by Beth Keating
June 27, 2020
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise across parts of the United States, including, most notably, Florida, Disney is facing a wave of additional cancellations and changes. That includes another rescheduling for the release of Mulan.
The biggest hit is the delayed reopening of its Disneyland California parks, announced earlier this week after the news that state officials would not be releasing theme park reopening guidelines until after July 4th. That assured that Disneyland would not have the necessary timeframe to be up and running for their originally proposed July 17 reopening.
And despite the fact that some Disney Springs venues only opened in the last few days, they are already shutting their doors under an emergency order yesterday from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. In a ban on alcohol consumption at bars, the Florida Department announced, “Effective immediately, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide.” The ruling stated that any business that derives “more than 50 percent of gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages” must close. It appears that, at this point, the larger restaurants at Disney Springs may continue operating and serving drinks with meals, but small venues, such as Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar and Dockside Margaritas, are closed. No end date to the order was given.
On Friday, Disney Vacation Club cancelled their planned Moonlight Magic events for July and August at Typhoon Lagoon Water Park at Disney World.
Disney also extended cancellations of its cruise lines. According to their release, “Disney Cruise Line is cancelling Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy sailings through September 15, 2020. Disney Cruise Line has already suspended Disney Wonder sailings through September 14, 2020 and Disney Magic sailings through October 2, 2020.” Disney Cruise Line/Adventures by Disney has also extended the suspension of departures from Europe through October 2, 2020, and departures from Canada through September 14, 2020. Adventures by Disney has made the decision to suspend departures of its tours through Tuesday, September 15, 2020.
The United States isn’t the only locale struggling with travel related issues. Yahoo! Finance announced that The TUI travel agency, one of Europe’s largest tourism companies, will be canceling all U.K. vacations to Florida until December.
D23: The Official Disney Fan Club announced that they are postponing their Destination D: Fantastic Worlds event. “Due to the global impact of the COVID-19 virus and protocols necessary to ensure social distancing, we have made the difficult decision to postpone this year's Destination D event until 2021,” reports the D23 website. “We plan to announce a new date for Destination D later this year and will continue to host exclusive virtual events throughout 2020.” The three day event, scheduled for November 20-22, was due to happen at Disney World in Florida.
And finally, on a potentially brighter note, the live-action version of Mulan has been rescheduled for August 21st. (Rescheduling is better than cancelling, right?) Originally scheduled for a March 27 release date, then bumped to July 24th, COVID-19 cancellations brought down the curtain in most U.S. theaters, which have yet to open. Additionally, movie theaters in China, one of the markets expected to see the biggest ticket sales for Mulan, have remained closed.
In Friday’s Variety, Walt Disney Studios' co-chairmen Alan Horn and Alan Bergen offered, “While the pandemic has changed our release plans for 'Mulan' and we will continue to be flexible as conditions require, it has not changed our belief in the power of this film and its message of hope and perseverance. Director Niki Caro and our cast and crew have created a beautiful, epic, and moving film that is everything the cinematic experience should be, and that's where we believe it belongs -- on the world stage and the big screen for audiences around the globe to enjoy together.”
Reading between the thinly veiled lines, it seems as if August 21st might end up as only the most recently scheduled release date for Mulan. Expect more date changes as COVID-19 continues to throw a curve ball at reopening plans. At least Mulan, it appears, will not go the route of Artemis Fowl, with its release directly to Disney+, and will instead head to theaters – whenever that might turn out to be.
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Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.