MickeyBlog News for March 13th, 2022

This past week, Mickey’s Toontown closed for a calendar year. Conversely, the Festival of Fantasy Parade returned for the first time in two years.

Also, Disney executives said some stuff, and we’ve reached a point where all Disney fans cringe a bit when that happens.

Disney news

Photo: Disney

I’ll tell you what you might have missed in MickeyBlog News.

Every New Beginning Comes from…

March 9th qualifies as both a sad and exciting day for Disneyland Resort fans.

On that date, Mickey’s Toontown closed for what I will describe as a temporary amount of time.

However, we’re still talking about a calendar year when guests won’t get to play at the child-friendly themed land.

toon town

As you likely know, Disneyland Park will redesign Mickey’s Toontown to modernize it.

Along the way, Imagineers will add multiple interactive amenities to this themed land, including a fountain that will encourage kids to play with it.

toon town

Unfortunately, Disney cannot perform these modifications while guests are at the park. Also, trying to make the changes at night would take too long.

So, Disney has shut down Mickey’s Toontown until next spring. When it returns, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will debut.

At that point, the entire themed land will center on that attraction, not the current anchors, Gadget’s Go-Coaster and (especially) Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin.

I do wonder why Disney re-themed Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin on the fly last year, as park officials had to know they could do so now.

Image Credit: D23

Still, I’m allowing for the possibility that the new Jessica Rabbit-focused story could receive even more enhancements between now and next March.

Realistically, Disney needed to do something with Mickey’s Toontown. Over the past decade, the most memorable event here involved a fighting family.

A new look and style for the themed land are long overdue. However, I recognize that some people would rather not change older themed areas.

Still, I believe that any section of the park that isn’t pulling its own weight demands improvements. Mickey’s Toontown absolutely qualifies.

The Festival of Fantasy Returns

After nearly two years away from Magic Kingdom, the beloved Festival of Fantasy Parade finally strolled down Main Street, USA, once more.

Of course, Disney has modified the experience somewhat from the parade you remember.

We noticed a drastic reduction in the number of dancers and other performers, presumably as a concession to the pandemic and staffing issues.

Disney also cut the entire Brave float with Merida and friends. Similarly, the parade dropped Bubbles, Tick-Tock the Crocodile, and the White Rabbit.

Some performers like Wendy Darling, Minnie Mouse, and Daisy Duck roam the streets now rather than riding on floats.

So, all the dancers from Mickey’s Airship are absent. And there are some other odd decisions like Elsa going alone on the Princess Garden. Anna is nowhere to be seen.

So, this parade won’t be quite what you remember, but it’s looking the shiniest it has in many years.

Disney utilized the downtime to improve all the parade floats and various accoutrements. As a result, the Festival of Fantasy Parade genuinely looks brand new.

Festival of Fantasy

Best of all, the Maleficent float is back, and the dragon breathes fire once more!

By the way, park officials have updated the Disney Genie+ offering. You can book reserved seating for the Festival of Fantasy Parade now.

Similarly, Disney’s Hollywood Studios allows you to schedule reservations for Red Carpet Dreams.

The service gains more value each time Disney adds more attractions.

Words from Disney Executives

We’ve reached the point where anytime Disney Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Christine McCarthy speaks, I break out into a cold sweat.

Well, the CFO just performed an interview the other day, and it…wasn’t bad. Of course, it also wasn’t great, but I’ll settle for not bad at this point.

Source: Disney

I recapped the whole thing here, but the highlight involves character greetings. McCarthy indicated that American Disney parks will bring them back soon.

The Disney Genie+ changes I just mentioned actually foreshadow that impending change.

McCarthy didn’t announce a date, but I suspect it’ll come before Memorial Day Weekend. Sometime in March wouldn’t surprise me, as long as we avoid another COVID outbreak.

Meanwhile, Bob Chapek also recently spoke at Disney Investor Day 2022.

shareholders

You know that the CEO has suffered a brutal week as he learned the savage nature of politics.

Since I explored that subject in Disney Headlines, I’m not rehashing it here. However, I will discuss the parks update that Chapek unexpectedly provided.

Disney’s leader acknowledged the pandemic and its associated budget impact on various projects.

Bob Chapek

Photo: Getty Images

Chapek stated that two high-profile Disney projects aren’t dead. Instead, they’re on hold while Disney fixes its budget.

One of those attractions is the Quinjet at Avengers Campus. Another experience, one I’d written off as totally dead, is the Mary Poppins flat ride at EPCOT.

Notably, Chapek indicated that he is very excited about the Mary Poppins attraction in particular.

Based on his comments, I really think we’re eventually getting that ride, presuming Chapek stays in power.

Mary Poppins ride

Speaking of which, despite a planned vote of no confidence for Chapek from Disney fans, he easily won a seat on the Board of Directors.

The voting tally isn’t finalized yet, but Chapek gained at least 94 percent of the vote that day.

Chapek Capitol

Photo: Disney

Other Park Notes

I’ve only got a few more stories to pass along this week. One of them also involves EPCOT.

The EPCOT Experience, the place previously advertising the Mary Poppins attraction, closes tomorrow, March 14th.

Epcot Experience

So, if you enjoy this preview of what’s coming soon to EPCOT, you should go today! I presume that you probably can’t, though.

Here’s the initial version with Mary Poppins and other stuff that Disney removed after the delays:

And here’s the current version:

This whole experience is quite trippy. I’ve sometimes gotten a bit dizzy while watching the entire thing.

Right outside EPCOT, Disney’s BoardWalk will gain a new Table Service restaurant in 2023 called The Cake Bake Shop by Gwendolyn Rogers.

That news may cause you to wonder whether the BoardWalk Bakery will remain open. The answer is yes, but it will transition to a sandwich shop.

At Disneyland Resort, the park has posted times for the upcoming returns of Disneyland Forever and the Main Street Electrical Parade.

The parade will run at 8:45 pm and again at 10:30 pm nightly. In between, Disneyland Forever will light up the night at 9:30 pm

So, Disneyland After Dark: Villains Nite just debuted. It’s the first such event since the park reopened last year.

Here’s a video from the opening night of Villains Nite:

OK, that’s everything for now. Have a great week, everyone!

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