Theme Park Insider

Walt Disney World news update: Doctor Strange, new castle show debut

November 5, 2016, 11:11 AM · Doctor Strange is now meeting young Disney World guests at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The meet and greet is not listed on Disney's website yet, but fans report that the Marvel character is now meeting guests in a "Jedi Academy"-type encounter at the end of Pixar Place. A handful of kids are picked for training in the mystic arts with Doctor Strange, in a short magic show. Doctor Strange is not part of Marvel's Avengers, Fantastic Four, or X-Men families, so Disney has the legal ability to put the character in its Florida theme parks. But Marvel's contract with Universal Orlando prohibits Disney from using the "Marvel" name in any way and limits Disney's ability to promote the attraction. Yet we can tell you about it, so if you've got a young Doctor Strange fan in the family, go looking for this on your next Disney trip.

Disney last night also debuted the U.S. version of its Once Upon a Time castle projection show, at the Magic Kingdom. The show's been running at Tokyo Disneyland, but the WDW version omits the lasers and turret projections. Still, early reports put it an upgrade over the Celebrate the Magic show that it is replacing. Once Upon a Time plays nightly, 15 minutes before park close on evenings when the park closes late.

The Federal Aviation Administration this week granted the Walt Disney Company's request for an exemption to fly drones over its U.S. theme parks for commercial purposes. Non-recreational use of drones requires FAA approval, and the FAA imposed a no-fly zone over the Disney Parks following the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, too. The exemption allows Disney to employ drones in its entertainment programs, flying them over parades and other shows, possibly for carrying scrims and other visual effects pieces.

Here's an interesting fan theory on how Disney might soon be using the drones:

There were no reports that Rivers of Light was scheduled to use the devices, but, hey, at this point they're as much a part of that still-delayed show as anything else. ;^) We're ready to believe just about any story about what's happening with Rivers of Light since we've heard so many already.

A couple of dining notes: Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe in the Magic Kingdom apparently has ditched its frustrating practice of offering separate menus at its three ordering bays and now is offering the same line-up of meals at all three stations. The new, standard menu includes bacon cheeseburgers with or without barbecued pork, a barbecued pork sandwich, a grilled chicken club, a falafel burger, a Greek salad with chicken, chicken nuggets, rotisserie chicken, and a half chicken and barbecued pork combo, from $11-16.

Finally, we're hearing that Le Cellier in Epcot will be offering a prix fixe option at lunch next week.

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Replies (2)

November 6, 2016 at 10:03 AM · I'm surprised there are no comments about Doctor Strange being in WDW.
I have to wonder if perhaps Disney is working with Marvel to popularize characters who are NOT part of the Fantastic Four, X-Men, or Avengers families - such as Strange and Guardians. I don't know enough about obscure characters to put a list together, but if they put together a plan, and continued their great casting of these roles, it's feasible that Hollywood Studios (for example) could have its own ....errr...well, uhmmm....Comic Book Land! Maybe they could call it "Narvel Comics" or "Mavel Comics"?

No? Haha.

But the general idea isn't a joke. Disneyland would obviously have more opportunities, but if they wanted to get creative, they could very well put some previously unknown and under-utilized characters into their Florida parks. Even without the name "Marvel", everyone knows it's Marvel, so I don't really think it's going to negatively impact them in any way, shape, or form.

The last thing I'll say on this is that I'd like some clarification as to whether Guardians of the Galaxy appearing in an upcoming Avengers movie would bing them together, thus, preventing them from being used in the future, even though they can be used now (I think).

It puts Disney/Marvel in something of a pickle, unless they can do some legal maneuvering and fancy fine print that gives them an opening - such as that the MCU didn't exist when Universal made their deal, so the family ties are only relevant PRE-Islands of Adventure.

As a fan of both Disney and Marvel, I'd love to see both Guardians of the Galaxy AND Doctor Strange in the Florida parks.

Perhaps someone can tell me where I'm wrong or misguided.

November 7, 2016 at 9:38 AM · The Marvel agreement says the meet/greet characters can be used. It just can't be an attraction, but even this might be evaded by not having Marvel in its name. Universal has exclusive access to Marvel Properties, but the loophole is Marvel itself is not prevented from using the non-claimed Marvel properties outside of the Marvel families that Universal uses. Because Marvel is owned by Disney, Disney is exploiting the loophole since it already owns its own theme parks. The agreement is seriously flawed.

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