Disney World

Disney to stop charging annual passholders after backlash during coronavirus shutdown

Disney continues to change its operations during the coronavirus outbreak. Annual passholders had recently complained about still being charged monthly payments despite the Disney parks being closed. Now, the company has announced that it will no longer be charging the monthly payments and is making refunds to certain customers. On the Disney World website, the company announced that as of April 5, it will no longer be charging monthly payments for annual passholders on the monthly payment schedule. Also, it will retroactively be refunding payments made between March 14 and April 4. Annual passholders who paid in full will have the option of having their pass’ expiration date extended or receiving a partial refund (to be determined by the park’s length of closure). On the site, Disney wrote, “This is a truly unprecedented time for all of us and we want to thank you for your patience as we work through the many details related to the temporary closure of the theme parks. We recognize that this may be a challenging time, so we wanted to share how we will assist our Annual Passholders.” Some annual passholders had recently taken to social media to complain that, despite the park’s closure, they were still being charged the monthly payments. When the parks first closed, Disney stated that it would extend the expiration dates on the passes in relation to the park’s total closure. Since then, however, not only has the closure of Disneyland and Disney World been extended, but many workers across the country have been laid off or have seen a significant decrease in their monthly income due to the coronavirus outbreak. According to some complaints on social media, this situation made it much harder for some to afford the monthly payments.

Good on Disney for doing this.  It’s the right thing to do.  For more info, if this affects you, click on the text above.

Timpf: Security Theater Comes to Disney World Resort

Just when you thought Disney World couldn’t be a bigger nightmare, new security measures at some of its hotels are basically allowing Mickey Mouse and his obnoxious friends to invade your room. According to a piece in the Miami Herald, Walt Disney World Resort Hotels has removed the “do not disturb” signs from the rooms in three of its hotels and replaced them with “room occupied” signs as part of a new security policy. What’s more, a Disney cast member will now be required to enter each hotel room at least once per day to “ensure gun safety,” according to Walt Disney World News today. Disney has not explicitly stated its reasons for the new policy, but it seems to have been implemented in response to October’s Las Vegas shooting, when a man was able to enter a hotel room with a boatload of weapons and subsequently murder 58 people. Now, while I do appreciate that Disney wants to keep people safe, this is, quite frankly, a stupid idea. Stupid . . . but not surprising. After all, responding to violent incidents with overzealous, privacy-invading security theater is exactly what the government has been doing for years. The best example of this, of course, is the TSA. In the name of “safety,” you’re more likely to miss your flight because you’re stuck standing in line, and you’re guaranteed to have to spend upwards of $45 on a bottle of water because you can’t bring your own with you. You have to take your shoes off. Your clip-in hair extensions will set off the metal detector, and then you’ll have to be patted down by an officer who knows that you’re actually spending your life walking around wearing someone else’s hair. In some instances, the problems with the TSA have even crossed over from annoying to abusive: In March, a woman had to endure a “pat-down” of the inside of her underwear — something that sounds more like a sexual assault than a safety precaution — because she was wearing a panty liner. That same month, a 13-year-old boy with a sensory-processing disorder was reportedly traumatized after having to endure an absurdly detailed, brutally long “pat down” because he had left his laptop in his bag — an incident that also caused him and his family to miss their flight. The worst part, of course, is that the world isn’t really any safer from terrorism because of any of this. Anyone who wants to go through with a terror plot, or any kind of violence, can always just hit a “soft target” — such as the outside of an airport — instead. The exact same thing is true of this Disney World policy. First of all, it’s not hard to see how these new rules could ruin a vacation. Imagine this: You put up that “room occupied” sign, get into the bathtub, and put on some relaxing music. A Disney cast member — who knows only that the room is occupied, and not that it’s occupied by someone who doesn’t want to be bothered — starts knocking on the door. You can’t hear the knock over your music, and the next thing you know . . . a cartoon character is looking at you naked. Make no mistake: Disney’s new policy destroys the entire decompress-and-chill aspect of any vacation. Instead, you have to sit in your hotel room on edge all the time, knowing that at any moment, you might be expected to respond quickly to a knock at your door or else be joined by a dude in a Goofy suit. That doesn’t exactly sound relaxing — and, as it stands now, it isn’t going to make anyone any safer. Again, anyone who is really interested in hotel-based violence could probably get away with it regardless of this policy. He could make sure his weapons are easy to hide at a moment’s notice, and stay in his room to make sure that no one goes through his stuff. If a cast member tried to interfere in some way, then he could use the weapons on that person. Honestly, the only way that Disney could even hope to guarantee complete safety would be to arm its cast members with military-grade artillery, allowing them to enter into any room at any moment without knocking, and demanding that they search through everyone’s stuff. Yes, Las Vegas was terrifying and tragic, but would anyone really want to stay in a hotel that’s overrun with a gun-wielding, cartoon-costume-wearing army? That kind of scene may sound far-fetched, but when you think about it, it’s really not. After all, our society clearly has a penchant for valuing a false sense of security over privacy and civil liberties. People will willingly accept government surveillance and unnecessarily invasive pat-downs just because they’re told those measures are for their own “safety,” without thinking about whether that’s true — or about the liberty that’s being lost in the process.

I’ve not been to Disney World in over two decades..  I used to love going to Epcot..  But, given this disturbing report from millennial reporter Katherine “Kat” Timpf, I know that if/when I make it back to Orlando, I will absolutely NOT be staying at their resort(s).  This is the sort of reactionary, liberal, politically correct nonsense that hopefully doesn’t take hold and spread to other hotels/resorts.

Magic Kingdom tops the list of world’s most popular amusement parks

Disney World’s Magic Kingdom continues to be the top amusement park in the world with 20.5 million visitors in 2015, according to a report released Wednesday from engineering firm AECOM and the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). Disneyland in Anaheim, California, was No. 2 with an estimated 18.3 million visitors, followed by Tokyo Disneyland, which had an estimated 16 million. Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando all saw a jump in attendance in 2015 over the previous year. Though with just a 2 percent increase, SeaWorld had relatively modest gains. Despite rising ticket prices, theme park attendance has been boosted by high profile new attractions—like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood– and signature seasonal events. “Over the last couple years, the aggregate increase of the 20 top performing theme parks in North America was between 2 percent and 3.5 percent — good, steady, moderate growth. But it positively leapt beyond that in 2015 to an impressive 5.9 percent,” Brian Sands, a vice president with AECOM, told the LA Times. Epcot was sixth in the world in attendance with 11.8 million, a 5 percent increase from 2014. Disney’s Animal Kingdom drew 10.8 million, also a 5 percent increase, and Universal Orlando saw the biggest increase, with a 16 percent jump to 9.9 million visitors. “Last year we said everything was looking good in the Americas and poised for moderate growth — but 2015 blew the roof off moderate,” explained Sands. Disney Hollywood Studios attendance increased to 10.8 million, which was a 5 percent jump and Island of Adventure at Universal had 8.8 visitors, which was an 8 percent improvement.