Thursday, February 28, 2013

Disney resort Wi-Fi improved

WDWMagic.com reports in this post that Disney has improved the wf-fi service at the resorts.  This is aimed at fixing dropped connections and getting better speed.  On a recent visit to WDW in February 2013, the wi-fi service was noticeably better at the resorts than a few months earlier. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Why's everybody always picking on me?

For some reason, this is not the best time to be the White Rabbit at Disneyland.  Following a recent charge of racism, which also affected our favorite duck in a separate incident, the rabbit apparently lost it when some girls pulled his tail. This story was posted at news.ninemsn.au, an Australian news source, and will probably get wider circulation.  Characters are always accompanied by a handler who, presumably, would be the one to intervene in such incidents.  So where was the handler when all this was going on?  No mention of a handler in the rabbit stories.

In a recent WDW MK parade, we witnessed Donald accidentally smack Stitch in the head.  We wouldn't expect Stitch to start choking Donald, although that would liven up the parade.  We expect characters to be pretty disciplined, so this apparent rabbit meltdown is a puzzle.  I guess you don't tug on Superman's cape or pull the White Rabbit's tail.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Disney Springs Downtown

According to this post on parkrumors.com, Disney is planning a major renovation of the Downtown Disney area at WDW.  The revamped area will be called Disney Springs, according to the post, and will consist of several "neighborhoods".  Disney has filed plans with the South Florida Water Management District to upgrade the groundwater infrastructure, as Phase I of the project.
The next phase of the plans is where it gets interesting. The Downtown Disney area as a whole will be re-branded into “Disney Springs”, which encompasses six distinct neighborhoods: The Gateway, The Town Center, The Springs, The Landing, The West Side, and The Village Marketplace. Each neighborhood will have its own distinct look and feel...
Some of the changes expected include a new parking garage and a new bridge to Saratoga Springs.  No date was given for the project.

Random WDW Picture

From HollidayWishes.

Zz.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The anti-blockbuster movie critic

To show that everyone is a critic, check out this posting on thedisneyblog.com for one person's opinion of where Disney is going wrong with its movies. 
John Carter is now considered one of the biggest movie blunders of all-time. You would think that Disney would start to stray away from big budget flicks for a little while, then work its way back up. Unfortunately…they went the opposite direction. Oz, coming out next month, has a $200 million budget. Let me repeat that, a $200 million budget. That is humongous. That means that Disney needs Alice In Wonderland/Iron Man/Batman numbers to make money. Now that is a risk.
 The big budget lineup for Spring 2013 includes Oz, Iron Man 3 and The Lone Ranger, the latter reportedly having a budget of around $300 million.  Turns out that John Carter was not the financial disaster that most people believe.  This posting in Box Office Mojo from March 2012 shows that the movie made $282 million worldwide vs. a budget of $250 million.  The film did very well in China,

So, given these numbers for what one could say was a weak and mis-marketed movie, Disney isn't taking such a big risk in making the blockbusters that are coming out.  They probably feel that if the movie is not so hot in the USA, there's the rest of the world to consider. Of course, we Disney movie goers would prefer to see good movies and not have to say "Oh well, at least it will be a big hit in China".

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Disney's strategy for MyMagic+

Disney's plans for the new MyMagic+ program are somewhat revealed in a patent application recently published by the Patent Office.  There is typically an 18 month lag time between the application and its public release. This article by Jack Burgin in Dis News (wdwinfo.com) talks in depth about Disney's apparent strategy.
The patent application provides a few more hints about Disney’s long-term thinking for MyMagic+, at least its thinking as of July 2011.  The application explains that MyMagic+ will be receiving “information from a guest, determining a guest strategy based on the information received from the guest, and generating a schedule for the guest visit based on the guest strategy. The schedule for the guest visit may include attendance at one or more experience areas.”  (“Experience area” means theme park, a resort hotel, golf course or spa.)
Before arriving at the theme park, the guest could “select the desired experiences areas and/or resort areas, as well as desired experiences for visits for visits on one day, or over multiple days.” The system would generate a schedule for experiences based on the input from the guest and various applicable “business rules” (more on this below).  The schedule is designed to sequence the experiences in a manner to optimize the guest’s route through the theme park.  Alternatively, the application contemplates guests creating “wish lists” of attractions and the system will generate one or more schedules.
The schedule can include appointments, which includes flexible return window appointments, or passes for the guest for each selected attraction for a time period or window of time. By having the schedule ahead of time, this avoids, Disney optimistically believes, guests “having to rush to an attraction to obtain one appointment or pass for a later time” while “minimizing the waiting time at each attraction and allowing the guest to take more time and enjoy the surrounding events, sights, shops, etc. as the guest follows the route.”
The article points out that the patent application does not mean that Disney is definitely going to do everything described.  It does give an interesting view into Disney's thinking behind the MyMagic+ program, which seems to be aimed at the one-time visitor who wants their park time pre-planned.  As the responses to the blog post point out, having your time at the parks on a schedule isn't going to help long lines.  This is mainly because there are a limited number of attractions and Disney is trying hard to get as many people into the parks as possible.  Having thousands of people on a schedule isn't likely to reduce the lines. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Harrison Ford To Be In Next Star Wars?

The rumor mill has been running rampant today with the possibility that Harrison Ford will reprise his role as Han Solo in the upcoming Episode 7 of the new Star Wars movie.

That's the report from Latino Review reporter Umberto “El Mayimbe” Gonzalez, who went on Fox News Latino to break the news that Ford had signed on to appear in the new "Star Wars" film. According to Gonzalez, the deal is "significant." HuffPost Entertainment has reached out to Ford's publicist for confirmation, but has not heard back.

As usual, there are zero confirmation being given by anyone. So I would simply file this as wishful-thinking rumor, but not out of the question.

It will certainly keep the Star Wars fanatic occupied till the movie comes out, very much like Apple fans hanging on to every single Apple rumors leading to an announcement.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Avatar Land update

This article at Guide2WDW has an interview with Disney chief Bob Iger, in which Iger stated that Avatar Land might not be opened until 2015. 
..."in all likelihood, we’re not going to open up Avatar Land until some time in 2015." Disney's CEO reported that the design work on the expansion to Animal Kingdom "is just beginning," which quieted online rumors that the project had been cancelled altogether. According to Iger, Walt Disney World guests might be able to visit the world of Pandora in just 3 years.
As a personal opinion, I continue to think Avatar Land could be a mistake.  It's too far from traditional Disney theming and, especially by 2015, will be based on a movie that will probably fade into obscurity.    Basing a new WDW Land on a movie like this has many potential problems and seems like a very odd idea for Disney.  You might point out that the Harry Potter attraction at Universal is based on movies, but Harry Potter is a mythic story of a hero's journey that is firmly embedded in modern culture and literature.  Can the same be said for Avatar?   But maybe Disney plans to go in a direction that ends up being interesting, positive and relevant. A Land that is inspired by some aspects of Avatar, but is not seemingly tied to the movie, might be a better approach.  The Imagineers could take some parts of Avatar and add their own touches to make it fit into Animal Kingdom.  We'll see what happens.

Monday, February 11, 2013

John Lasseter Talks About Monsters University Toys

I think I was more amused with John Lasseter's enthusiasms about the toys than I was with the toys themselves! :)



Zz.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Funny T-shirt

Found this shirt depicting Candace, Phineas and Ferb trying to get Perry to bring them the key. Just like the scene in Pirates. The shirt seems to be only in kid sizes now.

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Ferry boats near sunset

Two Magic Kingdom ferries cross with the Contemporary in the background.

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GF DVC

This photo shows the new DVC addition to the Grand Floridian.

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Friday, February 08, 2013

Random Disney Picture

"He'll trade two of his for one of yours. Either way, you'll come out a-head."


This one was actually from the original attraction at Disneyland, CA.

Zz.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

MyMagic+ update

As of early February 2013, WDW is rolling out parts of the new MyMagic+ system.  The new payment pads are installed most everywhere, even at Earl of Sandwich which, by the way, means that Earl's is taking Disney room cards now.  A couple of places didn't have their pads in operation yet as of this date and a few were having problems.  However, these pads are soon going to be in use for payment everywhere in WDW.

To pay for something you touch your card to the Mickey icon on the pad, then punch in your pin number (you create a pin at resort check-in if you are staying on property). Comments on the new pads... Punching in your pin number is not very secure.  The pads are sitting on the counter and it would be fairly easy for someone standing nearby to see what number you are entering.  But someone would need the card or the information on it to start charging to your account. If you pay with a credit card, the new pads have a slot for the card and the transaction proceeds as before.

At Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom, as of this date, pass holders needed to use one of the few turnstiles that have not been converted to the touch-pad system.  Regular ticket holders still use a finger scan along with the ticket and no pin number is used for park entry.  At some point, it would seem that pass holders will need to get new cards as it seems unlikely that Disney is going to have two entry systems for very long.

There isn't any real information at this point on how the wrist bands will be used.  The current cards must be touched to the payment pad, but will the wrist bands be scannable at a distance?  There isn't enough public information yet to be sure.  Ordinary RFID scanning could present some security issues, especially if/ when people take the wrist bands out of WDW.  The level of security issues depends on what exactly is coded into the bands and how easy it would be to scan them, and that information doesn't seem to be available.

Donald simmering again

Donald is thinking this is pushing his friendship with Mickey & Mickey too far - or maybe it's pulling it too far.

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VM assembly line

Finally found where they crank out the Vinylmations at D-Street.

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Boba Fett and Han Solo Movies?

The internet is buzzing with news out of Entertainment Weekly that, along with sequels to the Star Wars movies, Disney is also planning on developing parallel movies on two of the Star Wars characters - Boba Fett and Han Solo.

Entertainment Weekly has learned details on two of the spin-off projects: A young Han Solo saga, focusing on the wisecracking smuggler’s origin story, and a bounty hunter adventure with Boba Fett at the center of a rogue’s gallery of galactic scum.

The Han Solo story would take place in the time period between Revenge of the Sith and the first Star Wars (now known as A New Hope), so although it’s possible Harrison Ford could appear as a framing device, the movie would require a new actor for the lead — one presumably much younger than even the 35-year-old Ford when he appeared in the 1977 original.

The Boba Fett film would take place either between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, or between Empire and Jedi, where the bounty hunter was last seen plunging unceremoniously into a sarlacc pit. Exactly who would play him isn’t much of a complication – in the original trilogy, he never took off his helmet. And in the prequels, we learned he was the son of the original stormtrooper clone, played by Temuera Morrison, who’s still the right age for the part if his services were required.
I smell franchise!

:)

Zz.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Donald And American Idol

Donald is auditioning for American Idol at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

I wonder if he is going to perform Dueling Quackers?



Zz.

New pin pad colors

Here's one of the new Mickey pin pads - in black. How many colors are there?

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Monday, February 04, 2013

This Couple Really, Really Loves Disney

Hey, if you can swing it, why not?

This couple loved Disney so much, they threw a Disney-themed wedding. The bride dressed as Ariel from the Little Mermaid. See their photos at the link.

Zz.

Where in WDW is this?

Be as specific as possible.

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Sunset over Bay Lake

Just after sunset on Bay Lake, from Ft. Wilderness.

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New payment pads

WDW is rolling out new payment pads in the stores. You touch your room card to the pad and enter a pin that you created at resort check-in.

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Pin trading life preserver

The pin trading board at Old Key West has a more nautical look.

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