Thursday, July 17, 2014

Random WDW Picture

The entrance to Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Zz.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Disney Park profits and Euro Disney

Forbes.com has this article about how Disney Parks make their substantial profits.  The eleven parks worldwide contributed about $2 billion to Disney profits in 2013. The article cites Walt Disney's original theme park vision in the 1950's as the underlying reason for the success of the parks.  One of the ideas Walt had was to build a story into the attractions.  Even the fireworks are done in the context of a story. By developing and refining the theme park model, and finding ways to make people spend money, Disney has become the financial giant we see today.
The driving force behind Disney’s theme park profits is its scale. Saying that Disney runs the world’s busiest theme parks doesn’t do justice to its status. In total they attracted 132.5 million guests last year...
...all but one of the ten most-visited parks worldwide are run by Disney with the exception being Universal Studios Japan which had 10.1 million guests last year.
The article reports that DisneyLand Paris is one of the "top performers" among the parks, despite once being seen as a lackluster enterprise.

The article devotes a lot of space to discussing DLP stating that its attendance is higher than the 3 closest rivals combined and higher than all other theme parks except for Magic Kingdom, DLR and Tokyo Disneyland.

Disney has only a partial ownership in DLP...
Although Disney wholly-owns its theme parks in Florida and California it only has a 39.8% stake in Euro Disney, the parent company of Disneyland Paris. Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed has a 10% stake whilst 5% is in the hands of  American money manager Invesco and the remainder is floated on the Paris Euronext exchange.
 One of the not-so-secret ways Disney makes money is on merchandise...
The real money is made on merchandise and food and beverage which have low fixed costs and can be sold for a huge premium as the guests are a captive audience.
This idea has had some success at WDW but the situation at Anaheim is not so supportive of this plan due to the close proximity of DLR to the "real world".  And one of the effects of competitors such as Universal Studios is to make the guests at Disney Parks less captive.  Will Disney's size continue to guarantee success, or could it become a liability in the face of more innovative competition?

Rivers of Light at DAK

WDWMagic.com reports that the new Rivers of Light show at Animal Kingdom will likely have two viewing areas.  Based on construction permits recently filed, the viewing areas seem to be in Asia and Dinoland.  Interesting how construction permits have often been good clues about what Disney plans at WDW.  News of the Polynesian upgrade came to light that way.

According to Disney...
"Rivers of Light promises to be an innovative show unlike anything ever seen in Disney Parks, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery.
Sounding a little like World of Color at DLR, the show is planned to open in March 2016.

Random WDW Picture

Coming down on one of the many hills of Thunder Mountain Railroad at the Magic Kingdom.

Zz.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

ARTIC is cool

ARTIC, not to be confused with the Arctic, is still cool.  The Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center is the subject of this site at articinfo.com.  This major project was mentioned a while back in this blog, and it looks like initial use will happen in 2014.  This project will have major forms of transportation in Orange County converging so that people can easily transfer from one mode to another.  This includes the resort transportation system (ART) serving Disneyland.
The ARTIC Project will connect to existing Metrolink, Amtrak and OCTA bus services, and will enable connectivity to emerging transit services including: Anaheim Rapid Connection (ARC), California High-Speed Rail, and California-Nevada Super Speed Train.
The benefits of making travel to DLR easier are discussed in the project description...
The Disneyland Resort generates $4.7 billion annually for the Southern California economy. That number, from an independent economic impact study conducted in 2010, includes the spending from millions of guests who visit The Anaheim Resort and their impacts on the local businesses and The Anaheim Resort.
Link to the AConnext site for current transit options and trip planning.


Cruising toward Halloween

DisneyParksBlog has this post about Halloween on the High Seas cruises in 2014. 
Beginning this September, our Halloween-themed cruises are packed with costume parties, frighteningly fun activities, lively entertainment and even a Pumpkin Tree that magically transforms throughout the cruise.
In 2013 only the Dream had the Halloween events but now all 4 ships will have them.  Of course, on the high seas nobody can hear you scream (except maybe the Dolphins).

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Learn How To Draw Anna From Frozen

Here you go. If you have already learned how to draw Olaf, this shouldn't be too difficult.



Zz.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Harry and Mickey

This post by Robert Niles at themeparkinsider.com talks about the new Diagon Alley at Universal.  This of course is the new Harry Potter themed area and early reviews make it sound impressive. 
...Diagon Alley offers the best example of a themed entertainment environment in America, and perhaps, the world. Diagon Alley creates the type of experience that rewards fans for their love of theme parks while making others into new theme park fans.
It's simply the most convincing themed environment ever created, topping the original Wizarding World in Islands of Adventure, not to mention any single land currently available at Walt Disney World or Disneyland.
Disney could ultimately benefit from such a popular attraction in a "rival" theme park by attracting more people to the Orlando area.  Some people will no doubt decide to skip WDW altogether for a while but it seems likely that more people will want to visit both theme parks.  It will be interesting to see if there is any impact on the Magical Express at WDW.  If people want to go to WDW and Universal they will probably want a car rather than relying on the bus. 

The dark side of this for Disney is if people start wondering (even more) why WDW is not investing in imaginative new attractions.  Avatar Land is a couple years away and it remains to be seen whether this will have anywhere near the popularity of Harry.  Articles have quoted Disney executives as saying that the MyMagic+ system was designed to help keep people at WDW.  The FastPass+ system tries to do this by giving people 3 FastPasses and spreading return times throughout the day so people supposedly will be reluctant to leave WDW and miss their attraction.  But, with Diagon Alley a short car ride away, will this strategy work?  Disney might need more than technological games to keep people at WDW.

The side effects of what Universal is doing will be interesting to watch, although they may take a while to develop.

 

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The man behind the Duck

Mouseplanet.com posted this article about Clarence Nash, the voice of Donald.  Don's recent 80th birthday means he was "born" on June 9, 1934.
Donald Duck's 80th birthday was June 9, 2014, and there certainly wasn't a lot of hoopla about it. I believe the Disney Company released a pin. (Officially, for many years, the Disney Company maintained that Friday the 13th was Donald's birthday and, amazingly, this June there was a Friday the 13th).
The article is a short biography of Clarence Nash and how he became the voice of the irascible Duck.
One of the things I remember clearly was him telling me the gag, "My parents wanted me to be a doctor but they are still proud because I grew up to be the biggest quack in the world." I later learned it was a standard gag line he would use with some variations over the decades .
Clarence grew up on a farm and started doing animal sounds, which eventually led to getting hired by Disney to do the voice of the "talking duck".
"Donald lasted a lot longer than I thought he would," said Nash. "I figured he was just like any other cartoon character who would eventually run his course. It never occurred to me he would last over 50 years."
Disney's The Wise Little Hen was released on June 9, 1934, which is now considered Donald Duck's official birth date. Iwerks' The Little Red Hen was released February 16, 1934 as part of the ComiColor series and is rarely known or seen today.
 Clarence Nash was 80 years old when he died in 1985.
...Nash's tombstone in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, California, is shared with his wife (who died in 1993) and has a carving of Donald and Daisy Duck holding hands.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Random WDW Picture - Dawn To Dusk

Dawn: This is the walkway towards the Carriage House at Saratoga Springs resort.


Dusk: Wait for Illuminations from the Italy pavilion at World Showcase in Epcot.


Zz.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Disney's strategy vs the competition

ThemeParkTourist.com posted this discussion about reasons why Disney can keep on what they are doing in spite of increased competition.  The discussion included a panel of "experts" on Disney and theme parks.
There are 5 reasons given in the discussion why Disney does not need to change their approach...

   Magic Bands and FastPass+ are keeping people in the parks and causing them to spend more.

   There are enough new things coming such as Avatar Land coming to keep people interested.

   Disney will continue to design rides for "8 year old girls"

   Disney wants to get more money out of its existing customer base rather than attracting new people.

   Disney's size is a big plus, but also a potential problem.

While Disney is currently financially competitive, it is probably no longer creatively competitive.
So what could Disney do to regain its creative lead? Give the Imagineers the freedom to come up with their own original concepts – ones that are not tied to the latest movie release. And allow them to cherry-pick the best ideas from other sources – something which, hopefully, they are doing with Pandora: The World of Avatar.
An obvious competitor is Universal, which is following a strategy of building new attractions.  Over time, this might gradually drain off enough WDW customers to become a problem for Disney.  For the short term, Disney continues in a strong position.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Starbucks Reserve on West Side

Laughinplace.com posted this article about the new Starbucks store at WDW Downtown Disney's West Side.  The store is designated as "Reserve" and will carry a more extensive selection of coffee including some more "exotic" varieties.  The store is large and features some high tech devices, along with a pretty nice area to sit and enjoy the view.