Saturday, March 30, 2013

Disney pushing for Florida ticket law changes

Disney is looking for changes to the Florida ticket law to cover the new wristbands in the MyMagic+ system. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Disney wants to have their new electronic ticket/payment/room key system protected under the law.

Walt Disney World has spent close to $1 billion developing its "MyMagic+" system, which includes replacing conventional tickets with wireless-transmitting wristbands that serve as all-in-one park passes, room keys and credit cards.
Now Disney wants to make sure those "MagicBands" are protected by Florida law.
The giant resort is lobbying the Florida Legislature this spring to rewrite the state's ticket laws to cover its new bracelets, which Disney hopes will revolutionize the theme-park experience for visitors — and become a lucrative new source of souvenirs.
The changes Disney is after include the "non-transferable" law...
It would make another subtle change as well. Right now, it is illegal to resell or transfer a multiuse theme-park pass to someone else after it has been used at least once — but only as long as a phrase such as "nontransferable; must be used by the same person on all days" is printed somewhere on the pass.
The bill would flip that. Instead, it would be illegal to resell any such pass, unless the ticket or venue owner's website clearly say the pass may be used by more than one person.
 This is obviously being done to avoid having to print the warning on the wristbands, or other electronic device that might be used in the future.  So this is a big, expensive and complex system and it will be interesting to see if there are any unwanted side effects. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Doofenschmirtz replacing Figment?

Rumor warning.  WDWMagic.com forums has this thread discussing the possibility that Dr. Doofenschmirtz might become the central character in a revamped Journey Into Imagination at EPCOT. The thread and responses begins with this...
One of my friends is a Disney Ambassador, and he said top-execs were walking around Imagination! in Epcot the other day. He told me there is the potential for the Imagination! pavilion being re-vamped/re-done again to reflect Heinz Doofenschmirtz as the central figure of the ride- using both his elaborately bad "inators" and real education to provide a new ride opportunity for guests.
 This would probably mean no more Figment, which would make many people very unhappy.  If this becomes reality, does it show that Disney is not interested in doing something really original in the parks?    We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Internet Marketing of Disney Theme Parks - An Analysis of Gender and Race

It's been a while since I posted a Disney-related academic papers/research on here. So it's about time to post another one.

This one examines the online marketing of Disney theme parks:

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to analyze the portrayal of gender and race in the images on the official Disney websites used to market five theme parks: the Disneyland Parks in California, Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, and the Magic Kingdom in Florida. This is important because of the growth of e-commerce, Disney’s global influence, and the potential impact on those who view the images. The 452 images that had Disney human characters, human-like characters, animals, cast members, or guests were coded for gender. The main gender hypothesis, that the percentage of male-dominated images would exceed the percentage of female-dominated images, was tested using gender disparity values, which measured the gap between the percentage of male-dominated and female-dominated images. The hypothesis tended to be supported overall, and for most of the resorts (e.g., Florida), lands (e.g., Adventureland), and activities (attractions, entertainment, dining) for human characters, human-like characters, animals, and cast members, but not for guests. Furthermore, the hypotheses that gender disparity values would be highest for images of animals and lowest for images of guests was supported for all five resorts, six of eight lands, and all three activities. Additional analysis also revealed the preponderance of same-sex pairings in parent–child combinations in the images. With regard to race, while the images of some theme parks displayed more racial diversity among their guests than others, in some images, individuals of different races were shown interacting whereas in others they were not. Explanations for these findings and suggestions for future research are discussed. 

The paper is open-access, so you can download it and read it for yourself.

Zz.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Magic Kingdom closed due to reaching capacity

This post on WDWMagic.com reports that the Magic Kingdom was closed to some guests 2 days in a row after reaching capacity.  The park was in a "phase 3" closed condition, which is explained in this link.

It would be interesting to find out what Disney considers "capacity" at MK.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fastpass+ discussion

Follow this link to a WDWMagic.com forum thread in which the topic is the new Fastpass+ system. As you probably know, this system allows people to reserve Fastpasses several months in advance of their visit to WDW, and this has generated a lot of different opinions.  This particular thread starts out by someone posting about a lead designer of the FP+ system giving a talk at a University of Florida product design class...
One of the most interesting points he touched upon was just why Disney has decided to implement this program and allow Fastpasses to be reserved so far in advanced. The reason? Parents who were surveyed about their experience and perception of the Disney Parks "overwhelmingly" said that it was "the most terrifying experience of their life." These are the words he used, unaltered. Parents said this because they know they will have to split up their family in a park of thousands, having people do other things while Mom gets Fastpasses and Dad goes to wait in line to get something to eat with the kids. This creates a vacation of nothing but stress, and Disney (World, more than anywhere else) has been in a sort of crisis-mode trying to figure out just how to handle this. Thus, the implementation of My Disney Experience, Fastpass+, and Dining programs which allows you to have things planned far in advanced, thus allowing the family to stay together.
So this kicked off many pages of discussion which makes for interesting reading.  There's something odd about the above quote, namely that families splitting up is their decision and not a requirement.  Families can (and do) wait while one member gets all the Fastpasses, and this generally only takes a few minutes.  The idea of having to split up while someone gets the Fastpasses seems puzzling, especially if this causes a lot of stress.

 There's a bigger picture here, which may be partly explained by people's expectations of WDW if they are making the "trip of a lifetime" and think they have to make every minute count, as opposed to the way veterans of WDW approach it.  Even so, if many people find going to WDW "terrifying", this points to other factors that have little to do with Fastpasses.  You can form your own opinion of what these other factors might be.




Thursday, March 21, 2013

Star Wars survey

Disney has sent out an online survey related to Star Wars.  The survey asks many questions about favorite characters, favorite series, and whether you think there should be a Stars Wars Land at WDW.  Disney seems to be actively considering such a thing.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

DVC price increases

DVCNews.com reports that a "massive" price increase will go into effect in mid-March.  The cost per point is going up for almost all Vacation Club resorts.  Bay Lake remains unchanged at the current $165/point cost. The people who bought a lot of points when DVC was new in the 90's are certainly glad they did it.  Some of the costs per point have doubled since the beginning.

Random WDW Picture

Illuminations at World Showcase.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

After Ever After

Have you ever wondered what happened to those Disney princesses after dream came true and they lived happily ever after? Well, this very creative video tells the story of 4 of them after ever after.




{Thanks to Erica for finding the video}

Zz.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Biggest Disney nerd?

The Orlando Sentinel has this story about George Taylor, a man who is possibly the biggest Disney nerd. 
...if this amiable Kernersville man isn't the biggest Disney nerd on the planet, he's a threat to steal the crown any day now. Who else do you know that collects not only Disney-related books -- he's believed to have the largest private collection of Disney books in the world -- but also Disney park maps, coffee mugs, neckties and even napkins?
Taylor also writes columns and reviews for MiceChat, one of the most popular Disney-related websites on the Internet, and co-hosts a video/podcast called "Communicore Weekly," which also focuses on all things Disney. On iTunes, the 15- to 20-minute show has been downloaded as many as 120,000 times a month, making it one of the most popular Disney podcasts available, Taylor says .
George and his brother Andrew created this blog  called Imageinerding.com.  But the biggest Disney nerd? The group I'm familiar with might take this as a challenge.

WDW Annual pass RFID conversion

Orlando Attractions Magazine reports that annual passes are beginning to be converted to new plastic cards with embedded RFID chips.  New and renewed passes will be issued in the new format.
Passholders have been told they will find out how they will be able to get a MagicBand, which replaces their pass, in the coming months. Since these new plastic passes are being rolled out now, that may mean the MagicBands have been delayed until later in the year.
Current Disney annual passholders who want to trade in their paper pass for a plastic one may do so by bringing their pass and a photo ID to the Odyssey building at Epcot between March 20 and May 19. This is voluntary. The paper passes will continue to work. But new passholders and those renewing will be given the plastic passes starting on March 20.

Downtown Disney's "Disney Spring"

Here is the video of the announcement and the plan for Disney Spring.



Zz.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Magic's Magic helps feed the magic

Now here's an interesting story that helps make a catchy post title.  According to this post at DisBoards.com, a company partly owned by Magic Johnson, Sodexo Magic, will be running the cast member cafeterias at WDW.  There should be a lot of dunking from now on.

Shanghai Disneyland to have biggest castle

Shanghai Disneyland's castle will be the biggest of all the theme parks, according to this story at InsideTheMagic.com. 
At The Walt Disney Company Annual Meeting of Shareholders today Disney CEO Bob Iger debuted a first look at a new 3D model of Shanghai Disneyland, featuring Disney’s biggest-ever theme park castle called the Enchanted Storybook Castle, which will feature a ride inside.
The new park is scheduled to open toward the end of 2015.

Random WDW Picture

The Castle.

I kinda like this photo because you get to see the silhouette of the Partners statue against the Castle.

Zz.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mr. "the Frog" and "Planes"

 Among the new Disney movies scheduled to be released in the next year are:  the new Muppets movie and "Planes".

Titled "The Muppets...Again!", Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang will appear in their new movie scheduled to be released March 2014.  This story at Inside the Magic.com talks about the movie, which will star Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais. The plot includes the "World's Number One Criminal" who happens to look exactly like Kermit.
Disney’s “The Muppets …Again!” takes the entire Muppets gang on a global tour, selling out grand theaters in some of Europe’s most exciting destinations, including Berlin, Madrid and London. But mayhem follows the Muppets overseas...
Said Kermit the Frog, “This movie takes us places we’ve never been before. And trust me—this frog has never seen so much international flavor. I think audiences will eat it up—the entertainment, that is.”
 See this post for a brief story on the new movie "Planes", which has been keeping a very low profile since early previews came out some time ago.  The movie is supposed to be released August 2013.
Though the film has a distinctly Pixar look, Pixar is not involved in its production. Instead, DisneyToon Studios is responsible for its creation, best known for its direct-to-video sequels of Disney classics.

Random WDW Picture

I was going through some of my old photos and came across this that I had forgotten from 2005. It was GayDays at the Magic Kingdom of that year and I was walking around a group of people taking a photo of themselves in Fantasyland. I don't know them, they don't know me. But I couldn't pass by the hilarious sight and had to stop and snap a photo of them. They were sporting enough to even pose and look my way, as you can tell in the shot.

Ah, that was such a fun and festive day!

Zz.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Disney Commissioned Imagineeing Documentary

I would stand in line to see this.

Disney has commissioned a documentary on its very own Imagineering division.

Leslie Iwerks, granddaughter of Mickey Mouse co-creator Ub Iwerks, has started work on a Disney-commissioned documentary about its Imagineering division.
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Iwerks said she’s been pleased at the level of access, noting, “They gave me the keys to the kingdom.”

It is supposed to be released in 2016. No word yet if this is going to be a theatrical release or direct to TV.

Zz.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Shanghai Disneyland To Open In Late 2015

Book your trip now. Shanghai Disneyland to open in late 2015.

The Shanghai Disney Resort will feature a Shanghai Disneyland park, two hotels, a 46,000-square-meter retail, dining and entertainment venue, recreational facilities, a lake plus parking and transport hubs, Forbes reports. Shanghai's Cinderella Castle will be the largest and tallest of all the Disney castles.
Now, let's see if they have enough attractions when they open to satisfy the guest and not repeat the same mistakes they made with Hong Kong Disneyland.

Zz.

Rapunzel Restroom

Where else other than at a Disney theme park can a restroom gets such a coverage!

Two separate videos cover the newly-opened Rapunzel tower, which is a new restroom in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom.



Zz.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Festival of the Lion King theater construction

WDWMagic.com reports that an informed source says the Festival of the Lion King show will be moving to a newly constructed theater in Africa.  This relates to Avatar Land since the area in Camp Minnie Mickey now occupied by the FOTLK show is apparently needed for the new Land.
The popular live show is expected to continue in its current location until the new theater is ready. The 'Wild Africa Trek' check-in location was relocated earlier this week, in another step to freeing up the space required behind Tusker House and the Dawa Bar.
 The move has not yet been confirmed by Disney, and as such, should be treated as speculation at this point.
It makes sense to have the Lion King show in Africa, and this seems to be another step toward Avatar Land.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

New Interactive Queue Line At Thunder Mountain Railroad

We have a video of the new interactive activity in the queue line at MK's Thunder Mountain Railroad.



This is all fine and dandy, but have they made sure everyone on the ride itself is working? Last time I was on this, the cave walls during the last climb were not moving, and several other things were not working. Have they made sure those things that are supposed to work are running, before they add more bells and whistles to the attraction? I can also see these new things breaking down and requiring maintenance, and get neglected.

Zz.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Important date for Figment fans

March 5, 2013 is the 30th anniversary of the opening of Journey into Imagination at EPCOT.  This story at Disney Parks Blog talks about the attraction and its history.
Today in Disney history is a biggie for fans of early Epcot history. On March 5, 1983, the original Journey Into Imagination attraction debuted in FutureWorld at Epcot, introducing guests to Dreamfinder, Figment and a lovely little song titled “One Little Spark.”
The attraction has changed twice since 1983, with the current version  beginning in 2002.  Many fans think the original version, with Dreamfinder's "ship" and the rainbow maze, was the best.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Vinylmation update

If you are interested in Vinylmations check out Steven Miller's post on the Disney Parks Blog, talking about the person now in charge of Vinylmations, Julie Young, and the direction that the little figures may be taking.  Julie has spent over 10 years with pins and was partly responsible for hiring Steven as trading manager. Steven interviewed Julie in her new role...
What are some of the changes that Vinylmation fans can expect to see?

Julie: “Vinylmation, like Disney pins, has a strong and passionate fan base. We heard from fans about what they would like to see with Vinylmation. To many, it’s all about the collectability and rarity of figures. We also know that the thrill of the chase is a critical part of the experience. You will see us focus more on mystery boxes and focus less on open edition figures. We will be trying new things that we hope will keep things exciting, such as eight-figure mystery series that will make completing sets easier.”
 See the blog post for the full interview.  The Vinylmation segment of Disney collectibles seemed to some people as somewhat drifting lately.  Not sure if the emphasis on mystery boxes is a good thing or not.  Let's see how things develop in the next few months.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Oz, the Great and Powerful, or not

The new Disney movie Oz, the Great and Powerful is set to open about a week after this post.  The early critical reviews are anything but great and powerful.  Here are two typical examples:  W.L. Swarts posted this review on his blog, and the Hollywood Reporter has this to say about the movie.  Other early reviews can been seen at IMDB.com.

The Hollywood Reporter sees James Franco as "fatally miscast" as the lead character and mentioned that Robert Downey Jr. was the original pick for the role. These quotes pretty much sum up their opinion of the movie...
Very quickly, the disappointments begin accumulating
Quite the opposite of the great earlier film, the Oz here is a dull place to be
 Swarts also panned the movie, saying it is oddly similar to Alice in Wonderland...
Oz The Great And Powerful is not unenjoyable, but it is thoroughly obvious and it is, at best, a popcorn movie that seeks to entertain and overwhelm as opposed to telling a story that is worthwhile or compelling.
Swarts also had an interesting comment in his review, namely that Disney's large fanbase will make the movie a hit despite its shortcomings.  That didn't seem to work for John Carter or Mars needs Moms.  So, we'll see what us regular people have to say once they have seen the movie. 

Friday, March 01, 2013

Remy in Paris

Disney Parks Blog reports that Remy will have his own attraction at Disneyland Paris in 2014.  The attraction will be based on the movie Ratatouille, and will tell the story of Remy's quest to become a chef.

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This new family-focused attraction will open at the resort’s Walt Disney Studios Park in 2014. The film tells the tale of Remy, a cuisine-loving rat, who dreams of becoming a talented French chef. According to Gas, Disneyland Paris is the perfect setting for such an attraction: - See more at: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2013/03/ratatouille-themed-attraction-set-to-open-at-disneyland-paris-in-2014/#sthash.kZWCTnO0.dpuf
This new family-focused attraction will open at the resort’s Walt Disney Studios Park in 2014. The film tells the tale of Remy, a cuisine-loving rat, who dreams of becoming a talented French chef. According to Gas, Disneyland Paris is the perfect setting for such an attraction: - See more at: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2013/03/ratatouille-themed-attraction-set-to-open-at-disneyland-paris-in-2014/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DisneyParks+%28Disney+Parks+Blog%29#sthash.xGHv3xy8.dpuf
“By developing this new ‘Ratatouille’ attraction, we continue to ensure our guests can experience their favorite Disney stories in memorable ways that only Disney can provide,” he said. “The theme, which is very fran├žais, is a tribute to the capital and the unforgettable characters that make ‘Ratatouille’ the ideal choice for an attraction that fits perfectly at Disneyland Paris.” - See more at: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2013/03/ratatouille-themed-attraction-set-to-open-at-disneyland-paris-in-2014/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DisneyParks+%28Disney+Parks+Blog%29#sthash.xGHv3xy8.dpuf