Walt Disney World Committed to Open on July 11th…Releases Commitment to Health and Safety Measures

Today in the Disney Parks Blog Walt Disney World stated that they are committed to opening the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom on July 11th and then Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15th.

This came in a personal address by Dr. Pamela Hymel, the Chief Medical Officer for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products where she lays out Disney’s commitment to the health and safety of both guests and cast members for the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort.

In the announcement Dr. Hymel states –

As we continue the phased reopenings of our parks and resorts across the world, promoting health and safety for our guests, cast members, and the larger community is a responsibility we take very seriously.

On Saturday, we will continue the phased reopening of Walt Disney World Resort, marking the first of our domestic theme parks to welcome guests back to the magic. While we await California guidelines for reopening Disneyland Resort, and will adjust as necessary, we wanted to share more information on our approach to health and safety in the Disneyland and Walt Disney World theme parks. 

We remain deeply committed to focusing on your well-being when you visit or work at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. From increased cleaning and disinfecting across our parks and resorts, to updated health and safety policies, we have reimagined the Disney experience so we can all enjoy the magic responsibly. We implemented our health and safety measures after considering the guidance of government and local health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in addition to the U.S. Travel Association and Disney’s team of health experts.

Together, we are a Disney family, and while COVID-19, and the risk of contracting it, is present in public places, there are many important ways that we can all help promote each other’s safety.  As we implement our guidelines at our parks and resorts, we want to thank our guests and cast members for all they do to care for one another by doing their part.

1.  Health & Wellness

At Disney, our approach emphasizes a combination of measures to help reduce risk in the carefully managed environment of our parks and resorts. 

  • Limited and carefully managed attendance: All guests will be required to make advanced ticket purchases and reservations.
  • Reduced capacity and physical distancing: We’re reducing capacity by letting fewer people enter our parks and are adjusting experiences to allow for physical distancing, a key measure reinforced by the CDC. This includes physical distancing in dining experiences, attractions, queues and other locations. Additionally, physical barriers have been installed in areas where physical distancing may be difficult to maintain, like cash registers.
  • Temperature checks: Quick temperature checks are required for all guests at entry to our theme parks.
  • Face coverings: We will be requiring both cast members and guests ages two and older to wear a face covering – unless swimming or when eating or drinking – and enforcing this policy across our parks and resorts.
  • Handwashing and hand sanitizer: We have increased the number of hand sanitizer locations and handwashing stations throughout our parks and resorts.
  • First Aid locations: Our first aid locations are staffed by experienced nursing staff and have updated their protocols for responding to symptoms of illness.

2. Cleaning & Disinfecting

We’ve updated our already high standards for cleanliness across our parks and resorts, with a special emphasis on areas such as attractions, queues, dining, lobbies, transportation and other common spaces.

  • Increased cleaning & disinfecting: We’re increasing the frequency of cleaning, especially for frequently-touched surfaces and high-traffic areas. Following park close, each park will receive an enhanced cleaning before guests arrive the next day.
  • New procedures for resort stays: In addition to increasing cleaning in areas such as elevators and escalators, handrails, tables, handles, and restrooms, we’ve updated our procedures for guest rooms at our owned-and-operated Walt Disney World hotels. Before arrival, every room will be given an enhanced cleaning and a light cleaning service (including removal of trash and replenishment of towels and amenities) will be offered every other day during the stay.

3. Technology Solutions

We are tapping into Disney innovation to help promote health and safety for our guests and cast members.

  • Disney apps: With the My Disney Experience and Disneyland apps our guests already know and love, guests can view hand sanitizer locations, explore digital menus, and more.
  • Limited-contact options: From Mobile Order and cashless payments, to Walt Disney World’s MagicBands and online check-in at select locations, we’re offering technology solutions that can make it easier for our guests to minimize contact and maintain physical distancing.

4. Cast Member Training & Workplace Safety

Safety starts with our cast, and we’ve adopted a number of new policies and practices for cast members at work. 

  • Training: Cast members are receiving additional training on both new measures and the continued importance of personal health and hygiene, such as handwashing and of course, staying home when ill. For some, this includes training on how to help everyone who visits to follow new health and safety measures, including wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distancing. 
  • Workplace health and safety: We’ve increased the frequency of cleaning in work areas, adjusted our work practices to promote physical distancing, and introduced new protocols for temperature checks and face coverings. 
  • Health screenings: Cast members will self-screen for temperature and symptoms of illness before each shift and will stay home if they are not feeling well.

5. Working Together

Because each of us shares a responsibility for the health of our community, we’re making resources available to make guests aware of our new policies, so they too can do their part.

  • Guest communication: We’re proactively sharing information with guests about what to expect ahead of their visit to support their planning. In our parks and resorts, we have added signage about personal health and hygiene measures, physical distancing, and more. 
  • Following our guidelines: A special group of cast members will also be present in the parks to explain our new procedures, answer questions guests may have, and encourage everyone to follow these measures to promote the well-being of us all.
  • “Together We Can Make Today Incredible” campaign: In June, we introduced “Together We Can Make Today Incredible,” a health and safety campaign that spotlights healthy behaviors featuring fan-favorite characters from the Incredibles animated movies. The campaign emphasizes that everyone has an important role to play in health and safety while engaging guests in a uniquely Disney way.

We’re looking forward to upholding this plan each day, and to the return of our guests and cast members to our parks and resorts. 

The Disney Parks Blog also included a short video summarizing Disney’s commitment.

Commitment and announcements like this is what makes Disney special and why I love this company and the parks.  I hope this sets your mind at ease if you have a trip planned in the near future.  We have a trip planned for early September and it does a lot for my family.

Disney Parks Moms Panel Search 2018 to Begin September 6

Disney Parks Moms Panel Search 2018 is here! It’s time to announce that Search will open at noon ET on September 6, 2017 and run through noon ET on September 13, 2017!

If your friends and colleagues always seek you out for heartfelt advice on planning a Disney vacation, then we encourage you to apply! Maybe you have put together more amazing Disney vacations that you can count, and you’ve helped others do the same, then we want to hear from you!

Applicants will be selected based on their personal experience with various Disney destinations, and their ability to communicate their Disney knowledge to prospective Guests in easy-to understand and friendly ways. Sound like you? If so, then set your reminder for September 6th!

Heading into its 11th year, the Disney Parks Moms Panel is a trusted source offering tailored parent-to-parent vacation advice in a convenient question-and-answer format. Because the panel offers tips on four languages – English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese – we look forward to welcoming more bilingual panelists this year.

To find out more, visit www.momspanelsearch.com. Spread the word and good luck!

Disney Parks Moms Panel Search for New Panelists to Begin September 7th

Are you an experienced Disney vacation traveler and take pride in helping your friends and family members plan their own magical vacations? If so, you should consider applying for the 2017 Disney Parks Moms Panel.

The application window will open at 12:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, September 7, 2016 and close at 12:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, September 14, 2016. The first round application process includes short essay questions, basic information questions, and a sample question similar to what you’d find on the Disney Parks Moms Panel website.

This September marks the 10th year of the annual search for new panelists. The first Moms Panel search launched in September 2007 and since then more than 140 moms, dads, grandparents have helped other guests with decisions and planning logistics around all types Disney vacations.

The Disney Parks Moms Panel focuses on nearly every type of Disney vacation including Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, runDisney and events at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. And because the site is available in four languages, we hope to find panelists fluent in Portuguese, French, and Spanish.

If you’re the go-to vacation planner in the family and consider yourself very knowledgeable about Disney Parks vacations, consider applying for next year’s panel.

New Disney Parks Themed Deck Now Available for Heads Up! App

Fans of the Heads Up! App and Disney Parks now have the best of both experiences, as a new Disney Parks-themed deck is now available. App creator and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres announced the addition to the game during her show.

The app is available for $.99 on iOS and free on Android. Once it’s downloaded, guests visiting Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort and Aulani can unlock the Disney Parks themed deck for free. It features iconic attractions, characters and experiences.

Fans also have a chance to win a vacation package to either Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World Resort in Ellen’s “Win A Magical Theme Parks Family Vacation Package for 4” contest by clicking here*. Click here for contest rules.

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN A PRIZE. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. THIS IS A CONTEST OF SKILL. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. The entry period for the “Ellen’s Win a Magical Theme Parks Family Vacation Package for 4” (“Contest”), sponsored by WAD Productions Inc. (“Sponsor”), begins on Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 6:00 AM Pacific Time (“PT”) and ends on Friday, April 22, 2016 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time (“PT”) (the “Contest Period”). All applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Proof of submitting a Contest entry will not be deemed by Sponsor as proof of receipt of valid entry into the Contest. Any attempted form of entry into the Contest other than as described herein is void.

New Orange Bird Home Décor and More Landing This Fall at Disney Parks

The Orange Bird returned to Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park in 2012, and can now be found in the Sunshine Tree Terrace location. Last year, Disney introduced several Orange Bird-themed products at Disney Parks. Disney is happy to report additional items will be arriving soon.

Orange Bird 1

These new home décor items will include two small kitchen towels decorated with Orange Bird graphics. An Orange Bird coffee mug, small dish, and salt and pepper shakers are also planned. These items were designed to complement the previously released bowl, orange juice pitcher  and small juice glasses.

Orange Bird 2Orange Bird 3

One of my favorite items (besides the coffee mug) will be the new, open edition retail MagicBand coming this December to select Walt Disney World Resort merchandise locations.

Orange Bird MB

Disney Parks to Unveil New Marketing Campaign – ‘Unforgettable Happens Here’

Disney Parks

Disney is going to begin a major new national marketing campaign for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort.

‘Unforgettable Happens Here’ is the main message, and will make extensive use of Social Media, highlighting moments that families and friends share together in the parks.

Look out for the first commercials airing this week on Disney’s TV channels, including ABC and Disney Channel.

The new campaign will be replacing the ‘Disney Side’ message from the past few years.

Walt Disney Company Reports Record Net Income in Q3 2015 Earnings Report

The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company recently reported record quarterly earnings of $2.5 billion for its third fiscal quarter ended June 27, 2015 compared to $2.2 billion for the prior-year quarter.

“We’re very pleased with our performance in the third quarter, with record net income and diluted earnings per share of $1.45, up 13% from the prior year,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “The strong results across our many diverse lines of business demonstrate the power of our unparalleled brands, franchises and creative content.”

The report goes on to detail performance in the Parks and Resorts division.

Parks and Resorts revenues for the quarter increased 4% to $4.1 billion and segment operating income increased 9% to $922 million. Operating income growth for the quarter was due to an increase at our domestic operations, partially offset by a decrease at our international operations.

Higher operating income at our domestic operations was primarily due to volume and guest spending growth, partially offset by higher costs. The increase in volumes was due to attendance growth at our theme parks and higher occupied room nights at Walt Disney World Resort and our Aulani resort in Hawaii. Guest spending growth was due to higher food, beverage, and merchandise spending, increases in average ticket prices at our cruise line and Disneyland Resort and higher average hotel room rates. Cost increases were due to labor and other cost inflation, costs for the 60th Anniversary celebration at Disneyland Resort and higher pension and postretirement medical costs, partially offset by lower marketing costs at Walt Disney World Resort.

Lower operating income at our international operations was due to lower attendance and occupied room nights at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, higher operating costs at Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, and higher pre-opening expenses at Shanghai Disney Resort. These decreases were partially offset by higher average ticket prices, increased food, beverage and merchandise spending and higher volumes at Disneyland Paris.

Disney to Bring Mobile Technology to More Parks

Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts speaks during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the New Fantasyland in Lake Buena Vista, Florida

The mobile technology that helps Walt Disney Co theme park guests beat lines and pay for Mickey Mouse ears at the company’s flagship resort in Florida will expand in some form to other Disney resorts, Chief Operating Officer Tom Staggs said.

The $1 billion MyMagic+ program features wristbands and a mobile app that let Walt Disney World visitors unlock hotel room doors, pay for food and merchandise, and book dinner reservations or ride times.

The technology aims to help people plan trips in advance, move more quickly through the park and personalize visits. More than 11 million wristbands, called MagicBands, have been used.

“The folks who are saying the MyMagic+ experience is excellent is the vast, vast majority of folks who are using it, and that, we know, is good for our business,” Staggs said on Thursday.

Staggs spoke in an interview on the patio of an apartment once occupied by Walt Disney at the Disneyland Resort, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

The executive ran the Disney parks and resorts division from 2010 until his promotion in February to chief operating officer, which put him in the lead to succeed Chief Executive Bob Iger in 2018.

The parks unit’s earnings have climbed over the past few years as Disney invested billions to add Cars Land at the Anaheim resort, expanded Fantasyland at Walt Disney World, built a new cruise ship and made other improvements.

For the six months that ended March 28, operating income rose 22 percent to $1.4 billion. It is Disney’s second-largest division.

Adding new technology is one way Disney aims to keep the business growing.

“We will bring variations on MyMagic+ to our parks and other businesses around the world,” Staggs said.

He said it was “possible” the use of the MagicBands will be enabled at parks outside of Walt Disney World. The company also is exploring if other wearable technology could offer some of the same functions as consumers adopt new products such as the Apple Watch.

“We are really open to doing that,” Staggs said, though he said there were no plans specifically for the Apple Watch.

As part of its 60th anniversary, Disneyland is unveiling new night-time entertainment including a fireworks show that adds projections inside the park. Classic characters such as Mickey will appear along with new ones such as Anna and Elsa from blockbuster movie “Frozen,” part of Disney’s strategy of bringing its hit franchises into the parks.

Disney Official Website Hints that 2014 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade will be ‘Frozen’ Themed

Frozen Christmas Celebration

A new page on the official Disney.com website suggests that Frozen will be playing a major role in this year’s ‘Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade.’

Beginning its 31st year, the 2014 ABC Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade will be titled ‘Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration.’

The parade is typically filmed in early December at both Disneyland Resort in California, and the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, although nothing has been released for this year regarding the filming for the parade.

It has been speculated that there may be significant changes to the format for 2014 after the parade has followed a very similar pattern in recent years. A shift towards Frozen would certainly be a change in direction for the TV special.

The Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade will air on ABC in the U.S.A. on December 25 at 9am EST.

Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea Expansion Announced by Oriental Land Company

Tokyo Disneyland Expansion

Oriental Land announced plans to expand Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Some of the work on the expansion has already begun. In addition to the renovation of the existing Fantasyland, major new attractions, restaurants and shops are being considered for installation in the expansion site.

The redevelopment of Fantasyland will nearly double the size of the themed land.

Under consideration for Tokyo DisneySea is the development of a new themed port in the expansion site located south of Lost River Delta. This eighth themed port will include major new attractions, restaurants, and shops.

Oriental Land announced that it will also further invest in the two parks in multiple ways: renovation or creation of attractions and entertainment programs; development of hardware that will enhance the guest experience in the parks; further improvement of restaurants; easing of congestion; development of measures to protect Guests from hot and cold weather; and other ways of to make a more comfortable environment for all guests.