We welcome Bill Long, who was a Director of Marketing for Disneyland in the 1970s and helped with early publicity for Walt Disney World. He tells us how the Disney parks got so much free publicity in the days when the company avoided paying for ads. He has a lot of great stories.
We also discuss current events at the Disneyland Resort, as always.


                                                                         ***Disney Resort Updates***


​Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 (Corona) Virus, Most Disney Parks, Cruise Lines, and Disney Vacation Club Resorts will be closed until further notice:


​Disney is over whelmed with people attempting to rebook / cancel so please be patient with them. They are modifying their cancelation policy to accommodate guests. Many booking services can be handled online (links above). They are reportedly going to extend AP's by one month.


Please be sure to follow CDC and your State's guidelines during this crisis. We will get through this.

Shanghai Disneyland   • Shanghai Disneyland is now open and is transitions to a New Reservation Phase Starting August 24, 2020. The resort is increasing it's capacity from 30% to 50%. Go to Shanghai's web page for advance reservations. Please visit their site for details.

Walt Disney World    • All 4 Walt Disney World theme parks are open.
                                 • Additionally, Disney Vacation Club properties at Walt Disney World and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground have begun to reopen to Members and Guests. Disney Springs has already begun to reopen. Upon reopening, theme parks, Disney Resort Hotels, restaurants and other offerings may be modified, limited in capacity and subject to availability or closure. You must have an advance reservation and valid ticket.

Disneyland       • The Downtown Disney District including Buena Vista Street only of DCA are open.
                         • The Hotels of the Disneyland Resort remain closed and will reopen at a later date. Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa DVC is working towards opening December 6th, 2020. The general public side will remain closed for now.
                         • Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park remain closed and will reopen at a later date, pending state and local government approvals.

                         •  The State of California has announced guidelines for the opening of amusement parks. The biggest part of the announcement is that a county must be in tier 4 before a park can open. Orange county currently estimates it will not be in that tier until at least June 2020.     

Hong Kong Disneyland    • The Park is open with reduced Capacity. During initial reopening, the Park will be closed on Tuesdays and Thursday except for public holidays and designated days. Reservations can be made 7 days in advance.
                                         • The resort hotels remain open with adjusted level of services. Enhanced health and safety measures that reflect the guidance of health and government authorities have been put in place, such as social distancing measures and increased cleaning and sanitization.

Disneyland Paris    • November 25th, 2020, Disneyland Paris made the following announcement: "While we were hoping to be able to reopen during the Christmas holiday season, the latest government measures announced for France do not allow us to deliver the Disneyland Paris experience and therefore the destination will remain closed until 12 February 2021."

Disney Cruise Lines   • Disney Cruise line suspends cruises through January 31, 2021.

Aulani Resort   • Phased reopening began November 1, 2020. The state of Hawaii has strict travel requirements which include a 14 quarantine or negative test within 72 hours of your arrival. Please visit HERE for the latest details.

Walt Disney Family Museum  • The Walt Disney Family Museum reopened November 5, 2020. Be sure to check out their web site for times and restrictions.

INFORMATION CORRECT AS OF November 21, 2020. Please check individual Resorts eb pages for restrictions, requirements, and changes.

Disneyland Resort Current Event

Go inside Disney California Adventure on the first day of shopping and dining after 8-month closure
DCA reopened on Thursday, Nov. 19 for shopping and dining along Buena Vista Street and throughout Grizzly Peak Airfield and Hollywood Land for the first time since the park closed in mid-March amid the global pandemic.
PUBLISHED: November 19, 2020

“Disney California Adventure reopened as an extension of Downtown Disney at 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19 for shopping and dining along Buena Vista Street and throughout Grizzly Peak Airfield and Hollywood Land for the first time since the theme park closed in mid-March amid the global pandemic.

“Across the esplanade, Disneyland remains closed as large California theme parks are unlikely to return to full operation until early 2021 or next summer under COVID-19 health and safety reopening guidelines issued by the state.

“Die-hard Disney fans showed up early to be among the first visitors to step foot inside Disney California Adventure in more than eight months. The mask-wearing faithful gathered amid rain puddles and a morning chill more than three hours before DCA was set to open. By 6:45 a.m., more than 50 people had lined up in a socially distanced queue at the Harbor Boulevard entrance to the Disneyland resort.”

“Crowds were light inside DCA on opening day — particularly by Disneyland standards. Around 11 a.m., there were no lines for corn dogs at Award Wieners, Starbucks coffee at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical or burgers at Smokejumpers Grill.

“About half the tables spread throughout Hollywood Land, Grizzly Peak Airfiled and around the Carthay Circle fountain were filled with diners — required to remain stationary while they ate and drank. Sipping and strolling was prohibited.

“The mobile wait list for Carthay Circle restaurant’s two dozen outdoor dining tables were all booked within 30 minutes for the lunch session between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.”

“Disneyland resort President Ken Potrock said Disney California Adventure had significantly limited capacity on Buena Vista Street to less than what the state guidelines permit.

“‘This is symbolic to show that we can do things right’ Potrock said.”
“No admission will be charged to enter Disney California Adventure as the theme park’s shops and restaurants reopen as an extension of Downtown Disney.

“Parking in the Simba lot for Downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street will be $10 per car.”

Orange County Register

Disney California Adventure: Everything you need to know about shopping and dining
Crowds are expected to descend on Disney California Adventure on Thursday, Nov. 19 as Disney reopens its first California theme park after eight months of coronavirus closures.
PUBLISHED: November 18, 2020

“Disney cast members used a tape measure to lay out 6-foot social distancing markers on the ground leading to a churro stand in Hollywood Land.

“Maintenance and custodial cast members waited in line on socially distanced markers as Willy’s Churros stand employees were trained in new COVID-19 protocols in Grizzly Peak Airfield.”
“Social distancing floor markings will be found at every place a line could form — shop entrances, cash registers, mobile order food pickup windows, mobile wait list return areas and outdoor vending carts. Plexiglass barriers have been added at cash registers. All employees will wear masks and many will also wear face shields.

“Hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer dispensers will be available throughout Buena Vista Street, Hollywood Land and Grizzly Peak Airfield. Signs reminding visitors to maintain physical distancing will dot planters. Restrooms will be open on Buena Vista Street and in Grizzly Peak Airfield and Hollywood Land.”

Orange County Register

Buena Vista Street Now Open To Guests As Expansion of Downtown Disney District
Nov 19, 2020

“Orange County, CA has recently reentered the purple tier, dropping retail stores to 25% capacity and closing indoor dining. Capacity is now more limited leading to longer queues. There are queues set up to get into the Buena Vista Street expansion of the Downtown Disney District, and once those are full, guests are asked to join a mobile wait list.”

Laughing Place

Disneyland to reopen Disney Vacation Club villas in time for winter holidays
The Disney Vacation Club villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will reopen on Dec. 6, according to a letter sent to DVC members.
PUBLISHED: November 9, 2020 

“The Disney Vacation Club villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will reopen on Dec. 6, according to a letter sent to DVC members.”
“Only the DVC villas will reopen during the initial stage of the phased reopening. The rest of Disney’s Grand Californian as well as the Disneyland Hotel and the Paradise Pier Hotel will remain closed indefinitely.”

Orange County Register

Disneyland announces additional furloughs as state guidelines leave theme park ‘in limbo’
Disneyland president Ken Potrock announced the furloughs of executive, salaried and hourly workers on Monday, Nov. 9 in a letter to cast members, Disney parlance for employees.
PUBLISHED: November 9, 2020

“Disneyland plans to furlough additional employees in the wake of COVID-19 reopening guidelines from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration that have left California theme parks ‘in limbo’ for the foreseeable future.

“Disneyland president Ken Potrock announced the furloughs of executive, salaried and hourly workers on Monday, Nov. 9 in a letter to cast members, Disney parlance for employees.”
“Disney furloughed non-essential employees at its U.S. theme parks in April.

“Disney laid off 28,000 employees in September at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. An exact count of the layoffs at the Disneyland resort is not yet available, but an early estimate puts the number at approximately 10,000 employees.”

Orange County Register

Disneyland announces more furloughs, blames California coronavirus rules
Now that it’s clear Disneyland and California Adventure won’t reopen soon, Disneyland Resort says it will furlough many workers it had recently brought back.
NOV. 10, 2020

[There is a video.]

LA Times

Disneyland Resort Institutes More Cast Member Furloughs
Nov 9, 2020

Laughing Place

Wed, November 18, 2020
A Special Surprise to Commemorate Mickey’s Birthday at Disneyland Resort
by Michael Ramirez, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

“To commemorate Mickey Mouse’s birthday, we are excited to reveal a special surprise at the Disneyland Resort. Following a refurbishment, the iconic Partners statue in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland park has been restored to its original grandeur!”

“Over time, the bronze had oxidized, and because of the applied patina, acrylic polymer and wax, it required a more intensive process than just a simple cleaning or polishing. Over four days, an artisan utilized a process using crushed walnut shells to gently strip the figure down to the bare bronze. After cleaning, various chemicals were applied and heated with a blowtorch to create a reaction and fuse with the bronze. The figure was coated in a polymer to protect the patina, then coated with a very thin layer of wax.”

Disney Park Blog

Disneyland Reveals Restored Partners Statue To Celebrate Mickey’s 92nd Birthday
Nov 18, 2020

Laughing Place

Imagineering and Lucasfilm dreamed up 2 different Star Wars lands for Disneyland and Disney World
What were the two different versions of Galaxy’s Edge? Were other Star Wars attractions mocked up? Walt Disney Imagineering creative executives discuss early plans for the twin Star Wars themed lands.
PUBLISHED: November 11, 2020 

“Imagineering portfolio executives Scott Trowbridge and Robin Reardon discussed the evolution of the two Star Wars lands during a case study webcast presented by the Themed Entertainment Association. Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge themed land and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run flight simulator ride each received TEA Thea Awards for outstanding achievement.

“The Imagineers said the plan from the very beginning was to build two Star Wars lands — one at Disneyland and one at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.”
“The goal was to create a place where Disney theme park visitors could experience their own Star Wars story rather than recreate hero Luke Skywalker’s story on Tatooine or heroine Rey’s story on Jakku.”
“Walt Disney Imagineering officials said they like to focus on built experiences rather than unrealized ideas and declined to expand upon the statements made by Trowbridge and Reardon.”

Orange County Register

4 ways technology powers the Disneyland ‘metaverse’
Disney’s theme park metaverse ties together a ton of tech — including mobile apps, AR, AI, IOT, computer vision and natural language understanding.
PUBLISHED: November 18, 2020

“What is the Disney theme park metaverse?

“‘It all starts with having a connected park,’ Disney chief technology officer Tilak Mandadi said. ‘A park where guests can truly interact with their physical surroundings using connected devices, wearables, phones and other interactive digital access points. Then we seamlessly bring together the physical and the digital elements in the experience to create what I call converged experiences.’

“Mandadi laid out his vision for a Disney theme park metaverse filled with converged experiences in a webcast presentation during the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo virtual education conference.”
“1) Mobile Apps”
“2) Internet of Things

“The Internet of Things includes any physical ‘thing’ embedded with a sensor, software or other technology that exchanges data via the internet with other devices and computer systems.

“What does IOT have to do with Disney theme parks?

“Disney theme parks are already filled with a ton of IOT technology hidden behind the scenes. Disneyland’s Rise of the Resistance has an astonishing 15,000 IOT sensors that transmit data back to attraction operators from ride vehicles and track routes.”
“3) Augmented Reality

“Augmented reality adds interactive elements to a live view of the real world using a smartphone. Disney has long been a proponent of augmented reality over virtual reality — which shuts out the physical world and immerses the user in a video game-like virtual world.”
“4) Artificial Intelligence

“Disney is developing artificial intelligence-driven virtual characters that can have personalized interactions with theme park visitors, according to Mandadi.

“Walt Disney Imagineering created an animatronic bird that uses artificial intelligence and computer vision that resides in the queue of the Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout attraction at Disney California Adventure. The Vyloo bird interacts endlessly with its environment and curious visitors.”

​Orange County Register

You can listen to show 298 on iTunes or go to Libsyn service here.

Bill Long Former Disneyland Marketing Director 

Show Notes for Episode 298

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