DVC Resale Market’s Disney Parks News for March 2019
February is often a slow month for Disney news, but the company’s not slowing down any this year. They doled out information about Star Wars Land, Star Wars Day, Star Wars food and drinks, and a bunch of non-Star Wars stuff, too. Let’s talk about everything we learned in February.
New Star Wars Land News!
We are only a season away from the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland. Executives at The Walt Disney Company understand the voracious appetite that we all have for any and all news related to this themed land. CEO Robert Iger has cheekily acknowledged that his company doesn’t plan to spend a lot of money on the advertising for Star Wars Land. What’s the point? Everyone’s searching daily if not hourly for new details.
What executives are doing in lieu of marketing is using their standard channels to promote Star Wars Land. They kicked this strategy into overdrive in recent weeks. They introduced the Building Batuu series. It’s a Disney Parks Blog recurring set of updates about the planet that is home to Black Spire Outpost.
Disney’s covering everything about Batuu. For example, their Instagram feed recently revealed the cast member outfits. Some Disney fans and journalists were given a look at others. They have posted some enlightening images on their feeds, too.
Star Wars Land will also come with a lot of counter service restaurants and Star Wars stores. Disney has revealed either the full list or, at the very least, most of it. They’ll sell spit-roasted meats at Ronto Roasters. Yes, a droid named 8D-J8 thinks it can serve you the tastiest pig (let’s hope it’s pig) that you’ve ever had.
Meanwhile, Kat Sata’s Kettle is the place to go for Outpost Mix, a kind of popcorn snack. Given the extreme popularity of popcorn variants at Tokyo Disneyland, it’s understandable why Disney has emphasized these snacks in America in recent years. Kat Sata’s Kettle could become the place that makes popcorn the new churro at the Happiest Place on Earth.
You can buy milk at the Milk Stand, although the color of it may frighten you. The options are Green Milk and Blue Milk. Disney indicates that it’s fresh from Bubo Wamba Family Farms. Given the milk colors available, my suspicion is that they don’t have any cows there.
The other restaurant is the main Quick Service option at Batu. Obviously, theming is huge at Star Wars Land, and Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo has gone so far as to give its chef a backstory. This upcoming eatery is home to the kitchen of Chef Strono Tuggs, although everybody calls him Cookie. He has left his cushy job at Maz Kanata’s castle to work at the outskirts of civilization. He cooks his tastiest cuisine at Tuggs’ Grub. I can’t help but wonder whether a royal chef has an ulterior motive for moving to the edge of the galaxy. Don’t be surprised if Cookie is a factor in some of the announced quests at Star Wars Land.
Batuu will include at least five different merchandise locations to start. Disney announced general stores named First Order Cargo and Resistance Supply, the latter of which is like a bazaar. It has several different merchandise options like clothes, toys, jewelry, and “critters.” Along those lines, Droid Depot lets you build and tinker with your own droid.
The two character-themed stores are Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities and Savi’s Workshop. Dok-Ondar sells “rare and uniquely-valued items from across the galaxy.” In addition to upscale merchandise, I would again expect some sort of quest element here. It would make good business sense for Disney to give guests reasons to visit the place with the most expensive goods. As for Savi’s Workshop, you’re going to go there anyway. This place sells hand-built lightsabers. It’s going to be one of the destination spots at Galaxy’s Edge.
Star Wars Day Episode III Is Coming
When Disney first acquired ownership of Lucasfilm, they quickly moved to maximize the merchandising potential of the most important brand. In tandem with the release of a new movie, Disney held Star Wars Day, which sounded like a celebration of all things Star Wars. In truth, it was a day when Disney stores sold tons of new Star Wars-related products.
In tandem with the release of the climatic Star Wars Episode IX, Disney will host another event later this year. On October 4th, guests will flock to their nearest Disney retailer to celebrate Triple Force Friday. The title hints at how this event is different from prior ones. Disney isn’t merely selling Episode IX merchandise this time. They’ll have a bunch of products related to the upcoming Disney+ program, The Mandalorian as well.
To many Disney fans, that’s not even the best part. Triple Force Friday will have a non-Disney merchandise line as well. With Frozen II released the following month, Disney stores will sell entirely new products based on the sequel.
The company’s tight-lipped on what those items will be since the plot of Frozen II is still shrouded in secrecy. Whatever the plot is, we’re all going to want those sweet, sweet Frozen and Star Wars goodies that go on sale on October 4th. We should all start saving up for the big event, right?
Massive Changes in Store for Future World at Epcot
Disney dropped one of the biggest bombshells in recent memory on the Parks Blog a couple of weeks ago. They revealed that the Wonders of Life pavilion will spring back to life just before the 50th-anniversary celebration at Walt Disney World. It will have an entirely new look and theme, though.
Yes, Disney has decided that it’s time to go out with the old and in with the new at Future World. The decidedly 1980s themes of Wonders of Life didn’t hold up, which explains why this pavilion closed more than a decade ago. It’s primarily been used as a hub for various Epcot festivals in recent years. Now, park planners aspire to do more with it, and I mean much more.
The announced Play Pavilion is something that Disney promises will be “unlike anything you’ve ever seen at the park.” Their official description of this pavilion says the following:
“This new space will be devoted to playful fun and feature an innovative city that’ll come to life under the dome of the un-named pavilion previously known as Wonders of Life. The pavilion’s city will be bursting with interactive experiences, your favorite Disney characters, hands-on activities and engaging entertainment…”
Plenty of online speculation ensued about what Disney has planned for their future-proof pavilion. For now, all that matters is that one of the depressing abandoned spaces at Epcot will have life breathed into it again. Hopefully, the same is true of some other currently wasted space.
Disney didn’t stop with this Epcot announcement, either. They announced the long-rumored plan to change the entrance to Future World. Over the past couple of years, insiders have suggested that Disney would create a new backbone for this area. It’s a spine highlighted by a series of fountains, something the Parks Blog has at least generally confirmed.
This change may impact a few longstanding DVC members. As part of the modernization of Epcot’s entrance, the Leave a Legacy photos will require relocation. The Parks Blog indicates that it will be positioned just beyond the Epcot park entrance. I’m sure Disney will be respectful of these photos, highlighting them in new ways. It’s just kind of a bummer that they promised something with the program, and then circumstances dictated a change.
Jessie’s Coming to DCA
In March of 2018, Disney California Adventure closed one of the opening day attractions. Park officials announced that King Triton’s Carousel of the Sea would get shut down and repurposed. The new carousel is more appropriate for Pixar Pier, and it’s almost here!
Disney just revealed the opening month for Jessie’s Critter Carousel. Starting in April, everyone’s favorite Toy Story cowgirl will host a bunch of creatures like bunnies, turtles, and snakes on her ride. This carousel will be even more family-friendly than most due to its celebration of the Toy Story universe.
Amusingly, Disney had to confirm the ride’s impending debut because they recently added the Jessie statue. It’s impossible to hide due to its size so everybody would have known what was up even if the company hadn’t said anything.
A Third Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique?
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is one of the most treasured places at Walt Disney World. I think of it less as a boutique and more as a princess transformation experience. Cast members aka Fairy Godmothers-in-Training turn boys and girls into knights and princesses for the day. It does more for a child’s self-esteem than winning a spelling bee or getting retweeted by Ninja.
Disney currently hosts two Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique locations, but a third is coming soon. This one will prove the most convenient to DVC members. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will take over the space currently used by Ivy Trellis Salon. Fans of this salon shouldn’t worry, though. It’s not going away. Instead, Disney will relocate it to Senses, which is where it probably should have been in the first place.
The fit of the Grand Floridian with Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is perfect. For DVC members, it means that when you book a room here, you don’t even need to leave the resort to give your child a memory that they will treasure forever. This decision is one of Disney’s finest in recent memory.
March Moonlight Magic Events Now Open for Booking
DVC members have fallen in love with the Moonlight Magic events at various Disney themes. During these special after-hours park evenings, card-carrying DVC owners get exclusive access to a specific Disney theme park. It’s a rare opportunity to ride all your favorite attractions without waiting in line, and Disney even throws in free food to show their appreciation for your program participation.
In March, the DVC Moonlight Magic Events are at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While the events are free, you must register because Moonlight Magic does sell out. The dates this month are March 20th and March 27th. On these evenings, DVC members get to visit Disney’s newest themed land, Toy Story Land, without fighting the crowds. It’s a tremendous benefit of ownership.
Cabanas Coming to Stormalong Bay
While we’re on the subject of upcoming additions to DVC resorts, Disney’s Beach Club Resort will get a great one soon. The Stormalong Bay mini-water park at the hotel is long overdue for cabanas. I mean, the quiet pool at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has them, for Heaven’s sake. How does Stormalong Bay not yet?
Clearly, someone at Disney had this epiphany. According to WDWMagic, Disney’s constructing cabanas closer to the Yacht Club side of Stormalong Bay. These cabanas will be pay-to-play, of course, as Disney usually does charge for them these days, even the quiet pool ones. WDWMagic believes that the price will be $199 for a full-day rental or $129 half-a-day.
The cabanas are apparently quite lovely. They have a covered area, of course, but it’s one that includes a television. You can sit by the pool and watch Resort TV in between dips in the pool. The cabanas come with a stocked refrigerator and fruit plate, too.
Everything Old Is New Again at Disneyland Resort
Disney temporarily closed a couple of Anaheim favorites last year. Both of them have finally returned, making the Happiest Place on Earth even happier. I’m speaking of a restaurant and a nighttime exhibition.
Tangaroa Terrace Tropical Bar & Grill at Disneyland Hotel is finally back. The most popular counter service restaurant at any Disney hotel in the area went away for a while for retooling. When it re-opened early in February, guests were delighted to see the new, Tiki-intensive look. Better yet, they now get to eat in an open-air patio section that comes complete with a view of the legendary monorail pool. Best of all, there’s now a Dole Whip…with rum. You can read about the changes at Tangaroa Terrace.
The other significant return engagement is World of Color. Disney California Adventure’s nighttime presentation went on sabbatical last April amidst rumors of a huge technical problem. Whatever the issue was, park officials refused to commit to a return date in 2018. Ultimately, they pushed back the re-opening window to 2019, which stirred up a lot of online speculation about whether it was really coming back.
Thankfully, a lot of people were being overly paranoid. World of Color is back and better than ever. Disney ran a series of test performances before the official return engagement on March 1st. This video shows all of the changes in the new version. Somehow, Imagineers keep making it shinier.