DISCLAIMER: Even though Disney hasn’t confirmed all these changes for Walt Disney World and some media outlets are to believe they won’t be officially announced on the Disney Parks Blog or giving them the silent treatment unless subject to change for Disney officially announcing it themselves. Some of this article is opinions as well.
The news buzz coming out of Walt Disney World in terms for this amount of quantity entertainment cuts hasn’t been seen for some time now for the parks and resorts. Walt Disney World is shaping up for the big 50th anniversary in 2021 and also a complete project transformation of codename “Project Gamma” for Epcot. That is for future project terms but, presently entertainment on the resort are one of the main attractions for families and friends for things to do when doing their next Disney vacation. From parades, nightlife entertainment, fireworks displays with projecting mapping are one of the things Disney does best at.
With numerous news outlets from this week are reporting 3 entertainment cuts will be removed from the parks at Walt Disney World from two different parks at the Magic Kingdom and the other at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Let’s dive into this for these entertainment cuts being reported and further analysis down below:
The Muppets Present…Great Moments In America History-
The iconic Muppets with Kermit and his friends with Sam Eagle, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, the Great Gonzo, and James Jefferson as the town crier at Liberty Square by Hall of Presidents on the second floor of the Heritage House and adjacent from The Haunted Mansion made it’s first debut back in October 2nd, 2016. The show teaches guests about the Colonial era of American history from important moments of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the famous cry of the “The British are coming!” by Paul Revere and more.
The show are control by actual puppeteers as guests can sing along and enjoy the entertainment of the show. This week in being reported by Attractions Magazine that is show is on the chopping block from cast members that the last day of this show will be closed on October 5th, 2019. Disney declined to comment about the closing as Attractions reached out for a statement about it.
Earlier this year the famous Miss Piggy & Kermit mural by MuppetVision 3-D was completely painted over as reported by WDWNT on the entire left side of the building since the attraction first opened up in 1991 and for this cover up to fit the theming of Grand Avenue.
The only two Muppet related things to do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are MuppetVision 3-D and the pizza restaurant for PizzeRizzo right across from the attraction.
Personally, Disney is wanting to do less with the Muppets ever Jim Henson’s passing and the company direction hasn’t been the same. Lisa Henson is the current CEO as she is Jim’s daughter and to me this feels like a complete backstab toward’s her father’s iconic legacy he has created for the Muppets and creatures for some of the most talented people in the industry. The reimagined The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance series currently streaming on Netflix is a smashing hit of Henson’s creatures as an upside side if your a big fan of the Jim Henson Creature shop as it captivates the original series with an updated modern CGI and technology.
So what does this all mean to sum it all up? The Muppets are struggling and can’t seem to find a fit in our modern society and tried with 2 movies, an ABC sitcom series that didn’t let up in meeting Disney’s expectations and pulling the rug underneath them. Recently, another Muppet project for a comedy series was cancelled that was coming to Disney+ according to Deadline for Muppets Live Another Day as actor Josh Gad has walked away from the project. The short-forms of the Muppets are still scheduled for an “unscripted series” titled Muppets Now coming in 2020.
It’s matter of time for what Disney’s course of action for Kermit the Frog and the gang if will their will be still a present fit with them under Disney’s umbrella. Stay tuned to find out.
Royal Majesty Makers-
The Fantasyland whimsical and entertaining group of the Royal Majesty Makers are going to be also on the chopping block and reported by Attractions Magazine as well as the same date as the Muppets at the Magic Kingdom on October 5th, 2019. These group of actors are around in the morning hours in the section of Fantasyland as they try to find someone worthy to pull the sword from the stone. They are Cinderella’s ambassadors for her court as guests meet retired knight Sir Sterling, his clever niece Bridget, squire Tobias and the kind Lady Llewellyn.
They have been around since the new Fantasyland transformation for the Magic Kingdom since 2012, as these group of actors created a fun atmosphere vibe to start guests morning and enjoy their day as the parks. It won’t the same with these guys anymore as Disney is always about creating guest interactions and memories for a life time.
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the Africa section of the park inside of the Harambe Village with the iconic sounds and high energy of the Burdika Band are also going to be removed by Disney. The band plays in the afternoons in the village area of the park, as it’s being reported that the band’s contract won’t be up for renewal from a post by one of the performers on Facebook. Their last performance will be on October 13th, 2019 at 6:30pm EST on that date according to BlogMickey.
Disney hasn’t officially announced their departure and if you look at Disney World’s calendar on their site for dates pass October 13th and shows no times available.
The Harambe Village won’t be the same anymore as this was a crowd catcher and enjoyment for families and experiencing a music tradition from Africa to by pass the day for the immersive environment section of the park for guests participate with the band. This entertainment will surely be missed and won’t be the same anymore for this cut.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the culprit?-
Many in the theme park community are attesting for why these entertainment cuts is because Disney needs to make their demand back because of Star Wars and for their experiences that do and don’t work for trimming the fat in between. The $1.2 billion dollar investment towards Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has been opened up for pushing a month now, that opened up on August 29th, 2019 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge has been open up for 5 months that opened up on May 31st, 2019 for visitors who wanna plan trips towards Black Spire Outpost.
The goal is simple enough for Disney to cut back on entertainment because Disney is about to soon enter their fiscal Q4 starting on October 1st, 2019 and recently released the report of their fiscal Q3 report on the company’s website.
Here’s what Disney had to say from the fiscal Q3 of the Parks, Experiences and Products:
“The decrease in operating income at our domestic parks and resorts was due to higher costs and lower volume, partially offset by increased average per capita guest spending. Higher costs were driven by labor and other cost inflation and expenses associated with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which opened at Disneyland Resort on May 31. The decrease in volume was due to lower attendance, partially offset by higher occupied room nights. Guest spending growth was primarily due to higher average ticket prices and increased food, beverage and merchandise spending.”
The media was releasing so many controversial headlines of saying Galaxy’s Edge is a “flop” and where for Disneyland it had not much of a big of a public interest due towards the increase of the park’s ticket prices and annual passholders for Southern California are mainly Disneyland’s biggest market saturation were blackout for a majority of the summer. The “flop” was all because of the not successful opening months that resulted the impacted of Disney’s Q3 fiscal for the company. The expansion isn’t a flop as many in the Star Wars or theme park fandom think it is for what has been reported.
Chairman and CEO Bob Iger of The Walt Disney Company personally believes Galaxy’s Edge is a good operating product for the parks and resorts and Disney needs to weed out the problems the expansion is having. Disney’s Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy even addressed in the recent Q3 fiscal earrings call and stated by the following-
“Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, we anticipate strong segment operating income growth driven by the benefit from a full quarter of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and growth at merchandise licensing. So far this quarter, domestic resort reservations are pacing up 4% compared to prior year while booked rates are up 3%.”
The prices for merchandise are high because it’s more of a “guest experience” over a service. Even take building your own lightsaber for example, at Savi’s Workshop that sets you back $200 dollars to design and customize the lightsaber you want to wield. It’s much way similar for paying for your own wand at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando or Hollywood but at lower cost to pay for it.
Also to note as well for Galaxy’s Edge was huge hype that resulted the overbooking of Disney’s hotels and good neighbor hotels to be sold out for many weeks in advance for Disneyland. Even at Walt Disney World helped out to some degree with crowd levels for doing “Extra Extra Magic Hours” before the park opens up at Disney’s Hollywood Studios but, still delivered low attendance is because of having one attraction opened up for The Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run and Disneyland as well.
Much of because Disney is investing a lot on the line for the highly anticipated Rise of the Resistance as this will be their biggest and highly technological advanced attraction ever created. It also because much guests are waiting on the sideline in patiently waiting for it open up first at Walt Disney World on December 5th, 2019 and then second at Disneyland on January 17th, 2020. It isn’t clear if most of the budget is going into Rise of the Resistance or just for the expansion in general and why much of these entertainment cuts at the parks had to suffer their fate to be eliminated.
Vacationing towards Walt Disney World is going feel different and times are changing ahead at the most happiest place in the world.
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