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Just Keep Walking – Could We See New Security Checks At Disney World?

Just Keep Walking – Could We See New Security Checks At Disney World?

We know it’s swimming! We’re sorry, Dory. But, you cannot swim into a Walt Disney World theme park. Well, if it’s July then it does feel like you’re swimming through the humidity. Anyways, we’re here today to talk about security checks at Disney World. It’s everyone’s favorite topic. (#sarcasm) While it may not be our favorite topic, it’s definitely a must for theme parks today. Some may say the less magical part of Walt Disney World is the bag check prior to entering the parks. Could that be changing? Let’s remove all metal, unzip our park bag and raise our cell phone above heads, as we’re off to investigate new security checks at Disney World!

new security check at Disney Animal Kingdom - pic from @bioreconstruct

What They’ve Done Thus far

Walking into a Disney park you’re heading one of two ways, guests with bags or guests without. While the parks up the road use x-ray machines and metal detectors for scanning, Disney World has taken a different approach since September 12, 2001. All guest’s bags are manually checked by Mouse Security and guests walk through a metal detector. The process is slower than other parks, but we have to say it’s more thorough.

Over the past 2 years, Disney has continued to improve the guest experience when entering the parks by redesigning the security checkpoints. Larger, more expansion security entrances have greatly improved guest flow into the park. All while moving the security checks at Disney World further away from the park entrance. At the moment, Hollywood Studios is the only park that has completed its design. The Magic Kingdom and Epcot are not too far behind, and the Animal Kingdom just started.

Passholder Insights: To save time when heading through security always make sure to unzip all compartments within your bag or stroller.

Potential Change

Here comes the walking reference. Thanks to BlogMickey we got an early glimpse of what we could see as the new security checks at Disney World. On Monday, June 15, 2020, Disney was testing a new technology by Evolv Technology at Disney Springs for contactless entry. Yes, contactless entry. We’re talking about no x-ray machines, no manual bag searches, and no metal detectors. You just keep walking!

So, who is Evolv Technology? We were thinking the same thing. Just like NBA or MLS referees, if you don’t know who they are that’s a good thing. Evolv Technology is a company out of Waltham, MA that specials in contactless entry systems for screening employees entering a building, students on campus, and visitors entry large venues. For example, Gillette Stadium and Oakland International Airport are a couple of places with Evolv Technology in place.

Digging a little deeper into the company we learned that they have an impressive list of advisors ranging from the CIA, FBI, and TSA. Additionally, one of the primary investors in the company is Bill Gates. He may know a thing or two about technology. It’s safe to say that Disney World would not be the company’s first major or high profile client.

Please note that Disney does not allow for any pictures of their security areas or protocols, including if they are only testing new technology.

Passholder Insights: Under Bob Iger, the focus for Disney has been technology. From Magicbands to Disney+, Disney continues to adopt technology in all aspects.

Why The Change?

It’s all about the guest experience. As we spoke about in our Disney Reopening Guide, everything is going to be a little different when the parks reopen. One of the big changes will be temperature checks. With the addition of temperature checks, the process for entering a park got a little bit longer. On average it took us about 10 to 15 minutes to get through the bag check prior to the addition of temperature checks. It’s safe to say we should expect that to double with the new process. The big concern for Disney comes with how to manage the larger security lines while maintaining social distancing.

In the DVC Duo house, we believe Disney is looking to be proactive and add the new security checks at Disney World to resolve the crowding issue. We’ve been fortunate to experience the Evolv Technology system previous at Gillette Stadium, and it worked flawlessly. No stopping or removing of anything, just walk through the sensors. If Disney were able to add this system it could greatly reduce the time to enter the parks. Additionally, it would eliminate the need to manually check bags and provide a safer work environment for Disney Security.

Passholder Insights: To save time going through security checks at Disney World we recommend only sending one person with the your bags through the bag check and have everyone else go through the non-bag line.

Our Thoughts

The sooner the better. With everything going on in the world today, the more Disney can do to make things “contact-less” the better. Based on the research we’ve done Evolv Technology has a fantastic track record and many other high profile clients similar to Disney World. If we had to guess we’re thinking may see new security checks at Disney World sooner than we would expect. With the lower crowd levels this summer, it is the perfect time to test/deploy a new system. Alright, we’re made it through the new security checks at Disney World, what should we ride first? Hands down, it’s Rise of the Resistance!

Remy Construction Update – Is Our Favorite Chef Back In Kitchen?

Remy Construction Update – Is Our Favorite Chef Back In Kitchen?

What do kitchens have to do with construction? When it comes to a Remy construction update, everything! When the attraction opens we will be joining Remy on an adventure through the kitchen after all. Over the past few years, we’ve been keeping tabs on the new attraction and area, coming to Epcot’s France Pavilion. In our last update on January 27, 2020, we mentioned the attraction would be opening Memorial Day weekend (May 23rd to 25th). Then March happened and we all hit the pause button until now. Is it time to unpause for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure? Let’s dive into this Remy construction update!

Before The Pause

Is that like before the Thanos snap? If so, we’re happy to go back in time to change the course of history. Sign us up! Prior to everything being paused on March 16, 2020, we had a lot of information on the progress of Remy. According to martni1971, a well-known user for leaking Disney insider info on WDWMagic forums said the upcoming attraction was estimated to being nine weeks away from completion. This timing matches up well with our early reports of a Memorial Day opening weekend. Further confirmation came with the announcement that Spaceship Earth would close for its major refurbishment on May 26, 2020. Disney World would not close a major attraction like Spaceship Earth without another attraction ready to open.

Passholder Insights: When entering World Showcase from Future World the shortest way to the France Pavilion is to head right through both the Canada and UK Pavilions.

Construction on Cinderella's Castle restarted

Unpause, Maybe

Game on? That’s what we’re investigating in our Remy construction update, Gareth. On May 27, 2020, Disney announced Walt Disney World would begin its phased reopening on July 11, 2020. With the parks reopening the question turns to what about the construction projects and when will Disney give them the green to restart construction? Lucky for us, we did not have to wait long. By June 3, 2020, reports came out that projects around Walt Disney World have restarted. A few days later, we got pictures showing work being down on Cinderella’s Castle for the upcoming celebration. Additionally, we saw work on the walkway from the Grand Floridian Resort to the Magic Kingdom begin as well.

Wait, this is a Remy construction update, isn’t it? Yes, yes it is. With France Pavilion expansion tucked away within Epcot’s World Showcase, its challenging to see if work has restarted. Then on top of that, the majority of the work remaining is in the attraction building, not on the exterior. With the knowledge that Disney has begun different projects around the property, in the DVC Duo house it makes think work could have restarted with Remy as well.

If, and it is still an if at this moment, progress has restarted on Remy our estimates have the new attraction opening Labor Day weekend. Hmm, didn’t something else open Labor Day weekend last year? Just a small thing known as Galaxy’s Edge. Nothing is confirmed and Disney has not commented on the attraction. However, if they were able to open Labor Day weekend, Disney could still fulfill its original announcement of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure opening in the summer of 2020.

Passholder Insights: The new walkway from the Grand Floridian Resort to the Magic Kingdom will also connect with the walkway that runs to Polynesian Resort and the Transportation and Ticket Center.

We're looking at the Ratatouille construction progress

But, Wait

There’s always a but. There are a couple of things that could slow everything down. According to Jack of DSNY Newscast, Disney’s original plan for the opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure called for cast members from Disneyland Paris to fly over to Disney World to operate the attraction. The cultural representative cast members would train in their native country prior to relocating to Florida. At the moment, the international travel ban is preventing the Disneyland Paris cast members from traveling altogether. It is possible Disney moves forward without the use of cultural representative cast members in the early stages of opening, as they have announced they will have regular cast members operating the World Showcase when Epcot first opens.

The other “but” is around the announcement Bob Chapek made during the May earnings call. You know the announcement, the $900 million statement. Due to this statement, there are rumblings that Disney could continue to pause construction on the France Pavilion expansion until the end of the fiscal year (September 30, 2020). If this turns out to be true, then we’re more than likely looking at December 2020 opening.

Passholder Insights: The new France Pavilion expansion will also include two new dining options. A new creperie restaurant will offer both a sit down and quick-service option.

Our Thoughts

It’s a wait and see for now. When Epcot reopens on July 15th we will get our first glimpse of the construction site. We could see Disney going either way when it comes to an opening date for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. Now that we know the Spaceship Earth refurbishment is paused, the need to accelerate the France Pavilion expansion has definitely lessened. Additionally, with lower capacity through the remainder of the year, Disney may look to hold off opening a new headline attraction. The big Remy construction update is knowing how much work is left. It is safe to say that once construction restarts we are about 9 weeks away from the opening of the attraction. Fingers crossed it is sooner than later.

The Disney World Park Reservation System – A DVC Duo Guide

The Disney World Park Reservation System – A DVC Duo Guide

Ready, set, let’s reserve! We’re back with another one of our infamous DVC Duo guides. This time around we’re walking through the new Disney World Park Reservation System. It’s the system every Disneyphile has waiting to learn more about. On June 22, 2020, Disney launched the new system for guests with Disney Resort reservations and park tickets through September 2021. When the parks reopen in mid-July there will be a variety of changes, with the biggest one being the Disney Park Reservation System. For more details around the other changes, we recommend checking our reopening guide. Next up, our DVC Duo guide to the new Disney World Park Reservation System!

The Essentials

Be prepared, right Scar? With the new Disney World Park Reservation System, it’s all about dotting the “I’s” and crossing those “T’s”. Prior to making a park reservation you’ll want to make the following is complete.

  • Create a My Disney Experience account – for more on that, please reference the following.
  • Link your Disney Resort Reservation and Park Tickets – (if you have Disney Resort reservations, no required)
  • Make sure everyone in your group is linked within My Disney Experience under Family and Friends

At the time of writing Disney has stated the following for availability of the new system as it related to when guests can begin reserveing entrance to the parks.

  • June 22, 2020 – Guests with confirmed Disney resort reservations and park tickets
  • June 26, 2020 – Annual Passholders without Disney resort reservations
  • June 28, 2020 – Existing ticket holders without Disney resort reservations

It should be noted that Disney has said a Disney resort reservation does not guarantee entry into the parks. At this time, Disney World Annual Passholder can do one or the other, not both:

  • Make Park Reservations in conjunction with their Walt Disney World Resort Stay
  • Make Park Reservations as just an Annual Passholder (max of 3 days at one-time)
Splash screen for My Disney Experience

The Set-Up

Here is what we used to login to the Disney World Park Reservation System. Through our laptop with used the incognito option within Chrome. Disney has stated at the initial launch of the new system the only option would be the desktop version of My Disney Experience. We have heard through a variety of sources that Disney did say the app version of My Disney Experience will have the new Disney World Park Reservation System as well. Additionally, we received confirmation from a variety of Disney certified travel agents that they received the same information from Disney during their training. At this time, we don’t have an exact date to when the app option will be launched.

Step By Step

Here are the exact steps we took to in using the Disney World Park Reservation System. There is more than one way to access the system, either through My Plans within My Disney Experience or Disney Park Reservation home page. We found it successful to use the My Plans option.

My Disney Experience Drop Down menu

1.) Click on My Plans under the My Disney Experience dropdown menu

2.) Enter your username and password

The pink castle from the Disney World Park Reservation System

3. You may receive a pink castle load screen (do not refresh or click back, just wait) – This may or may not happen

entering the Disney World Park Reservation System

4. You will see the following screen. Click on view availability.

Waiting room for Disney World Park Reservation System

5. Next you may see the following hold screen. You will want to wait here. Do not click back or refresh the screen. – This may not happen

create your party on the Disney World Park Reservation System

6. Next, you will see the create your party screen. You’ll want to select all guests you would like to make a reservation for. It should be noted that all guests will need a valid park ticket linked to My Disney Experience. Select your party then click Next.

calendar for Disney World Park Reservation System

7. Your next screen will be where you can select the day and park you would like to make a reservation at. Select your days, then click Next.

confirmation screen from the Disney World Park Reservation System

8. The last screen will be a confirmation screen where you will be asked to check off the COVID-19 waiver. Click confirm, and you’re all set.

Our Thoughts

Once you’re in, it works very smoothly. On the first day of the Disney World Park Reservation System Disney faced many challenges based on the overall demand on the platform and technology glitches. Must have of Vaneloppe von Schweetz, otherwise known as the glitch. Our biggest recommendation is making sure everything is set-up correctly in My Disney Experience. It took us a lot of tries to get through, but once we did we were able to make our reservations in a matter of minutes. We will continue to provide updates on the Disney World Park Reservation System as they are available.

Rethemeing Splash Mountain – What Direction Could Disney Go?

Rethemeing Splash Mountain – What Direction Could Disney Go?

Left! No, right! Oh, we’re not talking about those types of directions. We’re talking about the different directions Disney could go around rethemeing Splash Mountain. Over the last few weeks, the question within the Disney community about rethemeing Splash Mountain has gained a lot of traction. A valid question to say the least. We’re not here to make that decision, we’ll leave that to the mouse. Instead, we’re looking at the potential Intellectual Property (IP) options Disney could leverage if they move forward with rethemeing Splash Mountain. Time to dive deep into the Disney movie vault!

Disneyland Splash Mountain

The Background

You know us, we always need a little background. Anytime the rethemeing of an attraction comes up we like to put some context around the feasibility of the project as we did with Indiana Jones or Primeval Whirl. Keeping with our tradition, we’re doing the same with rethemeing Splash Mountain.

In the United States, Splash Mountain an attraction in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Almost identical attractions outside the ride vehicle design and that extra 5 feet of track in Orlando. The main difference between the two variations is where they are located within their respective parks. In Disneyland, you’ll find Splash Mountain in Critter Country, whereas the attraction is located with Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom.

The flume based attraction is themed around the movie, Song of the South. With the attraction being water-based Disney decided to build the attraction out of concrete to ensure its structure for years to come. The changing of track or scenes may take a jackhammer or two, to say the least.

It should also be noted that Disney rightfully no longer sells or promotes the movie Song of the South due to its racial discrimination. Additionally, within Splash Mountain Disney never used the Uncle Remus character as the ride’s narrator and instead opted to create a character known as Baer Frog.

The Princess and the Frog is one of the rethemeing Splash Mountain options

The Obvious Option

You know the one. It’s the one everyone is talking about, The Princess and the Frog. Some may say it’s a cult classic within the Disney community. Released in 2009, The Princess and the Frog is a wonderful story of Tiana and her journey to opening her own restaurant in Louisana. (#nospoilers here). The movie jumps to the forefront for a couple of reasons, the first is where the movie is set, New Orleans. Secondly is the inherent nature of the water-based attraction. The majority of the movie takes place on a Louisana Bayou.

Looking at the map of Disneyland it’s easy to see how rethemeing Splash Mountain to The Princess and the Frog would make sense. Currently, the attraction sits on the border of New Orleans Square and Critter Country within the park. If Disney were to make the switch to The Princess and the Frog it raises another question. What would Disney do with the rest of Critter Country? Directly across from the entrance to Splash Mountain is The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, along with the Hungry Bear quick-service restaurant.

For Disney to move forward with The Princess and the Frog concept we would expect a whole rethemeing to Critter Country. Could we see a Princess and the Frog land? Disney could easily change over Hungry Bear to be Tiana’s Place. From there Disney could retheme Splash Mountain as the headliner attraction then potential switch Winnie the Pooh back to a show style attraction (previous home to Country Bears). What show? How about a show filled with New Orleans jazz music featuring everyone’s favorite trumpet-playing alligator Louis! Maybe they could even use some of the advanced audio-animatronics we discussed in the Star Wars resort article.

The only hick-up we could see with this option is Walt Disney World. With Splash Mountain located in Frontierland, the New Orleans backdrop of The Princess and the Frog would not work well.

Pocahontas one the rethemeing Splash Mountain options

Revisiting An Idea

Wait. Has Disney thought about rethemeing Splash Mountain before? It’s a firm kind of. When Disney was looking at ideas for attractions for Disneyland Paris, Splash Mountain was under consideration. At the time, Disney’s main concern was how the European market would relate to the southern-inspired theme. Similar to how Disney has used different concepts for the Haunted Mansion around the global they considered the same with Splash Mountain for Disneyland Paris. What IP did they consider? We’re glad you asked!

Say hello to, Pocahontas! That’s right, Disney considered going around the riverbend and rethemeing Splash Mountain to this 1995 movie. Taking a step back, the idea makes a lot of sense, even today. We can easily picture the scene where Pocahontas is canoeing down the river being the main concept for the ride. The drop would be where she and Meko head over the waterfall. Disney could have Grandma Willow as the narrator and Just around the Riverbend as the attractions song.

Beyond the attraction itself, Pocahontas would fit perfectly into both Critter Country and Frontierland without much additional work to the rest of the respective areas. Could this be the perfect fit? If we look beyond just the IP, Pocahontas is a top 10 grossing film for Disney within the hand-drawn animation category.

Brother Bear could be one of the rethemeing Splash Mountain options

The Long Shot

Let’s think way out of the box! How far? Pretty far. We may even have to go across the northern border. If Disney wants to get off the beaten path with rethemeing Splash Mountain look no further than Brother Bear. From a box office perspective, the movie is not a great fit. Recent history shows us that Disney prefers to use the $500 million mark to decide if a movie should get an attraction or not. Needless to say Brother Bear is just little behind that number.

However, from a theme perspective, it could work well for both parks. With the majority of the movie taking place in the frontier (Canadian frontier, but frontier none the less) the IP would not detract from either of lands. Additionally, it’s an IP that Disney could center around a flume attraction. The big concern comes with guest relatability, as the movie is not as big of a hit as either The Princess and the Frog or Pocahontas. However, neither was Song of the South when Disney originally decided to use it for Splash Mountain. Well, we’ll give it a solid, maybe?

Our Thoughts

There are options. If decides to move forward with rethemeing Splash Mountain, they’ll have couple IPs to choose from. Knowing Disney they may even use an IP no one is expecting. In the DVC Duo house, we leaning towards the Pocahontas concept for a couple of reasons. First is we believe The Princess and the Frog concept deserves its own attraction, not a rethemed attraction. Second, is how Pocahontas could work for both parks. Who knows, maybe we’ll get Pocahontas in Walt Disney World and a Princess and the Frog land in Disney land. For now, there is only one question left to answer, which movie should we watch from the Disney vault?

UPDATE: On June 25, 2020, Disney announced they’re moving forward with rethemeing Splash Mountain to The Princess and the Frog. For more details on the announcement check out the following Disney Parks Blog article. In the DVC Duo house, we’re thrilled to see Tiana have her own attraction at both US parks. Additionally, rumors have already started that we could see Tokyo Disneyland retheme their version of Splash Mountain as well.

For a nostalgic Disney fans perspective of the rethemeing of Splash Mountain check out Season 2 Episode 50 from our friends over at Dillo’s Diz.

Nomad Lounge Night Monkey Recipe – A DVC Duo Cocktail Guide

Nomad Lounge Night Monkey Recipe – A DVC Duo Cocktail Guide

Let’s wander into the kitchen! Or should we say bar? Get it, nomad. Oh, how we crack ourselves up! We’re back with another Disney at-home recipe. This time around we’re off to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to share our night monkey recipe. Holla at us, if you like the Nomad Lounge night monkey! Wow, did we really make a Howler monkey joke? Alright, enough with the bads jokes let’s get to shaking up our night monkey recipe!

Our Nomand Lounge Night Monkey Recipe

Location

Just prior to crossing the bridge into Pandora: World of Avatar you’ll find Nomad Lounge. This tranquil Disney lounge is the perfect place to catch some shade and recharge before heading off in search of the Yeti. Know for serving an array of tasty appetizers and shaking up adventurous cocktails, Nomad Lounge is must stop place for most Disneyphiles. Some may even say it’s essential. One of the more well-known cocktails is the Night Monkey. Alright, here is the DVC Duo’s at home Night Monkey recipe.

Night Monkey Recipe

Coffee Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup of strong brewed coffee
  • 1 cup of sugar

Night Monkey

  • 2 ounces of Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro rum
  • 3 ounces of guava puree
  • 1/2 fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of coffee simple syrup
  • Sprig of mint
  • A little cilantro

Directions

Coffee Simple Syrup

  1. Add coffee and sugar to a saucepan
  2. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 10 minutes

Night Monkey

  1. Muddle mint and cilantro in the cocktail shaker
  2. Add ice to a cocktail shaker
  3. Add Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro rum
  4. Add guava puree
  5. Squeeze lime into shaker
  6. Add coffee simple syrup
  7. Shake until the cocktail shaker is too cold to hold
  8. Strain into a martini glass

Variations

For us, it’s all about variety. Some may say it’s the spice of life. Below are a few variations and substitutions, feel free to make changes where you would like.

  • Replace the Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro rum with your favorite rum (Our favorite is Appletons Reserve)
  • If you don’t guava you can substitute by blending a 1 to 1 ratio of pineapple and strawberry
  • Replace coffee simple syrup with coffee liquor

In true Nomad Lounge fashion, we recommend enjoying the drink either in a comfortable chair or on a shaded deck overlooking a little water.

Previous Recipe: Mango Gingerita