MickeyBlog News for March 20th, 2022

This week, a beloved space closes, but Disney has big plans for its future usage. So, we’ll talk about more facemask changes, openings and closings, and a regrettable high school dance.

You’ll have to take the good with the bad in the latest MickeyBlog News.

Disney news

Photo: Disney

They Had Spirit, Yes They Did

Some Disney news feels like a sucker punch to the gut. Unfortunately, this subject’s one of those.

Disney has quietly informed parties involved that the Spirit of Aloha show at Luau Cove has closed forever.

Spirit of Aloha

The decision circles back to this rumor I discussed last September.

Parts of this rumor have proven accurate, as Disney will build a new Disney Vacation Club tower hotel in the former Luau Cove space.

Polynesian refurbishment

Image Credit: Disney

Disney’s Polynesian Village & Resort will add these new hotel rooms toward the end of 2024.

Images show a beachfront property with ample lounge chairs overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon.

The tower appears to come in four to six sections, some of which are as many as ten stories tall… although I suspect it’s actually eight.

You may recall that Disney is currently repurposing a building at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa for the same reason.

monorail

(Kent Phillips, photographer)

Simply stated, Disney desires more hotel rooms at the monorail resorts.

This circles back to the introduction of Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in 2009.

Speaking of the Grand Floridian, the hotel has opened its new DVC inventory for booking this summer. The opening date is apparently June 20th.

Grand Florida DVC

Credit: Disney

All I hear from any of this is that I’ve attended my last dinner show at Spirit of Aloha.

If Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue doesn’t reopen either, I may curl up in the fetal position.

Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue

The International Update

While Disney is resetting its American parks to pre-pandemic levels, other parts of the world are in different stages of their pandemic response.

The news is glowingly positive at Disneyland Paris, where you no longer need a vaccine pass to enter the park.

disneyland paris 30th dlp

Image Credit: Disneyland Paris

The French government recently updated its pandemic policies. They’re less restrictive now, and Disneyland Paris has taken full advantage.

If you’re willing and able to travel to France this summer, the parks will look like they did in late 2019… but they’ll have an Avengers Campus, too.

disneyland paris 30th dlp

Image Credit: Disneyland Paris

Sadly, China is trending the other way.

Government officials there have prioritized the eradication of COVID-19 at all costs. Fate has had other plans, though.

Cities like Hong Kong are currently experiencing their most significant outbreak to date. The cause of the current outbreak is the omicron variant.

Coronavirus Hong Kong Shanghai China

Since it’s so contagious, a crackdown has ensued.

At Shanghai Disneyland, Disney announced on Sunday that it has temporarily closed, which makes the place feel like it’s March of 2020 all over again.

Somebody’s Fired

Disney just can’t catch a break. No matter what the company does, it seems to commit random unforced errors.

This past week, the parks experienced two snafus. One’s minor, and the other…isn’t.

Let’s start small. A Magic Kingdom fireworks presentation sparked a small fire for the second time in a decade.

This situation infamously occurred on the artificial mountain at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train a few years ago.

Mine Train night

Photo: Where We Go Next

Now, history has repeated itself, albeit at a different Fantasyland location.

This time, a stray firework started a fire at Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid. Here’s a video:

Don’t worry, though. Nobody suffered an injury, and park officials quickly put out the fire.

Disney probably should have known better on this one. There was a tornado warning and high winds that day.

The show shouldn’t have gone on. God bless ’em for trying, though.

That same philosophy doesn’t apply to Disney’s other misstep the other day. I would describe it more like this:

Seriously, I cannot believe this story is real. The controversy started on Thursday when reports came out that sounded unreasonable.

Disney had inexplicably prevented a high school drill team from wearing their full costume. That’s how the reporting sounded anyway.

Disney World vs Disneyland

In reality, the costume in question was a…wildly inappropriate Native American headdress, one that non-Native Americans wanted to wear.

Disney allowed them to perform, only without the headgear. Then, during the show at Magic Kingdom, the teenagers started doing a “Scalp ’em!” was cry.

Park officials have understandably disavowed any knowledge that this would happen, but this one’s totally inexcusable.

Vetting is a fundamental part of such performances. Someone fell down on the job. Period.

I’d really like for Disney to go one whole week without making any national media-worthy news.

Custom Mickey wreaths

Openings and Closings

We just learned more about Disney’s plans for various attractions and even a restaurant. In fact, let’s lead with that.

Victoria & Albert’s will return to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa later this year, although Disney didn’t offer specifics.

Victoria & Albert's

Frankly, I’m surprised this reopening hadn’t happened sooner. After all, Disney is all about high profit margins.

Nothing else at Walt Disney World (or Disneyland) can match this AAA Five Diamond eatery in terms of revenue per customer.

monorail

Speaking of the Grand Florida, the Easter eggs are back in the hotel lobby. But, more interestingly, the hotel has added the Grand Cottage.

Apparently, this place will sell Easter treats the same way that the Gingerbread House here offers yuletide goodies. That’s cool.

Of course, that’s not the biggest news coming from the Magic Kingdom area this week!

Yes, the Dapper Dans have returned to Main Street, USA! Pure joy has returned to the parks!

At Disneyland Resort, Merlin’s Marvelous Miscellany has opened at Disneyland Park. In fact, it’s a callback to a bit of park history.

Merlin's

Photo: Disney

In 1955, Merlin’s Magic Shop operated in the same location in Fantasyland! Later, Disney converted it into a holiday store, but now Merlin is back in charge.

The difference now vs. 1955 is the thematic tie-in to my favorite Disney movie, The Sword in the Stone.

Sword in the Stone

I haven’t been in the store yet, but Easter eggs from the film are apparently there for the film’s eagle-eyed superfans. “Higitus Figitus Migitus Mum! Prestidigitonium!”

Disneyland Resort also just announced that Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree will close for renovations in April.

Around the same time, Blue Bayou Restaurant will also close. So update your scorecards, spring vacationers!

Finally, face masks are now optional on the Disney Skyliner. woohoo!

Disney Skyliner January

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