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WDW Radio # 764 – Disney Year in Review 2023: Reflections and Projections

A new year brings a new chapter to our stories, and the turning of that page means that it’s the perfect time to journey back through the Disney moments and experiences that made 2023 truly memorable. From the silver screen to culinary creativity, to what we gained and what was lost in the Disney parks, this week, we take a reflective journey through the 10 most important, impactful, biggest, and best moments from the past year. It’s a look at some of the hits and a few misses, filled with some interesting insights, as well as a lot of heartfelt emotion.

This week, we have a special year-end treat for you, as we review the whirlwind that was 2023 in Disney.

We’ll tackle the complex web of Marvel’s multiverse and variants – has it become too much for the average fan? Are we looking at superhero fatigue, or is there still magic in the introduction of new characters? We’re also diving into Disney’s recent movie lineup, discussing what we are anticipating, and taking a look at the challenge of generating fresh IP in a sea of sequels and remakes.

Our conversation won’t stop at the silver screen – we’re also toasting to the new culinary delights that graced Disney parks this year.

We also can’t forget the trips that we took as a WDW Radio comunity – from Italy to Bermuda on Disney Cruise Line and more. Speaking of breathtaking, we’ll reflect on the emotional return of Happily Ever After, discuss the implications of Bob Iger’s comeback, and the park festivities like the Magic Kingdom’s Tron Lightcycle /run and Epcot’s transformation through “Luminous.”

We’ll also touch upon the closure of Splash Mountain and the excitement for Tiana’s upcoming attraction, the complex emotions surrounding the closure of the Galactic StarCruiser, and how our Star Wars adventures continue to evolve.

From the wonderful world of park nostalgia with Disney’s short film “Once Upon a Studio,” to our shared love for Figment and all things Epcot, join us as we celebrate the past and look ahead to the fantastic experiences Disney promises to bring, and let’s reminisce about the year that was 2023 in Disney!


Thanks to my guests for joining me this week:


The key moments in this episode are:

  • 1. **Marvel Multiverses and Variants**
  • – Concern with Marvel’s multiverse approach being confusing
  • – Difficulty in following storylines in theaters or Disney+
  • – Marvel fatigue with the introduction of new characters
  • 2. **Disney’s Creative Direction**
  • – Preference for innovative storytelling
  • – Desire for freshness over sequels and live-action remakes
  • – Upcoming Disney movies that excite the hosts and guests
  • – Thoughts on Deadpool 3
  • 3. **New Experiences in Disney Parks**
  • – Celebration of new food and dining experiences in 2022 and 2023
  • – Anticipation for Eats, Summer House on the Lake, Roundup BBQ, and Tiana’s Palace
  • – Enhancements at Epcot and the aesthetic appreciation of the park
  • 4. **Attractions and Entertainment**
  • – The significance of Tron Lightcycle Run and the return of Happily Ever After
  • – The emotional impact and the need for new attractions at Magic Kingdom
  • 5. **Travel and Events Discussed in 2023**
  • – Various trips and experiences like Italy, Bermuda, Wyoming ABD, and the Nat Geo Christmas market
  • – Reflection on the impact of Disneyland’s Magic Happens parade and its anticipated return
  • – Discussion on marketing strategies for unique offerings like the pickle milkshake
  • – Expectations and feedback for events like Jollywood Nights
  • 6. **Attractions and Disney Legacy**
  • – Closure of Splash Mountain and excitement for Tiana’s new attraction
  • – Bob Iger’s return and his influence on Disney
  • – Transparency and responsiveness to fan feedback
  • – Comparison between Epcot’s shows “Harmonious” and “Luminous”
  • 7. **Impactful Disney News**
  • – The closure of the Galactic Star Cruiser
  • – Existential discussions about fan events like HALSCON and its longevity
  • 8. **Movies and Streaming Impacts**
  • – The role of streaming on the movie industry
  • – Personal opinions on Disney and Marvel movies
  • – The potential shift in consumer behavior post-COVID
  • – The quality of recent productions in the movie industry
  • 9. **Theme Ship Discussion**
  • – Enthusiasm for the Treasure ship and its themes
  • – The inclusion of park nostalgia and themed areas like the Haunted Mansion
  • 10. **Emotional Connections with Disney**
  • – The emotional impact of “Once Upon a Studio”
  • – Significance of planning future trips
  • – Personal attachments and anticipation for new experiences
  • 11. **Epcot and Nostalgia**
  • – The importance of Epcot and characters like Figment
  • – Shared love for Disney among the hosts and guests
  • – Excitement for future attractions announced by Josh D’Amaro

Timestamped summary of this episode:

  • [00:00] Challenges with Star Cruiser lead to changes.
  • [08:37] Big budget movie love, theaters, pandemic impact. Universal success.
  • [13:12] Disappointment with recent movies, Marvel’s strategy.
  • [18:28] Concerns about fatigue with Marvel and Disney.
  • [26:41] Epcot designed for relaxation, connection, and enjoyment.
  • [29:14] Nostalgia for Tron, longing for park updates.
  • [34:21] Disney invests $60 billion in theme parks.
  • [39:41] Positive review of Epcot’s new shows.
  • [44:06] Emotion, connection, and growth at Epcot.
  • [54:13] Gratitude for meaningful experiences and relationships.
  • [58:02] Less pickly, tempered heat, Jollywood Nights concept.
  • [01:01:40] Epcot is leaning into the return of figment.

What do you feel was the most important or impactful moment, event, or milestone from 2023?

Share your thoughts in the WDW Radio Clubhouse at WDWRadio.com/Clubhouse, or call the voicemail at 407-900-9391 (WDW1) and share your story on the show.


Episode Transcript

Click Here To Read The Full Podcast Episode Transcript

Lou Mongello: Time flies when you are having fun. And because of that, in many ways, 2023 was an absolute blur. And I think for Disney fans, there was a lot to celebrate and enjoy. But as in life, there's also some things that we lost as well. And so this week I want to invite you to join me and some of our friends around the table outside here in a very cold day, uh, at Disney Springs.

As we look at the 2023 Disney Year in Review, I want to welcome back to the show and the table, Becky Mahnken from Mouse Fan Travel.

Beci Mahnken: It's awesome to be in the disco today.

Lou Mongello: I'm not sure if they can hear disco in front of us. It's like we have the soundtrack from Guardians of the Galaxy going on behind us.

And Jeremiah Good from LaughingPlace.com

Jeremiah Good: Good morning, and it is cold, even though I say I'm not cold at all. You don't even have a jacket on! I'm fine. It's just freezing in

Lou Mongello: Shanghai. That's a little pneumonia among friends. Oh, he just had to do the Shanghai. Yeah, no, he had to throw Shanghai in there. Um, you know, it's funny, we were talking just briefly before we started recording about You know, thinking about the show, 2023?

Like, I think maybe as we get older, I think that the space time continuum is thrown off, and, and time does seem to go faster, and 2023 was a blur in a lot of respects. I think because there was so much that happened, um, and because of that we're not going to, you know, try and review and reflect and react to all of them, so I thought today we would look at 10 Ish got to give myself a little wiggle room of the biggest, most important, impactful, surprising, or wonderful Disney news or events from the past year from the Disney parks, the movies, merchandise, Marvel, Star Wars, anything and everything.

That sort of struck your fancy. Jeremiah is doing his research right now, by the way. Literally! Was that in 22 or 23? Um, so I, let's just jump right into it. And Becky, I'm going to let you go first because I, again, I, my parents raised me right and I still believe in ladies first. And I'm very, very, I'm wildly curious to see where you, because we're not going to go in any sort of chronological order.

I want you to go in either the thing that, you know, your biggest one first or the first thing that came to mind, however you sort of decided to do it. And then we can sort of chat a little bit and discuss and that as we go through so last night, excuse me, I did our Wednesday night WWE live show on Facebook I posed this question to viewers and members of the clubhouse as well and I'm going to throw in some of We'll see sort of how much what we talk about overlaps with what they brought up as well with Becky.

Okay, you go first

Beci Mahnken: This was a really hard. It's hard to decide so I'm looking at my entire list and I have stuff from movies to parks to The trips that we've done which I'm sure we'll get into that too. But the one thing I think I think that I'm going to choose first. Let's start on a down note. So we just go up from here.

How about that? I know where you're going. Exactly. The closure of galactic star cruiser was some was very impactful for me, obviously in our business and to the clients who were saving to, um, experience this wonderful, um, experience that we all were lucky enough to have at least once and for it to have been, close so soon and them not making some of the changes that may have made it stay alive.

I think that it just had, it was very impactful for 2023.

Jeremiah Good: That was on my invisible list that I just came up with seconds ago. Um, that's definitely number one. I, I was lucky enough to experience it twice and, you know, to this day. I'm making new friends daily from the Galactic Star Cruiser, and it is a sad thing, um, you know, one of the things that I think all three of us can definitely always talk about is the Adventures Club.

We had 15 years with the Adventures Club, or it closed 15 years ago, I should say, um, and to this day, we're still all talking about it. Will the Star Cruiser have that same effect in 15 years? Because there was such a small group of us that got to experience it? Who knows, but it is Those of us who did, it's in our hearts forever.

It's

Beci Mahnken: special. And it was a way to welcome the Star Wars fans into the Disney, you know, embrace in a way. Obviously, Galaxy's Edge was here. But that was so unique and it could have been such a huge game changer for the industry as a whole. I mean, I said way back when, when they announced it. Um, it, if it worked, you would have different organizations, different industries, different places.

Like, I mean, look across the street. Hogwarts opening up a go to, uh, Hogwarts or, you know, Universal opening up Hogwarts. Go there for a weekend and learn spells. I mean, there's all kinds of possibilities, which now kind of seem like it may not be.

Lou Mongello: So this was on my list as well, excuse me, and I talked about this at length when the announcement came down back on show 727, and I talked about the Star Cruiser closing, and I entitled it, you know, and the good that may come of it, and I'm not going to sort of rehash everything, but I think on one hand, you know, from Disney's perspective, I think it's very, very difficult to admit this is not working.

And we are literally going to shudder the doors on what was a very, very, very expensive project. I think part of the challenges for the Star Cruiser, it was not necessarily just money. We talked to a lot of people, a lot of people said it wasn't just the money, it was the time commitment. I don't want to come to Disney World for five days and sort of spend two and a half, three of it in the Star Cruiser.

What I expect to happen, and I know nothing, but I still think that there is new life to be breathed. Into the Star Cruiser, excuse me, my expectation is for it to reopen as a Star Wars themed hotel, which I think the good that comes from it is it makes it more affordable and more importantly more accessible to people who just could not sort of tackle the financial burden in order to get on board.

I think you stay at the hotel for whatever number of days and you have optional A la carte add on experiences, if you want to do Gaia's Dinner, if you want to do Jedi Training, if you want to do this or that or Excursion or Ba'ku, you can do all those things. But now it becomes open to, you know, for all intents and purposes, all guests and to your point, Jeremiah, the thing that the interesting sort of long term quote unquote fallout from this is there was a lot of people who are very, very passionate and absolutely loved.

Look, we love the experience, but there's people who are still like meeting up and doing Star Cruiser like meetups in Batuu. Like, there's a community that was built around that, and I think by reopening it as a Star Wars themed hotel, and that's a broad stroke of the brush, I think you allow more people to not just only have that experience, but to sort of be part of that Star Wars, Star Cruiser community.

Jeremiah Good: Yeah, absolutely. Um, you know, there's the Heroes of the Halcyon that are creating a HALSCON that's going to be in October, that is Die Hard Halcyon fans, Star Cruiser fans, and it's not only going to open up to fans that got the chance to go, I think that is, it is an evolving, living, breathing thing, still outside of the four walls that it was, so it's something that hopefully will continue, but I want to see how the legs go for this, I loved it, but I'm afraid that it will be one of those things in two years where I'll kind of like, you Okay, we, we, that's a footnote in history.

Let's see how it goes. I know for myself, and I think for both you, it's something special that'll stick around. Also, by the way, I'd like to mention that I never knew Disco Inferno was 12 minutes long. So that was amazing.

Lou Mongello: Alright, so what is, uh, what's first on your newly generated list?

Jeremiah Good: Um, this is actually something that has been in my head for a while.

It's the, uh, not just One topic. It's the movies and televisions that we've watched. I know you guys are both like, there we go. Uh, I was looking through the list of movies and Disney Plus shows that have come out. Does anybody remember Peter Pan and Wendy? Like, I know I never saw that. Uh, I didn't see the Pinocchio that came out, even though people raved about that.

Little Mermaid came out this year. That was supposed to be the big budget movie of the year. I love going to the theater. It is one of my favorite things. I will go to the AMC here at Disney Springs for their most random movies, but I've talked to people that are like, when the Marvels came out, is it worth seeing in the theater?

Every movie is worth seeing in the theater, but it's, you know, Do you, I think the, the pandemic definitely put blinders on people's eyes of what it was before and what it is after. So, you know, if you can tolerate the people around you, I know I'm sitting next to Becky and she's like, no, sorry. You know, I love going to the movies, but Disney, you know, they fell to number two this year behind Universal, which is something that's never in the history of, you know, Disney recent history that, you know, Universal that put out.

Oppenheimer. That's, that's where the money came from. Disney. Let's talk about the movies that came out that we really wanted to see and that we really saw. Uh, Dial of Destiny. I loved it. But, again, I think there's still people I'm sure that'll go back and listen to the show and go, Oh, I forgot! And go to Disney Plus and watch it and go, Oh, that was a really good movie.

Why didn't I see that? Because, I think streaming has change the way we look at things. And I think that going forward, streaming is going to start to reverse things because everybody's putting all their ads and everything on streaming, so are you going to want to pay the extra 30 a month? Or go to a movie to see something great for, you know, sure, 60 for your food and everything.

Lou Mongello: Becky, I'll let you go next because I have many thoughts. On the movies, we talked about this last night, and I had a very good Impassioned response.

Beci Mahnken: Yes, and you and I disagree about something. And I said, you know, we should probably debate this. Because for me, I know, I know, I know, it's an unpopular thought.

But I actually really enjoyed the marvels. Because it was entertaining. It made me laugh. I knew part of the story. I do like the characters. While it may not have been the, you know, it's not going to be up for an Academy Award, for sure. But, except for maybe the Flerkens. They might get nominated for something, because I love those little guys.

Exactly. But, I loved it for what it was. Pure entertainment. I want to be entertained when I go to a movie. And, it made me happy, it made me smile, it made me laugh. And I walked out going, yeah, that was worth the money that I spent on it.

Lou Mongello: So I will, I will try and keep my, my thoughts as relatively brief as possible.

This might be good for a continuing live conversation. Okay. Um, I think Jeremiah, you're right. I think the movie industry as a whole post COVID, it needs to adapt and grow and change. Movies need to become experiential. We need to have a reason to go to the movies other than. the blockbuster that needs to be seen on a large screen.

Oppenheimer is a great example. Avengers Endgame, you need to see it on a big screen for the full experience, plus the idea of being in the room with fans. I don't necessarily think movies are compelling enough to get us off the couch and say, oh, wait a month, I'll see it on streaming. And go to the theater, spend the money, spend the time.

Um, you know, I had this as an entry on my list. Um, you know, and I sort of just called it what's missing at the movies. Um, and I'm not talking just about the box office numbers. And yes, they're an indicator. But from a pure emotional fan perspective, right? What's the last, this is a somewhat rhetorical question.

What's the last epic movie that you've seen from Disney? Like, the one that just, like, Look, I used to walk out of the theater for Marvel movies, I would get on my phone and I'd buy a ticket for the next day, because I needed to see it again, in the theaters. We were talking about it with our friends and family, quote unquote, around the virtual water cooler.

That didn't happen this year. Nobody was, like, rushing out to see Quantum Man Maybe, God Listen, God bless you if you love Quantum Mania. I don't think Right? Even Guardians 3 was fine. You know, but it wasn't, it was emotional for different reasons. I mean, I have people that walked out because they couldn't handle the emotion, but you know, the little mermaid dial a destiny, haunted mansion, the haunting in Venice, like the wish.

None of those were like, nobody was like, Oh, you need to tomorrow. You need to take your family to go see this. We haven't had that as well. And the thing that I'm disappointed. That I'm so disappointed, because I don't like feeling this way, right? I want us to be excited about movies again, and I hate, sort of, There's no other, I, the, the first, sort of, euphemism that comes to mind is, is seeing the chink in the armor.

If you would have told us when Endgame came out that, you know, years, a few years from now, this would be a chink in the Marvel armor, and the stuff that's coming out is not going, we're like, come on, this is like, They can't lose, and I think that's why they are very smartly, Feige is saying, Look, we're gonna pull back, we're gonna, we're gonna reflect and revisit.

We need to do quality over quantity, because I think, even on Disney A lot of stuff that came out was not up to the standard, I think, That we expect from Disney and Marvel. Secret Invasion! Secret Invasion! Look, Secret Invasion is one of multiple, right? I don't think that I think the last really, really great, I think WandaVision was a game changer, right?

It's the thing that we all talked, we couldn't wait for the release next week. I haven't felt that same way about it. I did

Beci Mahnken: with Loki, I'll say that. I was kind of one of those people like, eh, it's kind of slow at the beginning, but then I really liked Loki, and when season two came along, I loved Loki.

Lou Mongello: I want to play devil's advocate.

I think, I think part of what's happening too, and I don't want to sort of go, this is again a long conversation. I think part of what's happening with Marvel is Taking my glasses off for effect. Because clearly he's like, I'm very animated. He's flipping the table right now. I think part of what the issue is with, with Marvel is, is two fold.

When you start using things like multiverses and variants One, it gets very confusing. I don't think the quote unquote average person can walk into a theater and sort of understand what's going on. Me, personally, I'm a world outside your window guy. I am a Spider Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Daredevil, like And those are the characters that, for years, we all sort of knew and loved.

Now you've got these things happening in different dimensions, and I I don't love the fact, one, that Jeremiah's dancing to Last Dance. I don't love, two, that it's an easy escape clause. And they're gonna have to use it right now, right? They're gonna use it because the Jonathan Majors problem is like, Oh, we have the escape clause because it's a variant.

It's, it's a different multiverse. I think it's cheating a little bit. Um, and I just think it, it's a lot for, for the average person to be able to walk into a theater or even sit down at Disney plus. Without saying, wait a moment, you need to go and watch these 17 things in order.

Beci Mahnken: Do you think it's more a case of them just spreading themselves too thin?

Or do you think that they have leaned into that one storyline so much that it

Lou Mongello: got I think it's two, I think it's a connected universe, right? So it's sort of, it's all gonna come full circle. I believe in, like, Kevin knows what he's doing. Kevin, the person, not the AI bot that was in She Elk, knows what he is doing.

And this is all going to come full circle, right? We're going to get XM. We're getting fantastic for look, I think, I think the Kang issue opens up the door to bring in Dr. Doom, which I would love to have. I think Dr. Doom was an amazing villain, maybe more like. Approachable than Kang is, um, but I, I do, I think that's, that's part

Jeremiah Good: of it.

Yeah, they're gonna have to make a hard left turn with Kang. Um, yeah, I don't think Dr. Doom, and this is, we're going off on a way too I know, I'm getting nerdy, I know. Dr. Doom doesn't need to be the big bad. He needs to be set up for a big bad. Go with Kang, keep a variant, finish out the storyline. I am a diehard comic fan.

So you say multiverse, you say variants, you say all that. For me, it is absolutely, but I've had to spend more time explaining to people what a multiverse or a variant is, but I think there's something like. I don't know if either of you watched the What If that came out over Christmas. That was, again, What If is an amazing show.

The, the episodes that they dropped, consecutive days, was perfect. I would have loved if it lasted over a few weeks. But, the way they did it worked out well. They set up for season three already. I don't think that's a spoiler because I think it's out there. Um, so there's a lot of that. Yes, we are suffering from Marvel fatigue and even still Star Wars fatigue as much as I hate both of those You know, I love the Marvels.

It was the movie that if the Marvels came out shortly thereafter in game That would have been the excellent introduction for the next phase, but we also had to sit through things like the Eternals and Shang Chi, which wasn't bad, but you can't introduce brand new characters to people that are waiting for the The tie the the heart, you know get Iron Man or get somebody in there, but they did a good job of setting up without a payoff yet, and I think that's the biggest problem.

Lou Mongello: And I just want to quickly just punctuate this with extending one thing, because I think this is beyond Marvel. I think this is, this is Disney as well. I think we're, we're not just suffering the fatigue of, of you know, to use your expression, the fatigue of Marvel, but I think I don't think the Disney movies you know, hit the way they were supposed to.

Whether it's what's coming out of the animated studios or what's coming out of live action. And I will tell you that moving forward, based on what we see right now, and we have, there's a two prong problem. One, what's on the slate for what's coming out, and two, coming out on the heels of a very, very extensive strike.

But right now, we have Inside Out 2, Mufasa, the live action Snow White, and Moana coming out. No, I, none of you are jumping, oh, I'm concerned about, there's no fresh IP. There's no fresh, it's either remaking live action for, Whatever reason, or we're in the sequel zone again, when again, what's that last great new movie and character?

And right now, based on what's on the docket for 2024, I don't necessarily see that coming just

yet.

Beci Mahnken: And that's the problem is that they're just retelling stories over and over. I'm over the live action. I'm really sorry to say that, but I have not really connected with any of them emotionally. So, it hasn't really been on the radar, and I

Lou Mongello: would love This is awkward, because Jeremiah's wearing a live action Snow White shirt as we speak.

So,

Beci Mahnken: I'm so sorry, Jeremiah. I don't mean to offend. Um, but seriously, it's We're just retelling stories over and over and over, which, I get it, for new generations. It needs, sometimes, it needs to be uplifted and changed for new generations, but At the breakneck speed that they are just adding these to the docket is a little bit overwhelming for me.

Jeremiah Good: Yeah, it's change for the sake of change. Because, you know, I understand the world has changed in the past 90 years. But Snow White is pretty much a basic tale. We don't need whatever is coming out of it. Like, I've avoided the trailer or the teasers that everybody has said is the worst thing in the world.

Um, I didn't need The Seven Dwarfs in Wish either. Wish for me was probably one of the biggest letdowns of the Disney Animation Library since Good Dinosaur. It was just not anything I wanted to see.

Beci Mahnken: Now if you're talking Deadpool 3, I'm excited for that. That's, that is one title that I'm really

Lou Mongello: looking forward to.

Yeah, um, time will tell and we will see. But let's move on because we can do it obviously. We can nearly do an entire show. Um, all right. So is it my turn? I'm going to switch gears. I'm going to raise the roof, raise the bar, and go right into my wheelhouse. Let us all take a moment to celebrate the new food and dining experiences that came to the Disney Parks in 2022, 2023, including, but not limited to, Tiana's Palace in Disneyland, San Fransokyo Square.

I'm making half a heart because I only have one hand. Shikisai in Epcot. Wowzo. Uh, Summer House, right here on the lake at Disney Springs. Roundup Rodeo Barbecue in Toy Story Land, Rosa Mexicano, doesn't get a lot of people talking about it. In, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, uh, Narcooses reopened this year with a new interior, a new menu.

I sense a dining review coming, if only there was somebody. Anybody to come and uh, I'm very excited to, to walk down the promenade a little bit and try eat by Maneet Chauhan, uh, but the new Indian restaurant, uh, quick service restaurant here in Disney Springs. Um, one, did I miss any two out of all those, which has been?

Um, something that you are looking forward to trying, that you've tried before, that you're

Jeremiah Good: excited about. I'm really excited to try Eats, because that's, that's something unique. Uh, there hasn't been an Indian food place anywhere on Disney property. And I, coming from California, I had a chance to try lots of different dining options.

And Indian food for me, it's much like Mexican here in Florida. There's, there are places that have it. But it's not the best. Um, so I've heard good things about this. I've heard amazing things about Summer House on the Lake. I'm very excited for that cookie bar. Uh, Roundup BBQ for me was one of those ones that, even though we kind of lost that exact same menu over at the campground, Because it really is Davy Crockett's or um, it's brought over here.

It's a fun location. It was something I wish they would have opened the land with it. But it has some really good food, great experience. You know, it, it's been a good year for food. And then we just got the Festival of the Arts food coming out, which is just the same stuff, which I'm worried that going forward we may see more of the festivals, as they focus this one on, more of the alcohol and specialty drinks, and kind of leave the food as it is, because, you know, we're all not Lou, where we try every single booth every day of the week, and go through I'm a giver.

I do it for you. Uh, but yeah, the foods, you know, that's something we can always count on each year is they'll introduce something new.

Beci Mahnken: Well, the culinary experience is important when you're vacationing. It's like one of the number one things that people look for, um, in the destination if they choose. So, to see them adding new things and, um, lifting it up and doing new dishes and, it's, that's really exciting.

And for me, I haven't had a chance to try most of these places, but I'm really looking forward to Tiana's. Palace myself because I haven't been to Disneyland since it opened up. So I haven't seen it yet But every if

Lou Mongello: you need if you need somebody to go with you

Beci Mahnken: That's on our meeting list for later on today

But I think that that's a really neat opportunity for them to take that location and not change it so much as to give it a story. And I love what they did there from, um, from the menu to the visuals to the atmosphere, so I'm looking forward to

Lou Mongello: that. All right, so what's next on your list then?

Beci Mahnken: Oh, this one's a tough one.

I'm gonna hold on to that one for later. I'm gonna say The happiness that came over me when I first saw, when I first walked into Epcot and the walls had come down, most of the walls had come down to show us what they had been planning and building and working on for so long as you're on the monorail and looking down and all you saw was a big hole in the ground and walls, um, for It to open up this beautiful area where you can sit and enjoy the park and see the statue and give that not nod to Walt.

And I just think that it is a brilliant use of the area. Um, obviously the Moana water area is beautiful as well. I'm not that fond of water myself, so I'm like a wet Persian cat if I have to walk through a mister. So it's. But I love what they did with the area and it gives families something more to do in Epcot together.

Jeremiah Good: Uh, I agree and I, I'm trying to focus now on one thing because we can just say, Oh, new stuff and go into everything. But I was just there, I did two nights in a row after it opened. And the first night was, It's the excitement. And the second night, I sat on a bench and I enjoyed the music and just loved, you know, it's one of the cheesiest things I think Imagineering said in years, but they did put the park back in theme park.

It is a great place to sit and relax. And I talked to people that hadn't been there until just recently and like, yeah, we went over to Starbucks, got a coffee, sat there and enjoyed just sitting and people watching and relaxing. And that's what's missing. As a Disneyland boy, I used to do that all the time.

And Walt Disney World has never had that, really, location. I think this adds what's needed. Yeah,

Lou Mongello: you know, and I think they sort of took a little bit of a cue almost from Disney's Animal Kingdom. They're making Epcot a park that is meant to be sipped and savored and strolled through and a place to go and relax and connect and unwind.

I think time is going to be favorable toward this because I think you open it right now there's still it's not completely Finished, but I think the, the garden sort of being themed around, um, the, the area surrounding them, the, the nostalgic touches to sort of the architectural legacy that are Epcot, that are there for people, but I think you're right, this idea of not having to feel compelled to rush from attraction to attraction to pavilion to pavilion and giving you a place and space to just sit down And take in what the park has to offer, both aesthetically, visually, from the audio in the background.

And as they continue to put the finishing touches on that, I don't think what we saw is obviously a finished product yet. Um, and at night, it's spectacular. I think it's gorgeous at night. Um, you know, I sort of, I, I put Dreamer's Point and Moana. To get actually lumped in luminous. I don't know if luminous is on anybody's list separately.

So I'll, I'll keep that separately. Um, but I think, um, I sort of, I put all this together in Epcot and I think what we're starting to see is maybe not what was originally on concept art when we saw it years ago, but I think it is this continuing evolution of the overall Epcot experience. So, um, Jeremiah, what is next for

Jeremiah Good: you?

So I will just hold on to this because this is going to be a long one. Um, I, I just said not combining things, but I think these two things came together in their opening and their reopening. Tron, Light Cycle Run, and Happily Ever After. Like, that brought Magic Kingdom back to a special park. Not that Enchantment wasn't a good show.

And when I first saw Happily Ever After, it wasn't my it didn't tug on my heartstrings because it wasn't wishes. And I've always said you can't follow the electric parade of light magic. You can't follow illuminations with Harmonious, it's you have the built up and then you drop it down no matter what so happily ever after returning I can remember seeing that after the Tron Event and just the tears coming down my eye.

It was just like You feel the heartstrings there and then Tron light cycle run to me I know a lot of people are like, oh, it's only 90 whatever seconds. It's still To me, that's my childhood. That was my dream as a kid to be able to ride in a light cycle and to be able to go over to Magic Kingdom and you know sooner or later get on still with virtual queue, it's great and having happily ever after Though the other thing about the Magic Kingdom and this is kind of the flip side of that coin There isn't anything else new.

There isn't anything else new coming down the pipeline, which could be a whole other topic, but to me, it's, it's got some great newness, but we, again, beauty. We need some beasts come in something, some more oomph, not just, Hey, there it is.

Beci Mahnken: I loved, I, I, I was just sitting here thinking about Tron with, with the music in the background. I just can't get over this. Um, I enjoy Tron. We, we saw it first when we were in the Asia parks, obviously, and was really waiting for it to get here. I'm glad that they put it in Magic Kingdom. I love seeing it opening.

I love seeing the people's faces when they get off of that attraction. Because it's always full of giggles and smiles and exactly what you want to feel. That elation when you are departing one of the attractions. And so, it's great to see that. When you're talking about Happily Ever After. Um, yes, correct, it's No Wishes.

But, when they did make the announcement that it was coming back. The, the whole fan community just was a swell of happiness, and, um, I think it was a good call on their part to bring it back, and it brought a lot of people back to the parks because they were really craving, um, that pull on your heart string, um, show.

So, yeah, those were two really big additions for

Lou Mongello: the year. You know, when you talk about things like Happily Ever After coming back, and a firework show changing, whether it's Happily Ever After, It illuminations to harmonious you. Oh. When you have these things that are beloved, by oftentimes it's generational.

You know, you, you see you're taking away a piece of my childhood. You're taking away something that mean is so meaningful to people. It's a very difficult road to hoe, as you know, both. Um, the shows in Epcot and the shows in, in Magic Kingdom demonstrated when you bring something that back that people love, again, you do sort of get that social swell online.

And I think, I think Luminous is one that will, has already started to appeal to people, starts to grow on people. I think that the show is beautiful and obviously we'll, we'll talk about it. And look, I'm a, like you, Jeremiah, I was a Tron nerd growing up. So. That filled the gap that I had as a kid of wanting to ride that light cycle, um, and you know, people say, well, it took five years.

It didn't take five years, right? People sort of forget it wasn't just the COVID closure. It was the supply chain issues and the labor issues that we all dealt with after that. So you have to sort of get away from the five year thing and just enjoy and appreciate for what it is, especially at night when it's spectacular and the music is amazing.

Um, Me. It's back to me.

Jeremiah Good: Um. Do your best Barry White, by the

Lou Mongello: way. Um, this.

Uh, yeah. It's hard, isn't it? It's not, it's not hard. I have things, I just don't know what order. Alright, so I'm, I'm gonna, I'm gonna jump to here because it's gonna sort of piggyback on this and something that Jeremiah said. He's like, well, there's not really a lot that's coming. I'm going to go back to Saturday, September 9th and the presentation at Destination D by one Josh Damaro.

Insert hearts here. Where he says, and I quote, Over the next decade, we're going to have more projects underway than at any point in our history. Our sole purpose is to give you more and more of what you love about the Disney experience, and then surprise and delight you with things you never dreamed possible.

I'm not going to go through all of them, but, you know, the Zootopia show in Animal Kingdom in the Tree of Life Theater. The Encanto and Indiana Jones area is being considered for new reimagined land. Some of the other Blue Sky expansions in Magic Kingdom. Nobody saw the Test Track reimagining coming. The pirate themed lounge in Magic Kingdom.

We got the Hatbox Ghost. Culture Bear Jamboree is getting a refresh. There's a lot of nervous people out there, right? Like, again, you're touching something that people love. We learn more about what's coming to Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure. We heard about the adventure, the first ship to sail from Singapore to South, South, Southeast Asia.

We learned more and saw more about Lookout Key at Lighthouse Point. We've also seen at Disneyland Paris, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Tokyo Disney. Some of what is coming, including that 8th port of Tokyo DisneySea, coming in 2024 with Rapunzel, Peter Pan, and Frozen. The, the, the important thing is, Disney is investing 60 billion dollars.

In theme parks and cruises over the next decade, it's doubling their investment in a division that really is even more so now the primary source of the company's profit engine, right, which also sort of help offset some of the losses from things like Disney Plus, which is going to be profitable probably this year.

But I think there is a lot that's coming and, and, I put this in here, it's, it's about the attractions that are coming, it's also about, and I don't think I'm alone on this, I love Josh Damaro, I love Josh Damaro, like as a human being, like having, you just talked about, being able to sort of sit and chat with him, When you meet him in the parks or anywhere, he gives you his full undivided attention, but also as a, as an executive spokesperson, a representative of this company.

When he talks to you about these things at Destination D, I almost feel like there was people in the matchroom going, Josh, no, we're not ready. I was like, I don't care. Like, I'm a fan. I want to share this with the fans. He brings a sense of. Energy and excitement and authenticity and transparency and honesty that I really love and appreciate and it has me very excited.

It's not about the 60 billion dollars. It's not about the things that were on the list. It's the things that we haven't heard about that we're gonna be hopefully surprised and delighted

Jeremiah Good: with. Yeah, um, Josh I had a chance to speak with multiple times throughout the year. Randomly running into him, um, and I say this.

Not in a bad way. Josh is the best used car salesman in the world. Like he walks up there and you're right. He believes in everything. He's not trying to just sell us on it. He believes wholeheartedly how amazing the Disney company is. Was and will be and, but his, his heart, like, you know, he would say, Hey, do you want to buy a DVC?

And I'd be like, sure. How much Josh? With the hearts in my eyes, like Lou has when he speaks about him. But yeah, everything coming. Um, you know, it's just exciting that it's coming. Down the line. But I mean, I'm sure Becky can speak to this. Not having anything clearly coming. I mean, yes, we have Splash Mountain coming later this year.

And that's really the only thing in my head that's, Okay, we have Splash Mountain coming, Disneyland, Walt Disney World, late 2024.

Beci Mahnken: They kind of needed to have that announcement so that they could say, This is what you have, uh, to look forward to. There's more reasons why, as you're planning your vacations over the next three years, four years, five years, reasons to come to Disney World or Disneyland to be able to, um, experience these wonderful things we have coming.

So, we haven't forgotten about you. We want you to come back and see these new things. And, it's kind of like in that same vein, and yes, I, I love Josh tomorrow. I'm with y'all. I may not have hearts in my eyes, but I mean, YouTube, that's a whole nother story. There's some bromance happening here. I get it. Uh, but he really is, he's a, a genuine human being that genuinely cares about this, um, this company.

They, he cares about how we feel about the company and he's extraordinarily open about it. And I really enjoy that. I do want to just tag on. Um, a couple of things just so we can get it off the list is that they also made the announcements of the D23 changes that are coming at the same time. Which were kind of interesting, I think we're all used to a certain, um, way that that's been done, so knowing it's going to be changing up

Lou Mongello: is kind of You're talking about Expo specifically?

Beci Mahnken: Yes, I'm sorry, yes, for D Expo. Oh, right, exactly. Ultimate da da da da da da da. Too long for a hashtag, basically. And then with all of this is the, the direction that the company's going. And I know that Iger's return was tech, tech, technically in November of 22, but it was Disney's 2023 fiscal. So I'm counting it

Jeremiah Good: because that was going to be one that I looked at.

Nope. It

Beci Mahnken: was November. I know it was November, but technically they're fiscal. But I think that, um, his return and how he's greenlit some of these things and the changes that are coming. are important because it's just as important as the announcements themselves.

Lou Mongello: Listen, if you think my love of Josh DeMauro goes far and wide, you need to see my shrine to Bob Iger that I have at my house.

Um, the other thing I will just quickly sort of append to this is I think, and I think it's, it's It may have been somewhat accidental, Josh doing it, but I also think it's, it's very smart in Disney has started to do something that they've never done before. And I think it's, it, it do a large part to Josh wanting to be.

Transparent, one. And two, I think there's a strategy behind it. Talking about things that are on blue sky. Because what does that allow them to do? To sit back and listen. If you don't think Disney is listening and watching social and reading and literally and figuratively listening, they are. They are getting, they're putting their finger on the pulse and seeing what is their reaction before we open the gates to this idea that we think is going to work on paper.

Let's see what fans start to think. Before we get too far down the road.

Jeremiah Good: Um, harmonious. That is the perfect example. No matter what anybody says of, Oh, it was only supposed to be on for the 18 months when we were sitting at the, uh, reopening of the Epcot area. And they're talking about luminous. And they said, we've been on this project for a year.

If that show is only supposed to last 18 months, and that's only been going for a year, there's something really wrong there. So, I do believe that Happily Ever After, and, uh, Luminous, and, you know, everything that they're, they are watching, and that, that leads into my, one of my next things, but we'll get to that.

But it is, very much, I think they're trying to start to be proactive with the socials, and with the fans, not just, oh, we can sit on one ride for five years, and Not worry about changing it a la Stitch, you know. I mean, look,

Lou Mongello: to prove that they listened, there's no more harmonious barges out there. Like, can you, I, we, I, we, none of we can speculate about, but it's a significant financial investment to say, people really don't like this.

We're just gonna eat it. We're gonna eat it. We're gonna admit defeat and pull it and put something out there I think what's out there for luminous is gorgeous. It's not it's not disruptive during the day. It's spectacular

Jeremiah Good: at night goes I mean they can pull the floats off I was there yesterday and one was out and by the time I made it around world showcase all four were out It's not even like the spaceship Earth globe where that took 30 minutes to get out This is like you look and there's one and then 10 minutes later.

They're all out there. So it is It is something that's great. I think we're just leading in the luminous at this point. So it's

Lou Mongello: who knows who's next. Who is it? You know, was that me? Yeah, it's

Beci Mahnken: me. So I guess we're doing luminous. I have one other left, so we just have to get back around to that. But yeah, you're right.

Luminous. Um, it gave me a joy again where, okay, I've caught forever. forever, forever for one day and it's gone. Um, that's, that was a nice little way to bridge the gap, but I, you're so right. The visual doesn't distract you during the day where you walked in on harmonious. It's like, okay, the Stargate and the tacos were very distracting.

And if they had, at one point they talked to us. about in the daytime that have these beautiful fountains and it would be gorgeous to look at that never came to fruition. So if that had happened, maybe it might have had a longer life. Who knows? At this point, I'm just personally glad that they did admit defeat and say, Hey, you know what?

This is not going over well. Let's find something that's really going to be impactful for the guests. And I think with luminous, they found it.

Jeremiah Good: Yeah, luminous. Um You know, I'll take this loose so you can work. Um, Luminous was one of those ones, and I love when Disney does this. They, they don't give us any teases.

They don't, I mean, we got a little bit of music, but we didn't know anything about it. And the first night, you know, you guys were watching it from one area, I was watching it from another. And just the visuals, and the music, and the narration. To this day, like, narration just kills me, because it hits Wow, I'm, like, Lou, I'm about to tear up.

Um, the narration hits times in your life, and I Was it a serious time in my life when that started, and it just Hit me, and then Becky, I love you so much Hang on, I gotta stop doing this. Because the second night was when I got to see it when you invited me, and you Walked up to me and said, put your phone away.

This is you get to enjoy it. I just sat there and cried and loved it. Okay, I'm done. Well, I

Beci Mahnken: think when it had to luminous brought a story forward where the other one just didn't seem to have a cohesive story. So it's something you can follow. It's something that you can, you can connect to. And

Lou Mongello: I think that's what's Jeremiah.

Don't worry. I cry all the time and crying is podcast goal. It's good. Um, I always used to say. Harmonious felt so disharmonious to me and it made me feel like a grade school teacher was like, Becky, you take this one, Jeremiah, you take this one, you take this one, and they're going to put them all together at the end and hope that there's, and it wasn't.

And I think you're right. I think opening up the Disney songbook here and creating a story and, Jeremiah, you were Honest reaction is exactly what was missing from harmonious. I'd never got emotional during it. Whereas the first time I saw Luminous, I did. And the first time I saw it, I was like, I like this.

Like I can tell this is one that's going to really start to continue to grow on me The 'cause I wanted to see it again the second night, harmonious. I was like, Okie dokie. Um. So, I, I had it on my list as well, and um, and I, I, I think that you're right, I think, Epcot needed that injection of emotion, and that's why I put that, because I think there's the injection of emotion there, the return of Walt, in Walt Disney World, by putting The statue in Dreamer's Point, by having that space where we can all connect not just with Epcot, but with each other, and I think all these three things, you know, or four if you want to even include Moana, allow that to happen, um, cohesively.

So, what's next for you?

Jeremiah Good: Okay, I have two, and I really am sure that the one that I'm going to talk about right now is this year. Um, Treasure. Like, uh, I was like, I don't remember when that was announced, but, um, Getting to go on the Wish, and putting on VR goggles, and them showing me treasure. While the Wish isn't my favorite of the ships, and that's a whole other discussion.

If you ever catch me in the park, ask me why, and buy me an ice cream, you'll hear all about it. Um, but, I think, again, I, you know, I don't know if, It was planned, but Treasure, Periscope Pub, and the Haunted Mansion and everything, it's, it's the connection. Like, yes, the ship may still be the same design that I'm not overly fond of, but you throw in something that's 20, 000 leagues themed, you throw in something that is Haunted Mansion themed, I'm there.

I can't wait for it. And it's such an interesting Take on it like you know when we all kind of saw the wish it's like Okay, there isn't really a lot to it. Okay, hyperspace lounge. Thanks Becky for keeping that alive But treasure I want to explore I want to go on there I want to do everything and spend the days where wish I'd rather go to castaway not Not because it's not a beautiful ship, but it's just not one of my ships.

Beci Mahnken: Yeah, for, for the Treasure, it's exciting to see another new ship and hopefully they've, well, okay, the build and the bones are too far in flight to change things that, that I am not fond of on board the Wish. So this was a extraordinarily brilliant move on their part to throw in some IP, like Haunted Mansion, that's going to pull people to that ship.

Even if it's a one and done, they're going to go, they're going to sail on the ship, they're going to have a great time, they're going to see something unusual and unique. And I, I think that it was a, again, a brilliant move on their part to, um, to include

Lou Mongello: it. I think it's less about the inclusion of IP than, one, leaning into the parks, which they've really never done before on a ship.

And two, the sense of nostalgia, right? Understanding, you know, a significant demographic that is coming on these ships. We have a very sen We have a very great sense of, of depth and breadth of our feelings about nostalgia of the parks. So instead of putting something in that might touch on something that is current, leaning into our sentiments and our memories with You know, 20, 000 leagues under the sea and jungle.

The problem they're going to have is getting people out of that haunted mansion lounge because the place is going to be spectacular. Again, separate conversation about the design and layout. And Becky, I know we come from a little bit of a different angle because when we travel, we're not traveling in pairs and in groups of families of four.

We travel in families of 150. So, you know, we approach it a little bit. differently, um, but when I, I became instantly excited about the ship when I heard about the theming, and I'll, and it'll hopefully help us to forgive some of maybe the deficiencies in the, in the spaces.

Beci Mahnken: The question is, what's the drink going to be in the Haunted Mansion

Lou Mongello: Lounge?

Becky goes right to, yo, my goodness. Is it on to me? It is. So I'm going to go to. Um, not a specific event, not a time, not a place, but 2023 for me, there were nine minutes in 2023 that moved me emotionally in a way that I never expected. And I have four words for you. Once upon a studio. Came out in October.

The tears to time ratio was off the charts. That simple story, and 543 characters, and original voice actors. Again, I keep talking about nostalgia, sentiment, we all found the character that was like, Oh my god, I can't believe Robin Hood's in there. I can't believe this obscure character's We all found one that was like, yeah, that's it.

I've got my place. There was a sense of legacy in terms of the studio and the company. And it really is. I think it's what they set out to make it, which is a love letter. To the studios, and I think more importantly, it's a thank you to the fans, because I felt that this, this short shows that they understand us, they understand that we all connect to these films in different ways, whether it's the Reluctant Dragon, or Wish, or Big Hero 6, or whatever it is, we all have a connection to it, and when we see those things, we hear those voices, It did it it it absolutely got to me like very much emotionally we saw it at destination D There wasn't a dry eye in the house.

Jeremiah Good: Yeah. No, it was it was one of those things I had heard from people who had seen it that it was very touching and it was It was off my radar at that point. I don't know why it wasn't there, but I think it was because it was supposed to be attached to wish originally, which probably would have made me like wish a whole lot more.

Um, but yeah, destination D 23 when we're sitting there and the creators come out and they say how. This was just their pet project. They never expected this to happen. They, they kind of, they spent eight months and they pitched it, and they like, and everybody's like, yeah, we have to do this. Um, when Mickey just looks at Walt, it's, that's the tears right there.

And for me, like, I spent the entire film, or entire short, waiting for Black Calderon characters, because, like, they're not gonna put Black Calderon characters, and there they are. And then, I went back, I actually was in California, Um, at the El Cap, and they were showing it before some of their legacy films.

And I paid for a full ticket to see Something. One of the 90's films. I think it was Hercules. And I saw the 9 minute short, and I stayed through Zero to Hero, and then I left. Because I had other things to do, but to see that short on the big screen was so amazing. It is just It's the love letter. It is what we all needed.

And hopefully that is one of those You know, kicking the pants to everybody. I was like, Hey, we need to lean more into the love, less into the money.

Lou Mongello: I was going to say, I almost looked at this as sort of a. Like a planting of a flagpole, like we get you, we understand you, this is us showing you that we are gonna change and those things that you miss about those films, whether it's the motion or whatever, we're gonna get there again.

Beci Mahnken: I also enjoyed not just the short itself, but the clips of the making of where the voice actors were so into the role and so thankful for being asked to be part of this. You could tell it was a, a badge of pride for them too. And so, yes, it was emotional, it was wonderful. Cried a little, laughed a lot. Um, smiled a lot when you saw characters that meant something to you that you haven't seen in a while.

But to also see the joy and reaction of the, the people involved.

Lou Mongello: That was amazing. And I love the fact that 80 percent of it was hand drawn. Yeah. That I really appreciate. And

Jeremiah Good: Robin Williams voice came back, which we never thought we'd hear Genie original lines again. So that was amazing.

Lou Mongello: Uh, do you have anything else on your list?

Sorry. Of course.

Beci Mahnken: There is one more and it's the most important, I think, to you and I, is that obviously we went through a lot during the pandemic and we had to cancel. a lot for the pandemic. We had so many great plans and 2023 was the return of being able to do the trips and the things and see the people where we, oh great, selfie.

Stop. Anyway, it was so important. We got to go to Italy. What are you doing? You have to get, come on. That's cute. Anyway, everybody's taking selfies. Exactly. So I mean, we got to go to Italy. Finally, after putting that off for since 2020. Um, that was amazing. We got to go to Bermuda with Disney Cruise Line. We got to go on a Wyoming ABD.

Again, another trip that we had planned that we had to cancel. And then of course, we were able to do the Nat Geo Christmas market. So We did a lot in terms of WDW radio, um, trips this year in 2023.

Lou Mongello: So I had it on my list, um, because in addition to the events that we've done and the travel and, and I put it on because it, and I was going to save it for last because it, it takes people to make a dream a reality.

And none of this happens without you, my friend who's sitting here at virtual with us at this table. None of this happened without you and none of those events happen. And. Those events would not have been as meaningful or as possible had it not been for you. Um, whether it's the ABDs or the cruises or even just some of the other opportunities, and I don't want this to be self serving because this is not about me, but I personally was able to experience a lot this year because of you and with you.

Um, and, and that's why when I look back on 2023, I didn't need a soundtrack or a score or an animation to sort of get me emotional about it. And I won't get into it here, but, um, it was an incredible year for experiences, right? But those are the things that matter more to me. Then any sort of physical or tangible things are the memories that we have of being able to do things Together and again, I won't I won't sort of repeat the list and go down individually But it's why Becky and I are planning.

I think you said something like 2028 the other day 2033 Right Jeremiah, that's the face that I make too

Jeremiah Good: Okay, so I 2033. Wow. Got to take your vitamins. Um, so my last one and this one is kind of a cheat. And it really like things you guys just said words that just came out of your mouth. Hit this very well.

In 2020, in February 2020. Weeks before the world shut down, this little parade stepped off in Disneyland called Magic Happens. I went Three years without hearing the music completely, without seeing the parade. And when I went to Disneyland and saw that parade, Why am I about to cry again? Jeez, I'm tired.

That's what it is.

Lou Mongello: I have that effect. I make

Jeremiah Good: people cry. That, that parade is Disney at its core. It is fun, the music is amazing. If you've not heard the music, go on Spotify. iTunes, whatever you can do. Listen to the parade and the music because it is, you smile, you laugh, you have fun, you live. It's just getting your life back together and it's amazing how something that came out before a life changing event signifies how much our lives changed from that event.

And it's just, you know, it's coming back to Disneyland next year. That's all that matters. Uh, contact MEI Mouse Fan Travel for your trip to Disneyland. They can definitely plan some great stuff to see magic happens. Um, you know, that's one that I don't think I could have gone without seeing one more time.

Lou Mongello: So I will, I'll conclude with just two very, very quick mentions, um, before we, we wrap this up. Um, and the, this first one is, I'm saying it half jokingly, but I think it bears mentioning. The pickle milkshake. I think the pickle milkshake, from a purely business marketing perspective was brilliant. Because it had nothing to do with the pickle milkshake.

It had to do with going to get your pickle milkshake. Taking your picture for Instagram, doing your little reel, your TikTok, your story, whatever, of making the face, whatever it was. It was very, very smart. And it actually, I think they sort of tempered the pickliness to more of the, the pickliness. I just made up that word.

Um, yeah, it was less, um, it was less, less pickly after that first week or so, but it really helped sort of temper the heat from some of the really great wings that were in that. But very, very smart because it was people talking about the shareability of it, I suppose, the shake itself. And the last thing I'll mention, which I mentioned for a couple of reasons.

One, I love the concept. Two, I loved the pivot immediately to make improvements over something that needed it is Jollywood Nights. Um, when they announced Jollywood Nights I loved the idea of it because I love that park at Christmas time. I love the sense of nostalgia. The day one execution, which is why I never review anything the very first day was met with some challenges that by day two they were already starting to address.

Um, I, I, The way I described it was that if, if Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is a hallmark card, Jollywood Nights is a Norman Rockwell painting. Because they're two very different types of events. It's not, Jollywood Nights is not Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, nor does it intend to be. But that tip top soiree, I could just sit there all night long.

What?

Jeremiah Good: Yes, and I was there with you, and I know exactly why you could have sat there all night long. Um, no, because I love that

Lou Mongello: era and I love that music. Don't make it weird, dude.

Jeremiah Good: Jollywood Nights was lots of fun. I luckily was able to attend three times. I was there the first night when it was the mess that it is.

I went a second time, and it was an empty night. And Jollywood Nights was Too much or too little. Like if you went on the first night, there was too much to do. If you went on an empty night, there was too little to do. Becky and I went towards the end, had a great night, but I, we both kind of still felt there isn't, there wasn't a heart to it, there wasn't a core piece that was needed and.

When, if it returns next year, hopefully they go, Okay, so let's go back and review what we do need. But yeah, it had some great food. Um, the shows were great. I think if the fireworks would have been a little bit different, it would have kept us there all night long, because anybody that was local was like, We saw Jingle Bell Jingle Bam many times.

But it was a fun event. I

Lou Mongello: think, look, I think the concept is great. I think there's meat on the bone, right? I think that it can and should and will continue with some tweaks and improvements. I think there's a lot that they can and should add to it, but it's because I like, I like it in theory, but hopefully what we see next year, just as the very first Mickey's very bright Christmas party is not what we have now.

Hopefully this will continue to iterate and improve over

Beci Mahnken: time. Right. I really enjoyed it. I think that they're going down the right lane. Um, for the price they were charging, that's probably my scenario that I kind of balk at, for what you got. If this was the, if Jollywood Nights was the thing that they're going to roll out, um, that was not A ticketed thing that would like be the perfect place to spend, uh, your holiday evening 'cause it's amazing and awesome.

I'm just expecting a little bit more for that price and maybe next year they'll, uh, address that.

Lou Mongello: I will close out by saying just this, and I'm surprised it wasn't mentioned by anybody, the closure of Splash Mountain.

Jeremiah Good: Which that, that was something I was thinking about, but I, I, I'd rather look forward to Tiana's than Right.

It's

Lou Mongello: coming. Right. And that's, and we sort of, we framed it in terms of, of what is coming in in Tiana's and it's not a big deal sort of in terms of its impact, but I think it's reflective of Epcot and what we've all been talking about and what I think. Our entire conversation about the return of a figment meet and greet, right?

Figment, sort of that, that iconic, unofficial mascot of the park being obviously leaned into much more heavily and I think there's much more figment to come. Imagination Pavilion. I'm still waiting for the announcement. I'm, I'm just going to keep saying it every year. This is the year that this, right?

It's Mephisto. It's September. Right. They're going to announce it, but it's really interesting because if you think back to all the things that we talked about and it's why we bleep and love this place so much, it's because it's about the way it makes us feel. Right? It's not about the rides, it's not about the food, it's about the feelings that we have.

It's why Jeremiah and I get emotional. Becky doesn't, but that's fine. It's why we get emotional about this place. Someone's got to be here to entertain us. Right? So whether we talk about the movies, or we talk about the parks, or we talk about the experiences, it's the way this place makes us feel. It's why we love it.

It's why we talk about it. It's why we, like, it's, it's literally our, our livelihoods. It's why we move to be close to it. Um, and why I think we are so passionate about it. Right? Because it means so much to us. That being said, I know you, who is sitting here with us, probably saying, how did you possibly leave this thing off the list?

Or have some input that you'd like to share as well. I would love, I really, I invite you to share your thoughts. One, you can, uh, I'll post this in the clubhouse at www. com slash clubhouse. We can talk about it there. We'll talk about it again on the live show, but even better, call the voicemail at 407 900 9391.

That's 407 900 WDW1 and share your thoughts. More importantly, Jeremiah approved. I'm not the only one. It's okay to cry. Share your feelings as well. Jeremiah Good from laughingplace. com. Becky Mankin from MAI and Mouse Fan Travel at mousefantravel. com. When you want to come and experience any or all of this in the coming years, thank you both for being here, um, with me today.

More importantly for, oh now I'm going to get, for making my 23 as special as it was. Lou,

Jeremiah Good: I've spent this entire year with you at least once a month. And it has been probably one of my favorite events is doing everything with you. And whenever Becky's in town, we can all hang out.

Beci Mahnken: This is my favorite thing.

It's just hanging out with my friends in Disney. So here we are, and there's a lot to come for 2024. And from now till 2033 .

Lou Mongello: Jeez. I gotta put this down and give Jeremiah a big hug because we're, we're about to just sort of take our romance to the next level. Hatbox

Beci Mahnken: ghost.

Lou Mongello: I know. Hatbox Ghost... Go. We didn't talk about the Hatbox ghost.

Jeremiah Good: Okay. I have to jump onto this. I don't know what it is. I didn't talk enough about food...


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