Disney World News & Rumors: Donut Dining, Park Pass Changes & Hall of Presidents Redo?
We’re back with another Walt Disney World news & rumor roundup! In this post, we’ll share the latest on reopening, Park Pass reservations, a potential Hall of Presidents redo in Magic Kingdom, new dining at Disney Springs, modifications made for the NBA at the resorts, and more!
Let’s start with the news from Disney Springs. Just a couple weeks ago came the huge news that Gideon’s Bakehouse–literally the best cookies we’ve ever had–would be opening in The Landing across from Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar. Now, we have another dining option coming soon to the Walt Disney World shopping and dining district, joining Beatrix (did you forget about that?) and Ample Hills Creamery (hopefully–assuming they emerge out of bankruptcy reorganization).
Disney Springs has announced (via their official Twitter account) the opening of the all-new restaurant concept: Everglazed Donuts & Cold Brew. As the name suggests, this dining spot will serve donuts and cold brew coffee. Aside from a likely location–replacing the creepy Pop Gallery, that’s all we know. Everglazed does have a website and social media accounts, but they’re all totally devoid of information.)
Next, the latest on Disney Park Pass availability. If you’ve been stalking the Disney Park Pass Availability Calendar like us, you’ve probably noticed that daily inventory has fluctuated. Notably, some previously fully-booked parks becoming available for certain dates, particularly for resort guests.
The bad news for Annual Passholders is that all but two dates in July are totally booked. The good news is that the system in use is dynamic like FastPass+ or Advance Dining Reservations. This means that more inventory can be released or reallocated.
Right now, there are three separate buckets for Disney Park Pass: resort guests, theme ticket-holders, and Annual Passholders. Of those, the only one that is even remotely low on inventory is (unsurprisingly) Annual Passholders. The dynamic system is significant because it means that Walt Disney World can reallocate unfilled resort guest or ticket-holder capacity to Annual Passholders.
Doing so at the last minute would certainly make sense. It gives Walt Disney World’s more lucrative on-site guests priority (and makes them far less likely to ever be ‘shut out’ of the parks), while also placating Annual Passholders. As locals and Annual Passholders will be integral to Walt Disney World during the next couple of years due to plummeting tourist numbers, it’s imperative that Disney doesn’t alienate its most diehard fans (anymore than they’ve already done the last few weeks).
Speaking of reopening, Cast Members returned to work last week to begin training in preparation for reopening. In celebration, Walt Disney World released the above video of Cast Members preparing for reopening with health and safety as a focus.
We have very mixed emotions about the reopening, especially as juxtaposed against the local news. With that said, there’s something heartwarming about the video, and you can feel the excitement and energy as Cast Members don their costumes and are reunited with their work locations and fellow cast, and began their first days of training to learn new health and safety protocols.
Next, a fun one. The NBA has shared a look at the installation of practice courts in the convention center at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Having recently attended an event in these rooms, it’s wild to think that they’re being converted into NBA courts.
I’m really excited to see how this plays out. Not just because I’m eager for more live sports, but because I find the logistics of this fascinating, and am intrigued by how Disney will attempt to leverage the synergy of the NBA at Walt Disney World to its full advantage.
The NBA and Major League Soccer coming to the ESPN Wide World of Sports are probably more lucrative and important for the Walt Disney Company than guests returning to the parks. A lot of Disney fans are still complaining about the MLS and NBA, but these leagues are unquestionably doing more to help Walt Disney World get back on its feet than they are hurting.
Finally, an intriguing tidbit. Disney is rumored to be in negotiations with Lin Manuel Miranda and Weird Al Yankovic to write and direct a new Hall of Presidents theater show that would be non partisan and more timeless, per WDW Pro on the WDWMagic forums.
We cannot speak to the veracity of this particular rumor–there is a lot of wishful thinking going on concerning Liberty Square and Hamilton right now. While it’s the first time we’ve heard an iteration of this with Weird Al attached, it’s not the first time we’ve heard credible rumors involving Liberty Square and Lin Manuel Miranda. Moreover, this makes sense and passes a cursory smell test.
Over the weekend, we commented on our List of the 10 Top Most Distinctly Patriotic Attractions at Walt Disney World that it might be a good idea for Disney to rework the structure of the show whenever the next change in presidents occurs. The speaking role of the sitting president was introduced with President Clinton in 1993, and has been controversial and polarizing ever since.
We personally love Hall of Presidents–it’s a moving tribute to the presidency and how that office has shaped (and been shaped by) America since the nation’s founding. However, it’s clear that in this hyper-partisan era many people simply cannot separate the office from its current occupant. This is nothing new–it has been true for each the last four presidents–and is unlikely to change.
Additionally, many people want escapism out of Walt Disney World, making Hall of Presidents a non-starter for them irrespective of their political persuasions. Beyond that, there has been a chorus of (apolitical) complaints for decades that Hall of Presidents is overly long, boring, and dry.
Even though it is now seasonal, Walt Disney World already did an exemplary job of edutainment in Liberty Square with the Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History (one of our favorite additions of the last decade). This clever show did an exemplary job of incorporating actual lessons from American history with the trademark quick wit of the Muppets.
It’s tough to gauge the likelihood of this Hall of Presidents rumor coming to fruition. It makes a lot of sense, but the timing is both good and bad. Walt Disney World faces a long and challenging recovery over the next few years, and budget cuts are inevitable during that time. We’re almost certain to see some previously-announced projects abandoned, making the green-lighting of unannounced projects less likely.
On the other hand, Hamilton hype is at a fever pitch. If Imagineering can accomplish this change on a modest budget, it’d unquestionably generate immediate return on investment while also eliminating the attraction’s controversy. Two birds with one stone. However, if Walt Disney World is going to make this change, it would be savvy to announce it before the next election (like, now) before the outcome is known to avoid the appearance of partisan motivations.
Also over the weekend, we saw Hamilton for the first time on Disney Plus. Honestly, I was prepared for disappointment. We tried for about a year (to no avail) to score tickets to Hamilton at the Pantages, and have heard nothing but rave reviews from friends and family who have seen it. It’s rare for something so highly-hyped and anticipated to actually live up to that, but wow did Hamilton ever.
Not that you need our recommendation to see the cultural phenomenon, but we’ll nonetheless offer it. Hamilton is everything that everyone raves about it being: powerful, catchy, incisive, energetic, endlessly smart, thought-provoking, and addictively good. It’s basically Schoolhouse Rock for adults. If you haven’t yet watched due to preconceived notions (or were simply holding out for an endorsement from a blogger with zero expertise in musical theater), I’d strongly recommend watching. Hamilton is a transcendent and historical piece of pop culture that people will be talking about for decades.
Ultimately, the question with regard to Hall of Presidents is not whether Hamilton is good, but if/how Lin Manuel Miranda and Weird Al Yankovic could use their collective talents to transform the attraction into something engaging, timeless, and non-controversial. I truly have no idea there, but after seeing what Lin Manuel Miranda did with Moana and Mary Poppins Returns (and what Weird Al has done with many things), I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. Given Disney’s recent success doing something similar with the Muppets’ Liberty Square show, I’m also inclined to give Imagineering the benefit of the doubt on this. Here’s hoping this comes to fruition, and ends up being something special that all guests will enjoy!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of these Walt Disney World news and rumors? Excited for Everglazed Donuts & Cold Brew, or were you a big fan of the creepy doll paintings at Pop Gallery? What about the NBA taking up residence at Coronado Springs Resort? Intrigued by the rumor of Lin Manuel Miranda and Weird Al Yankovic helping to overhaul Hall of Presidents? Would you welcome something in the vein of Hamilton, or do you prefer the classic Hall of Presidents? Think it’ll actually happen, or is the timing not right? Do you agree or disagree with our thoughts and commentary? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but the animatrons don’t care if you boo or cheer.
Controversial? The sitting President of the United States, talking of the greatness of America, is controversial? This ultra liberal mob mentality will lead to the demise of this country if it’s allowed to fester.
Guests have booed Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump.
This controversy does not cut only one way. I agree that a talking robot should not be controversial; unfortunately adults–across the political spectrum–cannot behave accordingly in a theme park.
Gina, liberalism is too prevalent in the Disney corporation. Very sad. I bought a house right next to Disney World, 23 years ago, long before I could retire and move from Texas. Why ?? Because I loved Disney. Because of there left-wing bias, it is difficult to continue my support.
Good grief!!! These men are our PRESIDENTS! We need to respect them, warts and all. If anyone thinks no one watches the show anymore, surprise, we do. Leave it alone.
I agree that Hamilton brings to mind the emperors new clothes story. No one wants to state the obvious.
I would LOVE to hear the ways in which Disney is supposedly “ultra liberal”…
Non-partisan LOL Disney and their ultra-liberal leanings will not be capable of that!
On a substantive level, which Disney attractions have political leanings one way or the other?
Hall of Presidents has become polarizing because of its structure–which gives the current president of any party a speech–but I wouldn’t consider it a “conservative” attraction, just as I wouldn’t have considered it “liberal” 5 years ago.
Here’s an idea: let the Hall of Presidents be an historical presentation. Life-like representations of our Presidents sharing their beliefs and ideas has always been very stirring to me.
Leave Hollywood in Hollywood and Broadway on Broadway. How can giving a newly-elected President the chance to speak be controversial? It is exactly the opposite. Our American heritage is the strongest story that can be told. As is and without stage make-up.
I would LOVE to hear the ways in which Disney is supposedly “ultra liberal”…
I think based on recent events and if Bob Iger has his way HOP will be replaced with American History as told by Colin Kaepernick, can’t wait :).
Im sure someone has found something in the beautiful hall of the presidents offensive. Here we go.
I don’t think it’s about that at all. Rather, Hall of Presidents has become a divisive attraction that is also not particularly popular and one that requires relatively regular updates.
All things considered, Disney probably views it as more trouble than it’s worth.
Retort – I like many different styles of music. I’m very eclectic in my musical tastes.
Translation to your comment; I don’t know crap about music. I never learned an instrument, don’t know how to read music. In fact, I’m a musical ignoramus. However, this guy sounds all high and mighty. That makes me mad. I’m a Yawning Do Do! Wah!!!
You literally said this: “I have no appreciation for rap or hip-hop. That may be a fair point.”
That would be like a food critic prefacing their negative review of a steakhouse with their CV, then saying: “I am vegan.”
If you categorically dislike a particular style of music, that undermines your review of said music.
Reply to Tom Bricker – you’re right, I don’t care for hip hop. My comment is this; HIP HOP SHOULDN’T BE USED EXCLUSIVELY IN MUSICAL THEATER!!!! There is A big difference in writing music and writing music for the stage.
When you write music, you have to ask yourself, “is this as good as this piece can possibly be? Could it be better?”
When you write music for the stage there is just one question you ask, “does this work??”
You may have written something wonderful but if the music doesn’t work onstage, you have to “let it go”.
Hamilton is a miserable failure because the music doesn’t work. In fact there is NO MUSIC!!! There are chords, there are lyrics, THERE’S NOT A SINGABLE TUNE IN THE WHOLE 2.5 HOURS!!!
It’s as if a vegan was doing a review of a steak restaurant and was presented with AN EMPTY PLATE with a note that said, “I’m sorry, we’re incapable of serving anything you like so SCREW YOU!!”
That’s funny, I’ve watched Hamilton three times now and have been walking around the house singing songs from it all day.
I saw Hamilton on Broadway and it was funny and a great play.
interesting that the far left is now trying to cancel Hamilton since he was involved with slave-trading! LOL
yes Hamilton was a slave-trader much like most of the rich northern families that owned the southern plantations and ran the slave ships. Like most of the founding fathers except a few. Thomas Jefferson took loans out against his slaves so he couldnt even set them free….
Embracing history doesnt mean we have to embrace slavery
I don’t think there’s any effort to “cancel” Hamilton among serious people.
In general, I’d caution against giving too much credence to campaigns for “canceling” anything. On the internet, you can find any number of idiotic opinions if you’re looking for them. For the most part, they’re all held be a small-but-vocal group of people. The media likes to pick up on these stories because it fans the flames of division, and further stokes controversy.
I’m sorry to have to say this but…..
I’m a professional musician who has spent more than 50 years involved with music and more than 30 years in the music profession. I’ve performed major piano concertos with orchestra. I’m a prize winner in several piano competitions. I’ve written a lot of music myself. I have a Masters Degree in Piano Performance and did Doctoral Studies at another University. (I never finished my doctorate; I had a job in music before I completed the degree). I don’t want to be specific about my credentials but I also want to write that I’m a huge Disney lover. I love the parks and I love many of the movies.
I’m sorry to write this but…… how do I say this politely???…..um……
HAMILTON IS A PIECE OF CRAP!! THE MUSIC TO MOANA IS HORRENDOUS!! LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA IS A FRAUD AND A CHARLATAN!!!!!
It’s that simple!!!
Now I know a some might say that I’m judging music unfairly; I have no appreciation for rap or hip-hop. That may be a fair point. However, I simply find that an entire musical without a singable tune has no place in music theater.
Musicals have shown a tremendous development over the past 100 years. “Showboat” first dealt with a serious subject. “Oklahoma” incorporated a ballet and an onstage murder into a musical. “West Side Story” began to blur the lines between musical theater and opera with a very serious stage piece. Each of these musicals opened new roads. However, there was never any problem with these musicals coexisting with lighter romps. The 1958 Tony award for Best Musical went to “The Music Man” which beat out “West Side Story”. However, both musicals were very successful playing a few blocks from each other. Many serious musicals have been written after “West Side Story”. Many light, comic musicals came after “The Music Man”.
Hamilton is different. The avenue Mr. Miranda would take in musical theater is a short dead end. What else can anyone do, write another musical with pounding chords and driving rhythms which are repeated ad nauseam against pattering lyrics? How many musicals can be written like this? The argument would have to be made that if Hamilton is the future of musical theater, then musical theater is no longer relevant and should stop being created entirely. There is no point; we can simply perform plays. We can have poetry readings. There is no point to writing a musical without any real music.
I for one, still believe that musical theater is still relevant and that most people in this country crave a melody. Most folks still love a good tune. I also believe writing music (and lyrics) is a discipline; it’s hard work. It isn’t just a matter of mixing crap in a recording studio. It’s an ART; at least it should be.
My final point is this. Walt Disney would have HATED “HAMILTON”. Walt certainly appreciated a good tune! Think of it; he hired the best music writers. He oversaw the music utilized in his projects as carefully as he supervised the animation. He came out with Fantasia as his third animated release even though he KNEW the film wouldn’t make a profit. He had close friendships with his songwriters particularly the Sherman Brothers.
I have no idea who the talentless twits making musical decisions at the Disney Corporation are. But I know this; Mr. Miranda shouldn’t be having ANY INVOLVEMENT with Disney. His music is the equivalent to the manufactured crap that can be purchased at any Target, Walmart or K Mart. It’s like buying music off the rack!!
It appalls me to write these things. I’m certain there are many who liked “Hamilton”, Tom Bricker among them. I like Big Macs but I don’t consider McDonald’s to be haute cuisine. To anyone who likes “Hamilton” I’d say “bully for you”. We don’t live in the U.S.S.R. where Dmitri Shostakovich was almost executed for writing music that Stalin disapproved of.
I may just have to relegate myself to being that obnoxious little kid yelling at the side of the street, “THAT DAMN EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES!!!!”
Translation: it’s not the style of music this guy prefers, which means it’s bad and everyone who likes it should stop enjoying it right this minute.
People are allowed to like things you don’t like, my dude.
wow- get over yourself// Moana is awesome and my kids love it
Kathy mcelroy – As I said in my previous post, “bully for you”…and your kids. My kids love Moana as well and I enjoyed many aspects of the movie. Furthermore, Mr. Miranda didn’t write the entire score. I just find the music in Moana to be as bland as day old mashed potatoes.
If you think I’m sitting in an ivory tower poo-pooing any musician that doesn’t measure up to Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert or Brahms, I assure you, I love a lot of different styles of music and I’m a big fan of recent Disney scores.
I’m an admirer of the recent scores of Michael Giacchino, Christophe Beck, Robert Lopez and of course, Alan Menkin. When it comes to Disney scores, the Sherman brothers were peerless. I believe that when you write music for Disney, you’re standing on the shoulders of giants. If you can’t live up to those standards, you shouldn’t be considered for the task, no matter how popular your music might be.
When a new Disney animated movie doesn’t measure up to previous animated classics, Disney fans can come unglued. Does anyone remember the outcry over “Home On The Range”?
The music for Moana and for Hamilton is lousy. If it was written by some high school wannabe music students, I wouldn’t take it to task.
However, before Broadway went down for CoVid 19, tickets to Hamilton went for $270.00 – $850.00.
As I stated before, I like the burgers at McDonald’s. However, if I was dining at Gordon Ramsey’s Burger in Las Vegas and was shelling out $15 – $20 for a burger I’d expect something better then I could get at a ubiquitous drive thru.
Thank you Bill. Now I know why I disliked Hamilton so much. It wasn’t music! I felt like someone kept banging my head. I couldn’t understand half of the talking if that’s what it was. I enjoyed the stage presence and dancing but that’s it! I couldn’t tell you one song, if there was one. I’ve been attending musicals for many years. And I found this one to be horrendous!
Lol this dude thinks Oklahoma has better music than Hamilton…. Smh
I haven not seen Hamilton on Disney +, but was informed by my friend (who loved it?) to put closed captioned on because it’s hard to understand the music – Really if I need to put CC on then I’m not watching it. At least with the current HOP you can understand everything whether you like the like/dislike the Presidents. It’s time to quit caving in to all the political rhetoric and just enjoy the one place that is suppose to be the most magical place and leave the politics in the parking lot!
I sure hope they don’t mess with “Hall of Presidents “. Only change I would ultimately like to see, is a speaking role for President Trump. That would be so awesome. I know that will never happen, as Disney is an extremely left-wing, liberal corporation.
Trump does have a speaking part as the current incumbent.
we don’t go in because Trump does speak
If you think Disney is “an extremely left-wing, liberal corporation”, then you almost certainly don’t know anybody who is actually extremely left-wing/liberal. That’s just, not a factual statement.
@kathy I’m with you politically and ideologically. Just had to correct the completely false statement about Trump not speaking! It
is not Disney making this attraction partisan –it’s the audience.
How in the world is Disney far left wing? I agree with the comment that those who think so have never met a true leftist!
I gave my husband the abridged version, but mentioned Weird Al. I love HoP, but he is less than enthused….he would be into it if Weird Al was involved at all. Also, if it were to come to fruition, I would be intrigued to see what the final product would be. On a lighter note, I’ve been to HoP twice in the past two years, but the last time was in 1999. From what I could tell, it has drastically changed since then…..and sometimes change isn’t bad….
Really enjoy the way that you’ve evolved your amazing craft into a really good blog! Props for giving credit where due on the HOP redo since WDWMagic is such a treasure of information.
I love Hall of the Presidents. Each time I go to the Magic Kingdom that is the one attraction I never miss. I wouldn’t change anything. Even after sitting through it dozens of times I never find it boring. When I am at Disney it’s my escape, I am there for fun and relaxation. I don’t want to hear anyone’s political views. When I am at the HOP I want good old historical facts.
I had to laugh when you mentioned people booing in the Hall of Presidents. Wow, shows the mentality of those adults and way to go… setting a great example for your kids. So pathetic.. I’m not thrilled with some past or current presidents, but I AM a grownup.. Keep your asinine comments to yourself. Not everyone agrees with you.
I will remember this comment if I ever visit HOP in the future. As someone who loves Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln I am always prepared to be seated with “adults” but tend to leave with a sour taste in my mouth because of comments those around me can’t keep to themselves. It always takes too long to get rid of the slightly sick way I feel and I want to enjoy every moment that I’m at my happy place.
If anyone thinks current politics are not polarizing, they have not been paying attention. There’s no reason for the dialogue to be reassigned and speaking roles given to whomever the President might be at any given time. Just throw a new robot in for whoever is current, and leave it at that. As for “Hamilton,” that alone speaks to polarizing politics. Lin-Manuel Miranda and his cast saw fit to directly address the Vice President of the United States, from the stage, when he attended a performance in NYC. When I spend $100, $200, $300 or more to attend a Broadway play, I am there to watch the play not to hear the actors’ personal opinions. They had their agenda, and paying customers be damned. While I agree the HOP show could be updated somewhat, I’m not sure I would trust Miranda to come up with anything non-partisan.
TOTALLY AGREE, so well said!!
Absolutely correct. Something liberal would be added. No doubt about that.
Agree 100%. Hamilton is the definition of polarized politics. Disney has been turning away from American values for a while now. This “Hamilton” fixation is just another example of how political Disney has become.
While it’s true that the cast of Hamilton addressed Pence after a performance he attended, I struggle to see what’s (present-day) partisan about the substance of Hamilton.
To my knowledge, it has fans across the political spectrum. It’s the one thing Obama and Cheney (both fans) can agree on!
I have to disagree with you about Mary Poppins Returns. The songs with the exception of one were pretty much forgetful. I believe it was the rooftop scene that I enjoyed the most. But sorry no great songs like Mary Poppins produced.
Loved Moana so Miranda is 50 – 50 with me.
Have not had the chance to see Hamilton yet but I can’t imagine it being anything less than what everyone in the world is saying. Living up to that kind of hype is difficult but after so many years with so many people still in agreement it’s hard to think so many for so long could be so wrong. I look forward to watching it soon.
I have to say I love the combo of him and weird Al. It just sounds like a winner to me.
Love the HOP and don’t mind if they liven it up with more history and jokes. I went a couple of times in the last year and fortunately there were no inappropriate political outbursts at any point of the show.
Nothing that is SAID in the show is controversial. However people who have allowed hatred, anger or negativity into their lives will find something in anything. And no amount of rewriting, even by those who some might call genius’ will change that.
At a time when Lincoln is being called a racist what hope is there for any of the other Presidents?
“Loved Moana so Miranda is 50 — 50 with me.” It’s not clear from what Tom said, but Miranda didn’t write the songs or music for Mary Poppins, and I agree the songs were mostly forgettable. Marc Shaiman (Hairspray) wrote the music for Mary Poppins Returns.
Weird Al & Lin-Manuel would be a winning combination, particularly if they include the Muppets and Great Moments. Edutainment would work really well here.
Lots of potential if the HoP were to be re-imagined, especially if Disney were to invest in some live indoor entertainment. The MK is desperately in need of live entertainment that isn’t street performance or a castle show. Imagine something like the Hoop de Doo or old Diamond Horseshoe Review, but colonial in nature. Show any number of Disney’s liberty-themed short films during off-hours so folks can get out of the heat for a few minutes. I agree that the time for showcasing the current US President, no matter who that is, has passed. Stick with straight-up entertainment, or at minimum broaden the HoP show to focus more on Walt’s idealism and less on modern personalities.
I think they should also reach out to They Might Be Giants. “James K. Polk” debuted 25 years before Hamilton and is truly an underrated classic!
I believe the Weird Al version of this would be the “James K. Polka”
James K. Polk, the Napoleon of the Stump.