My Take on What's Happening in Disney News and the Disney Community
I am a lifelong fan of everything Disney. My first trip to a a Disney park was to Disneyland as a child in 1970, but didn't make to Walt Disney World until I went with my wife and first child in 1990. A year doesn't go by with out at least one trip to either Disneyland or Walt Disney World. My wife and I are Disney Vacation Club members and also Charter Members of D23.
In a major development Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced, during their earnings call, that Disney will be releasing Mulan directly to Disney+ on September 4th as a rental..
Unlike the rest of the content available on Disney+, Mulan won’t come with a subscription to the service. Consumers in the U.S. and other territories will have to pay $29.99 on top of the streaming service’s monthly subscription fee of $6.99. In markets where Disney+ isn’t available, “Mulan” will play in cinemas…assuming theaters are open there.
“We’re looking at ‘Mulan’ as a one-off as opposed to say there’s some new business windowing model that we’re looking at,” Chapek said on the company’s earnings call.
It’s also notable that that Disney is testing is very different and potentially more lucrative than others deployed by studios. Mulan will cost roughly $10 more than Universal charged for “Trolls World Tour” and it’s sticking the price of a subscription on top of that bill. It remains to be seen if that will be too rich for consumers.
Initially I was upset that in order to watch Mulan when it’s released I would have to pay roughly $30 on top of my Disney+ subscription. Then I realized if it had been released to the local theater I would have paid more than $30 to take the entire family, even if I went on a discounted day, especially when you add on what I would have paid for snacks. Even if I had waited for it to come out on video that would have been $20-25. That’s on top of if it had been released to theaters, I would have gone to see it. So, thinking about it…I’m okay with this.
Walt Disney World has expanded its temperature screenings to include some of its resort hotel restaurants.
Prior to this expansion Disney was taking guest temperatures on arrival at Disney Springs and the theme parks. Now a temperature measurement will also be taken at table service restaurants inside Walt Disney World Resort hotels.
Based on guidance from health authorities, Disney will continue its policy that anyone displaying a temperature of 100.4 F or above will be directed to an additional rescreening and assistance. Those with temperatures 100.4 F or above will not be allowed entry; those in their party will not be allowed entry either.
Walt Disney World has updated its mask policy to specifically exclude more varieties of masks.
Apparently since some guests were abusing the language of the former policy Disney had to specifically exclude face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind in addition to neck gaiters, and open-chin triangle bandanas as unacceptable.
Here are the full revised guidelines for masks at Walt Disney World according to the official website –
All face coverings (whether disposable or reusable) must:
Be made with at least two layers of breathable material
Fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin
Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
Be secured with ties or ear loops and allow the Guest to remain hands-free
At this time, Disney has specifically excluded neck gaiters, open-chin triangle bandanas, and face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind from being acceptable face coverings.
On Friday the Disneyland Resort announced that they were canceling this year’s Oogie Boogie Bash.
On the Disneyland website Disney made the announcement with this brief statement –
We have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party.
The OC Register has reported the news that event has been canceled by Disneyland officials, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event was expected to start in September and run through Halloween.
Park officials addressed this by stating –
“Given theme park guidelines have yet to be released by the state, and Oogie Boogie Bash requires a substantial amount of planning and coordination, we are unable to bring the event back at this time.”
The park’s announcement came as Governor Gavin Newsom issued new safeguards for the state’s essential workers impacted by the deadly global pandemic, including cashiers and kitchen staff.
To many, this didn’t come as a huge surprise, though I’m sure to many this is disappointing.
Walt Disney World canceled their Halloween event, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, a few weeks ago, so it really isn’t much of a surprise that Disneyland canceled as well.
Both Disney and Universal said they plan on bringing back their Halloween events in 2021.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to affect movie release dates. Yesterday Disney announced that it’s reshuffling much of its schedule, delaying Mulan indefinitely and pushing back planned Avatar and Star Wars films.
After a couple of delays, Niki Caro’s Mulan remake was scheduled to be released to theaters on August 21. It originally had a March release date.
In a statement, a Walt Disney Studios spokesperson said –
“Over the last few months, it’s become clear that nothing can be set in stone when it comes to how we release films during this global health crisis, and today that means pausing our release plans for Mulan as we assess how we can most effectively bring this film to audiences around the world.”
The studio also announced that the planned Avatar and Star Wars sequels have been delayed. The first of James Cameron’s four new Avatar follow-ups was originally set for release in December 2021 and has since been pushed back a year, meaning that the new four new films will see theater releases in December 2022, 2024, 2026, and 2028.
On social media, Cameron shared a letter to Avatar fans, revealing that not only did the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic delay live-action filming in New Zealand, but it also halted soundstage work in Los Angeles.
“There is no one more disappointed about this delay than me,” Cameron wrote. “But I am buoyed by the incredible performance of our cast and the extraordinary work that Weta Digital is doing bringing the world of Pandora and the characters of the film to life.”
The three untitled Star Wars movies have also been pushed back one year and are now scheduled for December 2023, 2025, and 2027.
Disney has shifted a few of its planned theatrical releases to its streaming service, Disney+, including Artemis Fowl and the filmed Hamilton movie (which was originally supposed to hit theaters in 2021), as the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep movie theaters closed. For now, the studio seems committed to releasing some of its big-budget films like Mulan in theaters, even if they have yet to set a date.
Notably absent from Disney’s release date announcement was the much-delayed superhero film The New Mutants, which has already been pushed back multiple times since its original 2018 date. (It was finally supposed to hit theaters in April 2020 but was rescheduled for August once the pandemic broke.) As of right now, The New Mutants is still set for Aug. 28, 2020, making it Disney’s next planned theatrical release.
Walt Disney World just announced on the Disney Parks Blog that they will be changing distribution times for the virtual queue at Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Beginning July 24th the new distribution times will be 10 AM and 2 PM. Currently the distribution times are 10 AM, 1 PM and 4 PM.
In the announcement Disney stated –
As you’ve also heard here on the Disney Parks Blog, new health-and-safety measures include limiting theme park attendance and implementing new measures to promote physical distancing. This includes requiring extra space between groups in queues and on attraction vehicles. With all of this in mind, we are not able to accommodate as many people on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance as we could before we implemented physical distancing.
It has been reported that the distribution times have been allocated very quickly for each distribution time.
Because of this Disney re-iterated these guidelines:
First, make sure you have the My Disney Experience app. Once you enter the park, log in to your account at one of the distribution times (10 a.m. or 2 p.m.).
Once you have logged in, select “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Virtual Queue” on the home screen. You will be able to view the current status and next steps for joining the virtual queue.
The app will indicate when there is no availability for a specific distribution time. Some guests may join backup groups.
As long as your My Disney Experience account is linked to park tickets for you and the others in your group, you can enroll everyone in the virtual queue at the same time. In order to give as many guests as possible the opportunity to join the Resistance, each guest can enter the virtual queue no more than once per day.
Make sure push notifications are turned on for My Disney Experience so you will be alerted if your group is called to return. You’ll have up to an hour from the time of the alert to go to the entrance of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Guests who are enrolled in the virtual queue will be able to see an estimated return time indicating when they may be called back to experience the attraction. This time may change throughout the day, so continue to check the app for updates. Also, the tip boards around the park will display the boarding groups that have been called back.
Please note that joining the virtual queue does not guarantee the ability to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Today Walt Disney World has announced that Primeval Whirl, Stitch’s Great Escape! and Rivers of Light are now permanently closed. This was announced in a memo to Cast Members
Stitch’s Great Escape! had been seasonal, essentially closed since late 2016. At one time it was strongly rumored to be replaced by a Wreck It Ralph attraction that did not ultimately get approval. The show’s lobby area had been host to a Stitch meet and greet prior to the COVID-19 shutdown. Since Magic Kingdom’s reopening, Stitch has been appearing at the Rockettower Plaza Stage.
Primeval Whirl, which is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has been closed for more than a year due to a series of technical and operational difficulties.
Rivers of Light opened with great excitement after a series of delays due it’s ground-breaking autonomous technology, but ultimately failed to meet guest expectations. Disney made budget cuts to the show last year, which saw the live performers removed, but this failed to save the show from cancellation.
Walt Disney World has not made announcements of any plans for replacements at this time. With great uncertainty and budget constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be a while before we hear anything.
I for one will only slightly miss Primeval Whirl. It was a fun attraction, but with it being down for more than a year I kind of accepted that it wasn’t coming back.
Stitch was sort of cute, but won’t miss it.
I found Rivers of Light to be a beautifully looking show, but poorly executed. It was a slow moving show with too much “downtime.” I found it boring. I saw it once and that was more than enough. I won’t miss it.
The Walt Disney Company announced a couple of changes in their management yesterday.
Jill Estorino was named President and Managing Director of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products International, effective immediately.
Estorino has been been at Disney for 29 years, most recently as Executive Vice President, Global Marketing and Sales, and will now overseeing parks and resorts’ international operations and development, including Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Resort with the Oriental Land Company, Shanghai Disney Resort and Disneyland Paris.
She replaces Michael Colglazier who was in the job for the past three years and has jumped to Virgin Galactic Holdings. The aerospace and space travel company announced his appointment earlier today and will assume this role effective July 20.
Disney also announced Jackie Swisher as the new Vice President, Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Jackie Swisher will be replacing Phil Holmes who had previously announced his retirement this August, after almost 50 years with Disney, but the change appears to be effective immediately.
Guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios received a push notification through the My Disney Experience app that identified Swisher as the Vice President of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Previously, Swisher was the Vice President of Worldwide Safety Services at Disney Parks.