Carved pumpkins for Halloween at Magic Kingdom entrance

Weekly Disney Roundup For August 2 – 8, 2020: Halloween Decorations, In-Room Fireworks, Re-Openings and More

In this edition of the Weekly Disney Round Up, we get some answers on what to expect for Halloween at the Magic Kingdom, the potential end of a fan favorite stage show, a new way to view the nighttime Castle Show, and much more. This is your Disney news for the week of August 2, 2020.

COVID-19 Updates

Masks Could Be Required At Disney World Through 2021:  Dr. Raul Pino, the Health Officer for Orange County, is suggesting that local government may require masks until as late as the Spring of 2021, or until a vaccine for the Coronavirus is available. A vast majority of the Walt Disney World Resort falls into the jurisdiction of Orange County which means Disney will need to abide by whatever rules the county enacts. Walt Disney World has required masks for all guests and Cast Members since the phased reopening started in June. You can find more information on Disney’s current mask policy here.

Tri-State Travel Band Lifted: As of August 5, 2020, Florida Governor DeSantis signed an executive order lifting the travel restrictions for those arriving from the listed states. It is worth noting that on the flip side, those traveling from Florida to New York or New Jersey are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days and advise their state(s) of their recent travels, typically through a traveler health form issued upon return to the state.

Reduced Operating Hours Coming To Walt Disney World: Earlier this week, Bob Chapek admitted that the re-opening crowd numbers have been lower than what was initially expected. On August 7, 2020, it was announced that all Parks at Walt Disney World would shorten their normal operating hours.

Magic Kingdom's hours on display.
Magic Kingdom’s hours on display.

EPCOT

Long-Time EPCOT Chef Set To Retire: Scott Joesph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide announced the retirement of Chef Bruno Vrignon. Vrignon is the current executive chef of the restaurants in EPCOT’s France Pavilion and has worked at the Pavillion since EPCOTs opening in 1982.

Les Chefs in the France Pavilion.
Les Chefs in the France Pavilion.

Magic Kingdom

Even Without Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Parks To Be Decorated: Earlier this summer, it was announced that Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2020 would be officially canceled. The news was a big bummer in a year already full of disappointments. Despite the cancellation, it was rumored that Walt Disney World would still feature their iconic Halloween decorations throughout the holiday season. I was able to confirm with Walt Disney World that the decorations are indeed still slated to be installed but the information on when to expect the Park’s transformation is yet to be announced.

The Magic Kingdom is special during the Halloween season!
The Magic Kingdom is special during the Halloween season!

“You May Get Wet”: Splash Mountain Boat Sinks: The past few weeks have not been nice to Splash Mountain. Just a week or so after a multi-day shutdown of the attraction, Splash ran into another issue. Late on Sunday night, one of the Splash Mountain vehicles partially sank with five guests still seated. Allegedly the boat began to take on water near the end of the ride. All guests were able to vacate the ride vehicle. After a brief cycle of vehicles, Splash Mountain reopened.

In addition to Splash’s sinking log, the attraction may now have lost its gift shop. Earlier this week, guests couldn’t help but notice that the Briar Patch Shop had black tarps over the windows and the doors were shut. Whether this closure is permanent is not yet known.

Hollywood Studios

Disney Society Orchestra In, Beauty and the Beast Out at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Various sources online have reported the mixed feelings that Cast Members and the Actors’ Equity Union have had about the Disney’s decision to re-open at a time when Florida’s COVID-19 numbers are at such a high rate. These mixed feelings have led to disputes between the two parties, which in return has caused some shows to temporarily disappear from the Parks. Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, signage for Beauty and the Beast-Live Stage Show has been removed and replaced by showtimes for “Disney Society Orchestra and Friends”. The new show, believed to only be in place during the union disputes, involves an orchestral rendition of a number of favorite Disney tunes. Disney Society Orchestra’s new show runs all day at the Theater of the Stars, the home of Beauty and the Beast-Live Stage Show.

Rumor, Rumor: Voyage of the Little Mermaid to Remain Closed: As mentioned in previous posts, the disputes between the Actors’ Equity Union and Disney have battled on, causing many shows to temporarily shut down. It appears one show may never re-open, Voyage of the Little Mermaid. The online rumor mill has been swirling around the Little Mermaid stage show for some time now. Often viewed as outdated by modern Disney World standards, the Voyage of the Little Mermaid debuted at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1992. The show has seen a few changes over the years but has largely stayed the same. It is now believed that Ariel’s show has officially come to an end. Evidence of this rumor is based around the fact that no COVID-19 signage or safety measures have been installed at the queue and other long-time hints that the show’s days were already numbered. We will keep you posted if the news of the show’s closure becomes official.

Canceled-DVC’s Moonlight Magic Events: COVID-19 has continued to cause Disney to cancel several marquee events and festivals. Most recently, it was announced that DVC Moonlight Magic Events at Disney’s Hollywood Studios would be canceled this Fall (September-October).

The Beast and his friends at Beauty and the Beast-Live Stage Show.
The Beast and his friends at Beauty and the Beast-Live Stage Show.

Animal Kingdom

Island Mercantile Now Open At Animal Kingdom: For the first time since the Walt Disney World Resort was shut down due to COVID-19, Island Mercantile at Discovery Island (Animal Kingdom) is now open. Island Mercantile is just one of the places around the resort that suffered a delayed reopening. Out of an abundance of caution, new protocols and policies are in play at the shop. Guests will now see social distancing tape, one-way exits, and new signage around the storefront. Island Mercantile is one of the larger gift shops at the Parks and always features a number of unique products. It’s good to see Disney reopen this guest favorite.

Resort Hotels

In-Room Fireworks? Stream “Happily Ever After” At WDW Resort Hotels: A lot of changes have been implemented at Disney World lately, one of them being no nighttime shows or fireworks. “Happily Ever After,” the current nighttime Castle Show at the Magic Kingdom, quickly became a fan favorite. To help alleviate some of the disappointment guests may have for not seeing the show in person, Disney Resorts will now be streaming a pre-recorded “Happily Ever After” on the in-room TVs. It’s not quite the same as the real thing, but it’s better than nothing! Guests are also able to stream “Happily Ever After” on the Disney Parks YouTube page.

 

Construction Of Disney’s Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Continues: Construction is moving right along on Disney’s Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, a boutique resort that will provide an all-inclusive two-day, two-night aboard the starship Halcyon. Experiences include a lightsaber training event, drinks in the Silver C Lounge, and a tour of the ship’s engineering room.  These are in addition to an exclusive experience that will take place in Batuu, the land of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Photographs of the current construction can be viewed on the main article here.

Construction continues on the Galactic Starcruiser resort. Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Construction continues on the Galactic Starcruiser resort. Photo credits (C) Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Walt Disney Company

3rd Quarter Earnings Show A $2 Billion Loss: The Parks, Experiences, and Products segment of the business lost $2.0 billion in the 3rd quarter.  Revenue decreased by 85% to $1.0 billion. Decreases in both domestic and international parks lead to the decreases.  Merchandising and retail decreases also contributed to the loss, but to a lesser extent. The company’s third-quarter revenue was $11.78 billion, which was 41.8% lower than last year.  Disney believes that the Coronavirus caused the overall company to use $2.9 billion.

Name Change-Disney Parks Mom Panel: 2020 has been a year of change at the Walt Disney Company. Leadership transitions, attraction closures, and COVID-19 protocols are just some of the changes brought upon the parks. Now, a name change of the Disney Parks Mom Panel, an official Disney Question and Answer Board, is live. The panel will now be known as planDisney. Visitors to the site will still have full access to the over 100,000 questions/answers from previous years.

Noteworthy

  • New Jungle Cruise 65th Anniversary merchandise available at the Disney Parks.
  • Photos of Loungefly’s new Halloween 2020 line were made available online.
  • Special Edition runDisney Star Wars Spirit Jerseys now posted on Shop Disney.
  • From now until August 14, 2020, Annual Passholders can get 30% off their shopDisney order.
  • On Monday, August 3, 2020, Sprinkles, a bake shop at Disney Springs, reopened for guest entry post COVID-19 closure.
  • Disney+ officially surpassed 60 Million subscribers, all within their first year.
  • The live-action remake of Mulan, initially set to release in theaters, will now be released on the Disney+ service for an additional $30 fee.
  • Aloha Isle’s Raspberry + Pineapple Dole Whip returned to Adventureland.
  • EPCOT’s Morocco Pavilion closed the Tangerine Cafe.
  • Disney Cruise Line selections are no longer available online, suspensions in place now through October.

What Disney news surprised you most this week?