Theme Park Bits: Disney Skyliner's Opening Date, Abigail Disney Hits Back Against Disneyland, And More

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • The Disney Skyliner has an opening date.
  • A Disney relative visited Disneyland recently, and wasn't happy with what she found.
  • Learn about the rock work in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
  • Universal Studios Orlando's Passholder Appreciation Days have been revealed
  • And more!
  • Disney Skyliner at Walt Disney World Resort

    If you're a fan of Walt Disney World, you no doubt are aware that the resort in Orlando is expanding its means of transportation around each park and hotel. Yes, you can use a bus or a monorail or a boat. But starting this fall, you can use the Disney Skyliner, a gondola that will lift you high above the Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios area of the resort. Now, the Skyliner has an opening date: September 29. Each cabin will be themed to a different Disney/Pixar film or character, but the real experience will be the birds-eye view of the resort. All I can say is, as someone celebrating his birthday in late September, I thank Disney for the birthday present. (Now, I just need to figure out a way to get there for the opening.)

    disneyland photo taken by Peter

    Let's shift over to Disneyland for our next story, and it's not going to be nearly as upbeat as the last one. (Fair warning.) You may already know Abigail Disney, heiress to the Disney fortune; she's made headlines this year by calling out Robert Iger and the Disney company at large for what she argues are unfair wage practices. And she's not going to stop beating that drum: in a recent interview, she detailed working conditions at Disneyland that made her "livid". Though Disney has pushed back against Ms. Disney's claims by saying they pay a federally mandated minimum wage, she's trying to highlight the disparity between those of us who experience the parks, and those who make the experience so magical on a daily basis. One can only hope Mr. Iger pays attention and does something to fix these problems.

    Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland park

    Sticking around Disneyland, and for lighter fare, let's talk about Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge just a bit today. Specifically, it's worth highlighting this detailed article from the Disney Parks Blog by Scott Trowbridge, the chief Imagineer on the project. The essay is all about rockwork, which might seem dull, but is a foundational element of a lot of recent Disney Parks additions. (Think of the detailed rockwork at the back of Radiator Springs Racers in Disney California Adventure.) For any fans of Galaxy's Edge, or anyone who just wants to see how the sausage gets made, this article is a must-read.

    Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

    Back to Walt Disney World for our next story, which might be the kind to inspire you to exercise a bit. Walking is a pretty common way of getting around the parks themselves, but a few of the resort hotels are also tied to parks like the Magic Kingdom. You'll get even more chances to walk based on a recent permit for a walkway from the Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. The Grand Floridian is one of two very close resort hotels to the Magic Kingdom, but you can already walk from the Contemporary to the Happiest Place on Earth. Adding another walkway is a smart way to feed traffic (and a good way to get in your steps).

    cinematic celebration in Universal Studios Florida

    Let's end today's column with the other big resort in Orlando, Universal Studios Orlando. If you're a passholder to Universal, then there's some good news coming your way for the late summer. From August 12 to September 30, Universal will have its Passholder Appreciation Days, offering exclusive excitement just to annual passholders. There's everything from after-hours events, exclusive merchandise, and cocktail parties that are meant to celebrate the people who help make the park a possibility. So if you're an AP holder and you'll be in town for one of these events, don't forget to keep an eye on Universal's site this August for more details.