Walt Disney World hosts several spectacular stage productions across its four major theme parks. Shows like Festival of the Lion King, Beauty and the Beast Live On-Stage, Finding Nemo – The Musical, and Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular! have entertained Guests for years and have become staples of their respected theme parks.
However, due to the ongoing pandemic, it appears that Walt Disney World might be making some major changes to its shows in the name of health and safety.
According to the Wall Street Journal, here are some of those changes.
Beauty and the Beast Live On-Stage
WSJ states, “The crowd size in Beauty and the Beast has been reduced and the entire show choreographed anew, so performers are at least 6 feet apart at all times.”
If one has visited the Magic Kingdom and experienced attractions like the Enchanted Tiki Room, it is clear that social distancing is enforced during attractions and shows. So it’s reasonably for full 3o-minute+ stage shows to implement similar same seating arrangements.
Since Disney has reportedly denied Actors’ Equity Association’s demands to have Cast Members tested and to allow face masks on stage, there is a need, then, to ensure proper social distancing just in case.
Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular!
WSJ states, “A sweaty fight scene in Indiana Jones is unlikely to return soon.”
If Beauty and the Beast is getting re-choreographed in order to maintain social distancing, then it makes sense to see similar changes happen in the Indiana Jones stunt show. That means that the fake fighting scenes in the show will also probably be replaced with something else. One could also speculate that the audience participation aspect (where Guests can become extras in the “movie” they are making) will also be indefinitely cut from the show.
Festival of the Lion King
WSJ states, “a ballet pas de deux between two birds in a Lion King show” is unlikely to return.
The cast of Disney’s Festival of the Lion King generally sticks to themselves and it would not be difficult to include social distancing for most of the show. Except for one scene. The aerial “Love Bird” ballet that occurs while the cast sings “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” This is one of the most beautiful numbers in the show and will, undoubtedly be missed if removed.
Current Status: Temporarily Unavailable
As of the writing of this article, all three of these shows–along with a plethora of others–remain temporarily unavailable, according to the Walt Disney World website. Around 250 performance Cast Members are members of Equity which has continued a public dispute with the Walt Disney Company, which has caused those Cast Members to remain at home. However, there is a move being made by some Cast Members to fight Equity and get back to work.
Perhaps we will soon have the stage performers back bring their beloved characters to life on-stage once again even if it is with these changes.
What do you think of these changes? Let us know in the comments!