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Is The Rethemeing Of The Hall Of Presidents Already Underway?

Is The Rethemeing Of The Hall Of Presidents Already Underway?

Could they be history? Well, everyone in The Hall of Presidents is technically part of history. They were all presidents after all. This is not a look back at history. What we’re referring to is the potential rethemeing of the Hall Presidents at Walt Disney World’ Magic Kingdom. Needless to say, the rumor mill around opening this opening day attraction is hopping. Could the rumors be true? Is Disney already working on the rethemeing of The Hall of Presidents? Let’s see if the writing is on the wall and The Hall of Presidents is getting ready for the history books!

Where It Started

Fact, all rumors start somewhere. The question from there becomes, is there any truth in the rumor? Our rumor around the rethemeing of The Hall of Presidents stems directly from the rethemeing of Splash Mountain. When Disney announced the flume attraction would be rethemed to a Princess and the Frog experience, it raised the question around what other Disney attractions should be reimagined. As we spoke about in our Hamilton and The Muppets article, Disney has a list of attractions they are looking to change due to socially related topics. The changes could be as small as an individual scene or as large as the whole attraction. On that list is the Hall of Presidents.

Why The Hall of Presidents?

It’s history, right? Yes, the concept of The Hall of Presidents is about American history. The show takes the audience through a summarized telling of key points of our nation’s history. With the end being a statement from whichever president is currently sitting in the office. What puts the attraction on the list of potential refurbishments is everything the story doesn’t talk about. What we’re referencing is the social injustice that took place for hundreds of years. Many of the presidents highlighted within the show both partook and facilitated the social injustice within our nation. The show is a reminder of a past that many guests rather not remember.

On top of it is the underlying topic of politics. You know politics, it’s one of those topics the can really get a conversation heated up. In some cases, as hot as Florida in July. Now that’s hot. From our understanding, this is one of the additional reasons Disney is looking into the retheming of The Hall of Presidents.

The Right Person For The Job

More like persons! According to Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media network, the rethemeing of The Hall of Presidents has already begun. It sounds like Disney has reached out to two famed musical creators to draft a new script for the show. The first person should be no surprise, as they have been tied to a variety of Disney projects including a film that may lead to a new World Showcase pavilion. We’re talking about Lin-Manuel Miranda. He may be familiar with how to write a historical script.

Our other creator is a bit more surprising. He does have a connection with the Disney company in the form of Milo’s Law. This animated series appeared on the Disney XD channel back in October of 2016. The show ran for 40 episodes. Who are we talking about, we’re talking about Weird Al Yankovic. Yes, the same guy that wrote musical hits like Eat It, and Like a Surgeon.

The question in the DVC Duo house is whether these are the right people for the job. In short, yes! Retelling history in a way that is approachable for all audiences, especially in a theme park, is no easy task. From our perspective, the best way to approach it is head-on through comedic relief. Who doesn’t enjoy a sarcastic joke, you know we do. Based on the work of both people, it’s easy to see how Disney could create a storyline that is right for everyone. What that storyline will be is still unknown, as the rethemeing of The Hall of Presidents is still in the very early stages. Knowing Disney they will look for something that is both entertaining and educational at the same time. If we had to guess, we wouldn’t expect any changes until after the 50th-anniversary of Walt Disney World.

Our Thoughts

It makes a lot of sense. The time has come for Disney to make a change to this opening day attraction. What we are hoping for is the new show will leverage all the animatronics. What we love about the Hall of Presidents is the ability to see the advancements in Disney’s animatronic technology all in one show. For now, we should treat the rethemeing of The Hall of Presidents as a rumor, as the project has not been confirmed by Disney. Alright, that’s a wrap, or should we say it’s history!

Will They Or Won’t They Have One? – A Nighttime Magic Kingdom Parade

Will They Or Won’t They Have One? – A Nighttime Magic Kingdom Parade

Rumors, we got rumors! Get’em while they’re hot. For the past year-plus, we’ve been tracking the idea of a new nighttime Magic Kingdom parade at Walt Disney World. All the signs we’re looking great, then everything was flipped upside down. Or, as we like to say in the DVC Duo house, Thanos “snapped”. With no Avengers to reset time, we’re looking to the future to see how Walt Disney World’s plans may have changed. In this case, regarding a new nighttime Magic Kingdom parade. Strap on your headlamps, we’re talk a walk in the dark!

Dan Cockerell makes mention of a new nighttime Magic Kingdom parade

Original Plan

There’s always a plan. When it comes to a nighttime Magic Kingdom parade, Walt Disney World had a solid plan. According to many sources, including Dan Cockerell (former Vice President of the Magic Kingdom ), Disney longed for the day they could bring a nighttime parade back to the park. Similar to how Paint the Night debuted at the 60th anniversary of Disneyland, the plan called for the new parade to premiere with the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World. The parade was slated as one of the “50-new things” for the anniversary, along with an array of new things like Tron Lifecycle Power Run and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

Concept Art for the Epcot Festival Center

The Change

We all know what changed, let’s just say thanks, Thanos. With social distancing the new norm and The Walt Disney Company looking for ways to quickly bounce back from closing the parks, rumors, and announcements starting popping up. It was only a matter of time before we started hearing of different projects being put on hold or canceled altogether, especially after Disney mentioned the $900 million savings on their quarterly board call. The announcements began with the delaying of the Spaceship Earth refurbishment and continued from there. A few days prior to the announcement of the rethinking of Epcot Festival Center and pausing of the Mary Poppins attraction, a few well-known Disney insiders stated a new nighttime Magic Kingdom parade if off the books. It should be noted that no official word regarding the potential of a parade or it being canceled has been made by Disney.

The only confirmation we have is Disney did order 50 new parade floats at the beginning of 2019. Now some of the floats were used in creating the Magic Happens parade for Disneyland, but not all 50.

could the Main Street Electrical parade be the new Magic Kingdom parade?

The Key Word

It’s all in the fine print. Or, in this case, the choice of words. The word we’re talking about is new. All the insiders made it clear to say the new nighttime Magic Kingdom parade is not happening. What they didn’t say is, a nighttime Magic Kingdom parade isn’t happening. We had a thought in the DVC Duo house. It happens from time to time. What if Disney has a new plan. A plan that could still include a nighttime Magic Kingdom parade?

Here’s what we’re thinking. At the moment it does not make sense for Disney to invest in a parade that they may not be able to use for the 50th-anniversary. However, they could use a former nighttime parade. That’s right, we’re looking at you Main Street Electrical parade. If we reach a point where social distancing is more-lax, Disney could bring the framed parade out of retirement. It is something Disney could do as a last-minute option. Or, a less likely parade option would be to bring the Paint the Night parade to Walt Disney World.

Beyond the parades, Disney does have other options for nighttime entertainment. Early reports are showing the new character cavalcades are a huge success. Disney could take this concept and bring it to the night. How great would it be a randomly see character rolling down Main Street USA on a lite up float? The best part, it would be a surprise when it happens every time. Disney has already done nighttime cavalcades during the 2020 Villains Afterhours Events. In the few events that took place, they were very well received.

Our Thoughts

Time will tell. Overall we believe Disney will have some type of nighttime Magic Kingdom parade for the 50th-anniversary. It may be a parade in the loosest form or experiencing a node to the past. Either way, we’ll be excited to see nighttime lights in the Magic Kingdom once again. Alright, it looks like the bulb on the headlamp is starting to burn out!

Robo Caddie To The Rescue At Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course

Robo Caddie To The Rescue At Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course

Our hero! Not all superheroes wear capes. Right, Edna? In the case of Disney’s Oak Trail golf course, our avenger is sporting three wheels. For Disney golfers who enjoying walking nine holes, this three-wheel avenger is music to our ears. No more slinging our bags on our back and hoofing around the course. Nate’s lower back is already writing a thank you letter. What is Robo Caddie at Disney’s Oak Trail Golf? Let grab our clubs and head out for a quick nine!

Ninthe hole at Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course

The Course

Even the most avid Disney golfer may not be familiar with Disney’s Oak Trail course. With the likes of Disney’s Palm and Magnolia golf courses the main attractions, this nine-hole walk course is easily looked over. Situated between the famous courses, Disney’s Oak Trail course offers a different type of golfing experience. Walking. While all the other courses at Walt Disney World require a cart to play, Disney’s Oak Trail is a step back to how golf was originally played.

The nine-hole walking only course winds through a nature preserve. It’s not uncommon to see deer, variety of birds, and occasional alligators around the course. No worries though, the alligators are off in the distance. For us, it’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the parks. If you listen closely you can even here the Magic Kingdom Ferry Boat whistle in the distance.

Robo Caddie in action - Will be used at Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course

Robo Caddie Time

No, this is not the estranged brother RoboCop. On June 26, 2020, Disney Golf announced the addition of the Robo Caddie to the Oak Trail course. Traditionally, the course offered two options for playing golf, carrying your own bag or a pushcart. Now, there is a third option at Disney’s Oak Trail golf course, Robo Caddie. Or, the official name Tempo Walk.

The three-wheeled wonder is designed by Club Car, one of the leading golf cart design companies. Boasting a cooler, USB charging station, sand bottle for divots, cup holder, divot repair kit, and GPS system, it’s exactly what every golfer needs. Wait, did you say GPS system? Yes, yes we did. One of the hardest parts of playing Disney’s Oak Trail golf course is the limited number of yardage markers around the course. This is exactly what Nate has been asking for!

How It Works

Technology! The Robo Caddie follows you around a course starting, stopping, and turning whenever you move. Using a wireless transmitter that slips on your belt, the Robo Caddie follows four feet behind you as you make your way around the course. As you approach a green, sand trap, or a water hazard you can turn on the off the transmitter and the Robo Caddie will wait for your return. Your water-proof friend is ready for all conditions and saving your back as you make your through a round of golf.

At Disney’s Oak Trail golf course, you make a reserve the Robo Caddie when making your tee time or by calling before your tee-time. You can reach the pro shop at (407) 939-4653. The pricing for renting the Robo Caddie is as follows:

  • $10 per person, plus tax

When comparing the cost to the usually $7 per person, plus tax for the push cart, the Robo Caddie seems like a no brainer to us. Especially, when you include the GPS yardages to the pin.

Our Thoughts

Thank you! As we said Nate’s lower back was already writing the letter. In the DVC Duo house, we think the addition of the Robo Caddie makes a lot of sense. It should speed up play, and make the round a little more enjoyable in the Florida heat. Trust us, carrying a golf bag in the Florida humid is about as fun as it sounds. The big question we have is if we’ll see the Robo Caddie program expanded to the other Disney golf courses. Traditionally, walking is not permitted on the other courses due to the pace of play, but with the Robo Caddie it may become an option. Especially, with the new social distancing requirements. For now, we’ll tee it up with our hero over at Disney’s Oak Trail golf course!

Rethinking The Epcot Festival Center – What Should We Expect?

Rethinking The Epcot Festival Center – What Should We Expect?

Rethink. It’s the word that caught everyone’s attention in the most recent Disney announcement. On July 15, 2020, an array of news broke around the Epcot refurbishment. As we projected in a previous article the Mary Poppins attraction is officially postponed, along with confirmation of the Spaceship Earth refurbishment delay we spoke about in another article. The big news came in the form of the Epcot Festival Center. Slated as the centerpiece of the new World Celebration neighborhood, Disney has stated they are “taking a different approach”. What does that mean? We’re glad you asked! Lace-up your dancing shoes, we’re off to explore what’s happening with the Epcot Festival Center!

Timing

It’s also about timing! Before we dive into the deep end of what we should expect with the Epcot Festival Center let’s take a step back to discuss the overall timing of the project. What we know is Walt Disney World is planning for Epcot to be the centerpiece of the 50th-anniversary celebration, and the new Epcot Festival Center to be the epicenter. At the beginning of 2020 construction kicked-off at a furious pace on the new World Celebration section of Epcot. It was all systems go, with work being done almost around the clock. Then March 16, 2020.

You know the day. It’s the day we all took notice that a global crisis was underway and we all needed to focus on the safety of everyone. Walt Disney World closed and seized work on all construction projects. Four months later, Walt Disney World reopened and the construction projects started back up.

The majority of the time a four-month delay would not be a major hit to a Disney construction project. Not ideal, but not a major hit. For example the delays associated with Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, primarily The Rise of the Resistance attraction. Unfortunately, for the Epcot Festival Center, it is. With Disney already up against the clock to finish the World Celebration neighborhood and the new Epcot Festival Center in time for the 50th anniversary, the four-month delay meant the project would not be complete by October 1, 2021. What now?

Short Term

You cannot slow down the calendar. Well, unless you have the time stone, but we’re no Doctor Strange. The 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World is a little over a year away. In Disney construction terms, that is right around the corner. The last thing Disney wants is to have the center of Epcot under construction. According to Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media, there is a plan in place.

In the short term what we should expect is for Disney to “clean-up” the area. What that means is they would more than likely pave over the area and add a variety of flower beds and “green” spaces to make the area enjoyable for guests. In the DVC Duo house, we believe you could also see a few of the food booths from the different festivals added to the area. As from our understanding, Walt Disney World is very keen on bringing the festival to whole park.

For the Epcot Festival Center, that is still up on the air. Walt Disney Imagineering would have a variety of spaces to use for a “temporary” center. We could see it return to the Odyssey Pavilion where the Epcot Experience is currently located or even a small structure added to the space the permit center is to be located. More clarity will come as the 50th-anniversary approaches.

Concept art for Epcot's HarmonioUS

Long Term

Good news time! We’re all about good news, and there is good news regarding the Epcot Festival Center. This is not a project going away. Based on what we’ve heard, prior to construction being halted in March Disney already begun renting the new Epcot Festival Center out for corporate events in 2022 and 2023. The plan called for the area to be used both for guests and special corporate events, where corporations could rent the top-level for private parties. This strategy plays directly into Disney’s desire to host more conferences on property, with the events being held at the new Gran Destino Tower and special nighttime gathers in Epcot.

We fully expect Disney to resume this project after the 50th-anniversary in either late 2022 or early 2023. The design of the building may change, but we would think it would stay about 3-stories in height. At 3-stories, the top-level would have unobstructed views of World Showcase Lagoon and the upcoming HarmonioUS show. This aspect was the top-selling feature for corporate events.

Our Thoughts

Rethink could be a good thing. While we loved the original design of the building, with more time Walt Disney Imagineering could still create something special. Maybe not the same, but still very special. To quote Michael Eisner “Creativity can flourish within sensible financial limitations”. The one key piece we would expect a new design to take into consideration is social distancing or spacing. Fingers crossed we’re past our global crisis by the end of 2022, however, knowing how Disney always plans for the future, this could be one of the things we see taken into account more on all future projects. At the end of it, we fully expect to see a new Epcot Festival Center.

The Muppets and Hamilton at Disney World – A Match Made In Heaven?

The Muppets and Hamilton at Disney World – A Match Made In Heaven?

Is it what dreams are made of? That’s what we’re here to find out! With the release of Hamilton on Disney+ on July 3, 2020, the idea of bringing Hamilton to Disney World has ben floated around. Us included. In this article we’re going to build on concept we put out on our Twitter account around the idea of pairing The Muppets and Hamilton at Disney World. It’s time for our favorite past time. No, not baseball. We’re talking a little backseat Imagineering!

In The Beginning

All ideas start somewhere. Our concept around pairing the Muppets and Hamilton at Disney World stemmed for the announcement of Disney rethemeing Splash Mountain in both Disney World and Disneyland. The much overdue update opened the door to any more questions. With the primary one being what other attractions at Walt Disney World could use rethemeing due to socially related topics. Lucky for us, it appears Disney many around have a starting point. According to Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media, Disney has a list of attractions/scenes that are in line for updates due to their nature. The list includes the following:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean Auction Scene – COMPLETED
  • Splash Mountain – In development for The Princess and The Frog
  • Hall of Presidents
  • American Adventure
  • Peter Pan Native American Scene
  • Tom Sawyer Island Native American Scene
  • Country Bears Scene With Buford

We’re not 100% sure if this is a full list or just a starting point for Disney. Other attractions may see updates as well as part of bigger updates, for example, the Jungle Cruise. Let’s just say there is nothing bigger than The Rock!

our tweet regarding Hamilton at Disney World

The Tweet

Rolling through the list two options immediately jump to the forefront, Hall of Presidents and The America Adventure. The initial reaction by most people is to connect The Muppets to the Hall of Presidents. Rightfully so, as the Great Moments In American History with The Muppets show took place over the Hall of Presidents’ theater. Disney could easily transition the show to an indoor setting and combine all the short skits into a longer show. It would surely be a success, as the previous outdoor show was very popular. But you know us, we like to think outside the box!

On June 30, 2020, we tweeted out our idea of rethemeing The American Adventure to The Muppets performing Hamilton. Since then, the more and more we thought it. The more and more it makes perfect sense.

Why The American Adventure?

Wait, didn’t you say the American Adventure is one of Epcot’s underrated attractions? Yes, yes we did! The attraction is definitely underrated for two main reasons, the stage, and animatronics. The storyline of the show needs an update on multiple levels. Beyond the fact that it’s not socially appropriate, there are big gaps in history. For example, Mark Twain and Ben Franklin were not alive at the same time.

Outside of the attraction itself, Disney is working to bring more characters to Epcot’s World Showcase. While there would be an array of Disney characters to choose from that relate to America, not many are set the colonial time period of the pavilion. If Disney is looking to keep the overall setting the chosen characters should be easily integrated into the period on all levels. Say hello to The Muppets doing Hamilton at Disney World!

Why The Muppets and Hamilton?

Why not? We kid, we kid. When taking a step back it is clear that Disney is looking to find the right place for The Muppets. With the upcoming launch of Muppets Now on Disney+, now (no pun intended, or maybe intended) could the right time to double down on the property. In the DVC Duo house, we believe there is no better way to give The Muppets the push than to pair them with Hamilton at Disney World.

American history is tricky, to say the least. If Disney leveraged The Muppets in the telling of history, or in this case one aspect of it, they have more flexibility. The Muppets would be able to navigate the tougher parts using their humor and call out the areas that are straight wrong, without an issue and while keeping it “entertaining”. Similar to how Lin-Manual does so in the telling of Hamilton.

Last but not least is the location, the American Adventure. With the opening of Regal Eagle Smokehouse, The Muppets already have a presence within pavilion thanks to Sam Eagle. Adding a Muppet driven show would drive home the overall update.

Our Thoughts

Crossing our fingers! The big question around this concept is the idea of bringing Hamilton to Disney World. Well, we know Lin-Manual has a fantastic relation with Disney, we’re not sure if he’s ready for his Tony award-wining show to be parred done to 30 minutes or less. What we do know is how Disney is actively considering two things, bringing The Muppets to Epcot and updating the American Adventure. Time will tell what Disney decides to do with the pavilion. But, if we see The Muppets performing Hamilton at Disney World, you heard it here first. Maybe. We’re pretty sure. Ok, we’re definitely one of the firsts!