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Saturday, Sep 23, 2023
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The Dish on Disney

Some More Big Disney Updates

Good evening, everyone! Today I want to discuss some more Disney updates that just came out a couple days ago. So, let’s get started, shall we?! Over at Walt Disney World, they have announced that they will be getting rid of the reservations for the Annual Pass holders. They can now visit all four parks except for the weekends Saturday and Sunday because it is one of the busiest days since everyone comes to the parks and the parks, restaurants, stores, and all the rides are completely pact with long lines. They will be starting on April 18 two weeks after the new ride Tron opens at the Magic Kingdom. Now recently, Walt Disney World has doubled down on ticket deals instead of bringing back annual passes. If you are hoping to become a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder, don’t get your hopes up. Amid the latest round of room discounts, ticket deals, and free PhotoPass downloads with Genie+, Walt Disney World seems to be standing firm against bringing back Annual Passes at all costs. Although the benefits keep rolling in for current Walt Disney World Annual Passholders, such as previews for TRON Lightcycle / Run and the ability to visit without reservations starting at 2:00p.m. From April 18, the folks in Central Florida are not keen on adding new Passholders to their ranks anytime soon. And with Disney Genie+ selling out in busy periods and Park Pass Reservations filling up fairly often, Walt Disney World isn’t exactly hurting for guests amid the pause on all pass sales. Disney has instead continued to push offers for Florida residents over and over to try and acclimate the public to the current situation. At the bottom of their most recent post announcing the reservation-free entry in afternoons, they included this paragraph:

As we’ve shared before, we’re also committed to providing a wide range of options to visit, which is why we roll out special offers from time to time for Florida residents and other guests. Visit DisneyWorld.com/Offers for more details, including a few offers we launched to kick off the New Year.

The day before the post was made, a special post was made on the Disney Parks blog as well touting special discounted weekday tickets and hotel rooms for Florida residents. While two days at Walt Disney World for $175 is indeed a deal, it pales in comparison to the value of a Walt Disney World Annual Pass — precisely why Disney seemingly does not want to sell them. These deals

Walt Disney World Annual Passes were sold continuously from September 1982 until March 2020. Since then, the price had increased dramatically, multiple tiers were introduced with various blackout dates and benefits to match. At times, the resort even encouraged guests to become Passholders through advertising at the parks, around Central Florida, and through benefits like discounts on merchandise and food. Of course, at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, that all changed. While Walt Disney World did not go the route of Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Resort by cancelling every Annual Pass and issuing refunds, nor did they resume sales immediately as the Paris, Hong Kong, and Shanghai resorts did upon reopening. Passes remained valid and renewable after the COVID-19 closure concluded in July 2020, although new sales were halted almost immediately upon reopening. At the time, Disney assured guests it was a “temporary” measure due to capacity restrictions at Walt Disney World. In August 2021, Walt Disney World announced an overhaul of their pass system, replacing the four tiers introduced in 2015 with a more confusing character-based system. New passes then went on sale in September 2021, and remained on sale for nearly three months before being suspended in late November. The two middle tiers were briefly on sale last June for a single day before halting again. At this time, only renewals are allowed for existing Annual Passes, except for the lowest tier Pixie Pass, which is only available to Florida Residents and blocks out all weekends and holiday periods. And it seems Walt Disney World quite likes it that way. While not entirely ready to eschew their AP system entirely as Tokyo Disney Resort has, neither are they eager to sell new passes at least on occasion as Disneyland Resort across the country has with their Magic Key system. That leaves Central Florida locals and frequent guests at Walt Disney World in a bit of an awkward position, with the possibility higher-tier passes could return to sale looking increasingly unlikely. The AP program exists and is actively maintained by Walt Disney World with offers and benefits, but the option simply does not exist for new people to buy into the program except at the lowest and most restrictive level. Disney has always provided Florida Resident discounts as part of their ticket and hotel portfolio as part of the initial agreements to build Walt Disney World, but their decision to lean so heavily into these discounts post-pandemic seems to underscore their desire to not bring back the AP system. Very interesting information about the Annual Pass holder talks to say the least.

Over at the Disneyland Resort,  the new ride called Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway has stopped using the virtue que system and is now a standby que. This announcement came on Wednesday and then on Thursday it officially changed to standby. I’m sure that Disney guests are happy to hear about the news because some of them are just tired of using virtue que for the ride and plus, the lightning lanes called individual are not actually selling that well. I guess people don’t want to pay for the lightning lane of $18-$20 or even $15. That probably goes the same as Rise of the Resistance. I think that there may not be as many people in the park or that people would rather go into the standby Que. Usually the reason that people can buy a lightning lane because they do not want to wait for the long line. I’m actually glad that they did it too and some people called this a big win for Disney guests. So, this came to a little surprise. Web Slingers at California Adventure and Rise took months before they stopped using virtue ques.

Going over the Disney’s California Adventure Park, we have gotten some big news there. Disneyland has officially teased the new show coming called “Rogers, the Musical.” I will be appearing this summer at the Hyperion Stage. This is being referenced in the Disney plus series Hawkeye. For those not in the know, Rogers: The Musical was first referenced in the Disney+ series Hawkeye. In the first episode of the show, Clint Barton attends the show with his family. All the Avengers are invited to New York for the premiere of the musical but only Barton shows up. The MIA Avengers don’t know what they’re missing, though, as viewers are treated to a musical number based on The Battle of New York…though a few creative liberties have been taken here and there. The sequence features a song written by the award-winning, songwriting team behind the likes of Hairspray, Smash, and Mary Poppins Returns — Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman — with Shaiman also producing the actual song recording. While casting and plot details for the musical debuting this summer are not public, it’s a good bet that Shaiman and Wittman are involved. Also, from the looks of the trailer, so will Peggy Carter. Okay, I love this move by Disney and it absolutely makes sense because come on it is part of the Avengers Campus. It will inspire people to go Avengers Campus and see all the Marvel characters, see the Dr. Strange shows, seeing the Wakanda women from Black Panther and the Wakanda Forever movie, eat some food there, and ride the marvel rides such as Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and Web Slingers: A Spiderman Adventure. These rides will likely get more popular once the new show debuts this summer because it will motivate people to do other marvel stuff.

In other big news… They have also announced that the new project called San Fransokyo will be coming to California Adventure in the summer. The newest area will be inspired from the movie Big Hero 6. Construction is picking up speed in what will soon be San Fransokyo Square at Disney California Adventure. The bridge from the Pixar Pier and Paradise Gardens Park area into Pacific Wharf is currently being repainted to international orange, the iconic color used for the real Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge closed just a few days ago as work needs to complete around the structure before Grizzly River Run reopens from its refurbishment on March 17, as this area is used for overflow for the ride’s water. The inside-facing parts of the bridge are already painted in International Orange, with the outside-facing parts still their faded-blue color present since 2001. New concrete pillars are in place within the water to support the towering torii gate structures, which will cover the bridge, as seen in the concept art below. The bridge’s towers blend torii gates, a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, symbolically marking the transition from the mundane to the sacred, with the iconic suspension towers of the Golden Gate Bridge.   We expect most work to conclude on the San Fransokyo Gate Bridge before Grizzly River Run reopens on March 17. San Fransokyo Square will open this summer to replace the former Pacific Wharf area, and includes a multitude of restaurants as well as a Baymax greeting space and a beer garden. This is going to be really cool to see when it opens to the public!

One more thing to talk about in California Adventure Park and it is a ride that it won’t take long. The ride called Silly Symphony Swings is closed for a refurbishment. It is unknown when it will reopen, but it has been closed for a while.

And one more ride to talk about over at the Disneyland Park… The popular ride Big Thunder Mountain will be closing on April 3 for its refurbishment. It probably won’t be a very long one, but I hope that it will open when I go back to Disneyland because it is one of my favorite rides at Disneyland.

A California man named Jeff Reitz has set a new record of going to Disneyland 2,995 times. Almost 3,000 times!!!! Does this guy love Disneyland or not? He absolutely loves Disneyland as well as I do!!!

So, what do you guys think about everything I discussed about Disney?! What stood out to you the most?! I would love to hear lots of comments, thoughts, opinions, questions, or concerns down below!

Stay tuned for Disney updates.

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