April 28th Disney Parks Update: PeopleMover Reopened, Disney Dining News and More!
The Disney Skyliner suffered another collision, COVID-19 policies at Disneyland and Disney World changed, and new park features were announced. I’ll explain what happened in today’s Disney Parks Update.
Gondola Collision Part Two
The Disney Skyliner got off to an inauspicious start in October of 2019, when two gondolas collided during its first week in operation. You may recall that several riders got stranded for hours, and the story made mainstream headlines. Since then, the gondola system has experienced occasional downtime but primarily avoided major incidents until the other day.
An Instagram user, Next Stop Main Street, captured some images of two gondolas tilted against each other, the tell-tale signs of a crash. Disney later confirmed that nobody was onboard either tram, but some guests did get stranded for an hour or more. You may wonder how this happened, a question Disney chose not to answer. The explanation appears to involve wheelchair-accessible trams. Imagineers set up a clever system that includes a separate section for these accessible gondolas. It provides guests with more time to board.
Once they’re comfortably in the tram, it joins the standard departure line. This time, one gondola either joined too late or too early, causing the wreck.
Walt Disney World Park Updates
Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
I have excellent news! By the time you read this, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover should have reopened! Disney announced that its official return date is April 26th, although guests were lining up on April 24th in hopes of catching a ride on the first day. The PeopleMover has anchored Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom since 1975, but it had closed even before the pandemic.
The ride first suffered a weird smoking incident in January of 2020. Then, it randomly closed on March 9th and never opened on March 10th. Since that date, the PeopleMover had remained offline, missing several announced deadlines for reopening. But that’s over now!
DIY Refills are Back
The other significant news story this week will put a smile on the face of DVC owners. You can pour your own refills again! During the pandemic, Disney tightened the rules to protect public safety. High-touch areas proved particularly problematic. So, cast members have helmed the self-service beverage stations for the past nine months. Whenever you wanted a refill at the Contempo Café or Capt. Cook’s or wherever, you had to ask for help.
Apparently, enough people have received vaccinations that Disney feels it’s safe for guest to pour their own drinks again.
However, park officials clearly don’t believe that we’re entirely out of the woods yet. Na’Vi River Journey just added plexiglass barriers on its boats.
Disney Dining News
Frankly, we’re noticing a few mixed messages. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Rainforest Café has reopened its path into the park. Previously, the only available entrance came from the security section of the park. Now, you can enter and leave the other way, too. I never quite understood the rationale for that particular precautionary move anyway.
While we’re talking about Disney dining, Trattoria al Forno has joined the Table Service To Go service on My Disney Experience. So, you can get Italian to go!
At Magic Kingdom, three different quick bites eateries have joined Mobile Ordering. The Friar’s Nook, Sleepy Hollow Refreshments, and Sunshine Tree Terrace all allow online orders now. That’ll save you a lot of headaches, as the lines at these places can grow excessive.
The other restaurant news may prove significant if you’re in Central Florida and looking for work. The Patina Restaurant Group is hiring at its Disney Springs eateries. Also, the company expects low demand for these gigs. For this reason, Patina will provide a $500 bonus to anyone who takes a job at one of its five restaurants. That bonus applies to cooks and the like. Workers at the front of the house will receive $300 bonuses. These incentives suggest that the job market in Central Florida is stabilizing, which is welcome news.
Other Park Updates
New Profanity Policy
At Disneyland, park officials are taking a stand. After hearing about Walt Disney World cast members receiving insults for months, Disneyland has codified a policy that “using profanity or offensive language towards our Cast Members or other Guests” will get you kicked out. Disneyland won’t accept unruly behavior, which is the right call.
One Shopping Option Returns, Another Arrives
At Walt Disney World, a Pixar store will reopen soon. Beverly Sunset Boutique at Disney’s Hollywood Studios comes back on May 5th.
Star Wars Trams in the Works
Meanwhile also on the topic of Hollywood Studios, we just learned something exciting about the upcoming connection to Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. Imagineers are currently working on the trams that will transport guests from Star Wars Hotel to Batuu.
A female Rex droid will drive the shuttle between the hotel and the park. Her name is Rex Droid V03A, and she’s adorable!
Speaking of Star Wars…
Recent permits suggest that Galactic Starcruiser could open in 2021, 2022 at the latest. So, we’re a year or less away from Star Wars Hotel!