Disney Genie and Disney Genie+ Service Coming to Disneyland Resort on December 8th

Late yesterday Disneyland Resort announced that the Disney Genie service will be available at the Disneyland Resort beginning tomorrow December 8th.

The Disney Genie service will be built right into the existing Disneyland app, the service will offer new features to help guests create their best Disney day. All guests will need to make sure that they’ve downloaded the latest version of the Disneyland app and they need to make sure that their notification and location services are turned on so that they can get the most out of the app’s features.

At the Disneyland Resort the service will include:

Complimentary Disney Genie Features

The key part of the Disney Genie service are features like a personalized itinerary creator inspired by the things you tell Disney what you love, helping guests make the most of your park time so you can have more fun! Just tell Disney Genie your favorite things such as foodie experiences, must-do attractions, Super Heroes or princesses; experiences that make your Disneyland Resort day special, and Disney Genie does all the work to suggest fun options tailored to you.

The Disney Genie service will also offer other great features like a personal tip board to see your favorite attractions and dining options in one central place, and forecasted future attraction wait times, helping you predict the best time to visit during the day.

These features are designed to help guests spend less time waiting in line, enjoying more of what they love. The Disney Genie service will even work around your existing plans, even dining reservations!

Disney Genie does all the work behind the scenes and and will update your itinerary continually from morning to night so you can stay spontaneous and make the most of your time in the parks!

Ability to Access the new Lightning Lane Entrance

If guests have been to the Disneyland Resort recently, they may have noticed some new signs being installed for Lightning Lane entrances at a number of popular attractions. The Lightning Lane offers the convenience of saving you time waiting in line. Guests can access the Lightning Lane entrance for select attractions two ways:

1) Disney Genie+ service.

Disney Genie+ will be available for $20 per ticket per day, and allows guests to select the next available arrival window for Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane entrances at a variety of attractions, one at a time (subject to limited availability; limit one Lightning Lane selection per experience each day).

Disney Genie+ will also include unlimited Disney PhotoPass digital photo downloads from the day, as well as fun new audio experiences that let you discover the parks in cool new ways, through fascinating fun facts and behind-the-scenes insights.

Disney Genie+ service will be able to be purchased in the Disneyland app after guests have entered the park and have linked their park ticket. After December 8, guests will also be able to choose to purchase Disney Genie+ prior to their visit when you the park ticket is purchased. Guests can begin making Lightning Lane arrival window selections as soon as they enter a theme park!

AND/OR

2) Individual Lightning Lane Entrance Selection.

This new “a la carte” option allows the individual purchase of Lightning Lane entrance arrival windows for some of the most popular attractions: Radiator Springs Racers and WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure at Disney California Adventure park, and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland park (subject to limited availability; attractions not included with Disney Genie+).

Pricing for the “a la carte” option will vary by date and attraction. Be sure to check the Disneyland app on the day of your visit for the latest pricing for each available Lightning Lane attraction entrance arrival window. If you choose this option, you may purchase the next available arrival window, one at a time, for up to two (2) attractions per day upon entering a theme park.

It’s important to note that guests can select one, both or none of these options.  Attractions will continue to offer a traditional standby queue, or a virtual queue may be used at select attractions. Check the Disneyland app for attraction queue status.

Disneyland’s ‘it’s a small world’ to Re-Open Next Week

According to ABC7 in Los Angeles Disneyland’s beloved “it’s a small world” attraction is expected to reopen next week, in time for Christmas.

A flood that occurred last month threatened to close “The Happiest Cruise that Ever Sailed” for the entire holiday season, but testing began this past Thursday.

Disneyland Resort officials had said that the repairs would normally would have taken months to fix, but crews have been working nonstop to get it done in about three weeks.

Even though the ride has been shutdown, the “it’s a small world” lighting ceremony has continued to take place nightly, and “It’s a Small World” projections have been an ongoing part of the park’s “Believe…In Holiday Magic” fireworks display.

Mickey’s Toontown in Disneyland to Close March 2022 for Reimagination

In an announcement made at International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo by Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Josh D’Amaro, Disneyland Resort will be closing Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland for what Disney calls “an ambitious reimagining of Mickey’s Toontown.”

The reimagined land will debut in early 2023, alongside the new attraction, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

D’Amaro said the transformation will include adding greener and more spacious land with families and young children in mind.

We are so excited to leverage Disney’s powerful brand, develop new stories and share even more magical experiences with our guests.  The newly reimagined Mickey’s Toontown will be a welcoming place where families and younger guests can connect and play together in fun new ways.

Disney  Imagineers are building on the legacy of Mickey’s Toontown and are working to create some all-new experiences so families and young children can have more opportunities to play together inside Disneyland.  Focusing on families with young children, Mickey’s Toontown will feature new play experiences, as well as open, grassy play spaces for everyone to unplug. The land will have landscaping for both spontaneous family play and parental relaxation.

According to Disney, one of the new areas coming to Mickey’s Toontown will be CenTOONial Park, the first space guests will see when they enter. This natural space will be anchored by two interactive play experiences.

When guests enter they will see at the center of CenTOONial Park a fountain, designed for play, which will also become a center icon for Mickey’s Toontown. As its base, water tables will invite guests to play with the water and have a sensory experience. At night, the fountain will be brought to life in a unique spectacle.

Nearby will be a dreaming tree that will be inspired by the tree a young Walt Disney would daydream under in his hometown. Sculpted tree roots will provide an opportunity for children to play, crawl and explore, and undulating topography will offer rolling hills and a place to sit and dream.

In addition to reopening in 2023 with the new, family-friendly and adventurous Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Mickey’s Toontown will still be home to many beloved characters including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and more!

Mickey’s Toontown is scheduled to close in March of 2022 in order for imagineers to begin creating these all-new experiences.

Disneyland Resort Drops Mask & Distancing Requirements

Beginning today, all fully vaccinated Disneyland Resort guests will no longer have to wear their masks. As with Walt Disney World, DLR guests will also not be required to show proof of vaccination. Guests ages two and up who are not fully vaccinated will be asked to continue wearing face coverings indoors, except when dining.

The ressort will also be eradicating physical distancing requirements for guests. Disney will be incrementally allowing more guests to attend the resort at a future time, according to a report from the Happiest Place on Earth.

While temperature checks for visitors and employees will drop, the online-only reservation system will remain in place, with no foreseeable end date. Cast Members will be asked to keep wearing masks, regardless of vaccination status, and maintain their 6 feet of physical distance.

Paradise Pier hotel will re-open today, while the Disneyland Resort Hotel will re-open on July 2.

In a letter from Chief Medical Officer Pamela Hymel sent to Cast Members –

As we have realized the benefits of reservations in helping to manage guest visitation and provide an even better experience, our reservation system will continue,and we will gradually increase attendance as our operations allow.

Disneyland Resort Announces the Return of More Dining

Disneyland Resort made an announcement yesterday that will please many guests. They have announced that they will be opening more restaurants at the resort.

The following restaurants will be opening –

Paradise Garden Grill – Opening May 13th

Alfresco Tasting Terrace – Opening for Legacy Passholders on May 18th

Blue Bayou – Opening May 27th.  Online reservations available on May 18th

Napa Rose – Opening May 28th.  Online reservations available May 18th

Storytellers Café – Opening May 28th for Breakfast and Dinner.  No Character Dining Yet.  Online reservations available May 18th

Disneyland Resort Announces Which Attractions Will be Running When Parks Re-Open

The Disneyland Resort has announced which attractions, restaurants and shops that will be operating and which ones that won’t be when Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure re-open to guests on April 30th.

Disneyland Attractions That Will Be Open –

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Astro Orbitor
  • Autopia
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train
  • Disneyland Railroad
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Gadget’s Go Coaster
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • It’s a Small World
  • King Arthur Carrousel
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Main Street Vehicles
  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
  • Snow White’s Enchanted Wish
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Star Tours — The Adventures Continue
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • Tarzan’s Treehouse
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Surprise character sightings

Disneyland Dining That Will Be Open –

  • Bengal Barbecue
  • Cafe Orleans
  • French Market Restaurant
  • Galactic Grill
  • Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor
  • Jolly Holiday Bakery Café
  • Little Red Wagon
  • Market House
  • Milk Stand
  • Mint Julep Bar
  • Plaza Inn — with modified service and menu
  • Red Rose Taverne
  • River Belle Terrace
  • Ronto Roasters
  • Ship to Shore Marketplace
  • Stage Door Cafe
  • The Tropical Hideaway
  • Churros, popcorn and ice cream carts

Disneyland Shops That Will Be Open –

  • Adventureland Bazaar
  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique — For merchandise only, no makeovers
  • Black Spire Outfitters
  • Candy Palace and Candy Kitchen
  • Creature Stall
  • Cristal d’Orleans
  • Crystal Arts
  • Disney Clothiers
  • Disney Showcase
  • Disneyana
  • Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities
  • Droid Depot
  • Emporium
  • First Order Cargo
  • It’s a Small World Toy Shop
  • Kaman’s Art Shoppe
  • Le Mascarade d’Orleans
  • Little Green Men Store Command
  • The Mad Hatter in Fantasyland
  • Main Street Magic Shop
  • Pieces of Eight
  • Pioneer Mercantile
  • Savi’s Workshop — Handbuilt Lightsabers
  • The Star Trader
  • Toydarian Toymaker
  • Balloons and glow carts

Disney California Adventure Attractions That Will Be Open –

  • Games of Pixar Pier
  • Goofy’s Sky School
  • Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout
  • Incredicoaster
  • Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind
  • Jessie’s Critter Carousel
  • Jumpin’ Jellyfish
  • Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!
  • Pixar Pal-A-Round
  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • Silly Symphony Swings
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • The Little Mermaid — Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • Toy Story Midway ManiaTurtle Talk with Crush
  • Games of Pixar Pier
  • Goofy’s Sky School
  • Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout
  • Incredicoaster
  • Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind
  • Jessie’s Critter Carousel
  • Jumpin’ Jellyfish
  • Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!
  • Pixar Pal-A-Round
  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • Silly Symphony Swings
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • The Little Mermaid — Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • Toy Story Midway ManiaTurtle Talk with Crush

Disney California Adventure Dining That Will Be Open –

  • Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats
  • Angry Dogs
  • Award Wieners
  • Carthay Circle Lounge — Alfresco Dining
  • Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill
  • Cozy Cone Motel – Cones 1-3
  • Cappuccino Cart
  • Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café
  • Flo’s V8 Café
  • Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop
  • Hollywood Lounge
  • Lamplight Lounge
  • Pacific Wharf Distribution Co.
  • Poultry Palace
  • Rita’s Bajas Blenders
  • Senor Buzz Churros
  • Smokejumpers Grill
  • Sonoma Terrace
  • Studio Catering Co.
  • Churros, popcorn and ice cream carts

Disney California Adventure Shops That Will Be Open –

  • Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff
  • Collector’s Warehouse
  • Disneyland Backlot Premiere Shop
  • Elias & Co.
  • Kaman’s Art Shoppe
  • Kingswell Camera Shop
  • Knick’s Knacks
  • Off the Page
  • Paradise Pier Sunglass Cart
  • Ramone’s House of Body Art
  • Rushin’ River Outfitters
  • Seaside Souvenirs
  • Studio Store
  • Trolley Treats
  • Balloons and glow carts

Disney also included a full list of attractions that will be closed across the Resort on opening day, many due to refurbishments.

Disneyland Closed Attractions –

  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Chip ‘n Dale Treehouse
  • Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes
  • Disneyland Monorail
  • Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
  • Donald’s Boat
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
  • Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition
  • Goofy’s Playhouse
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Main Street Cinema
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Mickey’s House
  • Minnie’s House
  • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
  • Sailing Ship Columbia
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough
  • Star Wars Launch Bay
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats

Disney California Adventure Closed Attractions –

  • Animation Academy
  • Bakery Tour
  • Blue Sky Cellar
  • Disney Junior Live on Stage
  • Golden Zephyr
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Red Car Trolley
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
  • Sorcerers Workshop

Based on rumors as to what types of attractions the State of California was going to allow to be open, the list of open attractions is much larger than I had expected.

Is there any one particular attraction that you missed the most and are really looking forward to experiencing?

Disney Legend Jim Cora Dies at Age 83

Disney Legend, who began his Disney career at Disneyland in 1957 as a part-time attractions host polishing 3D glasses at the Mickey Mouse Club Theater and retired 43 years later as chairman of Disney International, passed away on March 21st at the age of 83.

Cora’s influence at the company was vast,  stretching around the globe from Disneyland to Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, so much so that it took multiple windows dedicated in his honor on Main Street U.S.A. to capture all of his contributions.

According to the Orange County Register, Cora credited his rapid rise to company founder Walt Disney who set his career path in motion with a promotion into a training and development role. The boss sent the teenager over to the Disneyland administration building to find Disney University founder Van Arsdale France with the admonition: “Tell him Walt sent you. I think he may have something for you.”

Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products and former Disneyland resort president Josh D’Amaro called Cora one of the company’s last connections to Walt Disney.

Very few people have a Disney legacy that reaches as far and wide as Jim Cora,” D’Amaro said in a statement. “His dedication to bringing Disney magic to people around the world was only matched by the passion he exuded throughout his career and for the many years that followed. I always loved hearing Jim’s thoughts about our business. He was one of our last connections to Walt Disney and he will be missed dearly.

In 1971, Cora instituted the “Disney Way of Leadership” program at the Magic Kingdom with the opening of Walt Disney World.

Prior to the 1983 opening of Tokyo Disneyland, Cora was named managing director of operations for the that theme park.  He was then promoted to vice president of Walt Disney Productions Japan, overseeing Disney’s operational and design standards.

After Tokyo Disneyland, Cora was put in charge of master planning and site research for Euro Disneyland, which would later became known as Disneyland Paris.

In the 1990’s, Cora was responsible for the creative direction of Tokyo DisneySea. He retired as chairman of Disney International in 2001. Cora was named a Disney Legend in 2005.

Disneyland Resort to Re-Open on April 30th

Earlier today, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek announced on CNBC that both of Disney’s theme parks at the Disneyland Resort will re-open April 30th.

According to the new guidelines issued by the State of California, theme parks will be able to operate at between 15% and 35% capacity depending on levels of COVID in the area . For reference, Walt Disney World re-opened in last July at a 25% capacity.

In the announcement Chapek stated –

We’ve seen the enthusiasm, the craving for people to return to our parks around the world.  We’ve been operating at Walt Disney World for about nine months, and there certainly is no shortage of demand.

I think as people become vaccinated, they become a little bit more confident in the fact that they can travel, and stay Covid-free,” he added. “Consumers trust Disney to do the right thing and we’ve certainly proven that we can [open] responsibly whether it’s temperature checks, masks, social distancing, [or] improved hygiene around the parks.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa will re-open April 29th with limited capacity ahead of the parks. The Vacation Club Villa at the Grand Californian will re-open on May 2 and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel will re-open at a later date.

Disneyland Resort will manage attendance through a theme park reservation system that requires all guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. In order to enter a park, both a park reservation and valid admission for the same park on the same date are required for guests ages 3 and up. Theme park reservations will be limited and subject to availability and, until further notice, only California residents may visit the parks in line with current state guidelines. Disney says that more details about this new reservation system will be available soon.

Prior to the full public opening on April 30, Disneyland Resort will invite cast members and members of the local community as part of a soft opening.

Re-opening Disneyland will return more than 10,000 Cast Members back to work.

“The day all of us have long been waiting for is almost here,” said Ken Potrock, president of the Disneyland Resort. “We’re excited to have more than 10,000 cast members returning to work as we get ready to welcome our guests back to this happy place.”

 

Bob Chapek Announces Disneyland Resort Will Re-Open in Late April

During today’s Annual Shareholder Meeting, Bob Chapek announced that Disney is planning for late April for the opening of both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. Theme parks can re-open starting April 1st, but Disney is choosing to use some additional time to prepare the parks for guests.

Bob Chapek said further details on the full re-opening of the Disneyland Resort will be shared at a later date.

California Governor Newsom Updates Guidelines Clearing the Way for Disneyland Resort to Re-Open

The State of California has indicated that California theme parks, which includes the Disneyland Resort, will be able to re-open as early as April 1st.

Under the new guidance rules, theme parks will be able to operate at 15% capacity once the county they operate in are in the Tier 2 Category.  Orange County, the home of the Disneyland Resort, expects to reach this level possibly next week.

According to the Orange County Register, initially entry will be restricted to California residents. It was explained that this is because of the statewide travel advisory that remains in place.

Ken Potrock, President, Disneyland Resort issued a statement –

“We are encouraged that theme parks now have a path toward reopening this spring, getting thousands of people back to work and greatly helping neighboring businesses and our entire community. With responsible Disney safety protocols already implemented around the world, we can’t wait to welcome our guests back and look forward to sharing an opening date soon.”

It is important to mention that this means that the Disneyland Resort CAN open as early as April 1.  It does not mean that it WILL

When do I think that the parks will open?

There are a number of things to consider.  Some people have stated that the parks could  open in early April.  My guess is that it may not be until mid-May.

How do I come to this date…or period of time?

First of all, back on February 23rd Disney Vacation Club announced that the villas at the Grand Californian Hotel and Spa would re-open on May 2nd.  Now, I know that initial entry will be restricted to California residents, but it should be noted that a good portion of DVC Members at this resort probably are California residents.  I believe that Disney would like to have the villas available for the re-opening of the parks.

More importantly, Disney needs to recall laid off Cast Members.  And since they’ve not been working for nearly a year, they will need to be re-trained.  This all takes time.  I just don’t see this happening in the next 3-4 weeks.

I know there is pent up demand for the Disneyland Resort and that the resort will initially be restricted to California residents, but let’s look at the re-opening of Walt Disney World.  Disney announced re-opening dates of July 15th on May 27th last year.  That was about 6 weeks.  The DVC resorts at Wall Disney World re-opened on June 22nd.  That was about three weeks ahead of the parks re-opening.  Granted, the DVC presence at the Disneyland Resort is much smaller.

Based on all of the above factors, I still think mid-May looks good to me.  If I’m wrong and the parks in California open sooner, I’ll be happily wrong.

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