Theme Park Bits: Walt Disney World Brings Minnie Vans To The People, Exclusive 'Toy Story' Land Annual Pass Dates

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Prepare to puzzle further over continuity issues between Epcot and Avengers: Infinity War.
  • Now's a good time for a children's book narrated by John Lasseter to be store-bound, right?
  • Disney World Annual Passholders will have exclusive access to Toy Story Land on some dates.
  • Are you ready to hitch a ride in your own Minnie Van around Disney World?
  • Take a tour of Tokyo Disney Resort with The Tim Tracker and Jenn Tracker.
  • And more!
  • "Benedict Cumberbatch ... is that you?" Actually, that's not at all what I thought when I glimpsed the guy doing character greetings in a Doctor Strange outfit at Disney California Adventure. He doesn't bear a particularly strong resemblance to the Cumberbatch, but of course, the Master of the Mystic Arts is a character with a long history that no one actorly vessel can hope to contain.

    The official backstory for Epcot's Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Live show has been released, and if you've seen Avengers: Infinity War, you may have trouble reconciling some of the finer plot points of that movie with this new show. Maybe it's a prequel? Showtimes are also available via the link.

    Well, this is certainly awkward. And no, that's not an attempt to play "New Yorker Caption Contest" with the happy skipper in the book illustration above. #LoseLasseter is a hashtag campaign that's been picking up momentum on Twitter even as we near the release of an illustrated Jungle Cruise book narrated by John Lasseter and starring his likeness.

    In the days leading up to the opening of Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure, Toy Story Midway Mania, Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats, and Knick Knack's will be temporarily closed, but they will resume normal operations again on June 23.

    There's a new live show called "Disney Junior Dance Party!" headed for Hollywood Studios.

    Three new Marvel statues are now standing watch over guests at Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris.

    Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has been upgraded to 4K-HD quality at Universal's Islands of Adventure.

    Let's talk about cars now in the context of Disney. The Chicago Tribune describes the Chevrolet Traverse as "one of the few three-row crossovers as convenient as the minivan with the looks of something like an SUV." For the sake of a seamless pun, however, Disney seems willing to regard this model just as a minivan.

    Now Walt Disney World's Minnie Van transportation service is available to all resort guests through the Lyft app. If you need to get from one place to another around Disney World (including Disney Springs), these red vehicles with white polka dots will allow you to ride in style. Minnie's fleet might be a good option for Annual Passholders who want to take advantage of the exclusive access to Toy Story Land the resort is offering in September.

    The ever-popular Tim Tracker and his wife Jenn recently took their park-exploring camera inside Tokyo Disney Resort for the first time. Westerners tend to stand out in Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea and you don't often see people walking and talking, shooting videos in the parks, so it's actually a bit surreal to imagine a couple YouTube celebrities like the Trackers there.

    Here in Theme Park Bits, I sometimes share pictures or link to posts on my own photo blog in an effort to show some of the cool stuff going on at these two Disney parks half a world away. With their videos, however, The Tim Tracker and Jenn take it to a whole new level, so if hopping on a plane to Japan is not the most realistic idea for you right now, then get ready to take a grand tour of Tokyo Disney Resort with the Trackers.

    Of particular interest to anyone who reads this column regularly might be the video directly above and the one directly below. These two videos show "Dreaming Up," the new 35th-anniversary parade at Tokyo Disneyland. In a previous edition of Theme Park Bits, I related my own experience with this parade and how I developed the sneaking suspicion that a couple of the female characters in it (namely, Alice and Wendy) were being played by male performers on one particular day.

    Long story short, the parade performers in these videos are different and by the looks of it, female, so maybe switching out men for women in the grand old kabuki tradition was limited to one random, short-staffed day at Tokyo Disneyland. I'll probably go to my grave wondering what the deal was that day.

    All told, there are over three and a half hours of theme park exploration to be seen in the videos above. This might be a good way to kill time if you're reading /Film on a smartphone while stuck in a long line for an attraction at some other Disney park. You can always bookmark this page and come back to it later if you don't have time to watch all of the videos right now. As David Straitharn once said when signing off: good night, and good luck.