Well, I'm pretty disappointed. I checked TDRdeASOBLOG looking for Christmas details (no luck) but did find the announcement for OLC's 2014 schedule, including Spring Voyage. As everyone knows, I have really been hoping that 2014 would be officially announced as the "Finale" of Spring Voyage. The fact that it isn't does not actually mean for sure that it won't be the last Spring Voyage, but it does seem to me that they'd want to go out with fanfare and announce the last one very clearly. I was excited for one more Spring Voyage, but really one more. Knowing that it may go on for a fourth year or longer makes me more ambivalent about even the 2014 event, which is a bummer. I hope they have something pretty amazing planned, but then, if it's not the Finale, I'll wonder what's being saved for 2015. I really was hoping for three...ONLY. Four is a weird number, and five is just way too much, even though 5 was the "magic" number for the first Spring Voyage and is still my Duffy's favorite number. Shellie likes 3.
Further convincing me of the likelihood of a fourth year and also frustrating on its own, is the fact that the only really "new" event is "Disney Easter," but it doesn't seem new so much as it seems like it was just cut this year, in context. I wonder now why it didn't happen in 2013?? It's tempting to attribute it to the 30th Anniversary, but they've run two parades in one day before. Again, the Anniversary hardly feels like an excuse since next year's Easter event will begin right after the Anniversary finale. It seems like this year's Easter could've begun just after the Anniversary's launch, too...
I'll talk about the price increases that were also announced today later. For now, let's take a tour through the year:
Starting with New Year's in January, it's the Year of the Horse, so Horace Horsecollar motif will be in effect. Horace is mentioned in the DisneySEA side of the announcement, but I'm thinking he must be on all the 2014 goods. Isn't it usually one character for both parks? I honestly don't pay much attention to the New Year's event, and haven't been interested in going to the big night since they stopped doing the Countdown Parade at TDL or Countdown Lagoon Show at TDS a few years ago. The interesting news here for us is that last year, Duffy and ShellieMay were both mentioned as being present on the barge with the Mouses for 2013. There is no mention of the bears at all this time, so I'm assuming they will not be there. I have to admit, I'd like to see official TDS kimonos for the bears, available for just the five days of New Year's, but I won't mind them not being in the greeting. I imagine some guests thought that was really too much. I'd still like to see them in FANTASMIC!, though, but that's a whole other story...
*Don't forget that Jungle Cruise will be down from January 6 until it reopens with the renovated special "Night Cruise" sometime in autumn 2014.
Then we'll have Sweet Duffy from January 20 to March 14. Those details have been posted elsewhere.
The next event period is April 2 to June 23. TDL will host Disney Easter, while Spring Voyage will go on at TDS. Sounds like the Easter Bunny will be playing a bigger role at TDL, though it still seems to be very much "wonderland garden" and eggs, including the popular egg hunt.
Spring Voyage is still limited to the same three ports and while TDL's Easter event specifically mentions a new parade, nothing is expressly stated to be new in the SV shows. Except "new costumes," but, I mean, of course! And so far we really have to wonder how new "new" will be in this regard. I kinda hope totally new. And I want a Lightship Basket with a "scrimshaw" featuring BOTH bears, as the human and bear-sized popcorn carrier.
From May 29, they'll start the "Once Upon a Time" castle projections at TDL. The theme seems to be Mrs. Potts telling stories to Chip and the "storybook comes to life" in the projection show. Could be cool, but won't make me choose TDL.
Tanabata will run for an extremely limited time, June 24 to July 7, as usual. THE FIRST REALLY AWESOME NEWS IS THAT FINALLY TANABATA WILL ALSO BE AT TOKYO DISNEYSEA FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!! I swear that as I was reading this press release, I was hoping that would be the case, as nothing else super exciting was happening. I this news! And I really, REALLY hope that Duffy and ShellieMay are also part of this event. They aren't mentioned at all, but I'm not ready to rule it out yet, especially since it will be based in American Waterfront. 2014 should be the year of "fan service" for OLC, to compensate for price hikes and repeated shows, so I hope there will be at the very least costumes for the regular-sized bears. Duffy and Shellie are so much on the vibe of Tanabata; I will be very disappointed if they're not included. I cannot wait to see TDS sophisticated Tanabata goods. I almost caved and got TDL's this year, but I am so happy now that I waited. I really can't wait to see what they do with this!
Summer events will be from July 8 to August 31. Disney Summer Matsuri will be held at TDL for the third year, though it is not announced to be the last. It mentions "new" entertainment, but no details, so I'm not sure exactly how new "new" will be. I love this concept so much, but I wish it was somehow more Japanese and traditional. Mickey playing taiko with Donald and Goofy, while Minnie and Daisy dance Bon Odori would have really blown me away. Their costumes, too, have been too cartoony so far, for me. I really want this event to celebrate a distinctly Japanese summer festival feeling the way Bonfire Dance at TDS did, but I strongly doubt that's what it will be like.
At DisneySEA, the Disney Summer Festival seems set to be just as much about bright colors and tropical fruits as it was in its 2013 inaugural year. So for the second year in a row, men should be prepared to feel virtually uninvited to TDS for a month and a half, as the event has absolutely no male appeal whatsoever. I cannot explain enough how much I am not a fan.
Sadly, the most exciting thing about next autumn may be the reopening of Jungle Cruise. Halloween is a bit of a snooze fest at both parks at the moment. TDL will have ghosts and pumpkins. Yawn. Bring back the villains! Tell some kind of story! I'm just not excited. I hope 2015 has a less generic concept. It would be kinda cool to see TDL go really, really dark for Halloween, like "Invasion of the Horned King" or "Chernabog Awakens" or something. That new castle projection toy they've got could really do some interesting large scale stuff to make a really big "Big Bad." Whatever happens, less bland, please.
Almost more disappointing, though, is the Skeletons coming back for a third year at TDS. They aren't very popular with most guests I've talked to. Children find them a bit scary, teens find them a bit strange, and adult fans seem to just think they're kinda blah. It's a shame, cos their story concept and personalities are interesting. I like that they're all kinda weird and they really want to just be accepted and have a good time with everyone...but they are REALLY weird. The message is good. I think two things are big issues. One is music, which they tried to "fix" this year by having Mythica mixed in. It just felt off to me, and a little desperate, though the vibe of Mythica and our "beating hearts in unity" seems appropriate to the poor skeletons' plight. But the major thing the skeletons are, and have always been missing, is merchandise.
Can you believe it? But, yeah, no merchandise. And I mean nothing. No plush, no straps or badges, no fan caps, no hair accessories, no funny gloves with long skeleton finger attachments, no bony T-shirts, no skeleton eye socket-shaped sunglasses, no cups, no popcorn buckets. Well, you get it. Nada. It's so strange! Especially from OLC, this looks like the company isn't invested in them, and then the whole story is about how weird they are, which guests often say, and their music and dance moves are not all that much fun. Poor little buddies.
Their whole story is about seeking acceptance, but there's literally nothing to promote them. It's like the opposite of Duffy! Yet they keep selling the "so over it" masks that seem way less relevant since Mysterious Masquerade finished its run in 2011. The Mysterious Masquerade could've run for two more years and I would NOT have complained. That show was fanFREAKINGtastic, because every element - costumes, masks, story, music - was PERFECT! It didn't matter whether it was Disney; it was just a fantastic piece of entertainment with REEEALLY good music.
The skeletons need brand new music, and TONS of merchandise. They just aren't really bonding with guests, I think, except for the new female one I saw who really aggressively flirted with a high school boy and a married man one day. With the married guy, she was obviously joking, with the high school boy, she really did not seem to be... I thought they were also gonna be all around doing random funny atmosphere shows during Halloween this year, like even walking up to your table in restaurants and stuff, but I never saw anything except the Waterfront Park show, which was not crowded, and many people walked off soon after stopping to look curiously, and very briefly. I truly want to love the skeletons. The designs are AWESOME, and I love both their voices and their backstory. I just need better event planning, a merchandise blitz that demonstrates "ALL IN" commitment from OLC, and TOTALLY NEW MUSIC! Either way, next year should be the last for the poor little dears. I really hope they get to go out with a big bang and we all love and despair their beautiful, perfect finale in equal measure. That would be so meta and AWESOME! But either way, I hope they GO!
Christmas will run from November 7 to December 25. At TDS, Santa's Village, which is my favorite TDL Christmas concept ever will enter its FOURTH year! And Christmas Wishes will be apparently "same old" at DisneySEA, too. TDRdeASOBLOG, who is also pretty unhappy with a lot of this news, seems downright disgusted with Christmas, and makes a really good point about Christmas Wishes in particular: No event-limited night shows during Halloween OR Christmas (or any other time, really) for EITHER park, except the "Colors of Christmas" show at TDS. But the really excellent point TDRdAB makes is that at this point, the Christmas Wishes event is just a pointless, and kind of painful name. When it started in 2010, it included a fantastic stage show that immediately brought back wonderful memories of Mysterious Masquerade, which had been new in 2009. It felt like Waterfront Park was all set to become a traditional destination to really care about. CW returned as a stage show in 2011 and the Easter in NY premiere for SV 2012 seemed to confirm Waterfront Park as the "Castle Forecourt" of TDS. But then when Christmas Wishes rolled around last year, the stage show had been excised and is not returning this year, or apparently next. So why don't we just call the event "Colors of Christmas" already?
So, to sum up, what's new? Easter, except that it's really just "coming back." And Tanabata at TDS, which is totally freaking AWESOME, but only lasts two weeks. I don't like this direction and am hoping to be pleasantly surprised by the actual content once the events roll around. As much as I love TDR merchandise, the merchandise is valuable because it connects us to a well-loved memory of a well-crafted park experience. My image of TDR is always fresh, something Gurgi was talking about recently as a weakness of Spring Voyage compared with traditional Cape Cod Duffy events. Maybe he'll elaborate, cos I'm tired. But this event calendar seems a little stale, like if I were planning a trip from overseas, I might wait for 2015. 2014 feels a little like a placeholder for something bigger coming round the corner. To me, at least, for now.
I said I'd talk about the price increases, but I'm beat now. Sorry.