July 22, 2024

Two Magic Kingdom Stage Shows Close for Remainder of Summer 2024


Walt Disney World has updated its official website to quietly cancel all daytime shows on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage. This post shares dates & details of the cancelled entertainment, along with our commentary about

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Walt Disney World has updated its official website to quietly cancel all daytime shows on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage. This post shares dates & details of the cancelled entertainment, along with our commentary about the likely motivations for this decision beyond the straightforward refurbishment.

Per DisneyWorld.com, all of the stage shows in front of Cinderella Castle have been canceled from now through July 27, 2024. At this point, they’re scheduled to resume on July 28. However, we’d view that as very much tentative for the reasons discussed below.

There are currently two daytime shows performed on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage: Let the Magic Begin and Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire. The former is the morning welcome show that you’ve probably missed if you’re at the front of the pack trying to do the SDMT Shuffle. The latter is the marquee stage show that’s presented several times per day.

For those who are unfamiliar with it, Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire is a reimagining of Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire, with the new(ish) version debuting for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. It features sequences from Princess and the Frog, Tangled, and Frozen. I wish I could tell you more, but I haven’t watched the full show since 2022. (Technically, I’ve probably seen or “absorbed” enough bits and pieces in passing to have seen it in full several times over.)

Anyway, both Let the Magic Begin and Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire are cancelled through July 27, but presently set to return on July 28, 2024. Other entertainment in Magic Kingdom is unaffected by the closure of the Forecourt Stage–Festival of Fantasy Parade, Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade, and the Happily Ever After nighttime spectacular all remain on the schedule.

The official cause of the closure is unclear, as nothing has been announced by Walt Disney World. Normally, refurbishments are scheduled at least a few weeks ahead of time unless there’s urgent maintenance that must be addressed. It’s possible that’s the case here–that they discovered something that needed to be addressed ASAP before Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. It also could be work that needs to be done at some point, and Disney views right now as convenient timing for reasons we’ll discuss below.

To the best of our recollection, the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage was last refurbished in Winter 2021. Here’s our photo from late February of that year:

During that time, the surface of the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage was removed and rebuilt.

I don’t recall how long that took, but it seemed like it took a couple of months. Regardless, that wouldn’t really be instructive. That was during the height of the phased reopening when staffing shortages and delays were commonplace. Not only that, but nothing was happening on the stage, anyway. They could take their time.

That might be precisely what’s happening here, albeit with a different scale, scope and timeline. There have been some reports from Cast Members that the stage is being refurbished, and it’s possible there’s work that needs to be done before Party Season starts. Maybe we’re getting new effects in Hocus Pocus Villains Spelltacular or the fireworks shows!

My guess is that there’s more to it than a straightforward refurbishment. That Let the Magic Begin and Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire are being cancelled due to some combination of the following:

  • Cost savings in disguise
  • Lower summer attendance
  • Performer safety
  • High heat and humidity
  • Unshaded viewing area
  • All performances in broad daylight
  • Convenient time for a refurbishment

We know it’s at least one of these things–the last one–as there’s now a refurbishment wall up around the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage. It’s still unknown what the scale or scope of this project is, or why it’s happening.

Usually when there’s an entertainment cut–like the recent ones at Disneyland–we get up in arms about it. We are staunch advocates of live performers in the parks, and believe they imbue the spaces with energy, life, and atmosphere–even if you don’t stop to watch.

I mention that because it’s not my perspective with the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage temporary closure. Assuming this is being done for a combination of the above reasons, I completely get it. Have you tried to watch a stage show this time of year? I have, and it’s miserable.

There’s a reason I haven’t seen Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire in full for a couple years. The last time I did watch a daytime stage show, I could barely see by the end, as sweat from my forehead had mixed with sunscreen and was dripping into my eyes. Zero star experience, not recommended.

I’m honestly surprised Walt Disney World hasn’t cancelled more entertainment due to weather over the past two summers, as this cannot be safe for the costumed performers or for guests who camp out in the scorching sun to watch.

Even setting aside safety, I wonder what guest satisfaction scores are for Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire from June through July. My guess is fairly low, as the payoff just isn’t there for weather you have to endure. (And I say this as someone who thinks Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire is cute and a fun offering.)

This is also why I think July 28, 2024 is simply the tentative return date for Let the Magic Begin and Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire. If the temperatures are cooler by then, they’ll likely return. If not, the closures will probably be extended.

There’s usually a “last hurrah” for summer travel that spikes attendance (over its current levels) in mid-to-late July, but that usually lets up right around the end of the month, with crowds dropping precipitously in early August. So from a practical perspective, I’m somewhat skeptical that Walt Disney World would make an effort to bring back Let the Magic Begin and Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire right at the start of the off-season. (That is, unless the driving force here is only an unscheduled refurbishment to the stage itself.)

Personally, my hope is that Walt Disney World starts to get serious about adapting to summer weather. Florida has always been hot and humid, sure, but it only seems to be getting (incrementally) worse. We’ve shared our perspective on this recently in Biggest Lesson We Learned from Baby Bricker’s Summer Trip to Walt Disney World.

I’ve also complained repeatedly about Imagineering’s refusal to take the Florida climate into account when building new lands devoid of shade and indoor spaces. Both Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land, for example, feel very much like lands created by Californians. Designing spaces differently is a long game that’ll take decades–but hopefully is incorporated into those $17 billion expansion plans.

In the near term, there are solutions. The big one would be pulling from the playbook of Tokyo Disney Resort, which has summers every bit as brutal (sometimes worse!) as Walt Disney World.

I’ll never forget my first time attending a summer celebration at TDR. It was a decade ago, back before info on Tokyo Disneyland was ubiquitous, so I went in with only a loose understanding of what the “get wet” events were all about. I just knew I should wear a poncho and cover my camera bag because water was involved.

All of the sudden, Donald Duck grabs a firehose and starts spraying it indiscriminately at the audience. A man wearing a banana crown dumps a literal bucket of water on guests. You might think I’m making this up or exaggerating, but here’s proof:

The summer festivals at Tokyo Disney Resort are, literally and figuratively, bananas. Although the fruit-themed one was enjoyable, my favorite was Pirates Summer, which featured the same hoses and buckets of water thrown on guests, but also huge steins and other appropriately-themed water conveyance mechanisms for soaking the crowds. Natsu Matsuri and Donald’s Hot Jungle Summer were two other favorites.

Like all other entertainment at Tokyo Disney Resort, these summer entertainment offerings are now scaled back. But they still do the “get wet” version of attractions and have calvacades that drench guests. This year, there’s Baymax’s Mission Cool Down Parade and Splash Mountain Get Soaked, among other things.

It would be awesome to see Walt Disney World do something similar. I really wonder what’s stopping them. Does it come down to cost, or are there fears of guest backlash over people getting too wet? It’s one thing with a water ride, as the nature of the beast is plainly understood and you have to voluntarily get in line for those. Communicating entertainment is trickier, and it’s easy for guests to inadvertently get soaked while passing in front of Cinderella Castle or whatever.

It’s possible that this works at Tokyo Disney Resort because guests are generally higher knowledge and less oblivious to their surroundings, whereas Walt Disney World has a higher number of first-timers and one and done guests. I hope that isn’t the case, and that Walt Disney World gives “get wet” entertainment a shot. Or, at the very least, schedule more after the sun goes down and it’s actually pleasant to watch stage shows in unshaded areas!

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!

Your Thoughts

What do you think of Walt Disney World cancelling Let the Magic Begin and Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire for the rest of the summer season–and perhaps beyond? Fine with this particular entertainment closure given the circumstances, or still think it sets a dangerous precedent? Would you like to see Walt Disney World adapt to hotter summer weather with ‘get wet’ entertainment? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? 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!

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