In this edition of Theme Park Bits:
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is headed to Disneyland.
- The Hard Rock Cafe is sticking around at Universal Orlando for a long time.
- More reservation details at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge have come out.
- And more!
There’s plenty of new attractions being installed at the Disneyland Resort, but that doesn’t mean that the Imagineers are done adding to the original park. That’s part of what inspired the recent announcement that Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is coming to Mickey’s Toontown, likely around 2022. From the scuttlebutt online — though none of it’s confirmed as of yet — this doesn’t mean anything is being replaced. Instead, the new attraction, themed to the wonderfully funny new Mickey Mouse shorts on the Disney Channel, will go in what’s currently a backstage area. It’s a bold move to install this ride, since it’s still not opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (and is now delayed until spring of next year). But here’s hoping the new ride is worth the wait.
The Hard Rock Cafe in Universal Orlando’s CityWalk has been a staple for a long time. And whether you’re a hard-rock fan or just a fan of kitschy theme restaurants, it’s good news for you! Because the Hard Rock Cafe’s lease just got extended by a grand total of 20 years, ensuring that the eatery will be at CityWalk through the year 2039. The Orlando version of the Hard Rock Cafe has been around for 20 years already, making it just a year away from being a rambunctious 21-year old.
In case you hadn’t heard, Disneyland is unveiling a brand new, Star Warsstarting-themed land dubbed Galaxy’s Edge at the end of May. And it’s exceptionally difficult to get into, at least for the first three weeks. (Because I’m sure it’ll be a breeze to walk through after June 23.) For the first three weeks Galaxy’s Edge is open, reservations are required and May 2 at 8:00 a.m. PT, you can learn how to make one. The easiest way is already likely impossible — staying on property ensures you’ll get a reservation. Otherwise, prepare yourself to be up early and pray to whatever deity you believe in that a reservation is available. Godspeed, and of course, may the Force…well, you know the rest.
On Earth Day 2019, Disney celebrated by announcing the debut of an updated version of the Disney’s Animal Kingdom nighttime show “Rivers of Light”. The new show, “Rivers of Light: We Are One”, will be here this summer right around Memorial Day, and incorporates “familiar animal characters from Disneynature films”. (Let’s for the moment leave aside the fact that the animals in Disneynature films are real animals, and not characters. And frankly, considering the box office for these films, they’re probably not very familiar to most people.) Adding in both animated and live-action animals to the show is unsurprising, but better for Animal Kingdom to embrace its roots than shy away from them.
There are few guarantees in life: death, taxes, and increases to theme-park tickets. The latter one usually applies to whatever bumps in pricing Disney puts on its own tickets. But here’s today’s twist — this story is about Universal Orlando bumping up its prices. This ticket increase impacts the 1-day, 1-park ticket, and boosts the cost by $11 to anywhere from $115 – $135. The fun/creepy part is that this increase didn’t just happen yesterday — it happened a little while ago, and people just noticed it now. That may not be the most encouraging news for Universal, because when Disney makes these changes, people get mad immediately.
It’s hard to believe that we’re still a few months away from the unveiling of the Skyliner gondolas at Walt Disney World. This fall, the Skyliner will connect Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as well as a number of the resort hotels in between, as a way to improve upon the in-resort transportation for guests. The latest update includes a video that showcases all the ways in which the Skyliner can glide its guests through 300 or so cabins, all themed to different characters, high in the sky. As transportation options go, this may not be the slickest, but it still looks like it could be awfully exciting.
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