Roundtable Contributors: Estelle Hallick (This Happy Place Blog), Alan Mize, Blake Taylor (BlakeOnline.com), Andrew (Disney Hipsters Blog), and yours truly.
Here we go again. The Walt Disney World monorail system has received another new promotional wrap. This time, they’re promoting their big summer release, Monster’s University. This new wrap features Sully, Mike, and the rest of the monster student body riding in the monorail and promoting their University and their favorite fraternities. This particular wrap is not as encompassing as Tronorail, Avengerail, or IronManorail. While those wraps covered the entire train from nose to tail, this wrap only places the monsters in the windows of the cars with various signs hanging down. In fact, I almost hesitate to call it a wrap. It seems more like decoration similar to the Year of A Million Dreams embellishments that were added back in 2006.
Every time a new monorail wrap is announced, the battle begins anew. Is this a harmless and temporary promotional opportunity for Disney or is this a sign of lower standards and the overall “dumbing down” of WDW and its theming? I made my stance clear several weeks ago when I wrote about IronManorail. At the end of the day, the monorail is a mode of transportation, albeit a pretty cool one. It’s a way to get from one part of WDW to another and if they want to promote their new big film release for a few months, I see no issues there. I think the wraps are a fun way to promote their new movies and they definitely get people talking so they’re clearly doing their job. The wraps may not encourage every WDW visitor to go see the particular film, but if that wrap gets one out of every one hundred guests to see the movie, then I’m sure they were worth the investment.
Andrew (Disney Hipsters Blog)
The Magic Kingdom is currently "play testing" the new pirate adventure game in Adventureland. While yes, this may appear as simply a lateral move (Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom debuted just over a year ago) the theming is pretty dang cool and the fact that there are actual interactions with objects in the park gives this attraction the edge over SOTMK.
A lot of people are concerned over the already congested area, now with two interactive games, but this appears to be a much smaller scale and less obtrusive than SOTMK. A few problems I have: I'm totally over Jack Sparrow, as of 2005...and the magic token (or whatever...) is kind of ugly.
Blake Taylor (BlakeOnline.com)
Mickey Mouse is evergreen. He's a character that Disney has been able to use consistently since 1928 in every medium imaginable for every market possible. And this summer, nearly 85 years after the character's debut, the studio that birthed Mickey Mouse is going back to its (and his) roots: a black-and-white cartoon.
Walt Disney Animation Studios confirmed that Get a Horse! will debut at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France this June, and has billed it as a "never-before-seen" Mickey short. However, that brings into question whether it was unearthed from the Disney Archives like long-lost cartoons sometimes are... OR, it was created by modern animators as an ode to Mickey's beginnings. Mickey's voice track for the short is provided by none other than Walt Disney, his original voice, but still that doesn't clear things up. It's possible that Walt's voice was dubbed into new animation, just like vintage clips of Clarence Nash's voice were for Donald Duck in Mickey's PhilharMagic. Either way, we've got a new Mickey Mouse adventure on the way from the studio that started it all, and that is a reason for Mouseke-celebrating.
Estelle Hallick (This Happy Place Blog)
It's hard for me to fathom changes to Disney's first cruise ship: the Magic. It's actually been the only cruise ship I've ever been on and there are so many areas filled with memories for me. I can't help but feel bittersweet about the rumblings of extensive updates coming to the Magic. It's true... the improvements are much-needed and some of the nooks and crannies (especially the Adult section of the boat) could use some refreshing. But with renovations including an AquaDuct, does this mean Disney also has the opportunity to raise the price on the older ship?
I wouldn't be surprised...
Ryan P. Wilson (Main Street Gazette)
BoardWalk Bakery is reopening tomorrow. And there was much rejoicing throughout the land!
Honestly, this bakery has long been a hotspot for baked goodies and its closure, albeit brief, was lamented by many. Partially due to its prime location, as guests entering or leaving Epcot via the International Gateway had a good chance of passing by it, and in part due to its incredible assortment of all things found in the baking arts, BoardWalk Bakery had quite the reputation.
The refurbishment, lasting from the beginning of January through today, was more of an expansion than a dramatic change for BoardWalk Bakery. It has gained a larger footprint, courtesy of a portion of ESPN Club, and will utilize this space in order to transform the line for ordering into something a bit more functional and add a refillable mug station. The line-up of baked goods will be joined by an expanded menu that will feature salads, soups, and sandwiches.
BoardWalk Bakery is a stellar example of how a niche dining experience can generate buzz for all the right reasons. Its short closure, and much anticipated reopening, shows that when something is done right in Walt Disney World guests will find a way to flock to it. The success of BoardWalk Bakery, I hope, is a model for how other eateries will gain guests' attention and hold their appreciation.