Hello and welcome to ANOTHER week packed with news!
From updates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) on mask guidance for those who are fully vaccinated to BIG news on Disney World capacity and social distancing — it’s been quite the week. Today we’re breaking down some of the biggest Disney-related news stories you need to know!
Let’s dive in!
1. Updated CDC Mask Guidelines
UPDATE: Disney World has since updated its mask guidelines so that face masks are no longer required outdoors in Disney World.
First, we’ll tackle a big piece of news that didn’t come from Disney but could impact Disney in the future. This week, the CDC released updated mask guidelines particularly for those who are fully vaccinated.
According to the updated guidelines, fully vaccinated people can resume most activities (both indoors and outdoors) without wearing a mask or distancing, except in certain places where masks may be required by federal, state, or local laws, or as required by businesses.
Keep in mind, Disney has yet to make any official changes to their mask policy and still requires all guests, including those who are fully vaccinated, to wear a mask in the parks at all times (except when specifically allowed to be removed).
But, things could be changing there (more on that in a second).
2. Updates on How Disney is Doing Financially and Disney+
This week The Walt Disney Company held its quarterly earnings call and released its quarterly earnings report for the second quarter of fiscal year 2021. Thanks to the report and the call, we have a better understanding of how Disney as a company is doing financially right now.
Overall, compared to the second quarter of the 2020 fiscal year, the Disney Company has actually seen some financial improvement. Income from continuing operations (before income taxes) actually showed a 17% improvement when compared to the prior year’s quarter.
Of course, things aren’t back to pre-crisis levels, but it still looks like some things did better financially over the past few months.
When it comes to the Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products segment, the company did see a large loss. According to the reports, during Quarter 2 the segment operating loss for this division was around $406 million.
And continued losses are expected in this department.
Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek also made a comment during the earnings call regarding Disney World’s demand levels, comparing them to pre-pandemic levels.
When it comes to Disney+ we also got a bit of an update in terms of the numbers of subscribers it currently has. The service surpassed 100 million subscribers in March 2021. And as of the end of the 2nd quarter for fiscal year 2021, Disney+ has a grand total of 103.6 million paid subscribers!
That’s a lot of people checking out all of the Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic content on there!
3. BIG Disney World Updates on Capacity, Distancing, and More
During the recent earnings call, we also got some BIG updates from Disney’s CEO, Bob Chapek, about how Disney is currently handling capacity and how certain health and safety measures may change in the future.
During the earnings call, Chapek was asked about Disney World’s capacity levels and when they might increase. In response, he indicated that they have actually already started to increase park capacities, in line with guidance from the CDC and the Florida government.
He also indicated that there would be an “immediate increase in the number of folks that [they’re] able to admit into [the] parks” through the Park Pass system.
During the earnings call, Chapek also commented on the updated CDC mask guidance. Specifically, he said that the guidance released by the CDC is “big news” for Disney, particularly for anyone who has been to Florida in the middle of the summer. He also said that he thinks this will “make for an even more pleasant experience.”
Keep in mind that Disney World has NOT yet made any changes to their mask rules. Masks are still required for all guests ages 2 and up in Disney World, including those who are fully vaccinated. But we’re on the lookout for more updates.
Earlier this week (not during the Earnings Call) we also got an update from Disney World when it comes to social distancing. The Disney World website was recently updated to note that Disney “will reduce physical distancing measures for Guests across many areas with a gradual, phased approach.”
The typical 6-feet social distancing measures will, however, continue in all “dining locations, merchandise stores and in areas where Guests can temporarily remove their masks.”
4. Festival of the Lion King Has an Official Reopening Date!
Moving on from the financial updates and information about distancing — we’ve got a BIG update when it comes to Disney World entertainment. Over the past week, the Festival of the Lion King’s modified show — A Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King — has soft re-opened!
While the show has held several soft re-opening performances, it is now set to officially reopen on May 15th!! So, if you’ll be heading to Disney’s Animal Kingdom soon, you’ll be able to check out this show once again and enjoy some fantastic music and beautiful dancing.
And if you CAN’T make it to Animal Kingdom this weekend, don’t fret! Disney will be live streaming the first performance! We got the chance to experience this show during its soft re-opening phase and see just what has changed.
5. FOOD NEWS!
And finally, we end our big news round-up with lots of food news! This week, we shared our full review of some NEW menu items at The Plaza Restaurant in Magic Kingdom.
We also tried a whole bunch of NEW menu items at the recently reopened Fairfax Fare in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you love hot dogs, this is a review you’ll want to check out!
If you’re a BIG fan of Disney pretzels, you might be thrilled to hear that a very SPECIAL pretzel is available again in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
And if you love pretzels with cheese, then you’ve got to see the CONTROVERSIAL snack creation we made this week! (YOLO. It was incredible.)
This week we also got the chance to try a BEEF FAT CANDLE at Le Cellier in EPCOT. Yes, you read that right. We ATE a candle. It was awesome.
Over in Disneyland, we also got a look at the alcoholic beverages coming to Blue Bayou Restaurant, and we finally got word about when Blue Bayou will be reopening!
OH OH OH!! And probably some of the BIGGEST FOOD NEWS this week (okay, maybe it’s not the biggest, but it’s still very exciting) is that BEVERLY will be coming back to EPCOT’s revitalized Club Cool when it opens this summer.
And that’s our wrap-up of some of the BIGGEST news stories from this week. But of course, there were lots of other important things shared this week as well. Check out some of them below:
- Disney’s Jungle Cruise film will be released on Disney+ and in theaters SIMULTANEOUSLY
- You could win a FREE trip to Disney World using Instagram
- Disney has posted a special job opening that has us wondering if fireworks could be coming back soon
- Gender-neutral housing will be offered for upcoming Disney World College Program participants
- The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for kids of certain ages
- We’ve got an update on when 2 Disney on Broadway shows will be reopening in New York
- Some Disney Springs Area Hotels are offering special rates for educators and first responders
- You can take a look at the current Disney World summer discounts and deals to help you save $$ on upcoming trips!
- Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022 dates have CHANGED
- There’s a Disney World hotel savings offer ending soon!
- Some Walt Disney World restaurants are hiring with a $1000 bonus!
- Portillo’s (in Orlando near Disney World) has a new opening date!
- Indiana Jones Adventure has joined the virtual queue system in Disneyland
- We got a closer look at Shawarma Palace coming to Disneyland’s Avengers Campus
- And we got news that Disneyland could increase capacity soon!
And that’s our list of the news from this week. We’ll continue to keep an eye out for more updates and let you know what we find!
Click here to see what celebrity chef is getting a documentary on Disney+ (hint: he’s got a restaurant in Disney Springs)
Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!
What part of this week’s news surprised you the most? Tell us in the comments!