In this edition of Theme Park Bits:
- The 50th anniversary of The Haunted Mansion has a special menu at Disneyland.
- Our good friend Bob Iger comments on low attendance at Disneyland.
- Galaxy’s Edge will have a cookbook soon.
- And more!
As you may know, this Friday, August 9, marks the 50th anniversary of The Haunted Mansion, which opened its doors first in Disneyland. Since this is an all-timer attraction beloved by pretty much everyone, it’s no surprise that there will be plenty of exciting festivities to commemorate the milestone. And that, of course, means brand-new food. Starting Friday, you can check out an array of new foods in Frontierland, New Orleans Square, and Critter Country. There’s everything from special churros, to fry-bread tacos, to the most appetizing-looking dish, seafood hush puppies at Blue Bayou (as seen above). We can only hope these items will last for a couple months (for those of us intending to visit Disneyland, say, in late September).
For our next story, let’s stick around in Disneyland. If you’ve been keeping up with theme-park discussions this summer, you know that the Anaheim park has seen something particularly weird in the last couple months: non-insane crowds. And that’s in spite of the fact that Disneyland opened Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in May. During a recent earnings call, our good friend Bob Iger (who reads every Theme Park Bits column, naturally) commented on the perceived lack of crowds. “Some people stayed away, just because they expected that it would not be a great guest experience,” Iger said even as the crowds have begun to pick up. It’ll be interesting to see how crowds pick up in the fall both at Disneyland and Walt Disney World – one of the big surprises of the earnings was that the theme-park numbers were lower than hoped. We’ll see if they turn things around in the back half of the year.
Speaking of Galaxy’s Edge, you might be aware that it’s about to arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Though the lands are going to be fundamentally the same, taking guests to the planet of Batuu where they can encounter members of the Resistance and the First Order in short order, there are differences. The folks at Laughing Place have gone through the WDW version of the land, as part of Cast Member previews, to compare and contrast the two lands on a granular level. Photos like the one above suggest something that’s going to be very similar without literally being the exact same, even if the restaurants, shops and attractions are all basically a one-to-one connection.
As discussed here last week, the Universal Orlando Resort announced the arrival, eventually, of a new theme park called Epic Universe. Potentially lost in the shuffle of all that news was a more important announcement: that Universal now has a minimum wage of $15 an hour for its employees. This one’s a mixed bag of an announcement: on one hand, it’s all well and good for Universal to up its base rate to $15 an hour. On the other, $15 an hour is still not nearly enough of a livable wage for many theme-park workers. It’s a start, yes, but overdue and not enough of a boost. For now, we’ll take it.
Everyone who’s visited Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland has agreed on one thing: the food is to die for. So if you’ve been hankering for a Ronto Wrap at home, or (maybe?) that colorful Blue Milk, you might be happy to learn that there’s going to be a Galaxy’s Edge cookbook available this fall. The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook is going to have its own story, framed from the perspective of the head cook, but it’s also going to let you savor Galaxy’s Edge dishes in the comfort of your own home. Sounds like a tasty proposition.
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