The Empire to Take Over Innoventionsby David Koenig, contributing writer
The Empire to Take Over Innoventions
Come April 2, Super Hero HQ on the second floor of the Tomorrowland Expo Center will close, to make way for a Star Wars Land preview center. Models, artwork, audio-visual presentations, and perhaps additional character meet & greets will cover the second story, making the entire building 100 percent Star Wars.
The current Thor Bifrost display and Iron Man Hall of Armor will be mothballed. The sudden change—announced to cast members on the Hub employee portal last Monday—caught even the Character Department by surprise. They'd just hired a new actor to play Thor!
In their place, Captain America and Spiderman will start appearing April 3 in Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure, posing for photos and promoting their upcoming movie Captain America: Civil War. There was talk of locating them in Stage 17, but because the move was so sudden, they’ll most likely be forced outdoors.
The move is also a first step in introducing Marvel into DCA, as plans are under development to build a Marvel Land within the second gate in the not-so-distant future.
Disneyland Security now appears to be in minor turmoil. Under the directive of Mary Niven (who replaced the recently retired Jon Storbeck as division head), a separate unit was set up to deal with the security at the Main Entrance.
This new unit handles the bag checks, metal detectors ("portals" in Disneyspeak), and other problems that come at the entrance of the parks. The officers are classified as "Security Host II" ("Security Host I" describes all other hourly positions in the department).
But the problem for officers was that, once classified as a II, they were no longer permitted to work anywhere else in the department. "You can't pick up a shift at the hotel, or in the parks. It's a big turn off to many of us," said one security hostess.
Many who previously worked at the Main Entrance dropped their job knowledge. Because this position has become so unpopular, there's been a shortage in takers. So management has been forced to pull officers with a year or less seniority to fill the positions. Even officers who had explicitly turned down the position are now being forced to work it.
To appease the reluctant transfers, it now sounds as if there's been a reversal and those officers will be allowed to transfer back to their previous departments.
Within the coming month, expect to see scaled back schedules for shows and atmosphere talent at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. As well, Walt Disney World recently announced Entertainment cutbacks, including laying off 10 of the 29 "Citizens of Hollywood" performers at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
My initial thought was that Disney was paring back performers because advance bookings were down for the resorts, with tourists delaying trips until the big Star Wars additions arrived.
But one source says that it's actually due to trouble overseas. "Shanghai Disneyland has gone so far over budget, that corporate has ordered cutbacks at both U.S. resorts," he said. "While the Communist Chinese government has a controlling share of the park, guess who is left in paying for its construction?"
Entertainment will only be the first area hit; expect cutbacks in other departments, as well.