Everyone’s Hugging at Disney, and New Coasters Are Coming!

After more than two cruel years of socially distant character interactions, normalcy has returned at Disney parks.

Yup, you should probably plan your next trip, as the Disney you know and love has restored its status quo.

About the Characters

I track attraction wait times for a different Disney site. This past week included an anomaly that initially gave me pause.

During the previous week, attractions like Princess Fairytale Hall and Red Carpet Dreams experienced massive surges in crowd attendance.

After a moment, I realized that I had spotted the first signs of the change in character interaction policies at Disney theme parks.

Sure enough, people rushed back to Town Square Theater to hug Mickey Mouse. The average wait time nearly tripled from approximately 15 minutes to 45 minutes.

Suffice to say that demand was high for this opportunity to hug and hold hands with beloved Disney characters. It’s the missing ingredient at the parks during the pandemic.

In truth, I believe Disney did a phenomenal job in rebooting character interactions over the past two years. Some of the forced innovations proved entertaining on their own.

Still, watching Winnie the Pooh chase butterflies just cannot compete with hugging Minnie Mouse once again.

Those of you who watch Disney influencers on social media know that it’s been the subject of note this week.

Here’s PCDevv interacting with several of your favorites:

And here’s Super Enthused:

Friends, good times are waiting to be had at the parks now that Disney has lifted all mask mandates, and character greetings are back to the way we’ve always loved them!

Roller Coaster News

I’ve got two other exciting updates to share with you today. The first one honestly surprised me.

Attentive viewers on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover at Magic Kingdom noticed something unexpected.

They caught a glimpse of Imagineers performing trial runs on Tron Lightcycle Power Run.

Folks, this isn’t a drill. Disney has advanced enough in the construction of this project that it can run ride carts on the tracks!

Here’s a (blink and you’ll miss it) video of the testing:

I suspect that Disney felt comfortable doing this because the exterior canopy hid the testing from most people.

What does this mean for the ride’s opening date? Well, I’d heard that park officials really want the attraction operating late in 2022.

Recently, rumors had suggested an October 1st, 2022, debut for the Tron roller coaster. I’d somewhat dismissed those reports as unlikely.

Based on this footage, I now believe that the target date is completely viable.

Courtesy of Disney Tourist Blog

I’m not saying you should schedule a trip around those expectations or anything, just that I think it’s possible.

An October 1st debut would mean that Walt Disney World has opened three E-ticket attractions in a calendar year. That’s a terrific way to commemorate the 50th anniversary party!

Speaking of which, another coaster arrives first. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind debuts in late May, and we have our first published review.

Also, Disney just released the track list for the ride. Here it is:

  • Conga – Miami Sound Machine
  • Disco Inferno – The Trammps
  • Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears for Fears
  • I Ran – Flock of Seagulls
  • One Way Or the Other – Blondie
  • September – Earth, Wind & Fire

The implication is that the ride experience will change depending on the song that plays, just like at Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!

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