This is something new, a weekly round-up, it’s true. Slightly busy, or even confused? Don’t worry, I’ve summarized this week’s Disney news for you.
In Iger We Trust
In the shock heard round the (Disney) world, the Walt Disney Company casually announced that Bob Iger is CEO again, effective immediately. Bob Chapek, who had a short and tumultuous reign is out, with a severance packaged rumored to be around 20 million dollars–he will be fine, financially speaking. Since the announcement dropped we’ve learned that Disney higher-ups expressed a lack of confidence in Chapek (obviously), that Iger’s displeasure with Chapek’s decision making was an open secret, that Iger was approached the Friday before the announcment, and that Chapek was blindsided by the decision. While Chapak’s tenure was rife with controversy–from the public salary dispute with Scarlett Johansson, to the botched reaction to the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill passed in Florida, to the firing of Peter Rice of Disney’s entertainment division–the recent financial earnings report may have been the straw that finally broke the mouse’s back. (This is Disney, after all.)
So, what’s next, and what can we expect? Of course, this remains to be seen. Iger’s former reign as CEO saw Disney acquire a slate of media companies that turned an already-massive company into the omnipotent force it is today. Iger was also favorably viewed in Hollywood (and beyond), and worth nothing, was viewed as a proponent of the creatives within the company (something Chapek, at least on the surface, appeared to struggle with). Fans and Walt Street alike are undoubtedly excited about his return, but, as excited as I am, I remain cautiously optimistic. Iger is not returning to The Walt Disney Company that he left; he is returning to helm a company very much affected by the post-pandemic world, amid rising inflation, and discontented theme park fans. As a frequent theme park goer, I am not sure Disney Genie, Genie+, and the Individual Lightning Lane system are going anywhere–we are in too deep, and it is generating lots of cash, I’m sure. But maybe we will see the return of that magic we’ve missed? More shows, bigger and more frequent parades, the return of annual passholder sales–maybe even a flattening of the park ticket costs for the next two years. (Not likely, I know.) For now, we will see some reshuffling as Iger restructures the organization, and Chapek soldiers leave the company. On the streaming side, we may see a shift in the amount and type of content that is pushed at Disney Plus, and we may see a different strategy with regards to what titles are released as a TV series on Disney Plus, what titles are exclusive to theaters, and whether the era of day-and-date releases are over. Only (tale as old as) time will tell.
Adventureland Treehouse at Disneyland. It looks like Disney is NOT going with an Encanto re-theme for Tarzan’s Treehhouse after all, opting instead for a return to it’s Swiss Family Robinson roots. No official opening date yet, but it is scheduled for 2023.
EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays
EPCOT’s holiday celebrations began November 25 and run to December 30. A few highlights of this year’s offerings:
- A new, wintery light show at Spaceship Earth (pictured above).
- A holiday display at Living with the Land called Glimmering Greenhouses.
- Perhaps most exciting, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will feature an all-new holiday remix during the ride.
- The “Candlelight Processional” returns to the at America Gardens Theatre.
- A Holiday Cookie Stroll and Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt.
Disney World Eats
Disney announced a wide range of sweets and treats available at both the theme parks and the resorts for the holidays. The good news is there are a lot of treats spread across the resorts–including value and moderate resorts, which makes me happy. The sort-of-bad news is that they are offered on varying dates, so take a close look at the guide to ensure the treats will be served during your stay.
The list is extensive, so here are a few highlights:
Walking in a Plant-Based Snowland: Chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream and a flurry of snowflake sprinkles (Plant-based). Available Dec. 1 through 31 at multiple resorts.
‘Olu Mel Christmas Float DOLE Whip Lime Float with pineapple juice, an ‘Olu Mel white chocolate medallion, and strawberry popping candy. Only available from December 22 through December 26 at Pineapple Lanai at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
Opera Cake: Almond joconde, mocha Italian buttercream, dark chocolate ganache, morello cherry. Available Dec. 1 through 30 at Toppolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort.
Christmas Tree Mousse: White chocolate peppermint mousse, chocolate cake, and dark chocolate ganache in a vanilla tart shell; Santa’s Forest: Peppermint Cheesecake, chocolate cake, and fondant holiday décor (Plant-based). Both Available Dec. 18 through 29 at Roaring Fork at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
In Case You Missed It
My podcast is back! Listen to the new episode where we talk about Bob Iger’s return as CEO and how we are handling family estrangement.
Here are my thoughts on whether Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort is worth it.
I’m a dad, so I need to carry lots of things. Here is what I think about Tom Bihn’s fanny pack.
In light of Bob Iger’s return as CEO, I think we should revisit the theme parks announcements from D23 Expo–do you think they will change?
I am working on an email newsletter so you can get all of this news–and more–delivered directly to your inbox each week. This is something I have been wanting to do for some time, and I am really excited about it. Be on the lookout for that.
I just got back from Disney’s Hilton Island Resort–get ready for my full review of one of a few Disney Resorts not located at its theme parks.
See ya real soon!