9 Theme Park News Nuggets: Mickey Speaks

Written by Chris Wakefield. Posted in Features, Podcasts, Wakefield Report


Published on November 06, 2013 at 1:00 am with 1 Comment

What an amazing week in theme park news! From Mine Train’s to Potter trains, things are really heating up in the Orlando theme park wars. It seems that Disney may be getting the message as we see more and more progress being made on the Mine Train coaster. Also, we have some real tangible evidence of the progress being made at Downtown Disney for the Disney Springs project. This is such an exciting time and I look forward to seeing more construction cranes rise in the Orlando sky.

9 News Nuggets You Need to Know

Story 1: This week we have a story about a Disney super fan who made an amazing costume. When it comes to themed costumes, Rob Cockerham takes the cake. From just a few sketches, he made a costume that is a three dimensional version of a Disneyland park map. In the article, Rob shares over 60 pictures that shows the costume making process from start to finish. It is a costume that you have to see to believe.

Story 2: Interesting news this week as Disney announces the Jungle Cruise overlay known as the “Jingle Cruise.” While details are hard to come by at the moment, we do know that skippers on both coasts have some new holiday themed zingers in their spiel. We also know that Jungle Cruise boats and queues will have some special decorations for the overlay. While this is not the biggest news, it is a welcome announcement for those of us on the East Coast. We have been begging for a Haunted Mansion Holiday or Ghost Galaxy type overlay, and this seems to be a start.

Story 3:  Some really weird and somewhat controversial news this week as Universal Hollywood has announced that they are canceling the remaining Bill and Ted shows for Halloween Horror Nights. During the show a “gay Superman” character shows up and does some stereotypical “gay” things. He prances and dances and gets some laughs out of the crowd. Reviews of the show began to show up all over the net, and some people called the show homophobic and bigoted. Under the weight of protests by a small but loud audience, Universal has decided to cancel the show. I am not sure how I feel about this. The show is for adults only and is for entertainment. Each day on TV characters like this are on all kinds of shows, so I am not sure that cancelling the show was the right decision. What do you think?

Story 4: It seems that the new “talking” Mickey Mouse is now here to stay at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom! Meeting in Town Square Theatre, Mickey speaks, reacts, and talks to guests and is very impressive. I have had the chance to meet Mickey, and he looks and sounds great. This new technology is so awesome and it is going to make the vacations of a lot of people very special. Pro tip: Before, the wait for the Mickey meet and greet hovered around 20 to 30 minutes, but now that Mickey is talking, the wait has increased to around 40 to 50 minutes. If this is your first time meeting Mickey, make sure you get a Fastpass.

Story 5: This is another story that is a bit of a bummer for me. Universal Orlando has announced that they are getting rid of their “Meal Deal” program and they are introducing the “Universal Dining Plan”. The plan would give guests one table service meal, one counter service meal, and a snack. It seems like Universal is using the Disney model on this one, and at $45 a day, they may be pricing themselves a bit too high to debut this new program. Universal’s biggest challenge will be introducing better table service dining inside of their parks. And while guests can eat at City Walk while on the plan, many guests are not going to want to walk all the way to City Walk just to have a decent meal if they are already in the parks.


Story 6: A great photo update from Eric Davis this week on MiceChat. The facades at Diagon Alley are beginning to take shape and crews are even starting to add details to the buildings. Also this week, we have pictures of the Hogwarts Express trains being hoisted up onto the tracks at Universal Orlando. Universal is moving at a blistering pace and this is all good news for theme park fans.

Story 7: Speaking of good news for theme park fans, Cedar Fair has announced that they are keeping Matt Ouimet onboard for another three years. Matt has made some great strides with Cedar Fair, and I hope he continues to have more success with Cedar Fair. I would like to think that Disney is kicking themselves for letting him go, but something tells me that the people over at One Disney have already forgotten his name.

Story 8: Reports this week that Merlin Entertainment has started laying some ground work to possibly build a third Legoland in the U.S. I have never been to a Legoland park, but the one in Orlando seems to be doing well.With the opening of a new land, water park, and a hotel to come, Merlin is getting a bit aggressive when it comes to going after the “toddler dollar”. I know, toddlers don’t carry cash; they have credit cards. The new park is rumored to go in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area.

Story 9: Before, we have talked about people shooting films inside of the Disney parks, and now we have people who are having an unauthorized wedding inside Disneyland. This Disney couple exchanged vows while riding Pirates of the Caribbean. I am sure Disney was probably less than thrilled to hear about this. They would much rather have you enter into life long matrimony at one of their overpriced wedding pavilions. The couple wore costumes and had an official wedding while on the ride complete with wedding guests and a justice of the peace for the ceremony. If you could get married on any Disney attraction, what would it be?



By the way: If you want to be super cool and awesome, it would be great if you took a minute and went over to iTunes and left us a nice review.  ;-)

Enjoy Episode 52 of the Wakefield Report Podcast.

About Chris Wakefield

Chris Wakefield lives in South Florida and spends most of his free time traveling across the country looking for the best thrills that theme parks have to offer. Growing up in the Midwest,Chris is used to the high and fast coasters offered up at parks like Cedar Point and Kings Island, and moving to Florida four years ago was a bit of theme park culture shock. With twice a month visits to Orlando, Chris works hard to keep his finger on the pulse of the ever expanding theme park community in Central Florida. Outside of the Orlando parks, Chris also visits California twice a year and isnt above going to a good haunt or two! Chris created the Wakefield Report website in the fall of 2011 to bring theme park and themed entertainment fans closer to the latest news, and opinions in the community. Each week, the Wakefield Report Podcast goes on the air to provide an unbiased, open, and honest look at the latest in Disney and theme park news. You can reach Chris at: [email protected]

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  • Flynn

    Universal did the right thing when they cancelled “Bill and Ted.” It’s not even close. I saw the YouTube clips and the scenes where Superman was sprinkled with “Fairy Dust” and turned into a lisping, mincing queen were puerile, cheap and disgusting.

    The argument that the show was labelled “for adults only and is entertainment” is pretty flimsy. Substitute Black, Hispanic, Asian or any other minority group for your reference to “Stereotypical ‘gay’ things” and maybe you’ll get the picture. I won’t list any of those stereotypes as I do not wish to further those particular bigoted and outdated notions. You would *never* be able to justify this show seeing sunshine (or floodlights, as the case may be) simply because there was a posted disclaimer that you were about to see something someone might find offensive if there were racial epithets hurled in the manner that the gay insults were in “Bill and Ted.”

    I’ve heard the argument that this will hurt the actors, producers, technicians, etc. of the production. Yes, I feel bad for them. But where were they during rehearsals? Someone during the writing, producing, readings and rehearsals must have seen what tripe this was. I don’t blame most of the lower level participants; they probably needed the jobs and the cash. But I know that there are a lot of eyes on a production of this size and surely *someone* higher up must have seen what an insult this was before it ever saw the light of day.

    Years ago I was privileged to attend a “Gay Night” at Universal and one of the shows featured was He-Man. At the stunning conclusion of the show after the baddies were defeated, He-Man and She-Ra moved closely together and it was obvious that they were scripted to kiss at the finale. Seeing this development approaching from about a universe away, the mostly LGBT crowd in the audience booed and hollered, “Noooo.” Taking his cues from the crowd, He-Man did not kiss She-Ra. He extended his arm and they shook hands to the *thundering* approval of the crowd. Now *that’s* how to give the audience what it wants.

    “Bill and Ted” at Halloween Haunts? Not so much. We deserve so much better than that.