Here we have an aerial view of the current state of Magic Kingdom's entrance plaza, which is still undergoing improvements after work came to a standstill due to the COVID-19 park closures. In this photo, we see the first temperature screening tent set up in the vicinity, which is set up for guests arriving by bus from the resorts.
As a reminder, temperature screening is not taking place at the resorts, instead guests will be screened right before entering the parks. We expect additional temperature screening tents to be set up at the other bus arrival station adjacent to this, as well as for guests arriving by ferry or resort boat, and along the Contemporary Resort walkway.
Once the parks reopen, temperature screenings will be required for all guests entering the parks.
First up, we have Disney's Animal Kingdom, which is on schedule to debut a brand-new arrival area for guests when it reopens on July 11. A total of three tents are set up before bag check, two in close proximity and one off to the side, presumably for cast members.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney's Hollywood Studios will be reopening officially on July 15, and has temperature screening tents set up for guests arriving by Disney Skyliner and by bus (it's unconfirmed whether Friendship Boats will be operating), as well as a second tent for parking arrivals. Metal barriers are set up to keep guests from entering before undergoing the mandatory security screening process.
Walt Disney World Now Processing 4 Months of Payments at Once for Annual Passholders on Monthly Plan
UPDATE: As of 12:25 PM, Disney has stated that this was a "computer glitch" and that refunds are being "actively processed."
If you're a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder on the monthly payment plan that's just been hit with four months' worth of payments on your credit card, you aren't alone. In fact, a number of passholders are now bewildered at the sight of hundreds of dollars being charged to their accounts after months of inactivity:
Payments are stated to resume on the Passholder’s regularly scheduled payment dates once the parks reopen... however the earliest official park reopening date is still July 11, which is still over a week away. (July 9, if you count Passholder previews, but that's still also a week away.) With Passholders struggling to get answers on support lines, there is still no direct response on why these payments are being processed early.
We'll continue to update this post with more information as it arises. Annual Passholders in need of assistance should contact V.I.PASSHOLDER Support at (407) 939-7277.
PHOTOS: Walt Disney World Reduces All Reusable Bag Prices to $1 Each
Introduced at the start of 2019, new Walt Disney World reusable shopping bags in a variety of themed designs were rolled out to retail locations at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Disney Springs to promote an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags, as well as an inexpensive souvenir for guests.
Just last summer, the bags underwent a drastic price increase, with the bags ranging in price from $2.00 to $3.00 from the smallest to the largest size, up a whopping $1.00 each. Now, in a strange wave of price decreases, all bags are now $1.00 each.
All sizes, ranging from Small to Large, are now $1.00.
We've managed to confirm this at all locations currently open, like World of Disney and shops at the currently-open resorts, like Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. They may be depleting stock to introduce newer designs, or simply encouraging guests to purchase more.
Will you be adding more Walt Disney World reusable bags to your collection with the newer, more affordable pricing? Let us know in the comments.
Oga's Cantina Once Again Reopening at Disney's Hollywood Studios on July 15; Reservations Available for Select Guests
Also reopening at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge are Docking Bay 7, Milk Stand, and Ronto Roasters.
The full list of restaurants (currently) set to reopen at Disney's Hollywood Studios on July 15 is available below:
Will you be rope-dropping Disney's Hollywood Studios on July 15 for its grand reopening? Let us know in the comments, and please have a Fuzzy Tauntaun for me.
Walt Disney World Cast Members Receiving Special 50% Off Merchandise Discount for Reopening Through July 31
To celebrate the reopening of Walt Disney World, Cast Members both returning to work or still furloughed can now enjoy a limited-time 50% off discount on merchandise from July 5 to July 31 at Disney-owned and operated retail stores on property.
A valid company-issued ID is required and this discount is valid at open Walt Disney World Resort locations only. During the reopening period, theme parks require a reservation to visit. Cast Members can shop at select resorts by showing their Company-issued ID at the entrance and mentioning this offer. At Disney Springs, Cast Members can take advantage of this discount at 10 owned and operated stores including World of Disney, Star Wars Galactic Outpost, and DisneyStyle.
Some exclusions apply, including but not limited to the following:
Disney Cloth Face masks
China pavilion – sterling silver products, carpets, and 14-karat gold jewelry, Shanghai Disneyland merchandise, books, alcoholic beverages (wine & beer), sugar art merchandise and already discounted merchandise
Japan Pavilion – Mikimoto pearls, rhythm clocks, perfumes, sake bottle sales, sake tasting sales, Studio Ghibli items, and Sanrio items
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – select specialty toys, select collectibles and custom lightsabers & caseline hilts. This discount is valid on most items at Droid Depot, including custom droids.
National brand fragrances, treatments and cosmetics
TAG Heuer watches
PHOTOS: "Jurassic World" Themed Watch Tower Added to Velocicoaster Site at Universal's Islands of Adventure
Given the advanced rate at which construction is progressing on the unannounced Jurassic Park roller coaster site in Universal's Islands of Adventure, we'll be seeing large set pieces or "T-Rex sized" inversion loops going up any week now. Today marks the addition of a watch tower to the site, captured on camera by our eagle-eyed friend, @bioreconstruct on Twitter.
The watch tower features the grey and blue Jurassic World colors as part of the new theming we've seen applied throughout various parts of the land, including the new Raptor Encounter. The tower features a telescoping series of platforms, one striped, one with the Jurassic World logo, and a top section of reflective glass as part of the watch tower.
The set piece has come together over the past few months, starting as just a concrete form atop of a platform.
The watch tower is one of the tallest elements of the coaster, and will loom forebodingly over guests as yet another overly-ambitious dinosaur project goes inevitably awry at the ill-fated Jurassic Park.
Are you looking forward to racing at 70 miles per hour on this new Velocicoaster? Let us know in the comments!
Are you looking forward to an evening of bowling and good eats? Let us know in the comments!
Walt Disney World Releases Video Emphasizing Focus on Health and Safety for Cast Members Upon Reopening
Despite pushback from Cast Members and the public given rising COVID-19 cases across Florida, Disney Parks is working hard to reassure both guests and Cast Members that they are taking all the steps necessary to ensure health and safety for all in the upcoming reopening of Walt Disney World.
You can watch as Cast Members emotionally return to their posts, happy to make magic for guests once again, in the video below:
The Void at Downtown Disney District Permanently Shut Down Due to License Agreement Breach; Disney Springs Location Potentially Affected
After closing temporarily with the rest of Disneyland Resort in mid-March, The Void has now been permanently shut down after receiving a Notice of Event Default and Lease Termination from the Walt Disney World Operating Participants Department.
The notice, dated June 30, 2020, was recently posted at the doors of the location, right over previous signage indicating the previous temporary closure. The notice cites a breach of the Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures license.
No longer tenants of the Downtown Disney District shopping and dining complex, The Void must cease all use of Disney IP, or intellectual property, through Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire and Ralph Breaks VR, plus any and all Disney promotional material, trademarks, and confidential information.
With the recent ban on indoor entertainment across Orange County due to rising rates of COVID-19 cases in California, it's unlikely that The Void would've been able to reopen with the rest of the Downtown Disney District, but now it seems the days of the immersive Virtual Reality experience are over.
It's unconfirmed how and if this breach will affect the Disney Springs location for The Void. At this time, neither locations list any available experiences on The Void's website.
Walt Disney World Recalling Small Number of Additional Food and Housekeeping Cast Members Starting July 12
UNITE HERE Local 737 union has released a list detailing yet another, relatively smaller group of Cast Members also being called back in to work starting July 12. The locations are as follows:
Liberty Inn QSR (Regal Eagle Smokehouse)
Sunshine Seasons QSR
Disney's Yacht & Beach Resorts
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney's BoardWalk Inn
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
Café Culinary & Servers
Disney's Old Key West Resort
Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort
Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Geyser Point Server
Disney's Contemporary Resort
Housekeeping Phones Room
Deluxe Burger QSR
Do note that some of these locations have already been reopened, but are merely calling in additional staff ahead of increased guest traffic at those locations.
Disney and Ford Partnering for New 2020 Bronco Unveiling on July 13
From the 1964-65 World's Fair Ford Magic Skyway to the 2020 Ford Bronco, Disney is no stranger to partnering with automobile brands, and on July 13, Ford will be unveiling the newly-reimagined Bronco 4x4 family of cars to viewers across Disney's various media networks, including ABC, ESPN, National Geographic, and Hulu. This marks the first-ever, prime-time product reveal across Disney's broadcast, cable, digital, and streaming properties.
At a time when consumers are pinching pennies in the wake of the pandemic, Ford is going to need all the pixie dust it can to entice people to buy in. In fact, securing an early spot in production will cost you $100. Reservations will open on the Ford website starting on July 13 at 8 PM (ET). Reservations are refundable.
The partnership with Disney itself is costing the company a pretty penny, as it's been revealed to be "a paid integration and a partnership", complete with advertising. The ads themselves will direct viewers to the Ford site to make their reservations.
Ford worked with Disney CreativeWorks, the company’s creative agency, to create custom three-minute videos for each network to debut the vehicles. The videos will air during the first commercial breaks of each network’s 8 p.m. broadcast, followed by the Hulu streaming service beginning the next day.
Each “film” features a special guest: professional climber Brooke Raboutou for ESPN’s “SportsCenter;” country music singer Kip Moore for the “CMA Best of Fest” on ABC; and Academy Award-winning director Jimmy Chin, a professional climber, will spotlight another Bronco during “National Parks: Yosemite” on National Geographic. Chin, a cinematographer and photographer, also assisted Ford in creating the spots for each of the networks, VanDyke said.
“We absolutely intend on putting our best foot forward and making sure that the Bronco gets the glory it deserves. We’re so excited about this partnership that’s so unique with Disney to co-create it,” VanDyke said. “We think it will draw a huge amount of additional interest to our own properties and just make this reveal one that we’ll never forget.”
One fun tidbit about the release revolves around the infamous O.J. Simpson, who drove a 1993 Ford Bronco during the police chase that followed shortly after the killing of his ex-wife. The release was initially slated for July 8, which would've coincided with Simpson's birthday. Neither brand was particularly keen about the untimely coincidence.
The last time Ford produced a bronco was in 1996—the same year that World of Motion closed at EPCOT. The company expects to reveal a full set of vehicles, including two- and four-door versions of the classic off-road SUV and a compact version known as the Bronco Sport.
Fall 2020 Disney College Program Suspended at Walt Disney World Resort
After suspending the Disney College Program at the start of the COVID-19 closures, Walt Disney World has now announced that the Fall 2020 program, which was set to begin in late August and run through January, has been canceled. The program is now suspended until further notice.
All prospective College Program participants have received the following notice informing them of the cancellation:
Prospective participants who were set to start in the Fall are being encouraged to complete a form for future opportunities. Eligibility requirements for all programs will be amended so those participants who have already been accepted will be able to reapply, even if they have already graduated. All program fees will be refunded.
Our hearts go out to Disney College Program applicants who were looking forward to making magic this year.
VIDEO: Moving Coins, Shells, Mushrooms, Piranha Plants, and More Bring Super Nintendo World to Life at Universal Studios Japan
It's-a me, Super Nintendo World!
We've been eagerly covering updates on the construction going on at Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Japan as it continues leveling up. In one of the latest updates, we got to see Bowser’s Castle light up, question blocks glowing, and a Thwomp! We've even gotten to see Yoshi running around along the upper levels of the land. Now, we have an expansive view of the land, including moving coins, green Koopa shells, super mushrooms, Piranha Plants, and more coming to life at Super Nintendo World:
As you can see in the video, all of these elements move along an axis or within their designated spaces, offering the land a rich sense of kinetic energy.
The ¥60 billion ($559.5 million) expansion will feature an exciting and highly interactive environment where beloved experiences centered around the Super Mario characters will come to life. The land is expected to feature a Mario Kart E-ticket as well as a family-friendly Yoshi attraction.
REVIEW: New Red, White, and Blue Blondie Bomb Pop and Mickey's 4th of July Chocolate Cupcakes at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
Three cheers for the red, white, and blue! Especially if it's packed with butter and sugar, and Mickey-shaped. New at one of our favorite on-property resort bakeries is the Red, White, and Blue Blondie Bomb Pop and Mickey's 4th of July Chocolate Cupcakes, available at Gasparilla Island Grill in Disney's Grand Floridian Resort.
The baked goods case at Gasparilla never disappoints, and they've whipped up two special treats for Independence Day.
Piled high with frosting or glazed thick with colorful icing, these red, white, and blue treats are the perfect sugary snack to hunker down inside your room with, or eat in the placid, peaceful surroundings of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort:
Because nothing says "America" like hoisting up a giant fence.
Mickey's 4th of July Chocolate Cupcakes - $5.49
The cupcake set comes with three chocolate cupcakes made to look like the outline of Mickey, each with a generous mound of vanilla buttercream, red and blue star sprinkles, and a sugar star on top.
While very much your standard cupcake, the presentation is adorable, and you do get three cupcakes for the price of one.
Red, White, and Blue Blondie Bomb Pop - $4.99
This giant slab of dessert is a true tribute to our homeland, layered with red, white, and blue icing and coated with star sprinkles at the base.
The blondie is soft and fresh, almost like a denser, rich vanilla cake. The waxy coating of sweet icing helps keep the interior very moist. For those of you planning on eating this on-the-go, do keep in mind that it doesn’t stay on the stick for long, but it’s still very enjoyable.
These treats are all baked fresh daily by Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Bakery. And yes, the first ingredient is butter.
You can order these beauties via Mobile Order and just swing by Gasparilla Island Grill to pick them up. If you're looking for more Mickey-shaped treats, don't forget to pick up the "Welcome Back" Mickey Celebration Cake Pop, also available here. Will you be celebrating the 4th of July at home or on-property at the many DVC resorts that have recently reopened? Let us know in the comments.
PHOTOS: New NBA Practice Courts Installed Inside Disney's Coronado Springs Resort Convention Center
The interior of the convention center is now laid over with glossy court flooring.
Pallets of flooring had to be delivered by way of large semi trucks. Thankfully, the infrastructure of Walt Disney World is built to handle large installations such as these.
Preparations such as these, plus housing, entertainment, and more are not cheap. In fact, it's costing the NBA roughly 1.5 million dollars a day to maintain the Walt Disney World "bubble" for the upcoming resumed season. Bright blue perimeter fencing has gone up at even Walt Disney World’s flagship resort, the Grand Floridian, marring the landscape to ensure the health, safety, and privacy of the players. To read more on the extravagant details behind the NBA staying at Walt Disney World, click here. And for a full restart schedule of upcoming games, set to begin on July 30, click here.