Tag: Walt Disney World

Splash Mountain Will Be Reimagined As ‘Princess & the Frog’ Ride

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In recent weeks, fans have petitioned Disney to retheme its popular Splash Mountain ride because it is based on Song of the South, the company’s most controversial movie. The ride first opened at Disneyland in 1989, shortly after the film’s 40th anniversary and around the same time Disney stopped making the movie available because of its stereotypical and racist depictions of African Americans. (If you’ve never watched Song of the South — which Disney has kept out of circulation for decades — everything you want to know about the movie is right here.)

Two more Splash Mountains opened at Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland in 1992, where they have remained amongst the most popular attractions ever since. No wonder; it’s an entertaining log flume ride with impressive animatronics and great songs like the famous “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.” But even if Disney has kept Song of the South out of public view, it’s still the movie that birthed the attraction, which is why many have wanted it changed.

Finally, this week, Disney announced they will “reimagine” Splash Mountain with a new concept is based on The Princess and the Frog that will be “one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by.”

More details, via Disney Parks Blog:

The theme is inspired by an all-time favorite animated Disney film, “The Princess and the Frog.” We pick up this story after the final kiss, and join Princess Tiana and Louis on a musical adventure – featuring some of the powerful music from the film – as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance

This will be the first attraction based on Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, which came out in 2009 as the first Disney movie featuring an African American princess. Those who’ve argued in favor of a rethemed Splash Mountain have often cited The Princess and the Frog as a perfect replacement, since the story’s aquatic setting — much of the action takes place in the bayou — would work perfectly with the ride’s log flume concept. To me, it makes total sense. (In the blog post, Disney says it has been working on the ride “since last year.”)

There is no announced date for the reimagined Splash Mountain’s reopening but Disney did say “conceptual design work is well underway.”

Gallery — Cool Movie Theme Park Rides That Were Never Finished:


Everything New on Disney Plus in July

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Disney+ gets one of its biggest titles since the service launched last fall when the movie version of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s award-winning musical, premieres on July 3. Disney says the “Hamilfilm” mixes “the best elements of live theater, film and streaming to bring the cultural phenomenon to homes around the world for a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

The month will also see the addition of the new series Rogue Trip, “a travel guide to all the places the average tourist is least likely to venture,” the vintage A Pre-Opening Report from Disneyland TV show, and the new series from the Muppets, Muppets Now. Here’s the full list of what’s new on Disney+ in July:

Friday, July 3

New Library Titles

Animal ER (S1-2)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
Ice Age: Collision Course
Ice Road Rescue (S1-4)
Race to Witch Mountain (2009)
The Big Green
The Mighty Ducks

Getty Images

Disney+ Originals

Hamilton (Premiere)
Pixar in Real Life - Episode 109, “UP: Balloon Cart Away”
Disney Family Sundays - Episode 135, “Peter Pan: Shadow Box Theater”
One Day At Disney - Episode 131, “Zama Magudulela: The Lion King Madrid, Spain”
It's a Dog's Life with Bill Farmer - Episode 108, “Movie Star Dogs & Hounds and Horses”

Friday, July 10

New Library Titles

Critter Fixers: Country Vets (S1)
Gigantosaurus (S1)
Secrets of the Zoo (S3)
Solo: A Star Wars Story

Disney+ Originals

Disney Family Sundays - Episode 136, “Lilo and Stitch: Family Tree”
One Day At Disney – Episode 132, “Marc Smith: Story Artist”
It's a Dog's Life with Bill Farmer - Episode 109, “Movie Star Dogs & Hounds and Horses”


Friday, July 17

New Library Titles

A Pre-Opening Report from Disneyland
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
Disney Junior Music Lullabies
Lost City of Machu Picchu
Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! (S1-2)
The Mousketeers at Walt Disney World
Wild Chile (S1)

Disney+ Originals

Disney Family Sundays - Episode 137, “Moana: Tomato Photo Holder”
One Day At Disney - Episode 133, “Mike Davie: Imagineering Project Manager”
It's a Dog's Life with Bill Farmer - Season Finale, “Snake Search Dogs & Hawaiian Conservation Dogs”

Friday, July 24

New Library Titles

Wild Congo (S1)
Wild Sri Lanka (S1)

Disney+ Originals

Rogue Trip, All Episodes 101 – 108
Disney Family Sundays - Episode 138, “he Jungle Book: Finger Puppet”
One Day At Disney - Episode 134, “Chris Cristi: Helicopter Reporter”


Friday, July 31

New Library Titles

Alaska Animal Rescue (S1)
Animal Showdown (S1)
Best Job Ever (S1)
Big Cat Games
Cradle of the Gods
Destination World (S1)
Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet (S8)
Fearless Adventures with Jack Randall (S1)
Hidden Kingdoms of China
Hunt for the Abominable Snowman
India’s Wild Leopards
Jungle Animal Rescue (S1)
King Fishers (S1)
Lost Temple of the Inca
Marvel Funko (S1-2)
Surviving the Mount St. Helens Disaster
Weirdest, Bestest, Truest (S1)
What Sam Sees (S1)

Disney+ Originals

Muppets Now - Premiere Episode 101, “Due Date”
Disney Family Sundays - Episode 139, “Mickey and Minnie: Pillows”
One Day At Disney - Episode 135, “Lauren Cabo: Imagineering Portfolio Creative Executive”

Gallery — The Best TV Shows on Disney+:

NBA Players May Get to See ‘Black Widow’ Before Anyone Else

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The NBA is getting ready to resume its season for the first time since March 11, when the league shut down following the discovery of Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert’s positive test for coronavirus. The season is expected to continue starting on July 31, with all games played at — and all teams housed at — Walt Disney World’s sprawling complex in Orlando, Florida.

The logistics of moving an entire professional sports league to a theme park and its surrounding property is still being worked out, and reported on daily by the sports media. That includes what Disney World hotels teams will stay in (the Grand Destino, the Grand Floridian, and the Yacht Club) and things like who is permitted into what areas and when, in order to keep the risk of exposure to coronavirus as low as possible.

In a long Twitter thread about the precautions and preparations underway in Orlando right now, Yahoo! Sports’ Keith Smith dropped this interesting tidbit: According to his sources at Walt Disney World, considerations are being given to what sort of entertainment can be provided to the NBA players and their families during their downtime between games and practices (remember, they’re not supposed to go anywhere so that no one comes into contact with someone who’s infected). Those entertainment options apparently include Disney movies. “This is likely to include movies that have not been released to the general public,” Smith writes, “including Marvel’s Black Widow.”

Black Widow was scheduled for release in theaters on May 1, 2020, then got bumped by the coronavirus pandemic to November 6, 2020. Given that it was just weeks away from release before its postponement, it is almost certainly finished and sitting on a computer server somewhere, waiting for theaters to reopen. A lot of Marvel fans are probably very jealous of NBA employees right now — if not full-on trying to figure out how to get a gig working for the league in Orlando so they can sneak into a screening.

Gallery — The Weirdest Marvel Products You Can Buy:

‘Star Wars’ Stormtroopers Set Social Distancing Example at Disney

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Leave it to Walt Disney World to add some extra magic to guests' shopping experience as the Disney Springs complex opens its gates to the public. In advance of Disney World’s official July reopening date, limited character interactions have resumed — at a distance, of course. In a recent video posted by Attractions Magazine, two Stormtroopers stand on a balcony overlooking the outdoor mall. The Stormtroopers, a male and female, engage in a series of witty exchanges commenting on those walking below. The best part? They hilariously incorporate the concept of social distancing into their bit. Check out the full video below:

At one point, the male Stormtrooper suggests the two of them show the humans below who’s in charge. He points at the passersby below, exclaiming, “Hey! You! With the face covering.” The female Stormtrooper replies, “They all have face coverings.” They also note that guests face coverings are “probably nicer than these helmets.” As always, the Stormtroopers are scanning the crowd for a Resistance spy among them. Another clever moment is when the male Stormtrooper starts rattling off facts about banthas, the long-haired ox-like creatures ridden by the Tusken Raiders. The annoyed female Stormtrooper snaps back with: “Yeah, I’m going to need you to move one old male bantha’s length away, please.” Talk about a burn.

This little display is just a taste of what we'll most likely be getting when Disney World reopens completely. Characters will have to be extra conscious of maintaining 6 feet of distance with park guests, being careful not to give out high fives or hugs. There’s a huge chance these rules will become incorporated into each characters’ dialogue. For Stormtroopers, this will be pretty easy — they're not really big on cuddling.

Gallery — Every Star Wars Movie Ranked From Worst to Best:

Universal Orlando Announces Reopening Plan For Theme Parks

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The theme parks of Universal Orlando Resort have been closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. An originally planned March 31 reopening was pushed back to April 19 as conditions worsened. Mid-April came and went a month ago; Universal’s parks remain closed to the public. (Its CityWalk shopping area reopened for “limited operations” last week.)

But today, Universal submitted its reopening plans to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force. They suggested a phased reopening in three stages, with the Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventures parks opening back up to the public as early as June 5, just a few weeks from now. Here is what they proposed:

  • June 1 & 2: Team members only
  • June 3 & 4: Invited guests and possibly Passholders
  • June 5: Open to public
  • According to CNN, “all guests will be required to wear face masks and go through temperature screenings to enter the parks.” Guests who do not have masks will be provided a disposable one. And the plan calls for “reduced capacity” for the Universal parks, although it’s not clear at this time exactly how reduced attendance will be.

    The plan is not definitive yet; it still needs to be approved by the local government. There were rumors that Disney would submit its own proposal for reopening Walt Disney World’s parks today, but that did not occur. While its Disney Springs shopping and dining area reopened this week with social distancing guidelines, there’s still no timetable for the reopening of Disney’s American parks. For now, it looks like Universal will be getting the jump on its competition. For better or worse.

    Gallery — Amazing Movie-Based Theme Park Rides That Were Never Made:

    Disney World’s Disney Springs Complex Reopens To Long Lines

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    After just over two months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida has slowly begun to reopen its doors this morning. The first section of the park to allow guests is the Disney Springs shopping and dining complex. As the stay-at-home orders on Florida residents loosen, Disney fans are wasting no time in returning to the small portion of the resort that is officially open for business. As many Twitter users observed, Disney Springs opened up to lines of people waiting to get inside.

    However, the new Disney experience is radically different than pre-pandemic. Guests are required to wear face masks, and have to pass through a temperature check to assure that they are healthy. Similar to your local grocery store, Disney has put directional signage on portions of the ground to help visitors maintain social distance. Here, you can get a sense of what it’s like to walk around Disney Springs with the new regulations in effect:

    And here’s another video that presents the recorded safety message that will play throughout the complex throughout the day:

    As of now, only sub-contracted stores are allowed to open inside Disney Springs. Next week, Disney will reopen its eateries and the World of Disney retail store. There’s still no reopening date for any of the Walt Disney World theme parks, but Disney CEO Bob Chapek predicts it will be sooner rather than later. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chapek said during an earnings call, “We want to open up as soon as we can across the world, but we are going to do so in a responsible way. We want to get our cast back to work as soon as possible.”

    Gallery — Amusement Park Rides That Were Never Built: