Connections Café Opens and Disney Pushes Back on Reedy Creek
A new restaurant has opened, an airport terminal is opening soon, and Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris just showed us the future. Some of it’s good, and some isn’t. Here’s what you need to know.
Now Serving Starbucks Again!
Back when Disney announced the changes coming to EPCOT, we knew that Starbucks would reside in a new location.
The beloved coffee vendor had its own spot in Future World but then shut down in September of 2019.
Since then, the place has resided in a temporary home, Travelers Café. However, that place closed last week.
How are EPCOT guests getting their coffee fix now? They’re visiting the brand new restaurant, Connections Café and Eatery, which officially opened this week.
Here’s a detailed look at the new place, which had a sneak preview last week:
If you watched “opening day” videos from back then, this clip will show what has changed. The digital menus are now functional behind the order counters.
Also, this building just seems shiny and new. It’s much classier than I had expected. I’m really impressed with the design here and at the nearby Creations Shop.
EPCOT definitely feels fresher due to these changes. Speaking of which, the hype train has started for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, the centerpiece of this park reboot.
The official Disney Parks channel on YouTube published this teaser on Wednesday:
Please take a moment to admire how stunning that backdrop appears at night with Spaceship Earth and the monorail in the background. Well done, Imagineers!
Central Florida Updates
This fall, you’ll have a new option when you fly into Orlando International Airport (MCO).
Airport officials announced that Terminal C, the so-called South Terminal, will open to the public on September 19th.
You can read full details here, but this one’s a massive upgrade on the existing terminals.
Conveyor belts will ensure that the baggage bins are always moving. Meanwhile, technology will allow you to track the location of your bag at all times.
MCO is now one of the ten busiest airports on the planet. So, it needs these upgrades.
Speaking of Central Florida, we just learned Disney’s first line of defense in protecting the Reedy Creek Improvement District.
Disney posted this on the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. The gist is that when lawmakers signed the 1967 agreement, they entered into a contract with its bondholders.
The dissolution of Reedy Creek would violate that contract until said bonds are paid off. The current final payment date for that is in 2036.
You can read more about this in a Bloomberg Tax article if so inclined.
If you want to know the gist, the article’s headline is “The Contractual Impossibility of Unwinding Disney’s Reedy Creek.” So, yeah. He’s skeptical that this can even happen.
Miscellaneous Disney Park News
I’ve got two international park stories of note this week. Both of which could circle back to American Disney parks at some point.
The first one is genuinely incredible. Tokyo Disneyland plans to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2023.
After that event ends, the park will close down Space Mountain for renovations…and by that, I mean they’re going to demolish the entire ride building. Seriously.
The plan calls for the construction of a new, modern Space Mountain that will arrive in 2027. As you can see from this Tweet, it looks stunning:
We're over the moon to share that an all-new Space Mountain and plaza are coming to Tomorrowland at Tokyo Disney Resort in 2027 ✨ Learn more about this interstellar announcement: https://t.co/A3WUBQBNfs pic.twitter.com/JwcVhOcbCA
— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) April 27, 2022
If this approach succeeds, it could become Disney’s plan for future park developments.
Sometimes, stale older rides could get replaced by newer versions of the same premise. I’m all for it if they look like that.
Finally, Disneyland Paris has just announced a new digital queue upgrade option.
A few years ago, the park replaced FastPass with something called Premier Access. It’s their version of Lightning Lane.
The current system allows guests to buy quick access to one of 12 attractions for a set fee. Prices range from $8.50 to $16 for a single ride.
Now, the park will offer Premier Access Ultimate. It’ll entitle guests to a single ride on all 12 attractions for a price of about $95.
You may recall that Disney Genie+ at Walt Disney World recently updated its terms to remove the guarantee for eight park attractions in a day.
For that reason, it’s reasonable to wonder whether Disney has similar plans here as in Paris. After all, that’s how the introductory process has worked in the past.