In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Disneyland After Dark is coming back in 2020.
  • Disneyland Paris has new movie-themed celebrations in the new year.
  • Cirque Du Soleil’s Mexican theme park has been downgraded.
  • And more!

There’s plenty of excitement to be had at the Disneyland Resort in 2020, and it’s not just limited to the arrival of Rise of the Resistance in January. Starting next month, Disneyland is offering four different After Dark events, each with different themes. These hard-ticket events – yes, you’ll have to pay separately for these – will be split between Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, with themes like 80s Nite, Villains Nite, and more. Tickets are on sale now, so don’t delay.

“Star Wars: A Galactic Celebration” at Disneyland Paris

Let’s head over to Disneyland Paris, where the French park will be celebrating two of the biggest franchises in Disney starting on January 11. Legends of the Force and Frozen Celebration will be honoring, you guessed it, Star Wars and Frozen with thrilling shows, parades, and more. The Parisian version of Star Tours – The Adventures Continue will also get an exclusive new scene themed to The Rise of Skywalker. But these celebrations are limited-time only, so if you’re curious to explore, you’d better get your passport and tickets ready ASAP.

Not everything at Disney Parks is all roses and sunshine, of course, as our next two stories will highlight. First, as you probably know, one of the big stories of the Disney parks this year was lower-than-expected attendance. There’s plenty of reasons for that — specifically, no matter how great Rise of the Resistance may be, opening a big new land with only one attraction open may not have helped with crowds and general interest – and also a few people who have to bear the brunt of such stories. One person is Catherine Powell, who recently departed the Walt Disney Company from her role as president of Disney Parks West. Per a recent goodbye post at LinkedIn, her departure was likely…well, not a plan she’d had in mind, let’s put it that way. It’s a rough business, especially when you wind up being the face of a bad decision you may not have directly made.

Speaking of this being a rough business, Walt Disney World is the focus of a multi-part series from The Orlando Sentinel called Laborland. As the title of the series implies, the focus will be on how the massively powerful Disney company handles its labor, from its wage structure to poor housing to other challenges that local tourism-related employees suffer on a daily basis. This is the grim underbelly to the parks, of course (and it’s not limited to Disney, since they’re but one major theme-park entity in Central Florida), but one worth paying attention to.

We’ll wrap up this column with a focus on a perhaps more unexpected topic: Cirque Du Soleil. Though the massively talented group is best known for their acrobatic shows, they’ve been in partnership for a while with a Mexican entity to bring a Cirque Du Soleil theme park to adoring fans. Alas, that park has now been downgraded to a new dinner show at the Nuevo Vallarta property. Considering how long the project has been gestating, it’s hard to say if this will come together at all, but if you were hoping for an actual park, those hopes have been dashed.

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