Welcome to DisneyBizJournal.com - News, Analysis and Reviews of the Disney Entertainment Business!

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

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Where Should You Eat at Disney If Not Ready to Eat Indoors During COVID?

 by Beth Keating

Review

DisneyBizJournal.com

March 2, 2021

 

The pictures on the evening news might have you thinking that everyone is smiling happily, and returning to eating out at restaurants following COVID lockdowns. Despite what your TV might be telling you, not everyone is ready to head indoors and dine at their favorite restaurant. A lot of us are still bringing take-out home, and cooking from scratch in our own kitchens.

 

On a recent non-vacation journey to central Florida, we found ourselves trying to figure out how to eat dinner each day without resorting to a week’s worth of drive-thru food eaten in the comfort of our car.  Here’s a list of some of the dining choices that we discovered at Disney that allowed us to have dinner, comfortably seated outdoors, adequately socially distanced, and without needing theme park passes.


 

Geyser Point, Wilderness Lodge:  This was one of our two favorite choices on Disney property. Seated near the shores of Bay Lake, we were able to dine under an open air roof, watching the boats ferrying guests back and forth to the theme parks. The chairs were super comfortable, and some guests were even seated on cushioned couches and low coffee tables. Big screen TVs played varying sports, and the menu was casual, yet delicious. Think rustic National Parks lodge motif. We were seated at the very edge of the roofline, along the line of shrubbery, and with the more-than-adequate distance between tables, we were almost able to feel like we were dining in a garden overlooking the water.  QR codes provided the means to access the menu from our phone. We’d definitely head back to this relaxing locale again. And probably will, as the food was terrific! 


 

Three Bridges Bar and Grill, Coronado Springs: A similar open-sided design to Geyser Point, Three Bridges is out in the middle of the lake, connected by – shocker- three bridges. D├ęcor is southwestern, with seating again on comfy couches, or wooden tables. The open air restaurant gets great breezes from the lake, and is particularly pretty at night when the lights from the tower reflect off the water.  Staff here was especially attentive, checking temperatures on the way in to the restaurant, offering small plates to rest your mask on, and parking hand sanitizer stations near all the entrances and bathrooms. QR codes again accessed the menu from your phone for less physical contact.  And the food was excellent, too!  This was the overall winner in our central Florida dining experience.  See our dining review here.

 

D-Luxe Burger, Disney Springs: D-Luxe Burger is a quick-serve restaurant that is hooked in to Disney’s mobile order system.  Using your My Disney Experience app, or by pulling up the app using your phone and the QR code at the restaurant, staff interaction is kept to a minimum.  Order your food online, pick it up at the counter when it’s ready, and pick a seat at the umbrella tables outside on the dock. We dined here in the late afternoon, when Disney Springs crowds were low. We chose a table overlooking the blue springs, and were able to enjoy the scenery while we ate. While we were the only ones seated at the dockside umbrella tables at that hour, it is possible that on a busy night, your distancing might be a little less “distanced” than you’d prefer. All in all, the burgers were good, the shakes even better, and it was a solid choice for eating outdoors.



The Polite Pig, Disney Springs: The Polite Pig doesn’t have nearly as much space, or as many tables, for eating outdoors as some of the other options at Disney Springs due to its location near a central walkway, but the food is so good and the tables turn over so quickly that if you pass by at an opportune time and see some open spaces, it’s worth the stop!  The mac and cheese is a solid choice for a side (we actually brought some back to the hotel room to eat), and the coffee-rubbed brisket was worth writing home about.  There’s even an outdoor bar, should you be so inclined after a hard day’s work… or park hopping.

 

The BOATHOUSE, Disney Springs: If you are feeling a little more upscale, The BOATHOUSE offers outside dining on a dock overlooking Lake Buena Vista where you can watch the amphicars plying the waterways. They have a brand new Sunday brunch as well, and are known for their extraordinarily fresh selection of seafood, especially for their oysters.



Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, Disney Springs: This little place in Disney Springs has been a favorite for our family on several occasions, mainly because of the kitschy “Indiana Jones” and “Star Wars” tie-ins. They have outdoor seating right on the water, and they are typically open late so you can grab a bite after you get done with meetings – or the theme parks! 

 

These are just a few of the choices we came across when we were in the Disney area. Disney Springs certainly has plenty of other options, from the outside upper decks at Morimoto Asia, Wine Bar George and Paddlefish, to the rotating selection of food trucks where you can find your own table. Blaze Pizza is super quick, and has a plethora of picnic tables outdoors. Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ is a favorite among locals (get the fried chicken), and has an outdoor patio and “Shine Bar.”  Cookes of Dublin has a smaller outdoor patio, and there are a number of grab-and-go spots like Earl of Sandwich and Morimoto Asia Street Food that have outside tables sprinkled nearby, and of course, there are always the pool bars at the resorts, which almost always have outside dining tables, if you don’t mind a few wet kiddos running by!  

 

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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, March 1, 2021

Stay Calm & Enjoy Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head

 by Chris Lucas

Guest Column

DisneyBizJournal.com

March 1, 2021

 

See the two names circled in the photo? Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head.

 


Despite the usual suspects whipping up gullible people who don’t read past headlines into outrage, Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head aren’t going anywhere. Nobody is pushing any sort of agenda with the rebranding, either. Hasbro has simply renamed the overall “Potato” brand as a whole, to better reflect the fact that the line has close to 100 other products, besides the iconic duo.

 

Here are the facts.

 

Hasbro, the third biggest toy maker in the world (behind Namco-Bandai of Japan and LEGO of Denmark), has seen its sales on physical toys and games steadily slipping with most of their lines since 2010, when brick and mortar stores like Toys R Us - Hasbro’s biggest retail partner - started going under and the popularity of apps, instant downloads and iPads/iPhones for kids started zooming. Their Potato Head products are among those bleeding revenue for Hasbro every quarter. 

 

February is the annual Toy Fair month (this year it’s virtual) when companies announce their toy lines and plans for the upcoming Christmas season so that retailers, TV stations and buyers can be ready for the fall blitz and the publicity hype can begin. 

 

Hasbro chose this opportunity to put out a press release about their Potato Head re-branding for Christmas 2021. 

 

It’s business, pure and simple.

 

Like most Fortune 500 corporations, toy companies don’t operate in a vacuum. Every decision they make affects their bottom line and their shareholders. Money comes before anything else. Changes are not made on a whim. In the case of Hasbro, 80% of their shares are owned by institutional investors. If you have a 401K or Mutual Fund, chances are that a portion of your future lies with the success or failure of Hasbro. 

 

For the last five years, Hasbro has been conducting intense marketing tests and surveys with parents and children about their various product lines. One of the things they discovered about the Potato Head brand was that people didn’t know that there was more to it than just the plain old Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head dolls.

 

Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head have been around since the 1950s and are in the Toy Hall of Fame, but for most of today’s kids, the appeal of Mr. Potato Head is lagging. The largest portion of Potato Head sales in the last few years have come from their collectible lines of celebrity Potato Heads, using characters from pop culture TV shows and movies, and it’s usually adults buying those, not to play with but to display. A brand refresh was desperately needed.

 

Hasbro’s solution, for Christmas 2021 and beyond, was to create a fun and colorful new logo and brand simply called “Potato Head” that would encompass all of the toys, collectibles and sub-brands in the Potato Head line without the current confusing packaging saying things like “Mr. Potato Head’s Princess Leia Figure.”

 

Hasbro also has their own motion picture division. It’s part of their attempt to capitalize on their in house famous brands, like they did with their multi-billion dollar Transformers films (and, to a lesser extent, GI Joe and Battleship.) The Potato Head brand is going to be part of that division, as the new logo will be used for an animated movie, TV shows, video games, books, clothing, etc. that will introduce new and old characters into the Potato Head world universe, creating, hopefully, new demand and buzz. (There was a short lived Potato Head cartoon in the 1980s that did just that, adding about twenty new characters to the line, many of whom are still there.) 

 

Speaking of “Buzz,” there’s a complication.

 

The specific characters of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head have already been licensed to Disney/Pixar for movie and TV appearances by way of their popular Toy Story series. When Buzz Lightyear, Woody and their friends debuted in 1995, Mr. Potato Head - memorably voiced by Don Rickles - was a breakout star of the first film. Sales of Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, which had been dropping since the mid 1980s, rose 800% for Hasbro thanks to Toy Story and its sequels. They even redesigned their own product to look more like Disney’s version. 

 

Hasbro is contractually not allowed to produce their own TV shows and movies specifically about Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head. By creating a new Potato Head universe, independent of the two iconic characters who started it all, Hasbro cleverly gets to expand their line into other media without stepping on Disney’s toes and breaching their deal with them. 

 

Once again, money talks. 

 

Creating an umbrella name for a familiar brand is not unusual. 

 

Disney’s Consumer Division did it in 2005 with their line of Disney Princesses products, encompassing several characters under one logo without erasing the identity of those characters. Likewise, Peanuts has been doing the same since the 1960s, with individual Snoopy and Charlie Brown products sold under one banner. Mattel, Hasbro’s rival, has toys that most kids in the 1980s called “He-Man figures,” though the umbrella brand name is Masters of the Universe. Many people still call the original 1977 Star Wars film “Star Wars” though the brand name now encompasses all nine of the trilogy films and all of the spin-offs. See the pattern?

 

Companies like KFC and Dunkin’ in recent years have also taken to slightly tweaking their brand name and logos to essentially say, “Hey, we know that you think of us as this one product, but we have so many other things to offer that we are going to remove the original product name itself from our branding so as not to limit our appeal, but keep selling the original product anyway because we know you like it.” 

 

Finally, to the heart of why people are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill...


Hasbro is one of the companies that has recently committed itself to being more diverse and inclusive, especially when it comes to race and gender. This is a noble gesture, but seems to threaten some people, for some odd reason.

 

While the press release about the name brand change itself didn’t mention Hasbro’s diverse and inclusive mission, a company spokesperson did, and ignorant fools ran with this as an indication that “the sky is falling!” “Cancel culture is trying to ruin us!’ “They’re reshaping the landscape and controlling the narrative. They’re trying to control us!” And - of course - silly whataboutisms like, “But what are they doing about bigger problems like the homeless and hungry in this world? Why focus on changing the gender of a toy?! We are doomed!” (As if Hasbro, which actually does donate millions each year to charitable causes for children, has any say on ending hunger & homelessness.) 

 

Calm down there, folks. Nobody is trying to brainwash you or your children with this. It’s a business decision to bring a tired old toy brand into the 21st Century. You’ll still be able to buy the classic Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head toys with their names and appendages intact. Then you’ll be able to show folks exactly where on the doll Hasbro hurt you with this move, if you’d like.

 

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Chris Lucas is the author of Top Disney: 100 Top Ten Lists of the Best of Disney, from the Man to the Mouse and Beyond.

 

On the PRESS CLUB C Podcast, enjoy Ray’s discussion with Chris Lucas about his career as an actor, author and Disney expert. Tune in right here!


 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

New Concert Series Coming To EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

February 28, 2021

 

The annual “Garden Rocks Concert Series” at EPCOT may be COVID-silenced for this year, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to appreciate some excellent music as you enjoy the gorgeous topiaries, garden designs, and tasty food kitchens at this year’s Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival. Disney has a new live music series planned for the 2021 festival, and it will be brought to you courtesy of some of Orlando’s finest local bands.


The 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival takes place from March 3 – July 5, 2021, and the bands will be taking the stage at the “City Beautiful Bandstand” at the America Gardens Theatre from Friday through Monday evenings. (Hint to those of you from elsewhere – Orlando is known as “The City Beautiful.”) The concerts are free with your EPCOT admission (don’t forget to make park reservations as well!), and the bands will be performing classic songs from the past and present.


The current schedule of band appearances includes:

 

  • EPIC! - (Pop)

Get ready for a true multi-generational "SuperBand" who continues their run of success—making appearances all over the world with their Concert Style high-energy show!

Dates:

o   March 5 to 8

o   April 16 to 19

o   May 28 to 31

 

  • Motown in Motion (Motown / R&B)

Get moving to the sounds of this power-packed, live Motown musical tribute to some of the greatest American artists of all time.  
Dates:

    • March 19 to 22
    • April 30 to May 3
    • June 11 to 14

 

  • Vintage Vinyl Band (Vintage Pop)

Drop in for a spin with this unconventional top 40 cover band that specializes in retrofitting today's hits into yesterday's sound, while weaving in classics from the American Songbook.

 Dates:

    • March 12 to 15
    • April 23 to 26
    • June 4 to 7

 

  • The Hooligans (Pop)

Rock the night away to classic tunes ranging from the British Invasion to ‘80s pop to ‘90s alternative.

  Dates:

    • March 26 to 29
    • May 7 to 10
    • June 18 to 21

 

  • The Spazmatics (‘80s Pop)

Go wild for this band that recaptures all the best of the ‘80s. Outstanding musicianship combined with creative flair and styles make for an evening of pure energy and entertainment.

 Dates:

    • April 2 to 5
    • May 14 to 17
    • June 25 to 28

 

  • Latin Ambition (Latin/Pop)

Discover why this bilingual Latin American Party Band has received accolades and honors industry-wide for over a decade—and earning their reputation by promising energy, showmanship and diversity.  
Dates:

    • April 9 to 12   
    • May 21 to 24
    • July 2 to 5

 

In addition to the local bands in the amphitheatre, the America Gardens Theatre will also host Disney’s own Voices of Liberty with their all-American a cappella renditions “celebrating the landscape, heart and human spirit of America,” and Mariachi Cobre’s lively Mexican folk music. Over at the Canada Mill Stage, the Jammin’ Gardeners, the funkiest gardeners around, will be doing what the JAMMitors do best, bringing their syncopated sounds, created on an assortment of decidedly non-musical objects, to their audiences. World Showplace will provide a place for guests to relax to live piano music.

 

Check the Festival Guide at EPCOT for rotating showtimes and locations on the day of your visit.

 

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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, February 27, 2021

Open Air Dining at Disney’s Three Bridges Bar and Grill

 by Beth Keating

Review

DisneyBizJournal.com

February 27, 2021

 

After a busy day of meetings and work, the day had gotten away from us and we suddenly discovered it was nearly 8:00 pm and everyone was starving. Dining in the age of COVID can be a daunting task, however, so after scouring the Disney website for a suitable choice, we landed at Three Bridges Bar and Grill at Disney’s Coronado Springs. Since it was a location we’d been wanting to try since it opened in 2019, our family was looking forward to the meal.



Three Bridges is a southwestern-style casual dining spot on the “Villa del Lago” island in the center of Lago Dorado, accessed by – you guessed it – three wooden bridges. Its middle-of-the-lake location is especially delightful in the evening, with a breeze blowing through the open air eatery. The lights from the nearby Gran Destino Tower reflect on the water, making for a romantic dining spot that is equally welcoming to families with children in tow due to its laid back vibe. (There is a kid’s menu.) Though we were there in the late evening, it would be a perfect location to relax with a drink and watch the sun set as well. On cooler nights, the firepit and torches give a warmer ambiance to the setting.

 

In this era of COVID, we were especially impressed by how extra-cautious Three Bridges was compared to other restaurants. Temperature checks were made on the way in, hand sanitizer  stations were available at the entrance, and our server offered up small plates for our masks so that we didn’t put them directly on the table surface or in our pockets. It was the first time we’d seen a restaurant offer this small, and appreciated, touch. QR codes at the table also allowed diners to pull up menus on their phones, rather than touching shared plastic or even paper menus.



The menu consists of an interesting selection of “shareables” and our group ordered two of the most popular ones, the Szechuan peppercorn wings ($14.00) and the shrimp-corn fritters ($17.00).

 

The wings were brushed with a soy-ginger glaze that had just enough of a kick from its spices, and leaned toward the “sweeter side” of spiciness as opposed to a “burn your lips” kind of spicy. A garnish of pickled vegetables was a surprisingly yummy addition to the plate. 



The real stand out of the night, however, was the shrimp-corn fritters. There were four to the order, with a delightful dipping crema. There was a hint of sweetness to each bite as well, offset by the diced red pepper in the fritter. Perhaps the sweet taste was due to what we thought might be a tiny dusting of sugar over the top of the shrimp ball?  Or maybe the corn in the fritters was just that sweet. In any case, a uniquely made jalapeno-ranch dipping sauce was served with the fritters, and one of our diners thought they could eat a whole bowl of the dipping sauce on its own!

 

For our entrees, we chose three separate selections. The Braised Pork Tacos ($14.00) came as a set of three filled soft blue corn tortillas. A crunchy marinated carrots and radish slaw topped each of the tacos, with a dollop of salsa verde and Cotija cheese sprinkled liberally on top. The braised pork was very tender, and as a plus, the pork wasn’t one of those pulled pork versions  smothered in so much sauce you couldn’t taste the pork. Rather, Three Bridges lets the pork shine on its own, and it was delicious! 



Our group also ordered the Harissa Lamb Chops ($25.00), which were ultra-tender and juicy. Three chops came nestled on a Naan flatbread, and were perfect for eating right off the bone. Topped with a tzatziki, cucumber and tomato relish, the lamb chops were a big hit.



The Crispy Chicken Biscuit Sliders ($15.00), the final selection, came served two to a plate, and had a bit of an unexpected consistency. They offered a very “homemade” rather than processed feel to the chicken, and the hot honey and blue cheese topping gave the sandwich an extra boost of flavor.

 

Many of the dishes at Three Bridges come with a choice of smoked paprika fries or fruit, and in our case, two of our diners chose the fries, and found that they were accompanied by a nice dipping sauce that had just a hint of a smoky flavor. The fruit was a combination of chilled grapes and fresh cuts of pineapple.

 

In addition to their shareables, entrees and salads, Three Bridges offers a full selection of cocktails and their signature sangria pitchers.

 

Sadly, we didn’t make it to dessert… we were just too stuffed. Next time, though, we have our eyes on the warm churros.  We might just go back one of these days for a late afternoon respite, and order the churros and an ice cold drink. And maybe watch the sun set over the water.

 

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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!

 


 

Friday, February 26, 2021

DisneyBizJournal's Ray Keating Talks About His New Book - PAST LIVES


 

“Past Lives” is the New Pastor Stephen Grant Adventure from Ray Keating of DisneyBizJournal.com

 Page-Turning Short Story Torn from the Pages of Pastor Grant’s Own Daily Journal

 

Long Island, NY – Kirkus Reviews has called Ray Keating’s Pastor Stephen Grant “an engaging and multifaceted character” and “a consistently entertaining hero.” And now, this latest adventure, Past Lives: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story, is told from Grant’s own viewpoint, unfolding each day in the pages of his journal.



Pastor Grant tells about threats, murder and puzzling people from his past. It’s a compelling mystery involving action, unexpected turns, lost innocence, and twisted revenge. 

 

Regarding Past LivesSelf-Publishing Review says, “Ray Keating takes a new angle on his long-time hero in Past Lives. A mysterious enemy from the past comes back to haunt the warrior priest in this uniquely styled first-person story. As the clues mount, so does the body count, giving Grant yet another baffling and high-stakes case to unravel. This condensed mystery is enjoyably gripping, and marked by the author's characteristic style of suspense.”

 

Ray Keating said, “Past Lives is something new for me, and for Pastor Stephen Grant readers. It’s a short story written from a first-person point of view, with Grant telling the story through his journal entries. It’s something different, and I hope readers like it.”

 

Past Lives comes after the recent publication of Vatican Shadows: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel, which has earned widespread praise. For example, Kirkus Reviews said, “A riveting entry in a multivolume series that continues to deliver strong characters and suspense.” 

 

Paperbacks and the Kindle edition of Past Lives: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story are at Amazon via https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08WJTPT4M and signed books are at https://raykeatingonline.com/products/pastlives.

 

About Keating and his Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries, Kirkus Reviews simply says “exhilarating.” Lutheran Book Review says, “I miss Tom Clancy. Keating fills that void for me.” The retired host of KFUO radio’s BookTalk declares, “Ray Keating is a great novelist.” David Keene of The Washington Times calls these novels “great reads.”  And another reviewer observes, “How I'd love to see Pastor Grant on Netflix!”

 

Keating’s previous Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers/mysteries – Vatican Shadows (2020), The Traitor (2019), Deep Rough (2019), Shifting Sands (2018), Heroes and Villains (2018), Reagan Country (2018), Lionhearts (2017), Wine Into Water (2016), Murderer’s Row (2015), The River (2014), An Advent For Religious Liberty (2012), Root of All Evil? (Second Edition 2020)and Warrior Monk(Second Edition 2019) – have received widespread praise from all kinds of readers. 

 

Review copies, and author interviews and appearances are available upon request. 


 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

“A Touch of Disney” Experience Coming to Disney California Adventure Park

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

February 25, 2021

 

Have you been dreaming about Disneyland’s famous Monte Cristo Sandwich from New Orleans Square while you’ve been under California’s lockdowns?  Craving a DOLE Whip or churro? Now’s your chance to scarf up what you’ve been missing. Those items will be among the food and beverage selections for sale at the new, limited-capacity ticketed experience called A Touch of Disney at Disney California Adventure Park.


Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog


The event kicks off March 18, and runs Thursdays – Mondays from noon to 8 p.m., through April 5.  Visitors can purchase tickets to sample some of the iconic food and beverage offerings from both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park; look for their favorite Disney characters; and shop till they drop at six special seasonal and themed marketplaces, as well as in the shops along Buena Vista Street. An assortment of unique photo locations (socially distanced, of course) will also be set up for guests during the event. 

 

Advance tickets are required for A Touch of Disney, and must be purchased for a specific date in order to maintain health and safety capacity limits. Tickets will be available on Disneyland.com beginning March 4, with tickets released for dates on a rolling basis until the experience ends. According to the Disney Parks Blog, “the introductory $75 ticket includes admission, parking for the experience at Mickey & Friends parking structure, unlimited downloads of Disney PhotoPass photos taken during the day of the experience, and a $25 A Touch of Disney dining card valid towards the purchase of food and non-alcoholic beverages (subject to restrictions including not being valid for alcohol). Ticket prices are subject to change.”

 

If you’ve munched your way around the various festivals at EPCOT, you are no doubt familiar with Disney’s snack-sized offerings, allowing guests to partake of lots of different dishes and flavors during their visit.  A Touch of Disney offers a similar arrangement, with smaller sized versions of many favorite treats. Among the numerous dining locations open for the event will be Smokejumpers Grill, Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats, Award Wieners, Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff and Cocina Cucamonga. Table reservations for Lamplight Lounge and Carthay Circle Lounge – Alfresco Dining will be available beginning March 11.  

 

A Touch of Disney Foodie Guide will be offered soon with a complete list of the dining spots so you can plan out your culinary choices.

 

Food and shopping aren’t the only highlights of this special event. Guests should be on the lookout for their favorite Disney characters throughout the Park, including Mater and Lightning McQueen in Cars Land, Joy and Sadness at Pixar Pier, and Mickey and friends “in unexpected settings.”  Some of the photo opportunities and special settings are available only at A Touch of Disney.  A new “specially curated” Disney soundtrack is also being developed to add to the ambiance of the event.

 

The Disney Parks Blog advises that the “Downtown Disney District will remain open seven days a week with unique dining and shopping that includes Black Tap Craft Burgers and Shakes, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, Naples Ristorante e Bar, World of Disney and Star Wars Trading Post, which recently opened in a new location. Buena Vista Street will remain open as an extension of the Downtown Disney District through March 14, and will be closed beginning March 15. Beginning March 18, Buena Vista Street will become part of A Touch of Disney.” While dining and shopping venues will be open during the event, guests are reminded that the rides and attractions are not yet operational.


Visit Disneyland.com/ATouchofDisney for updates to the event.

 

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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!


 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Disney Cruise Line Cancels Additional Sailings

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

February 24, 2021

 

Put your cruise wear away for now, Disney Fans. Disney Cruise Line is among the companies who have postponed additional May sailings as COVID continues to stymie the return to the open seas. They have cancelled all sailings departing through May 2021.



In a challenge of one-step-forward, two-steps-back, Disney has seen some of their parks, including Hong Kong, adding back missing days and extending hours, while other sectors of their business, including cruises, have taken another hit.

 

From Port Canaveral: The Disney Fantasy will not sail until at least June 2, and the Disney Dream is not expected to sail until after June 4. 

 

From Other Ports: The Disney Magic’s European season tours are docked until at least August 10, “given the likelihood of international borders remaining closed for an extended period of time.”  The Disney Wonder’s Alaska cruises are also impacted, since they operate through Canadian departures, and Canada’s ports are closed until February 28, 2022 for ships with more than 100 passengers.  Disney cautions, “We are evaluating various options for the Disney Wonder’s scheduled season in Alaska. Once a decision is made, we will reach out to Guests booked on these sailings.”


The Disney Fantasy, due to set sail July 22-31 on a longer cruise, has also temporarily docked that itinerary. “Based on the conditional sail order provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Disney Cruise Line must cancel sailings longer than 7 nights,” according to today’s advisory.

 

Disney Cruise Line is contacting passengers impacted by these changes. Guests booked on affected sailings with paid in full reservations can choose a cruise credit to be used for a future sailing or a full refund. Guests who are not yet paid in full will automatically receive a refund.

 

You can also contact your travel agent for assistance with rebookings and refunds.

 

As this is a continually and quickly evolving situation, be sure to check the Disney Cruise Line’s website for the most up-to-date changes.

 

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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!