In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Disney Cruise Line is making more sailing cancellations.
  • Universal Studios may add a gondola system of its own.
  • And more!

Let’s talk about cleanliness. No, wait, don’t go. Listen, if the theme parks of the world are going to reopen soon, whether they’re Disney, Universal or somewhere else, there are going to need to be major overhauls in terms of how those parks are cleaned up, from the biggest rides to the 3D glasses you wear on certain rides and films. Universal Studios has patented a new method for sanitizing things like those glasses, and they might even be able to do it on the ride vehicles themselves. There are a number of options they’re exploring, and they’re obviously trying to do so quickly so they can get prepared for reopening as many attractions as possible. (And since many Universal rides are 3D-enabled, they need to get ahead of the curve.) Hopefully Disney has similar plans in the pipeline too.

Over at Walt Disney World, many of the resort’s construction projects have understandably been paused. That’s especially troublesome at Epcot, which is in the middle of a park-wide overhaul that can’t get completed on its current timeline due to the pandemic. That doesn’t mean Imagineering is being quiet, though; they’ve recently filed permits for transforming the Wonders of Life pavilion – ask your parents what that was like, kids – into something called the Play! Pavilion. (You know it’ll be fun because of the exclamation point.) Even with these plans in place, it’s likely that the new pavilion won’t be opening as planned – next year, to tie in with the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World. But you never know.

Theme Park Bits Disney Skyliner

One of the recent additions over at Walt Disney World, as you may remember, is the Disney Skyliner system. This system of gondolas takes guests from Epcot to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with some resort stops in between. In spite of some hiccups, guests enjoy the experience enough that Universal Studios Orlando may be pursuing a gondola system of its own. It’s hard to know for sure what the system would end up looking like, but considering the distance between the current parks and the planned Epic Universe park, these new gondolas could easily be used as transport for guests.

During a pandemic, it’s hard to imagine a place less ideal to be than a cruise. Though the Disney Cruise Line has rarely – if ever – been the subject of one of those “Cruise from Hell”-style stories that cable news loves to breathlessly cover when something goes wrong, it’s for the best that they’ve continued to cancel some upcoming sailings with the Disney Magic ship. All of their Mediterranean sailings through July 2 are now canceled, and guests impacted by this decision have the chance to transfer their reservation to another cruise within the next 15 months. It’s obviously not what those guests might want, but…well, probably most of us don’t much enjoy the current situation. Better to stay healthy.

Let’s end today with something even mildly upbeat. Though there are countless ways in which this pandemic has been quite awful, one of the weird twists is how many major institutions are offering a virtual peek into areas we may never have otherwise glimpsed. To wit: you might want to check out the video above, the first part of a virtual tour of Walt Disney Imagineering. There are really only two downsides to this video and the others in the series, which recently wrapped up: they’re not long enough, and I’m not there to experience it in person. That aside, these videos are really quite fascinating for the budding Imagineer, and well worth your time. You’ve got plenty to spare, I imagine. Watch something fun.

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