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Hello and welcome to this week's Theme Park News! We've got bright lights, worldwide updates and the last Halloween link you'll find around these parts for a while, so let's get started:
NOW THAT'S THE WAY TO GLOW
It's Nov. 2, which means theme park holiday season is mere days away, but before everything is all tinsel and trees we have to discuss the most important news from last week: that according to Disney Parks' TikTok channel, Main Street Electrical Parade is officially returning to Disneyland Resort.
We don't know the exact date it'll debut — my guess is early 2022, to drive visitors back between the holiday and Spring Break seasons — but that video's “to be continued” frame carries a lot of weight for guests who are looking forward to additional entertainment returning to Disneyland Resort.
Fireworks have been back for months, but other nighttime displays, like World of Color and Fantasmic, have not yet been restored while parades have been mostly halted in favor of character cavalcades, save for Oogie Boogie Bash's Halloween-themed Frightfully Fun Parade. Off the heels of Walt Disney World expanding its modified character meet-and-greets and Disneyland bringing back its famed A Christmas Fantasy Parade next week, it's a good sign that more favorites could be making their way back soon.
But, perhaps more importantly, it speaks to the possibilities for those of us who are holding onto Disney nostalgia with a tense grip. Plenty of vintage relics from the past have gone by the wayside at this point (understandably so, as they're changed out for newer experiences), but for the illuminative wonder that's had more goodbye tours than Elton John to actually return!? Well, I meet Main Street Electrical Parade's never-quite-final ride with pure elation. I'm biased here, but it feels good to see classic Disney being pushed towards the forefront and with Walt Disney World's Electrical Water Pageant, the aquatic sibling to Main Street's streetside spectacle currently celebrating the resort's 50th Anniversary, it's exciting to see this one glowing back amidst so much other change.
To be fair, I recognize...not everyone is thrilled with this news. Many are clamoring for the return of nighttime parade Paint The Night to return to either coast, a new parade overall, or even the daytime spectacle Magic Happens. (Understandable considering it, somewhat tragically, only ran for two weeks prior to pandemic-era closures and has not yet returned.) And yes, okay, Disney has teased us constantly with this one, particularly within the past decade — ending it in Florida to move it to Disneyland, then ending it, then bringing it back, then ending it again, then bringing it back again — but hey, I'll happily let them toy with my emotions if it means I can hear the sweet sounds of Baroque Hoedown ringing down Main Street, USA, once again.
Do you know what it's like to see a snail float spin after the garbage years we've just had?! Life has changed so much — too much — in a short period of time during this nightmare of a global pandemic. After a chapter of so much sacrifice, so much suffering, to have this pure and untainted explosion of retro joy wheeling its way through a theme park we're once again able to visit? Frankly, it just makes me appreciate everything a little bit more, and makes me thankful we made it this far. So yes, you will be catching me at Disneyland the moment this parade goes live — and for many subsequent nights after that.
WAIT, WHAT'S GOING ON AT SHANGHAI DISNEYLAND?
Every few months, a story will make it outside the theme park universe and into the real news cycle, so if you too have been emailed a story about Shanghai Disneyland from your parents, let's get into what exactly happened here.
On Sunday night, Shanghai Disneyland and its DisneyTown downtown district temporarily stopped welcoming guests due to a customer testing positive for COVID-19. Select attractions were closed but outdoor entertainment proceeded, and the subsequent images of a sea of workers in PPE with Disney fireworks in the background or patrons holding Disney balloons have, naturally, flooded the internet.
While The Wall Street Journal reports that 30,000 guests were in attendance at the time, they weren't, as their headline brazenly states, “locked” inside the park. It wasn't Night at the Museum: Covid Edition, but merely a widespread check to ensure the possibility of coronavirus being in the park was contained and not spread due to park activities.
Twitter user @gourmetdyy, who was in attendance, shared that guests were split into different groups before being tested. Those who were on property need to be tested again 24 hours later and self-monitor for 12 days, according to The New York Times. The closure was done to “cooperate with the pandemic investigation in other provinces and cities” and spurred by China's dedication to fully eradicating Covid-19 with its “zero covid” policy. Shanghai Disney Resort will remain closed Nov. 1 and 2, but according to The New York Times, is not guaranteed to reopen on Nov. 3. (We'll keep you posted next week if this story continues.)
If the news left you thinking about domestic COVID-19 caseloads and how you haven't heard much about California and Florida lately, you'd be right! Things have been improving drastically — for now, at least — but are nowhere near zero like China's goal. Orange County, California is showing steady figures, California's number as a whole have plateaued, and though the Los Angeles Times wondered this week if a spike spurred from indoor activity could be on the way, Los Angeles County's vaccination requirement for theatres, gyms, restaurants, bars, and more begins later this week, which should be immensely helpful to curb transmission.
Over in Florida, Orange County's State of Emergency was recently lifted, leaving some to wonder if Walt Disney World's mask guidelines could change. Given that children were only just deemed eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, I personally hope the indoor mandates stay in place long enough for kids to be fully vaccinated, particularly given that Disney's target market is families and how commonplace mask-wearing has become.
As a reminder, masks are required indoors at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort. Universal Studios Hollywood requires masks indoors and outdoors — due to LA County restrictions — and proof of vaccination or a negative test on days with higher attendance. Universal Orlando Resort has no mask requirements. (For next week and, as always, we will continue to keep you posted on any changes.)
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