Disney Parks – Smoking, Strollers & Ice – The Outrage

Walt Disney World Summer Crowd

If you follow any Disney-related social media folks, you’ve surely seen this article and/or the associated outrage. Personally, I’m struggling to come up with any negative feelings about this latest series of Disney park announcements and believe me, I’m trying to see these changes from every possible view. Let’s take a closer look at the news and my estimates on the outrage level for each…

Disney Parks – Smoking, Strollers & Ice – The Outrage

Smoking (14% Outrage / 86% Support)

As smokers and non-smokers on social media weigh in, I see a few negative comments. My favorite of these: “Disney just alienated half their fan base” and “No more family vacations!” One smoker observed, “With as much money as I pay to get in those parks, I shouldn’t have to waste all my time leaving and returning just to have a smoke!” I’m actually sympathetic to that person as the smoking areas have never bothered me. Since smokers in the US make up just 14% of all adults (according to the CDC’s 2017 data), Disney isn’t worried about any attendance-related impact from banning in-park smoking. Unlike alcohol, Disney doesn’t make any money from smoking, so there’s that. The Twitter and Facebook comments I’ve seen have been overwhelmingly in favor of the US Disney parks smoking ban, with “It’s about time!” seeming to be the most popular sentiment.

Strollers (25% Outrage / 75% Support)

Honestly, who hasn’t been rammed by a giant, hard-to-steer stroller in a Disney park? It’s such a common occurrence, frequent Disney park visitors joke about it all the time. Add in those space-hogging wagon strollers and park walkways become increasingly traffic-jammed and hazardous. One problem I’ve noticed is that popular large rental strollers don’t have the familiar handling of one’s own stroller and learning to maneuver this new vehicle seems to take some time for many people. Also, those giant strollers on the Monorail were getting ridiculous. I’m in favor of this change, but also sympathetic to people who’s children have special circumstances (asthma, for example) and need a mobile resting place. Most of the complaints on social media are in the “what will we use now?” category. Excellent article here for help.

Loose and Dry Ice (100% Confusion)

I haven’t found anyone who can tell me what horrors must have occurred with loose or dry ice to get them banned in Disney parks, but I’d like to know! I’ve never taken perishable food into a park and fortunately have had no need to keep any medicine cold. If you know what’s up with this, please post a comment! (Reusable ice packs are still allowed.)

So…no smoking, no giant strollers or wagons, no loose or dry ice. I can’t even tell you how much of my Twitter and Facebook feeds have been taken up with this particular news over the past several days! Personally, I think it’s going to be okay. How about you?

Disney Changes…Even Mickey Mouse

Of all of the 2017 D23 Expo announcements, there were a couple that stood out as causing the most mixed feelings among my fellow Disney fans.  One is the upcoming addition of an E-ticket Guardians of the Galaxy attraction to Epcot (replacing Ellen’s Energy Adventure) and the other is the Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction replacing The Great Movie Ride.  Today let’s talk about Mickey and Minnie and the demise of the last original attraction from Disney’s MGM Studios.The Great Movie Ride

Disney Changes…Even Mickey Mouse

The uproar, it seems, is less about losing The Great Movie Ride and more about its replacement.  In the majority of social media posts and comments I’ve seen, everyone seems very excited that Mickey and Minnie will finally be getting their very own, much-deserved attraction.  The problem with many folks lies with which version of the iconic Disney couple will be featured in the ride.  Have you seen the newest Mickey (and the gang) cartoons on the Disney Channel?  In 2013, these shorts first appeared (excellent article here) and we think they’re hilarious!  (My favorite episode is the Potatoland one.)  Why the use of this version of Mickey is troublesome, I can’t explain.  Mickey Mouse (and his friends) have a long history that definitely involves changing with the times.Mickey Mouse Club artifacts in One Man's Dream

Consider for a minute Mickey’s age…he’ll be 100 in 2028.  It’s an amazing achievement for a cartoon character to remain so beloved for so long.  Sure, Felix the Cat is older than Mickey, but his popularity has waned.  Mickey has maintained his appeal, generation after generation, by changing and staying relevant.  His personality has been rock steady:  Happy, easy-going, loyal mischief-maker with a heart of gold.  He’s been devoted to Minnie since day one and his friends can count on him through thick and thin.  His appearance has changed many times – doesn’t everyone’s?

If the new Mickey/Minnie attraction won’t be taking us through the characters’ history, but rather allow us to be a part of a cartoon adventure as featured in the Disney Channel shorts, I can’t see a downside.  Yes, it’s a modern take on our favorite original Disney characters, but they’re still 100% lovable.

Kimberly Nordike in The Hollywood Reporter described these latest Mickey cartoons this way:

“The shorts, which are geared toward kids age 6 to 14 and families, feature an aesthetic that goes back to Mickey’s roots and borrows from the style of his 1930s design while adding a few modern touches. Designs for other characters have a similar approach, favoring a “rubber-hose” cartoon style for more exaggerated animation. Background designs closely reflect the graphic design sense of 1950s and ’60s Disney cartoons. The production team has also included homages to other icons from Disney’s history.”

If you haven’t seen any of these cartoons, I encourage you to check them out.  We enjoyed them while on our last family Disney Cruise and thought they were highly entertaining – packed with fun for the entire family.  And that’s exactly the way we feel about Walt Disney World.  I’m especially excited about Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and can’t wait to see what it’ll be like.

About Those $649 Cabanas in Tomorrowland

Right now they’re big, white, and generic-looking.  Disney World’s newest pricey specialty offering has a lot of tongues wagging.RM-Tomorrowland-Walkway

About Those $649 Cabanas in Tomorrowland

If you missed this latest Disney news tidbit, Magic Kingdom guests may now rent a “cabana” for the day near Space Mountain in Tomorrowland.  The amenities and details included in the $649 price can be found here.  The cabanas are, for now, actually large, windowed tents like the ones people rent for outdoor events.  Inside, guests will find some tables and seating along with the charging station and lockable storage trunk.  At face value, critics see yet another money grab at an exorbitant price for wealthy vacationers (even if it does include customized Earhats).

I can see a different side to this…

I feel certain this is the first of several tests and, if successful, will result in actual cabana-like structures in keeping with the Tomorrowland (or other) surroundings and they’ll come with air conditioning.  If you’ve listened to the latest episode (#116) of The Unofficial Guide’s Disney Dish with Jim Hill, you’ll find that these test cabanas may be the tip of the iceberg for in-park getaways.  If Jim and Len are right, cabanas will be in several (if not all) parks and may be elevated to allow guests unobstructed, prime viewing for parades and fireworks.RM-Tomorrowland-Skyline

I see a certain appeal for this concept with a particular sub-set of Disney vacationers.  And it may not be such a bad or outrageous idea.  Imagine for a minute that your vacation includes multi-generations.  You may be headed to Magic Kingdom with grandparents or infants or both!  Suppose you’re staying off property and want everyone to get a full day of park touring, plus have a place to rest, nurse a baby, take a nap, or take turns babysitting or simply hanging out.

There would always be a shaded, cool, private spot at your disposal.  No need to pack up and leave for nap time or meltdowns.  You’d have a secluded place, all your own, to regroup, relax, and recharge (literally and figuratively) without having to waste time returning to your resort.  Grandma and Grandpa could comfortably enjoy the Festival of Fantasy parade without sitting on a curb in the burning sun.  Mom and Dad could tend to the needs of little ones away from public view and know that nap time will be in a cool and comfortable place.

While I’m not in a stage of my life where I could justify forking over $649 for the luxury of a Disney park cabana, I’ll never say never.  I can easily imagine a time when having the convenience and amenities that come with booking a little personal space in Walt Disney World could be a worthwhile and time-saving investment.

Your turn!  Are these cabanas an extravagant ripoff or a legitimate in-park convenience?

Can We Let Walt Disney Rest in Peace?

IMG_7218This post was supposed to be about the Disney fan community’s outrage over the news of Magic Kingdom After Hours hard ticket events being offered this spring.  In researching the many negative reactions among bloggers, podcasters, newspapers, and social media, I was surprised to find that I was the one becoming outraged…and it had nothing to do with Disney offering 3 hours of exclusive late night Magic Kingdom access for $149/adult (available on 7 dates during April and May).

As I was perusing message boards, Facebook pages, and articles about the public’s reaction to this latest announcement, I realized that I was frequently seeing the expression, “Walt Disney is probably turning over in his grave”.  One blogger/author (I respect and follow) who makes money writing about his love for Disney was particularly passionate when he said, “Uncle Walt is probably rolling over in his grave. In fact, he’s probably turned into a tornado down there”.  How does he know?  How do any of us know what Walt Disney would or would not do or think given the fact that when Mr. Disney died in 1966, the world was a very different place.  I was two at the time and can attest personally about how drastically both technology and the entertainment industry have changed since Mary Poppins premiered (in 1964).Birthday-Vintage-Metal-Walt-Disney-World-Tray

It’ll be 50 years this December since the world mourned the death of a great visionary.  Walt Disney created the company that made him a legend and American icon.  His legacy lives on in our happy memories and in the future of the Disney Company, its characters, theme parks, movies, merchandise, books, and much more.  Now can we please stop speculating on what Walt would or would not agree with to the extent that he would not be peacefully enjoying his final reward?  Can we please let Walt Disney rest in peace?