Insider's Update: More Fastpass+, plus more Imagineering moves
Written by Robert Niles
Happy Saturday, theme park fans! This week, Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Actually, we should say that the park now known as Disney's Hollywood Studios will be turning 25. Long-time theme park fans will remember that when the park opened, it was known as Disney-MGM Studios, but Disney and MGM didn't renew the license deal, so Leo the Lion's long gone from Lake Buena Vista. Disney's announced modest celebration plans for the the 25th birthday, on May 1, highlighted by a special fireworks show at 9:30pm.Tweet
Perhaps of bigger note at Disney World this week, Monday is the big day for those Fastpass+ changes we told you about earlier this month. Starting Monday, you'll be able to get additional Fastpass+ reservations in the park after using your initial three reservations. You'll also be able to "park hop" and get Fastpass+ reservations in more than one park. Once you've used your first three Fastpass+ reservations for the day, you can get additional reservations one at a time, and only from kiosks in the parks. So, it'll work much like the old Fastpass system from that point, but without the paper tickets.
Photo courtesy Disney
All the construction walls are down around the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and our Twitter followers say that operations cast members are training on running the ride, which suggests that it might be operational for the press event scheduled for later this week, and open to the public after that. When you get on, please submit a review and photos to our Seven Dwarfs Mine Train page.
Here's a couple of Imagineering changes for you: After wrapping up the Ratatouille attraction this summer, Walt Disney Imagineering reportedly is sending Tom Fitzgerald from leading the shop at Disneyland Paris to become the creative director at Epcot. (Haven't heard what's happening or has happened to Eric Jacobson, who used to have that role.) Also, Scott Trowbridge is moving from R&D at WDI to portfolio leader at the Disneyland Resort and being in charge of a new Star Wars studio within WDI. Would that suggest that Disneyland might now be the first destination for a Star Wars land? Insiders, you know where to get in touch with us.
A few weeks ago, we had a conversation on the Discussion Board asking why Disney didn't have its own airline. Readers noted that the airline business is very different from the cruise industry, where Disney's a major player. But in light of that conversation, you might find interesting this report that the Four Seasons hotel chain now has its own jet for high-end tours. Could this provide a model for Disney's eventual entry into the airline business? Surely Disney might find some demand for custom, first-class transportation to a luxury Disney theme park hotel stay, an Adventures by Disney vacation, or Disney cruise embarkation. Mickey knows how to make a buck, after all. Even from the one-tenth of the One Percent.
Over on the west coast, Disneyland buried the lead in the blog post about Eggs Benedict returning to the breakfast menu at the park's Carnation Cafe. Here's the bigger story: Say goodbye to the restaurant's peanut-butter-and-soda and chocolate-cherry sodas. They're going off the menu, to be replaced by Coke, Barq's Root Beer and Fanta Orange floats.
Extending the buzz over It's a Small World's 50th birthday, news leaked this week that Disney's planning a movie version of the classic attraction. It'll play well in a film festival with the Jungle Cruise movie, Haunted Mansion movie, Thunder Mountain TV show, and every other rumored and announced attraction-inspired production that never made it to market. What's next? How about a musical, mixing live action and animation, that features Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear and Brer Fox and tells the story of Splash Mountain? Oh, wait a minute....
Finally, enjoy a look at Tokyo Disneyland's new castle projection show, "Once Upon a Time."
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