We finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout opens this weekend, we’ll be there! Oh, and next week’s in studio guest is revealed! Plus, news and rumors from Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and Disneyland Resort.
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Disneyland Railroad & Rivers of America To Re-Open This Summer
Disneyland dropped another press release teasing this summer’s re-opening of the Disneyland Railroad, and Rivers of America. In addition to the new railroad trestle that will simulate the Columbia Gorge, the Disneyland Railroad will make a left turn for the first time in it’s 62 year history.
No confirmation on an opening date yet, but some rumors are that Disney is shooting for July 31st.
Critics Rip New ‘Pirates Movie To Shreds
The next chapter in Disney’s Pirates franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales opens this weekend, and the critics have not been kind…at all.
Mashable says, “The fifth installment in the series, Dead Men Tell No Tales, depletes what magic was left of The Curse of the Black Pearl, and it’s obvious.”
The Hollywood Reporter, “Depp remains wholeheartedly the focus of this fifth Pirates film, and saying the character’s loopy novelty has faded is like complaining that there are maggots in the below-decks gruel: You knew what you were getting when you came aboard.”
IGN, “(Depp’s performance) is like seeing a classic rock band perform uninspired encores of their biggest hits, with only fleeting reminders of the magic that made you like their music to begin with.”
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales opens this Friday.
Walt Disney World’s Pandora Not Handicap Accessible
AVATAR was a film about a soldier in a wheelchair who used an Avatar to infiltrate the Na’vi people’s tribe on the planet Pandora. Yet, somehow, in a cruel irony, Disney didn’t have the presence of mind to make Pandora: The World of AVATAR’s attractions wheelchair accessible. Both of the E-Ticket attractions inside of Animal Kingdom’s new land require wheelchair-bound guests to fully transfer to the ride vehicle.
WDWInfo reports, “Flight of Passage has a highly specific seating style, almost motorcycle-like,” and “Na’vi River Journey is a slow dark ride, think Pirates of the Caribbean without the drop. Although Disney does provide tiered benches to make the transfer from chair to boat less difficult, they have not provided any reasoning behind the boats’ lack of wheelchair accommodations.”
Stitch’s Great Escape Avoids Closure…Again.
The much maligned Magic Kingdom attraction Stitch’s Great Escape has been in “seasonal operation”, usually the first sign of imminent closure and has somehow managed to avoid the chopping block for a year now. After it’s last closure in April, it was (again) rumored to be gone for good.
But, Theme Park Tourist reports that Stitch’s Great Escape will return to daily operation starting next week, through August 19th. It’s been reported that Walt Disney World is expecting an abnormally busy summer, this will help alleviate the record crowds.
The 3 O’Clock Parade Going Away? Kinda.
Anyone who follows the parks knows the old story about guests frequently asking cast members, “What time is the 3 O’Clock parade?” The answer to that question has been 3 O’Clock basically for all of recorded history. Theme Park Tourist is reporting that the parade time will actually change this summer at Walt Disney World, saying “that beginning in August, the daily Festival of Fantasy parade will be moving to 2:00 PM. It is not known whether this will be a permanent change…”
Star Wars To Take The Cover Of Vanity Fair.
Super star photographer Annie Lebovitz photographed the cast of Star Wars The Last Jedi, including Mark Hamill and the late Carrie Fisher. The photos accompany an awesome cover story in Vanity Fair.
‘Paint The Night’ On The Move?
Rumors began circulating this week that Disneyland has quietly packed the Paint The Night parade, which debuted and ran during Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration, into shipping containers and is preparing to send it away. But to where? While most of the speculation centers on the parade heading to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, the parade could be headed for Shanghai Disneyland as well.
Right now, no confirmation from Disney.
Permit Filing Foreshadows Big Changes for Universe of Energy
The end may be near for Epcot’s Universe of Energy attraction.
Chip & Co reports that “The Walt Disney Company has filed a permit application with the South Florida Water Management District. Disney is seeking approval to fill in the canal and pave part of the forest directly behind the attraction on the eastern edge of the Epcot parking lot. The 1.2 million square-foot project area in the plans maps does include the (Universe of Energy) attraction within its boundaries.”
The proposed expansion area behind Universe of Energy, and Wonders of Life could easily hold all of Future World East, but at this stage all we can do is speculate as to what Disney is planning for Epcot.
‘Ratatouille’ To Begin Construction
According to WDW Info, the Ratatouille trackless dark-ride attraction is set to begin construction at Epcot’s France Pavilion this year with a grand opening in 2019. The attraction would be built using open space around the pavilion and none of the existing structures would be affected.
President Trump Won’t Speak In New Hall of Presidents
Politics aside, I think we can all agree that President Donald Trump has been one of the most polarizing figures in US history. There is no doubt that the 45th President will be a part of the Hall Of Presidents beginning this summer, but many have been wondering if he will play more of a role in the attraction. Past Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama have recorded the oath of office for the show.
Chip & Co reports, “Although President Trump will appear on stage, the Imagineers will likely revert back to the pre-1993 format of the show. This older version only had George Washington and Abraham Lincoln addressing the audience.
Disney has received multiple anti-Trump petitions (the largest has collected close to 15,000 signatures) which urge Disney to keep the President Trump robot silent. But it might not only be public pressure keeping the audio-animatronic President quiet. It could be President Trump himself that’s causing the issue. Disney has reportedly been reaching out to Trump since January,” to record his audio, and after some back and forth over the President’s speech no recording has been made.
The speculation is that the show will keep the Morgan Freeman narration that was added when President Obama was elected, but that Presidents Washington and Lincoln will be the only speaking Presidents.
Universal Accidentally Confirms Volcano Bay Expansion
Universal’s third gate, the innovative water theme park Volcano Bay opens tomorrow at Universal Orlando, and the company has announced that they will even be live streaming the opening too!
On the eve of the park opening, Universal is already doubling down. Theme Park Tourist reports that, “the vice-president and executive art director of Universal Creative let slip during an interview that an expansion for this park is officially in the works, saying that construction on this project (which was not detailed) “could start [as soon as] in three weeks.”
Great Movie Ride To Close This Fall
Construction on Toy Story Land, and Star Wars Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and as the park prepares to re-invent itself, the next attraction to go could be The Great Movie Ride. Rumors have it closing in August or September to be replaced by a Mickey Mouse trackless dark ride that will open in 2019.
We Finally Saw “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2”
Kory & Philly finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 last night and are (finally) ready to talk about it!
Kory Headed To The Grand Opening Of Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
This weekend Kory will travel to Disneyland for the Saturday opening of Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! Look for some new video, and maybe even a podcast from Disney California Adventure! Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for social media coverage.
Ask An Imagineer Next Week!
Next week we’ll be joined in studio by a very special guest, Former Disney Imagineer Josh Steadman! Josh was the project lead for Shanghai Disneyland’s Enchanted Storybook Castle and is a wealth of knowledge about Walt Disney Imagineering!
If you have a question for Josh you can tweet us at @TweetNoMidnight with the hashtag #AskAnImagineer, or shoot us a message on Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org! Just make sure you get us your questions by noon pacific time on Wednesday, May 31st!
We have been on the air for 4 months and the iTunes reviews have, for the most part, been very generous and kind. So, we wanted to start giving some of that love back. Each week we will read some of our 5 Star reviews on the show.
-MARKET NOTE- I was listening to Andy Herndon’s DCast this morning and he mentioned something that I was not aware of. If you are outside of the United States, and you leave an iTunes review…we cannot see it, and thusly can’t read it on the show. But we would love to! If you left us an iTunes review in a market outside the US, take a screen capture of that review and send it to email@example.com.
Wherever you are head over to Apple Podcasts and leave us a 5-star review, then listen next week to hear yours!
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OUR NEXT LIVE TAPING
WEDNESDAY, MAY 31, 2017 AT 7:55PM
Where our special guest, former Disney Imagineer Josh Steadman will join us in studio! Send your questions for Josh to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next week…