Disney updates: Anaheim Fastpass changes, Orlando party dates announced
Disney released a flurry of news bites today, on the same day that rival Universal Studios put on a big national media event
for its new Tonight Show-themed Jimmy Fallon ride. In my Orange County Register column
this week, I wrote about tit-for-tat, win-the-news-cycle PR isn't in the best interest of the theme park industry. It's better to have a steady stream of news enticing people to visit parks throughout the year, rather than piling on top of your competitors' news on the same day.
Alas. On to the news, but we'll start with the west coast, just because.
The Disneyland Resort is changing its Fastpass ride reservation system, putting both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure on the same "grid," meaning that you can no longer hold a Fastpass return time for each park at the same time. As far as Disney's concerned, it's all just one big resort now. In addition, Fastpasses are now available for Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney California Adventure, which should inflate the stand-by wait times for that shooter ride to the hours-plus levels common at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida before the addition of its third track. We'll have to wait a while to see how early in the day the Fastpass return times for this ride disappear — and how it will rank next to current early-shut-out champion, Radiator Springs Racers.
On the east coast, the Walt Disney World Resort today announced the dates for this year's Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Parties. The hard-ticket events happen after-hours at the Magic Kingdom, so day guests should expect early closes on these days. The Halloween part runs 32 nights this year:
- August 25, 29
- September 1, 7, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26, 29
- October 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29, 31
- November 1
And the Christmas party goes for 21:
- November 8, 9, 12, 14, 16, 17, 26, 28
- December 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22
That's right, the holidays start in August, and there's pretty much no break between Halloween and Christmas. Will Thanksgiving ever be avenged? Anyway, tickets go on sale next month. No prices yet.
Also at the Magic Kingdom, the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels flew over the park, in a repeat of their 2015 performance.
Disney today also announced the Disney Legends Class of 2017, who will be enshrined during the D23 Expo in Anaheim this July. This year's inductees are:
- Imagineer Wayne Jackson
- Disney Artists Clyde "Gerry" Geronimi and Manuel Gonzales
- EGOT Nominee and The Lion King Stage Director Julie Taymor
And in the categories of "did their work for other creative businesses that Disney later acquired,"
- Star Wars stars Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill
- Marvel Comics founder Stan Lee
- Television producer Garry Marshall
- Oprah Winfrey
Finally, in unplanned news, Don Rickles, the legendary insult comic who won a new generation of fans as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the Disney-Pixar Toy Story franchise, has passed away at the age of 90. Rest easy, hockey puck.
Halloween in August? That's too early. This means Halloween decorations go up in the Summer. The earliest yet and I was afraid Christmas is up way too soon. Eventually, Christmas decorations will go up in July.
RIP Don Rickles.
Ugh FP is going to worsen DCA Mania... the typical 30-45 minute standby wait will now become close to a 2-3 hour standby wait.
For anyone who's ever done the Halloween party at MK, is it usually as busy as HHN? Unless it's super crowded even in September, I'm not sure I see why we have to start Halloween a full 2 months early.
The Halloween party is a rip-off for regular attendees, because they kick you out of the park early and make you pay more to stay for the time you would otherwise be there. Disney doesn't mention that, of course, when you're booking your trip, and what a thrill it is when you're told you have to pay another $200 for your family to stay in the park. (Also, if you're spending part of your $100+ day standing in line for candy you can buy for $5, you're a fool.)
In the end the Costumer decides: If no one is buying Halloween Tickets for August (!!!) Disney will learn fast for 2018. And we should - otherwise in 2018 Christmas starts in September.
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