We chat with Brian Collins, who was a Show Writer with Walt Disney Imagineering and is now with The Brainstorm Institute. Plus, we catch up on current events at the Disneyland Resort, as always.


                                                                         ***Disney Resort Updates***


Check back daily as information is changing rapidly.


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

Shanghai Disneyland   • OPEN. Be sure to check their reservation system which requires everyone, including infants, to have a reservation. You must 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.
                                 • 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.

                                                          • "Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) while indoors and in Disney buses, monorail and Disney Skyliner, regardless of vaccination status. This includes upon entering and throughout all attractions. Face coverings remain optional for all Guests in outdoor common areas.". You may temporarily remove your face covering while actively eating, drinking or taking an outdoor photo, but you must be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing during this time.  Masks must be worn at all other times.

                                  • Park Hopping is allowed within strict rules:

                                      1. You must make a reservation at one of the Parks. They do still require this as a private company.

                                      2. You must go to that Park first.

                                      3. Park Hopping does not start until 2PM.

                                      4. Access to Parks is still limited to their maximum occupancy. Check the Park you want to go to before traveling to it to make sure it is accepting Hopping guests.

                                      5. Check the Walt Disney World Park Hopper web page for updates to Park Hopping rules.

Disneyland        • Disneyland is OPEN!!!!!!! Face coverings are required for ALL guests while indoors except while eating (see Disneyland's web page for complete details).

                          • Like Walt Disney World, you must have a valid ticket AND make a Park reservation for the day you are interested in attending. Park reservations can only be made 60 days out at the present time. Be sure to check availability of the dates you are interested in before purchasing tickets.

                          • Disneyland announced its new yearly pass system called Magic Key Pass.

                          • All Hotels are open.​​

                         • The Downtown Disney District is open. Some table service is available following state and local rules. 

Hong Kong Disneyland    • OPEN. Advanced reservations with names and contact numbers are required. The Park will be closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays except major holidays. Please visit their web site for current requirements.

Disneyland Paris    • OPEN. Please visit their web site for up to date information on COVID restrictions and Parkavailability.

Disney Cruise Lines   • Disney announces the US ships will be sailing again starting August 2021.

                                    • Disney Cruise line has suspended European cruises through October 9, 2021. ​​

Aulani Resort   • OPEN. The state of Hawaii has strict travel requirements which include a 10 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 is open but you must have reservation to enter the building. They will not admit you after 4p, even if you have a reservation. Please see their Welcome back page for details. They continue to provide virtual content. San Francisco County was recently moved into the Orange Tier, so please check their web page for current status. The World War II Special Exhibit opened March 19th in the Diane Disney Miller Exhibition Hall. See web page for availability and restrictions.

INFORMATION CORRECT AS OF August 23, 2021. Please check individual Resorts web pages for restrictions, requirements, and changes.

Disneyland Resort Current Event

Disneyland drops free FastPasses, will charge extra to skip lines on some rides

The new Disney Genie service will debut this fall as part of the Disneyland and Walt Disney World mobile apps as a replacement for the retiring FastPass and MaxPass line-cutting options.
PUBLISHED: August 18, 2021

“Disneyland will replace the free FastPass system with a paid Lightning Lane option and begin charging for premium front-of-the-line access on some individual attractions as the Anaheim theme park launches its new Disney Genie mobile app.

“The new Disney Genie service will debut this fall as part of the Disneyland and Walt Disney World mobile apps as a replacement for the retiring FastPass and MaxPass line-cutting options.

“Disney Genie will help Disneyland and Disney World visitors make customized itineraries geared to their interests at the best times and in the most optimized order. Just tell Disney Genie what you want to do and the app will evaluate millions of options to create the best itinerary. Change your mind and Genie will re-optimize your day. If you’re undecided, Genie will offer park navigation tips, recommend rides and help make dining reservations.”
“The free Disney Genie service will include personalized itinerary planning, dynamically updated tip boards, forecast attraction wait times, attraction virtual queue access, mobile food ordering recommendations, restaurant wait lists, check-ins and reservations and a virtual assistant that can answer theme park queries.”
“Visitors will be able to book one attraction at a time using Genie+ — just like MaxPlus. The paid service includes unlimited PhotoPass downloads at Disneyland.”
“The upcharge Lightning Lane Select Experiences will allow visitors to pay for FastPass-like access to one or two individual rides per day and schedule a return time for each individual attraction. Visitors using Lightning Lane Select cannot choose the same attraction twice.

“The Lightning Lane Select attractions will not be part of the Disney Genie+ collection of rides. DCA’s Radiator Springs Racers will be among the Lightning Lane Select attractions — with additional attractions to be announced at a later date

“Genie+ and Lightning Select are sold separately and can be purchased together, individually or not at all.”
“All Disneyland attractions will continue to have standby queues — unless the ride is using a virtual queue like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure. Standby and virtual queue access will continue to be available at no additional cost.”
“Disneyland and DCA visitors can make Genie+ selections and purchase individual Lightning Select passes once they are inside the parks.”

Orange County Register

Disney Replacing FastPass With Two Paid Services Coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland This Fall
Aug 18, 2021

Laughing Place

BREAKING DISNEY PARKS NEWS: New Disney Genie Service Replaces FastPass & More This Fall
By Dusty Sage -August 18, 2021


Disney Parks News: Mobile DAS Scheduling and Virtual Pre-Qualification Coming this Fall
By Nathan Villamor -August 18, 2021

“Along with today’s announcement of the new Disney Genie app, Disney has also made changes to the way the Disability Access Service (DAS) will work for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The changes help make it easier for qualified applicants to use the program while still making it fair for other parkgoers. Here’s what you need to know about the changes to DAS.”
“Beginning this fall (at an unspecified date) the DAS system will allow guests to pre-register via video chat with a Cast Member. Guests will be able to set everything up virtually upto 30 days prior to their park visit. (At this time, the video chats will only be available in English.)

“During the pre-registration call, participants may schedule 2 attractions per day of their visit in advance. These pre-scheduled attractions must be booked at least 2 days prior to visiting the park. Visitors are given a 1-hour return time to ride the pre-scheduled attraction. DAS participants must confirm their identity upon arrival to the first attraction if they choose to make DAS advance reservations. Additional attraction reservations can be made once you get to the park as usual. “


New Option Coming for Guests Using the Disability Access Service Program at Disney
Aug 18, 2021

“Starting this fall, DAS will offer two new features:

“Ability to pre-register via live video call and use the DAS Advance pre-arrival planning.

“With the video call, Guests will register virtually with a Cast Member as early as 30 days in advance of a park visit.

“During the call, Guests will be able to select up to two experiences per day.

“You’ll be given a one-hour return window to redeem during the day of the visit, and selections will appear on the My Disney Experience app and on the website.”

Laughing Place

DisneylandForward Seeks Approval For Changes to Anaheim Roadways
Aug 11, 2021

“In order to continue to evolve, they need to essentially rezone the land they already have as back in the 90’s it was approved and generally required new hotels to be located in the Hotel District and traditional theme park uses to be located in the Theme Park District.

DisneylandForward is the campaign that will change those zoning regulations with approval from the City of Anaheim.

“Though no official major plans have been announced, Disney did give a few examples of what could be done, including new parking garages and a new entertainment district on the east side of the current property.

“It was revealed today that Disney is seeking these changes to roads in Anaheim near the Disneyland Resort as we know it today (most of which are on the east side of the property) as part of DisneylandForward:”

Laughing Place

Disneyland Splash Mountain makeover is going to take some time
The Splash Mountain reimagineering process still in development at Disneyland will take some time with the depth of work more attuned to creating a new attraction, according to Disneyland officials.
PUBLISHED: August 16, 2021

“The Splash Mountain reimagineering process still in development at Disneyland will take some time with the depth of work more attuned to creating a new attraction, according to Disneyland officials.

“Disneyland has not announced an opening timeline yet for the reworked Splash Mountain and Disney has not revealed if the twin projects will debut at the same time in California and Florida.

“Disneyland pushed the planned 2022 opening date for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway to 2023, clearing a spot on the calendar for the Splash Mountain makeover.”
“Behind the scenes work on the music and audio-animatronics for the reimagined attraction has been completed, Valiquette told the Sentinel.”

Orange County Register

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel opening new day spa after 2-year hiatus
The new Tenaya Stone Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will open on Sept. 16 with reservations available starting on Friday, Aug. 13.
PUBLISHED: August 13, 2021

“Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will once again have a day spa after a two-year hiatus with the new beauty and relaxation location at the AAA four-diamond hotel at the Disneyland resort designed by Walt Disney Imagineering and run by Disney for the first time ever.

“The new Tenaya Stone Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will open on Sept. 16 with reservations available starting on Friday, Aug. 13.”
“Tenaya marks the first time the Grand Californian spa will be designed by the creative arm of the company and run by Disney. The former Mandara Spa — which was designed and operated by a third party — closed in July 2019. Mandara operates approximately 50 spas around the world — including a location at the Swan & Dolphin Hotel at the Walt Disney World resort in Florida.

“Imagineering developed the concept, backstory and design for the Tenaya Stone Spa to reflect the spirit of nature, California’s indigenous cultures and the hotel’s Arts & Crafts architectural style. The backstory for the spa seeks to recreate the dreamlike state experienced during a relaxing retreat in nature.

“Tenaya Stone Spa embraces the concept of the natural order of four found throughout many indigenous cultures of the world — including the four cardinal directions, four elements of nature and four points of wellness.

“Spa design elements include a chandelier designed from a tree root, stained-glass doors and windows and regionally crafted art pieces.”
“Newly hired spa employees are required to be fully vaccinated under Disneyland’s new COVID-19 health and safety policy.”

Orange County Register

Fri, August 13, 2021
Plan Your Getaway to the New Tenaya Stone Spa Opening September 16 at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at Disneyland Resort
by Valerie Lee, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort

Disney Parks Blog

Disneyland’s Imagineering-designed Tenaya Stone Spa Set for September Opening
By Dusty Sage -August 13, 2021

“Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa has been operating without its namesake “Spa” since the Mandara closed in 2019, but that’s about to change. Disneyland Resort hotel guests (staying at any of the three Disneyland hotels) can now book treatments at the new Tenaya Spa, which opens September 16th.  

“The Tenaya Stone Spa was inspired by the spirit of nature and Californian heritage. The name itself can be interpreted as meaning “to dream,” which the Imagineers hope is exactly what you’ll feel in this new luxurious setting. An actual real Tenaya stone is set in the entryway and was a gift from the Miwok tribe, descendants of Chief Tenaya in Yosemite Valley.”


Dateline Disneyland: Magic Keys, Christmas Parties, and Glorious Images
By Andy Castro -August 9, 2021

“Disneyland made big news last week when it announced the highly-anticipated replacement for its long-running Annual Passport program.  The new program, dubbed Magic Key, is strikingly similar to the old program, save for a few key modifications that may prove to be a dealbreaker for Keyholders in the long-term.  In today’s Dateline Disneyland, we’ll take a look at those changes to Disneyland’s annual pass system along with how the Disneyland experience continues to evolve as they prepare for a busy Halloween and new way of celebrating the holiday season.”


Disneyland Update – The Shocking Calm Before Magic Keys Unlock a Storm
By Dusty Sage -August 16, 2021

“If you’ve been following along on MiceChat, you know that the Disneyland Resort parks have been steadily adding capacity since they reopened on April 30th. At first the parks were practically empty, with lots of closed attractions, shops and restaurants. Over time nearly everything has reopened except for the big entertainment offerings (though several smaller shows and groups have returned). By early July, the parks felt like a regular summer of old, with big crowds and health attraction waits. But Disney upended all of that by announcing a return of something similar to the old annual pass program called Magic Key. Almost immediately, park attendance plummeted. A combination of guests waiting to buy into the Magic Key program and kids going back to school has left the parks feeling amazingly uncrowded. Today, we’ll show you what’s going on in the parks right now and what’s coming soon. Just a hint…. BOO!”


You can listen to show 316 on iTunes or go to Libsyn service here.

Disneyland Imagineering Talk With Brian Collins

Listen to our Show

Show Notes for Episode 316