment — plus, there are many reasons why Guests would be very excited to attend. Disney Parks After Hours events are hightly popular in both Disneyland and Disney World, with both coasts selling them out, and often quite quickly. Guests love the opportunity to be in the parks when they are technically “closed,” as it gives us the feeling that we are participating in something special. Plus, most of these events are often themed (such as Star Wars, Villains, and more), which makes them very memorable.

Considering the huge popularity of Disneyland After Dark events, I wouldn’t be too concerned about selling the idea to Disneyland Guests. It’s clear that Disneyland Resort fans, Annual Passholders, and frequent Guests are salivating to get back to the magic. Disney Parks fans usually sell out After Hours and After Dark events regularly — and I think Disneyland Guests would be more excited than anyone else. Heck, if Disney World had hosted an After-Hours event prior to fully reopening the theme parks, I would have certainly paid to attend!

Disneyland’s Snow White’s Scary Adventures will eventually announce the reopening when Disneyland starts to reopen which it will be next year starting in January 1 or summer 2021.

All of this information came from the Disney news I look at.

So, what do you guys think about a lot of this Disney information?!

I would like to hear some comments, thoughts, opinions, concerns, or questions down below!

Stay tuned for Disney updates.

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