Beauty and the Beast Recording Sessions

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • PizzeRizzo is coming back to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • Disneyland is getting its own hard-ticket Halloween event.
  • The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is getting a new bar themed to an unexpected movie.
  • And more!

Our long national nightmare is over, friends. I am, of course, referring to the news that PizzeRizzo, the oft-closed restaurant in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, is reopening just in time for both the 30th anniversary of the theme park and for Star Wars Day. Yes, on May 4, PizzeRizzo will reopen its doors, and do so with an intriguing new dessert. It’s called a Peanut Butter & Jelly Verrine, and has layers of peanut butter cream and grape jelly. Sounds tasty, but you’d better rush over soon to get it, because the seasonal restaurant (which does not have the best reputation) is likely closing again in June. And then our long national nightmare will return.

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Oga's Cantina

As you no doubt heard over the weekend, the Star Wars Celebration event in Chicago was quite the to-do. Unsurprisingly, there was a panel focusing on the new Galaxy’s Edge land in Disneyland and Walt Disney World, though there wasn’t much in the way of extremely big, breaking news (unless you consider weirdly designed Coca-Cola bottles breaking news). But let’s stick with the beverage-related news here, because Lucasfilm is apparently applying for trademarks for some distinctively named alcoholic beverages. From the names, it’ll likely just be variations on familiar beers, ciders, and wines, but it will at least be fun to head to Ogi’s Cantina and demand the barkeep make you a “Gamorrean Ale” or a “Gold Squadron Lager”.

You’re ready for Halloween, right? OK, we might be more than six months away, but it’s the time of year when Disneyland and Walt Disney World start announcing their fall plans. At Disney California Adventure this year, they’re finally getting a Halloween party, the Oogie Boogie Bash. This hard-ticket event — yes, you’ll have to shell out more money to get in — will offer a stage show with Mickey, a spooky parade, the ability to watch the Halloween version of “World of Color” called “Villainous”, and more. Tickets go on sale to the general public on April 30, so if you’re visiting this fall, prepare to make your wallet even lighter.

New Bar and Lounge Will Evoke 'Beauty and the Beast' at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Let’s talk some more about appropriate theming at theme-park hotels. If you’ve visited Walt Disney World, you may well have spent a little bit of time at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the highest of the high-end resorts in the Disney portfolio. It’s themed largely on the old-fashioned resort the Hotel Del Coronado, immortalized in Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot. So with that theming in mind, you can imagine the quizzical reaction to the news that the Grand Floridian is getting a new bar and lounge themed to…Beauty and the Beast. The 1991 animated film is a stone-cold classic (and the less said about the 2017 remake, the better), but it’s also decidedly a film about France. Putting a themed bar like this in a non-French-themed hotel is baffling at best. Will it look nice? Possibly! But will it make sense in the Grand Floridian? …Not unless the hotel itself gets renamed, which is unlikely.

Let’s move to California for a park we rarely talk about here at Theme Park Bits: Knott’s Berry Farm. Knott’s Berry Farm is only a few miles away from Disneyland, and has been around even longer. One of its key attractions, BigFoot Rapids, is undergoing a very extensive renovation that will be unveiled this summer and has a Disney connection. Now, the white-water rapids ride will have dedicated show scenes and plenty of animatronic characters, with its new theme and design inspired by Disney Legend, Imagineer, and one of the Nine Old Men himself, Marc Davis. Davis’ theme-park ride designs are among the best Disney ever came up with, so the idea that BigFoot Rapids is honoring his legacy (even if it’s not a Disney ride) is awfully intriguing.

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