DVC Parks and Resorts Update for December 28th

Disney's Blizzard Beach Summit Plummet ride

Christmas has come and gone, and we’re all ready to put 2020 in the rear-view mirror. We’re only a few days away from ringing in the New Year, and Disney has thoughtfully revealed some park news. We’ll discuss it and other Disney Vacation Club tidbits in the latest DVC Parks and Resorts Update.

Blizzard Beach Will Return Soon

Back in mid-September, Disney confirmed the obvious. Coronavirus posed too many health risks for the company to operate water parks during 2020.

When the parks returned on July 11th/15th, we’d all accepted the reality of this matter. Park officials didn’t even mention Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon or Disney’s Blizzard Beach at the time.

However, the company’s September announcement provided a dose of optimism. Disney indicated that one water park would return in March of 2021. Well, that date is only two months away now, and we just received some clarity.

Blizzard Beach view of Chair Lift

Photo Courtesy of DisneyTouristBlog.com

On March 7th, 2021, Blizzard Beach will reopen to the public for the first time in a calendar year. The timing of the pandemic seemed especially cruel for this water park, which had just returned from refurbishment in mid-January. Less than two months later, Blizzard Beach had to shut down once more.

In fact, Blizzard Beach had even worse luck, as cold weather closed the park for its second, third, and fourth days of operation in 2020. So, there’s a lot of modified stuff at the water park that few guests have experienced thus far.

Disney apparently won’t operate two water parks for the time being, meaning that Blizzard Beach will be your only option this spring. Acquiring tickets is currently challenging, as well.

With both water parks temporarily closed, Disney has removed the Platinum Plus Pass and Water Parks Annual Pass from its offerings. Even now, renewals of Platinum Plus Passes require special authorization. Of course, I presume that Disney will update soon to reflect the return of Blizzard Beach.

Still, you should be aware that any March trips including water park visits may come with some extra hurdles to clear.

Speaking of Pools…

As we speak, Disney is putting the finishing touches on the Keister Coaster waterslide at Luna Park Pool. The transformation of the beloved pool is nearly complete, which has caused resort officials to plot their next move.

With Disney’s Boardwalk Resort finishing up, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa is apparently next in the queue. The resort’s beloved Paddock Pool will receive a plussing at some point this winter.

Keister Coaster redo at Disney's Boardwalk Resort

At that time, Imagineers will renovate the waterslide. It’s the one that snakes around the water tower feature. Disney hasn’t indicated whether the water tower itself will receive any modifications. There’s really no need beyond a slight touch-up. It’s not controversial like the creepy clown feature at the Keister Coaster, which Disney just removed.

Disney isn’t closing Paddock Pool, just the waterslide. So, that hints at a modest refurbishment rather than something comprehensive. Working on the giant water tower seems like it would require a pool closure for guest safety.

Overall, the Paddock Pool waterslide renovation will pair well with the current DVC updates at Saratoga Springs. Cast members are working their way through The Paddock right now after completing updates at Congress Park and The Springs. The entire project should finish by the start of fall, possibly even mid-summer.

Do You Prefer Scary Adventures or Enchanted Wish?

You may not remember this since Disneyland closed so long ago. However, before the park shut down due to coronavirus, Disney had previously committed to an extensive update to a beloved attraction.

I’m speaking of Snow White’s Scary Adventures, formerly known as Snow White’s Adventures. When Disneyland opened in 1955, this ride crystallized the relationship between Disney movies and theme park attractions.

Walt Disney had garnered global acclaim for the first full-length animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This dark ride recounted the tale from the perspective of Snow White. It was a marvelous piece of Imagineering that confused guests. They didn’t understand that they were living out the adventure from Snow White’s perspective. Over the years, Imagineers tried to correct the problem, most famously with the New Fantasyland update in 1983. At that point, the ride’s name changed to include ‘Scary’ in the title, and guests could finally see Snow White.

The Impending Change

Despite its lineage and history, Snow White’s Scary Adventures has remained a controversial ride over the years. The Magic Kingdom version opened with the park in 1971, but Disney rebooted it in 2012. That park’s New Fantasyland features Seven Dwarfs Mine Train instead.

Well, the heritage of Snow White at Disneyland ensures that park strategists will never eliminate it. However, we’ve just received clarification about the ride’s future. Huge changes are afoot.

For starters, the new name of the ride is Snow White’s Enchanted Wish, which signifies a dramatic shift in tone. The dark and gothic nature of Scary Adventures will get dialed down, as a new version of Snow White will appear. She’ll dance joyfully with her Seven Dwarfs and receive her Happily Ever After at the ride’s conclusion.

Disney shared this first look:

One part of that probably grabbed your attention. Yes, Disney is introducing elements from Seven Dwarfs Mine Train into Snow White’s Enchanted Wish. Specifically, the Dwarfs Mine will comprise one of the scenes. So, you’ll enter a bejeweled area and watch plenty of Dwarf-based mischief.

Obviously, we’re talking about an entire change in vibe here. Scary Adventures emphasized the dreary. When Disneyland reopens, Enchanted Wish will highlight Snow White’s idyllic life instead.

Other Recent Updates

As I’d mentioned last week, the Electrical Water Pageant has returned to Seven Seas Lagoon.

Updated employee status qualifies as another sign that Disney expects larger crowds soon. Fox 35 recently published an article indicating that some cast members have received their callbacks. They’re returning to work soon. That’s terrific news for Disney, its fans, and the Orlando economy.

Of course, some cutbacks remain necessary until the situation improves. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney has chosen to reduce the operating dates for Harambe Market. This restaurant already cut its operating hours down to 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Now, it’ll only open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On the plus side, Animal Kingdom has introduced a new Magic Shot that may give you vertigo. This SuperZoom shot will show you up close. Then, it’ll pull back and display the entire park in its full splendor from a distance. Finally, it’ll zoom back in and display your party once more. It’s somehow both unsettling and very cool. You’ll want to track down this PhotoPass opportunity during your next park visit.

At EPCOT, Disney continues to place its stamp on the Morocco pavilion, which it now fully owns and operates. Just outside Tangierine Café, Disney has opened a champagne bar! This place sells eight different champagnes including Dom Perignon. A five-ounce swig of any of them starts at $14, with the Dom Perignon costing $45.

Those of us with less refined palates and/or tighter wallets can order one of the two beers on tap, which both cost less than $10. Oh, and if you’re a teetotaler like me, bottled water is available, too.

In case you’re wondering, Disney has sold Dom Perignon at the parks before. However, it’s still super-weird, isn’t it?

Future Disney News

Let’s end 2020 with a couple of quick park notes, both of which are theoretical rather than tangible right now.

Brightline reports monthly ridership numbers as a way to track the high-speed train company’s growth. During the most recent November update, Brightline indicated that it expects revenue-earning service to begin at Walt Disney World during the second half of 2023.

Obviously, these projections may prove optimistic or possibly even overly cautious. However, for the time being, we can expect a Brightline station at Disney Springs in about 2 ½ years.

Meanwhile, WESH reports that the Orlando International Airport expansion should be ready in 2022.

Finally, Disney has published its environmental goals for the next decade. You can read the full report here. These plans include net zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100% zero carbon electricity by 2030.

Okay, that’s it. I’m officially declaring 2020 over and done. Let’s all move on to a MUCH better 2021. Happy New Year, everyone!

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