The reopening schedule for four of Disney World’s on-site hotels has changed with two Epcot area resorts now set to be closed until further notice. 

Disney had previously announced phased reopenings of its hotels in June, beginning with Disney Vacation Club properties. Disney’s Beach Club Resort has set to open on Aug. 24 and Disney’s Boardwalk Resort was supposed to welcome back guests October 1; now, both are closed indefinitely, joining other shuttered resorts such as Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, the two Port Orleans resorts and the three All-Star properties. 

Two other resorts will have their reopenings delayed: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (originally set to reopen Aug. 12, now Oct. 4) and the Art of Animation Resort (pushed back from Aug. 12 to Nov. 1). 

“Given the current situation, there are some Disney Resort hotels and other areas that are not, as of this time, being scheduled for reopening yet,” Disney explains on its hotel updates page. “We will continue to evaluate the situation and reopen more locations when the environment is right to do so. While these plans may evolve, we will be monitoring the constantly changing health environment and its impact on the state of Florida as we find the right time to welcome back even more of our Guests.”

Disney World’s theme parks began reopening to the public on July 11. In the weeks since, light crowds have been reported throughout the parks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has limited travel to Florida from certain states and led Disney World to impose capacity restrictions throughout the resort. 

Magic Kingdom’s PeopleMover now listed as ‘temporarily unavailable’ 

A mainstay of Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland has remain closed since the park reopened. We still don’t have an explanation why, but Disney has changed its status in the My Disney Experience app. 

The Tomorrowland PeopleMover is now listed as “temporarily unavailable” in both the app and on the Disney World website. Blog Mickey previously reported that Tomorrowland cast members had said the magnetic linear induction motors along the entire track are being replaced. 

The ride has not been included on Disney World’s official refurbishment schedule and there’s no official date for when the attraction will reopen.

SeaWorld’s $65 million settlement over investors’ ‘Blackfish’ suit approved by judge

SeaWorld will pay investors $65 million to settle a lawsuit brought by investors who alleged they were deceived about the negative financial impact of the documentary “Blackfish” on the company.

The agreement on settlement terms came in February — as disclosed in a SEC filing — but had to be approved by a federal judge in California. SeaWorld will admit no wrongdoing as part of the deal. 

The class-action suit was filed in 2014. Released a year prior, “Blackfish” criticized SeaWorld’s use of captive orca whales, particularly focusing on Tilikum, a whale who was involved in the deaths of three people, including a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando. 

SeaWorld, which disputed the documentary’s accuracy, did not acknowledge that negative publicity was a factor in declining park attendance until August 2014. The company has maintained it did not deceive investors, but it did pay $4 million to the SEC in a 2018 settlement over similar allegations. Its former CEO, James Atchison, agreed to pay $1 million to the SEC. 

The settlement won’t go far for most shareholders. The potential payout is estimated a little more than $1 per share for anyone who bought SeaWorld stock between Aug. 29, 2013 and Aug. 12, 2014 — and that’s before accounting for attorney fees. 

SeaWorld’s attendance figures began to recover in 2018. The company said 2020 was shaping up to be another positive year before the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the park chain furloughing nearly all its employees. SeaWorld parks in Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania have reopened, but SeaWorld San Diego and Busch Gardens Williamsburg remain closed.

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