Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Tiana's Bayou Adventure Debuts Summer 2024

Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog



In a somewhat surprising move, Disney announced today that the Walt Disney World version of Tiana's Bayou Adventure is set to open in summer 2024.  This post will talk about what was said in that announcement, as well as commentary on why now and an attempt to narrow down that timeframe even further.  Plus we'll look at some of these new audio animatronics!


I said above that this is somewhat surprising, as Tiana's was originally announced with a "late 2024" tag.  Really, the ORIGINAL original announcement was way back in 2020, when the parks were closed and there just wasn't all that much to talk about.  I'm treating the December 2022 announcement as the "official" one, as that shared concept art and at least started the clock on the new attraction.  Splash Mountain officially closed in January 2023.


Thursday, January 11, 2024

Requiem for Country Bear Jamboree

 


Disney recently announced an official closing date for the Country Bear Jamboree at Magic Kingdom.   There really isn't anything groundbreaking in this announcement, as we knew this was coming back at Destination D23 in September.  But we can talk about what other little substance there was to this announcement, though most of all, I wanted to expand a bit on what I said in that longer D23 post, now that the end is actually (almost) here.

 

Disney often likes to say things like "coming in 2024", and this was just one of the many things that were talked about with a vague time frame.  I had foolishly hoped that I would have one more opportunity to see this show in all of its kitschy, animatronic glory when we visited in April.  But alas, Disney is going to get to work on the new show starting on January 27, and it won't reopen in its new (improved?) form until "summer" (another vague timeline that surely comes after our April trip).


Saturday, January 6, 2024

End of 2023 Wait Times - Busiest Week of the Year

 


We haven't done a crowd report on the blog lately, and this one is sadly overdue.  But I thought it would be a good idea to look back at the crowds during typically what is the busiest week of the year on the Disney World calendar - the week between Christmas and New Year.  This post will take a look at exactly those wait times and see whether it follows the recent trends of busiest days of the week, as well as trying to put into context just how busy it actually was (spoiler: busy!)



As always, our wait time data comes from Thrill Data.  Wait times don't always tell the full story of how crowded the parks are, but they are at least hard numbers, which carry more weight than anecdotes from guests who were there.  No one can be in all places, all the time, so wait times represent the best way of measuring just how busy things are/were.  


Thursday, January 4, 2024

Free Dining is BACK!

 


Disney recently announced that Free Dining (capitalized!) is returning to Walt Disney World in 2024.  In this post, we'll talk about the specifics, and discuss the timing and what it might mean for crowds late into next year.  Free Dining is a BIG promotion - consumers like the word "free" and it has typically been one of Disney's go-to discounts.


First, let's talk about the actual meat and potatoes (pun intended!) of the offer.  It is available to Disney+ subscribers and is valid for most arrivals between July 1 and September 30, 2024.  First thing first here - this is as close as you're going to get for a general public offer.  Disney offers plenty of things to just Florida residents, or Disney Vacation Club members, etc.  The only "condition" in this case is being a Disney+ subscriber, which technically means that it's not for EVERYONE.  But Disney is (wisely) pushing their streaming service, and this is a good way to hook people who might not otherwise have a subscription.


Wednesday, December 20, 2023

The Little Mermaid - A Musical Adventure Coming to Hollywood Studios

Artist Rendering Courtesy of Disney Park Blog

 

Disney announced yesterday that a new stage show is coming to Hollywood Studios - "The Little Mermaid - A Musical Adventure."  This post will talk a little about what the show is, where it's going and the timing of the announcement.



This new show is going in the Animation Courtyard Theater at Hollywood Studios, which, (not so) coincidentally was the home of the former live action stage show based on this same movie, Voyage of the Little Mermaid.  That version was a (very) condensed retelling of the classic animated movie, squeezing the bare bones plot as well as a few classic songs into a 17 minute runtime.  My daughter (who was five at the time, and a big fan of the movie) famously said very loudly, "That's it?!" when the lights came on as the show ended.


Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Luminous The Symphony Of Us Review



The long awaited Epcot completion is finally at an end! Mostly - CommuniCore Hall is still (inexplicably) not open, but mostly everything else, largely revolving around the refresh of World Celebration, is now finished.  It was a long, strange journey that ended up both scaling back the initial, more grandiose plans for the area as well as took far too long, even given the pandemic.  A true double whammy.



But I have been on the record as saying that I would be satisfied once it was complete, because an open, inviting space was obviously preferable to the sea of construction walls that plagued Epcot for the better part of four years.  Being able to walk across the center of the park instead of having to get stuck in a long, looping path to get from one attraction to another is welcomed, regardless of how I feel about the end result.


Thursday, November 9, 2023

Disney Fourth Quarter Earnings Call Notes - Slow Playing Parks Investment

 


Disney had their fourth quarter (and therefore entire year) earnings call yesterday.  As always, a lot of what is talked about there is dense and numbers heavy, so I don't want to go into too much detail as it relates to the company as a whole.  This blog is focused on Walt Disney World, so I wanted to talk about a couple of things that came up related to the parks, as well as Disney reiterating yet again their plan to "turbocharge" investments into the parks.


In the "Experiences" segment (which is really Parks, Resorts and Experiences - I think the name keeps changing but it means large the same thing), operating income was up year over year.  This is good news!  The parks continue to be Disney's most successful sector, and Bob Iger once again commented on CNBC that the parks are "a great place to place our bets."