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Brought to fans, investors, entrepreneurs, executives, teachers, professors, and students by columnist, economist, novelist, reviewer, podcaster, business reporter and speaker Ray Keating

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Celebrate the “Year of the Ox” at Shanghai Disney Resort

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

January 19, 2021

 

From January 19 through February 26, Shanghai Disney Resort will be enjoying “A Spring Festival Spectacular” to welcome the Lunar New Year.  Special Chinese games, as well as the traditional sounds and tastes of the celebration, will bring park-goers the rich traditions and customs of a hometown Chinese Spring Festival. The resort will also be celebrating its Fifth Anniversary this year.



Shanghai Disney will be trimmed with festive holiday decorations and iconic Chinese symbols, and will play host to visits from Mickey Mouse and Duffy the Bear, dressed in special holiday attire.  “God of Fortune” Goofy will again be welcoming guests in traditional costume along Mickey Avenue. On February 12 (the first day of the Lunar New Year), Mickey and Minnie will make limited time appearances in outfits designed by famed Chinese designer Guo Pei.

 

This year’s celebration is marked by “The Year of the Ox,” and in honor of that occasion, Clarabelle Cow will be making her debut at Shanghai Disney Resort.   

 

According to Disney, a few new shows will also be unveiled during the Festival, including:

 

• “Our Families” - a unique show set to take place each night after the Nighttime Spectacular that will illuminate the castle with projections of Disney families – symbolizing hope and best wishes for guests in the year ahead.

 

• From February 8 through 14, the beautiful Shanghainese version of “Once Upon a Time” recorded by renowned Shanghainese actress, Pan Hong, will once again return to the Enchanted Storybook Castle, helping to immerse guests in local Shanghai culture.

 

• On Mickey Avenue, special shows will bring excitement and prosperity to the New Year as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Clarabelle Cow and more will preside over the “Spring Festival Drum Ceremony”, and guests will have the opportunity to swing in celebration of the New Year with the high-flying “Mickey Avenue Shanghai Swing!”

 

• Guests can also take in the resounding gong beats and impressive acrobatic moves of classic Spring Festival celebrations with the Lion Blessing on February 12 and the Dragon Parade running from February 12 through 16.

 

There will be additional activities scattered throughout the park during the celebration, including shopping opportunities for brand new limited release collectibles at Disneytown’s Spring Festival Wishing Star Market. Also at the market, guests can join interactive games “and take part in traditional cultural experiences such as dough figurine, Chinese calligraphy, puppet show and shadow play” experiences. Paper cutting and dragon mask workshops will take place, and special snacks and traditional meals will be available throughout the Festival.

 

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Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.

 

Please support the efforts of DisneyBizJournal.com to bring news, analysis and commentary on Disney to readers such as yourself. Make a contribution right here via PayPal. Thanks!


 

Monday, January 18, 2021

Disneyland Paris Delays Reopening

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

January 18, 2021

 

And yet another Disney theme park finds themselves stymied by the coronavirus. Disneyland Paris has announced they are now keeping their fingers crossed for a reopening on April 2, 2021.



Disneyland Paris has had a roller coaster ride of openings, closings and reopenings. After closing in March for the initial French shutdowns, they reopened to park guests on July 15.  They closed again October 29 due to rising COVID-19 numbers in Europe, with dashed hopes of a partial opening for the December shopping holiday from December 19 – January 3. (See the previous DisneyBizJournal story here.)  They’ve remained closed since October, and had anticipated reopening again in February, but now find themselves aiming for a spring return.

 

Disney has said, “Due to the prevailing conditions in Europe, Disneyland Paris will not reopen on Feb. 13 as initially planned.  If conditions permit, we will reopen Disneyland Paris on April 2, 2021 and will welcome reservations from that date forward. Given the current context our plans continue to evolve, but please know that we will make every effort to share with you any updates as soon as it is possible. Please check back on the website for regular updates. If you have a booking with us during the closing period, please check here for our latest commercial conditions. We thank you for your continued loyalty and understanding during this difficult period.”

 

In addition, Disneyland Paris is anticipating reopening its hotels in phases, and will contact guests with bookings at the affected hotels directly.  Disney's Newport Bay Club and Disney's Hotel Santa Fe will reopen on April 2, 2021; Disney's Hotel Cheyenne and Disney's Davy Crockett Ranch will open on July 1, 2021; and Disney's Sequoia Lodge on October 23, 2021. The Disneyland Hotel will remain closed until further notice.

 

Disney advises guests with arrivals before April 2, “If you hold a reservation for an arrival date from 13 February to 1 April 2021, we are happy to offer the option up to 31 March 2021 to book the same holiday at the same price with the same advantages (including dine plans and transport). For a range of arrival dates from 2nd April 2021 to 30 March 2022, if your hotel is available at your chosen date. If your original hotel is not available, we will offer an equivalent package at Disney's Newport Bay Club, at no additional charge. If your original stay was at the Disneyland Hotel, we will refund the difference in price. If you prefer to rebook for a later date, you will be able to do so at the then prevailing rate.”

 

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Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.

 

Please support the efforts of DisneyBizJournal.com to bring news, analysis and commentary on Disney to readers such as yourself. Make a contribution right here via PayPal. Thanks!

 


Sunday, January 17, 2021

Limited Ticket Sales Resume at Tokyo Disneyland

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

January 17, 2021

 

Tokyo Disneyland has begun selling a limited number of 1-day Passports for January and February, following last week’s suspension of sales due to rising COVID numbers and under the guidance of local health authorities. 

 

Courtesy of Tokyo Disney Resort


As we reported here, ticket sales were originally suspended from January 9-February 7, with the parks limited to guests who had already purchased tickets, made reservations, or were successful in the Park Admission lottery.

 

A number of attractions, entertainment options, shops and restaurants also began operating with reduced capacities or experienced closures last week, and those reduced hours and capacities continue. “Happy Fair with Baymax,” scheduled to start January 13, was also postponed.

 

1-Day Passport tickets are now available for admissions up to February 19, 2021, and after February 20, admissions for February 20-26 will begin.  Additionally, tickets will only be available up until the parks hit capacity. According to the Tokyo Disneyland website, “Admissions to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea will be limited to Guests who have purchased fixed-date tickets from the Tokyo Disney Resort Online Reservations & Tickets website or the Tokyo Disney Resort App, or Guests who were successful in the Park admission lottery.”

 

Guests may purchase up to five tickets at a time, and as local conditions change, admissions policies may need to adapt as well. Check with Tokyo Disneyland ticket sales for the current restrictions.

 

According to Tokyo Disneyland, “Information about resuming sales for Fixed Date and Time Passports (from 10:30 a.m.) and Fixed Date and Time Passports (from 12 noon) will be announced on this [Tokyo Disneyland] website as soon as it becomes available.”

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Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.

 

Please support the efforts of DisneyBizJournal.com to bring news, analysis and commentary on Disney to readers such as yourself. Make a contribution right here via PayPal. Thanks!


 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

WandaVision Off to a Wonderfully Quirky Start

 by Ray Keating

Review

DisneyBizJournal.com

January 16, 2021

 

Finally, there’s a television show that combines my arcane knowledge of classic television sitcoms, and my love for Marvel Comics since childhood. Who would’ve thought such a thing would ever exist? But WandaVision is anything but typical, and it’s off to a wonderfully quirky and intriguing start on Disney+.

 


The first two episodes – without giving anything major away – offered the veneer of two classic sitcoms (clearly, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Bewitched), with clear signals that much more is at work below the surface. After all, this is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and if you saw Avengers: Endgame, then you know there’s a great deal more that will be revealed as to what’s actually occurring.

 

There are probably three main groups taking in WandaVision. The first are those with knowledge of key moments in the actual comic books in terms of the relationship between Wanda (a.k.a. Scarlett Witch) and the Vision. They are left wondering what parts of those comics might wind up on screen in this Disney+ series.

 

The second group knows the movies, understands how things ended for these two characters, and is trying to figure out what’s real and illusion.

 

And finally, there are those who have not watched the movies, don’t know the comics, and have flipped over because they have a Disney+ subscription. For that group, good luck. My advice is go back and watch the movies. If not, at least check out the first two Marvel Studios: Legends episodes on Disney+ focused on Wanda and Vision, and try to enjoy the mysterious ride.

 

WandaVision has a run of nine episodes, running through March 5. I’m certainly looking forward to the next seven Friday nights, expecting twists, turns, mysteries, revelations, action, and hopefully, more tips of the hat to classic sitcoms.

 

What happens after that? Well, two weeks later, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series premieres on Disney+.

 

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Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the  Pastor Stephen Grant novels and assorted nonfiction books. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

 

The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?

 

Keating’s new book Vatican Shadows: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel is the 13th thriller/mystery in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Get the paperback or Kindle edition at Amazon, or signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

 

You also can order his book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York  from Amazon or signed books  at RayKeatingOnline.com. His other recent nonfiction book is Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know

 

Please support the efforts of DisneyBizJournal.com to bring news, analysis and commentary on Disney to readers such as yourself. Make a contribution right here via PayPal. Thanks!


 

Friday, January 15, 2021

Disney Cuts Off Political Donations … Temporarily?

 by Ray Keating

Analysis

DisneyBizJournal.com

January 15, 2021

 

There’s plenty to be outraged about regarding the storming of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6. It was an ugly attack on our democracy and the peaceful transition of power while Congress was certifying the Electoral College votes.



The Walt Disney Company made a statement earlier this week by announcing that it would not be making political contributions to Members of Congress who did not vote to certify the Electoral College results.

 

Some have hailed Disney’s statement, along with similar declarations by other companies. Others don’t think businesses should be making political contributions at all. And of course, those who have ignored the facts and insist that the election was stolen, or believe that mere assertions of electoral theft warrant some kind of investigation, were not pleased at all by such statements.

 

Before anyone gets carried away with any of this (well, it’s too late for that), it pays to look at Disney’s actual statement. It said:

 

“The insurrection at our nation’s Capitol was a direct assault on one of country’s most revered tenets: the peaceful transition of power. In the immediate aftermath of that appalling siege, Members of Congress had an opportunity to unite – and opportunity that some sadly refused to embrace. In light of these events, we have decided we will not make political contributions in 2021 to lawmakers who voted to reject the certification of the Electoral College votes.”

 

Notice the following part of the statement: “we will not make political contributions in 2021.” Considering that there are no congressional elections in 2021, the statement tends to lose a good deal of its weight and power. The next congressional elections come in 2022. That leaves plenty of time for Disney to make contributions to whomever it chooses, and for whatever reasons it sees fit. Not surprisingly, the company has left itself plenty of wiggle room.

 

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Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the  Pastor Stephen Grant novels and assorted nonfiction books. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

 

The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?

 

Keating’s new book Vatican Shadows: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel is the 13th thriller/mystery in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Get the paperback or Kindle edition at Amazon, or signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

 

You also can order his book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York  from Amazon or signed books  at RayKeatingOnline.com. His other recent nonfiction book is Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know

 

Please support the efforts of DisneyBizJournal.com to bring news, analysis and commentary on Disney to readers such as yourself. Make a contribution right here via PayPal. Thanks!


 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Disneyland Cancels Annual Passport Program

 by Ray Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

January 14, 2021

 

There was a surprise from Disney today, but it wasn’t a happy one for many. Disneyland announced that it would be “sunsetting” its “current Annual Passport program.”

 

Disneyland has been closed since March 14, 2020, due to the coronavirus and related restrictions imposed in California. Those state guidelines likely mean that reopening Disneyland will not come until spring or summer, and then at 25 percent capacity with other related restrictions. Disney’s unhappiness with the California restrictions has been quite clear.



Disneyland’s statement did include the following: “We are developing new membership offerings that will utilize consumer insights to deliver choice, flexibility and value for our biggest fans. Once we have more information to share about future membership offerings, our Annual Passholders will be the first to hear from us.” Annual Passport holders will receive pro rata refunds.

 

In terms of further explanation, the Orange County Register’s report opened this way: “Disneyland has canceled its annual passholder program out of concern that demand by fans using the popular membership program could overwhelm Disney’s capacity-constrained Anaheim theme parks once an extended coronavirus closure eventually comes to an end.”

 

So, as for what the future holds, it’s a mystery regarding some kind of annual membership at Disneyland. 

 

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Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the  Pastor Stephen Grant novels and assorted nonfiction books. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

 

The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?

 

Keating’s new book Vatican Shadows: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel is the 13th thriller/mystery in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Get the paperback or Kindle edition at Amazon, or signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

 

You also can order his book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York  from Amazon or signed books  at RayKeatingOnline.com. His other recent nonfiction book is Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know

 

Please support the efforts of DisneyBizJournal.com to bring news, analysis and commentary on Disney to readers such as yourself. Make a contribution right here via PayPal. Thanks!

Disney Cruise Line Sailings Officially Cancelled Through March

 by Ray Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

January 14, 2021

 

Disney has made official what most people already knew, that is, the Disney Cruise Line has cancelled cruises through the end of March. But it’s probably best to not bet on April sailings either.



As part of its statement, Disney Cruise Line said, “We are carefully preparing for a return to service following the guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As we continue to refine our protocols and await further technical guidance from the CDC, we are cancelling all sailings departing through March 2021.”

 

Also, due to CDC guidelines, all cruises longer than 7 days have been cancelled.

 

Disney, once again, is offering a full credit for a future sailing or a refund to individuals who have booked reservations that must be cancelled.

 

What about beyond the end of March? Disney has said nothing, but it is worth noting that Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises have cancelled sailings at least through the end of April, with Princess scheduled to resume on May 14. Also, while Carnival Cruise Line’s latest announcement is that there will be no sailings through the end of March, several of its ships will be docked until later in the year.

 

While COVID-19 vaccines offer a light at the end of the tunnel, in the meantime, uncertain rollout of those vaccines, a spike in coronavirus cases, and rigorous and complex CDC cruise guidelines, combine to seriously question if sailings will resume in April or May.

 

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Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the  Pastor Stephen Grant novels and assorted nonfiction books. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

 

The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?

 

Keating’s new book Vatican Shadows: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel is the 13th thriller/mystery in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Get the paperback or Kindle edition at Amazon, or signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

 

You also can order his book Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York  from Amazon or signed books  at RayKeatingOnline.com. His other recent nonfiction book is Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know

 

Please support the efforts of DisneyBizJournal.com to bring news, analysis and commentary on Disney to readers such as yourself. Make a contribution right here via PayPal. Thanks!


 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Disneyland to Serve As Super Site for Vaccine Distribution

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

January 12, 2021

 

It’s been more than ten months since Disneyland closed its gates to guests hoping to ride “Pirates of the Caribbean” or “it’s a small world” in Anaheim. But in the effort to help stem the tide of the pandemic that brought its operations to a standstill, Disneyland will be partnering with Orange County to become the first large COVID-19 vaccination site in the county. Four additional sites are in the process of being finalized.



It’s no surprise that Disneyland was chosen for the task. It’s a sizeable facility, and Disney is certainly no stranger to moving large crowds. The site will become one of five regional “point-of-dispensing” sites, or “Super PODs,” vaccinating thousands of people each day.

 

Andrew Do, Acting Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, said in a press release, “The Disneyland Resort, the largest employer in the heart of Orange County, has stepped up to host the county’s first Super POD site – undertaking a monumental task in our vaccination distribution process.”

 

The goal of Orange County’s “Operation Independence” is to vaccinate all residents by July 4.

 

In Florida, where Disney World has already served as a COVID-19 testing site at its Maingate Complex, talks are underway to add vaccines to the mix. 

 

According to the Orlando Sentinel:

 

“Like hospitals across the state, Disney World has the capacity to store the vaccine with an ultracold freezer,” said state emergency director Jared Moskowitz during a virtual town hall with state Rep Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, last week.

 

“We have no ultracold freezer storage problems here in the state. There are plenty of hospitals with them. County health departments have them. Some universities have them. Disney World has one,” Moskowitz said, adding his department bought some, too.

 

For information about the Orange County California COVID-19 vaccination process, as well as who is eligible to receive vaccines and when, access the Orange County Health Care Agency’s website

 

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Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.

 

Please support the efforts of DisneyBizJournal.com to bring news, analysis and commentary on Disney to readers such as yourself. Make a contribution right here via PayPal. Thanks!

Monday, January 11, 2021

Disney Announces End of Magical Express Services; Retires Extra Magic Hours As Well

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

January 11, 2021

 

Get ready to dig a little deeper for your Disney vacations in 2022. Disney announced today that beginning January 1, 2022, they will no longer be offering Disney’s Magical Express service for airport transportation from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to the resort hotels.  



The Disney-run shuttle service between the airport and the Disney hotels allowed guests a convenient, quick and included way of getting from their flights to park property. The service will continue through the end of the year for guests with arrivals in 2021.

 

The decision to retire the free service will leave guests in the position of having to explore other options for getting to their Disney hotels, perhaps taking a rideshare the 30 minutes or so to Disney property; renting a car for the duration of their stay; or potentially, in the future, taking Brightline’s high-speed rail service that is in the process of being built between the airport and Disney Springs. (See our earlier DisneyBizJournal story here.)  

 

Earlier this year, when the parks reopened following their COVID-19 closure, Disney eliminated the portion of the Magical Express service whereby cast members handled transferring guests’ luggage directly from their flights to their hotel rooms, allowing guests to drop their suitcases at their home airport and not see or handle them again until they arrived in their Disney hotel room.  Guests could get right off a flight, bypass luggage pick-up, and head straight to a park to begin their fun without worrying about their belongings.

 

Disney has stated, “For nearly 50 years, Walt Disney World Resort has continued to evolve the guest experience to best suit the changing times. As we plan for the future, we are looking at how needs and preferences are changing across the travel industry, particularly in the way people want to get places faster, at their convenience. Vacationers have more options to choose from than ever for transportation, including ride-share services that save time and offer more flexibility to go where they want, when they want.”

 

While they will be eliminating the Magical Express airport services, Disney has assured guests that transportation options within the parks, such as the buses to and from the resort hotels and the four theme parks, as well as the monorails and Skyliner, will remain complimentary.

 

As a family that has made use of Magical Express many times in the past, this comes as a big disappointment. The perk of having the cost of transportation to our Disney hotel included in the package price of our vacation certainly made a difference in how many days we could spend at the park. When the kids were younger, the ease of not having to collect suitcases at the luggage carousels and struggle out to a rental car with car seats, strollers, and suitcases in tow, all while wrangling toddlers, was definitely a plus for us, and on more than one occasion, tipped the scales toward visiting Disney for a family vacation versus going elsewhere. Disney certainly made it easier to “get there from here,” increasing the likelihood that we would be spending our vacation dollars at the House of Mouse.

 

Disney also announced today that they will be retiring their rotating “Extra Magic Hours” program, replacing it with an extra 30 minutes early entry each morning, every morning for Disney hotel guests. (Extra Magic Hours did not return with the park reopenings in July, so essentially, Extra Magic Hours will not be returning at all).  

 

Under the new “Early Theme Park Entry” program, which will be available every day, Disney hotel guests will be able to enter any of the four parks a half hour before the park opens to the general public. Previously, different parks were available for Extra Magic Hours on rotating days, but now all four parks will have early access each day. The new access will begin later this year as part of Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration (specific date to be announced later).

 

Disney Parks Blog states, “The new early theme park entry benefit helps us better spread visitation across all four theme parks, while providing added flexibility by giving guests extra early park time on each day of their vacation and in the park of their choosing.”

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Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.

 

Please support the efforts of DisneyBizJournal.com to bring news, analysis and commentary on Disney to readers such as yourself. Make a contribution right here via PayPal. Thanks!


 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Tokyo Disney to Curtail Hours and Park Admissions Amidst COVID-19 Rise

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

January 9, 2021

 

In response to recommendations from government health officials, and amidst rising COVID-19 numbers, Oriental Land Company, the owners of Tokyo Disneyland, have cut back park hours for the remaining weeks of January by closing the parks earlier in the evening, adding that “park opening time may vary depending on the day.”


Courtesy of Tokyo Disney Resort


In addition, beginning January 9 until February 7, 2021, ticket sales have been suspended, and the number of guests admitted to the Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea Parks will be limited. The Tokyo Disneyland website notes that at both Disneyland and DisneySea, “Attractions, entertainment, shops, and restaurants will operate with reduced capacity or will be closed.”

 

Guests holding current tickets will still be permitted to visit the parks, with health and safety guidelines in place. According to Tokyo Disneyland, “Based on the state of emergency announced by the Japanese government and requests from local authorities, sales of Park tickets for admissions on or after January 9 will be temporarily suspended as we set up our ticket sales system. An announcement will be made on this [Tokyo Disneyland] website when Park ticket sales become available again. Guests who have already purchased tickets, made reservations, or have been successful in the Park admission lottery at this time will be able to enter the Park.”

 

Restaurant availability may also be affected by these changes. Disney advises, “Due to the change in operating hours for restaurants, you may not be able to use your Priority Seating eligibility even if booked in advance. We will send an email to Guests who are affected by the change.” Changes to dining reservations will be impacted through at least February 7.

 

The Resort has cancelled their nightly fireworks shows as well, and the new “Happy Fair with Baymax,” originally scheduled to start January 13, will also be postponed.

 

Currently, there is a travel ban in place, preventing non-resident foreign travelers from entering Japan. Residents arriving in Japan must also undergo a two-week quarantine upon arrival, and show proof of negative COVID test results.

 

Tokyo Disneyland reopened July 1 after earlier COVID-19 closures in February, and was one of the first parks to bring back fireworks shows, parades, and traditional character meet-and-greets.

 

For up-to-date announcements on ticket sales and park closures, head to the Tokyo Disneyland webpage.

 

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Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.

 

Please support the efforts of DisneyBizJournal.com to bring news, analysis and commentary on Disney to readers such as yourself. Make a contribution right here via PayPal. Thanks!