Awesome readings while I wait for another episode of Better Call SaulSpirited Quickees (because they are the best kind!):
For all of the excitement over the 'Star Wars Cruiser'/AbD/Comic Con type boutique hotel experience, I would caution patience. As a kind Spirit wrote me today, "this isn't something that will happen in near term."
Said source also says that while designed for WDW, this is something that will be considered for Anaheim too. (And who said Bob Iger and TWDC isn't looking to make SW seem more important than the rest of DL? ... Oh yeah. Nobody.)
Despite Bob's fixation with SW and China, don't expect any SW product of substance to find its way to those parks soon. While people over there seem to love Marvel, his other big buy, they are not rabid fans of Rey, BB-8 and Princesses with hair buns. Indeed, I've had multiple people tell me that the temporary SW Launch Bay in SDL is one of the least popular attractions (not that it is one) in the park.
Will get back to China in a bit, but just want to make sure I was very clear that the Club 33s coming to WDW will simply be small upscale private bars at first. No gourmet restaurants. ... And before Tom Amity decides to break news that was broken here a long time ago, let me again spell out that a new Haunted Mansion eating venue/experience is coming to the MK, despite the mixed reviews of the Skipper Canteen.
Word from Ops people is that most of Pandora could open tomorrow and could have been open weeks ago now. No word on when (if?) unannounced soft openings will be starting. Also heard is that WDW leadership has no real idea on what to expect when it does open on everything from park visitation to how it will effect the rest of WDW's gates. There is a fear that DHS could be a ghost town this summer if the buzz on Pandora is great.
Heard from a friend that Frozen at HKDL is a done deal, even if TWDC winds up paying for it entirely. Heard from another that the Maelstrom/EPCOT clone will be shelved for a new unique attraction with another small scale attraction that will be a sleigh-themed clone of the Mater ride from DCA (that also will be a TSL ride in FL and a BH6 ride in Tokyo). I don't have confirmation of the unique attraction (meaning not the LPS ride headed for Anaheim and Tokyo post 2020), but it certainly sounds more plausible than repeating the EPCOT mistake (it is a crappy attraction, even forgetting its location, sorry).
D23's annual CrazyFest/Expo is approaching and people want to know if there will be P&R announcements. The answer is yes. But if this is anything like the last one, expect them to go back and forth on what will be announced right up until showtime.
I generally only give shoutouts to Disney Blogger/Lifestyler to the Stars Tom Bricker (@WDWFigment if he is around here), but was unable to sleep a few nights ago and instead of looking at the home made 'materials' sent to me by adoring fans, I instead read a non-outlet store column by that dude Derek Burgan on what apparently were the six least popular restaurants at WDW based on a sample-size of 122,000 (we all know why @Len Testa is loaded, right?) from TP: http://blog.touringplans.com/2017/04/22/s6_wdwlowestrated/
They were: 6.) Garden Grove at the Swan; 5.) Portobello at DS; 4.) Bongo's at DS; 3.) Picabu at the Dolphin; 2.) Planet Hollywood at DS; and 1.) STK at DS.
What I found interesting was that all of the above were non-Disney owned and operated locations/third parties. They were all places that didn't cater (with possible exception of the last one) to the O-Town blogger crowd or the Mommy Bloggers or even Disney fans per se. And except for STK, which is likely simply just a bad concept for WDW, they are old and tired (these results were before PH's recent redo). Considering I'm a fan of 3-6, I'll simply say that it's amazing what WDW addicts will tell themselves to enjoy a meal at a place like Chef Mickey's, The Wave, Le Cellier (more for value and what you have to go through than food quality), Be Our Guest, Cosmic Ray's, Electric Umbrella, any QSR at DHS etc. Don't want to give Derek too much extra pub here, but it's amazing how people will turn their noses up at say Portobello (a favorite of mine for the last dozen years) yet eat at Tony's Town Square ... or say that Garden Grove's atmosphere lacks atmosphere, yet have a character meal at Chef Mickey's etc.
Finally, just a word that I'll be taking a leave shortly. I do have visits to DLP, SDL, TDR and DLR in the pipeline and am not sure whether to drop in one by one with some thoughts or wait and do a long deal. Leaning toward the dropping in after each visit ...