DVC Resale Market’s Disney News for August 2018
June of 2018 represented peak Walt Disney Company news thanks to the arrival of the biggest Pixar movie ever and TWO new themed lands in North America. July’s news items aren’t as exciting, but how could they be? A few of them are every bit as important, though. Disney has gone green, they’ve provided some holiday season updates, they’ve modified some rules about Midnight Magic events, and they just got some good news about a possible acquisition. Here’s everything you need to know about Disney over the last month!
Moonlight Magic Is Here to Stay!
In last month’s update, we discussed the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) hosting Moonlight Magic events at Epcot. Registration recently opened for events held in July and August. Well, the July event has come and gone, and it was once again a huge success for DVC members. Guests who missed out on the first one will have another opportunity on August 15, 2018.
The second batch of attendees this year will notice some changes, though. Park officials have altered the food policy moving forward. During previous Midnight Magic events, DVC members could eat unlimited food and snacks. Disney’s decided that this is too much of a good thing. Starting with the next event, they’ll hand out food vouchers instead.
These vouchers will entitle guests to one meal voucher per member of their party. In other words, a family of four will get four meal vouchers. They may exchange these vouchers for a meal at one of several participating Quick Service restaurants at Epcot. Each meal will include an entrée, a side dish, and a non-alcoholic beverage. It’s basically the same as a Quick Service meal on the Disney Dining Plan.
The participating restaurants are Electric Umbrella, Liberty Inn, Midnattssol Bakeri (the sweets kiosk temporarily replacing Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe), Sunshine Seasons, and Yorkshire County Fish Shop. The previous foods available at Midnight Magic were fast foods like hamburgers and hot dogs. This change may limit the amount of food a person can eat, but it simultaneously opens up a wealth of options for the meal itself. So, it’s sort of a lateral move for Midnight Madness guests. You can still eat all of the Mickey Mouse ice cream bars that you want, however, and that’s really all that matters, right?
Disney has several remaining Midnight Madness dates this year at other parks if you’re interested. Disney’s Hollywood Studios hosts events on September 19th, September 26th, and October 3rd. Then, it’ll switch coasts for a Disney California Adventure party on November 15th. Don’t worry if you can’t visit any this year, though! Disney announced that Midnight Madness will return in 2019!
Speaking of which, card-carrying members of DVC are passionate about one other exclusive at Epcot. I’m speaking of the Epcot Lounge at Imagination! Pavilion. It’s the place where you can get out of the sun, recharge your smart devices, and enjoy a free beverage while relaxing on a comfortable sofa. The Epcot Lounge opened to members in 2016, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Disney has revealed that it will be back in 2019, too.
Are You Visiting Disney for the Holidays? You Should…
During July, Disney announced a lot of news about the 2018 holiday season. First of all, the beloved Candlelight Processional at Epcot will return starting this November. Disney has gradually doled out tidbits about the 2018 iteration. First, they revealed a small sample of the narrators this year, some of whom are returning favorites like Neil Patrick Harris and Edward James Olmos. Here’s the current list:
- Chita Rivera – November 22 to 23, 2018
- TBD – November 24 to December 2, 2018
- Neil Patrick Harris – December 3 to 6, 2018
- Whoopi Goldberg – December 7 to 9, 2018
- TBD – December 10 to 12, 2018
- Blair Underwood – December 13 to 14, 2018
- Gary Sinise – December 15 to 17, 2018
- Pat Sajak – December 18 to 20, 2018
- TBD – December 21 to 23, 2018
- Edward James Olmos – December 24 to 25, 2018
- Jodi Benson – December 26 to 27, 2018
- TBD – December 28 to 30, 2018
Disney will have Candlelight Processional dinner packages again this holiday season, too. If you’re interested in watching this event, I strongly recommend that you book one of these packages. You can even get one for breakfast, which is cheaper. With a package, you’ll have guaranteed seating for the processional, which is otherwise first come, first serve…and it usually sells out. The dining packages are like insurance policies for good seats.
The Moms Panel at the Parks Blog also took the unusual step of revealing several other upcoming holiday events at the Disneyland Resort theme parks. Both the Festival of Holidays and “Believe…in Holiday Magic” Fireworks Spectacular. The parade known as A Christmas Fantasy is also back. The big new thing is a pair of holiday ride overlays at Disney California Adventure. Both Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl and Mater’s Jingle Jamboree will seem more festive in November and December this year!
At Walt Disney World, many favorites are back for another year. You can read the full details here, but let’s quickly run through the highlights. At Disney Springs, the Christmas Tree Trail will return with five more trees, bringing its total to 25. And one of them is Haunted Mansion-related!
The holiday version of Food & Wine, the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, comes back on November 18th for a six-week stay. At Hollywood Studios, fans of Prep & Landing will be happy to learn that Disney’s Hollywood Studios Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! is back for 2018! Sunset Seasons Greetings is also making a return engagement. And the brand new Toy Story Land area will get some holiday overlays, including festive music on Alien Swirling Saucers.
Even Disney’s Animal Kingdom is getting into the act this year, with “the addition of Diwali, the holiday Festival of Lights in India, to the new live show UP! A Great Bird Adventure.” Of course, the signature event is still at Magic Kingdom. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party promises another series of yuletide celebrations that envelop party-goers in Disney bliss.
Summarizing a lot of Disney news items in a single statement: you need to visit a Disney theme park this holiday season. You owe yourself this kind of happiness, don’t you?
Disney Ditches Plastic
Perhaps the most fascinating story this month is Decision’s decision to eliminate many plastic items. At parks and resorts around the world, Disney will swap out plastics for other items that are better for the environment. In announcing their latest initiative, the company quoted its founder, Walt Disney: “Conservation isn’t just the business of a few people. It’s a matter that concerns all of us.”
The plan itself is equal parts noble and ambitious. For starters, Disney will eliminate straws and drink stirrers. Park officials indicated that they distribute almost 200 million of these items annually. In a little more than five years, the new tactic will lessen the number of these plastics manufactured by a billion!
While the elimination of straws has become the popular idea over the past couple of years, Disney’s not content with stopping there. They’ll use fewer plastics in other places, too. For example, hotel soaps come wrapped in plastic today. The company will change their packaging to make it less damaging to the environment.
In recent months, Disney garnered headlines for its decision to add reusable dispensers in hotel rooms. People complained that they couldn’t take Disney shampoos and lotions home with them, thinking that the strategy was an attempt to prevent (extremely) petty theft. Instead, we now know that the company has transitioned to dispensers to lessen the amount of wasteful substances in toiletry packages.
Over the next 12 months, parks and hotels will move away from conventional packaging. Simultaneously, plastic bags at shops will become less prevalent. Disney will try to persuade customers to carry reusable bags instead. Overall, the company projects that they’ll lessen their reliance on plastics by 80 percent.
The plastic reduction initiative is a worthy goal that will inevitably come with a few nasty headlines from hotel traditionalists. And I say that as someone who has about 10 bottles of Disney shampoo stockpiled in bathroom cabinets right now. Don’t judge me! It smells nicer than my brand! Plus, I think of Disney whenever I use it. Hmm, I’m part of the problem, aren’t I?
Disney Gets an Important Approval
The most important news item for the future of The Walt Disney Company oddly involves 21st Century Fox. You probably know that Disney has spent the body of 2018 attempting to purchase many of Fox’s media assets.
Both companies hit a stumbling block when Comcast got involved. This third party didn’t like the idea of Disney grabbing so much crucial content. Comcast tried to grab the assets instead. Ultimately, Disney boosted their offer, forcing Comcast to drop out.
During a board meeting last week, both Fox and Disney shareholders approved the potential deal. The only potential stumbling block now is the federal government. While it’s possible that they may determine that this deal violates antitrust laws, analysts have remarked on the precise nature of the contract, one that seemingly overcomes any potential regulatory concerns. The current belief/expectation is that it’ll receive government approval and get finalized in mid-2019.
Disney PhotoPass Day Is Back
Disney tried something a couple of years ago that quickly became a huge deal. It’s called Disney PhotoPass Day, a time when rare photo ops are available to guests who have access to the PhotoPass service. Well, it’s back for 2018! On August 18th, you can take all kinds of unique photos and even some Magic Shots that are exclusively available for the day. August 18th is a day that you’ll want to be at Walt Disney World!