Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Duck looking for friends

The ones who didn't make it to the top .

Kermit or somebody

Seen on a French wanted poster.

Rafiki and Simba

Rafiki is using poor Simba as an umbrella.

Kermie and Miss P

Just hanging out in the rain.

Donald admiring - himself

Don likes the statue they made to thank him for his work on the Flower and Garden show.

Don having a snack

The Duck is about to have a snack at the Smokehouse by the American pavilion. This is a pork slider with bacon cupcake. Don wonders if Miss Piggy knows what they are serving at this place .

Sorry Donald

Our Duck misread the sign and thought this place was all about him.  Maybe he needs glasses .

Pin Station sells Magic Bands

Half the inside wall space now used for Magic Bands.

Goofy looking for butterflies ,


Donald and Goofy greet people at EPCOT.

Donald at Old Key West

Our Duck is enjoying the view at Turtle Pond. He's wondering where are all the tree frogs that were so loud last night. A duck couldn't hear himself quack.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sarah Hyland Is a Disney Freak

Actress Sarah Hyland confesses on David Letterman that she is a Disney freak and a pin trader.

(Thanks to Wally for the link)


Thursday, April 24, 2014

MyMagic+ adds extra Fastpass selection

DisneyParks Blog reports that visitors soon will be able to add Fastpass selections beyond the three per day now available, and be able to get the extras at other parks.
So starting Monday, after guests have used their first three FastPass+ selections, they will be able to select another one at one of the kiosks located in each of our WDW parks. When they’ve used that one, they’ll be able to select another, and so on, ultimately providing guests with even more ways to customize their Walt Disney World Vacation. Guests will also be able to select and use their additional FastPass+ entitlements when they hop from park to park.
Adding park hopping Fastpass ability removes a limitation that annoyed many people.  Using kiosks to add extra Fastpasses may be a temporary fix until the My Disney Experience app is updated to allow this.  At least that is what should happen.  One has to wonder why the system was initially setup to limit Fastpass selection to a single park per day.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Disney sued again for disability access

Dis News has this article about a new lawsuit claiming Disney is violating the ADA with its new Disability Access Program at DLR and WDW.  The new program was implemented as a result of complaints that certain individuals were "hiring" disabled people to help them get through the lines faster.  The suit complains that the new program discriminates against people with "cognitive impairments" by not guaranteeing immediate access to attractions.

However, as the article points out, the ADA requires equal opportunity on a reasonable basis.  The suit states that cognitively impaired guests require "near immediate" access to attractions, even while everyone else waits in line.  The recent judgement in the Segway lawsuit stated that Disney is not required to provide full and equal access to disabled persons, only that reasonable accommodations be made. So this will no doubt grind through the court system and more news about it might appear in a few months.
The plaintiffs’  primary complaint is that, while GAC delivered immediate access, DAS assigns a return time for each attraction but that returning at this time will not guarantee immediate access.  Even so, the complaint incongruously states that the plaintiffs are not looking for “priority” access but, in the same sentence, says the plaintiffs “have a special need for near-immediate access.” - See more at:
The plaintiffs’  primary complaint is that, while GAC delivered immediate access, DAS assigns a return time for each attraction but that returning at this time will not guarantee immediate access.  Even so, the complaint incongruously states that the plaintiffs are not looking for “priority” access but, in the same sentence, says the plaintiffs “have a special need for near-immediate access.” - See more at:
The plaintiffs’  primary complaint is that, while GAC delivered immediate access, DAS assigns a return time for each attraction but that returning at this time will not guarantee immediate access.  Even so, the complaint incongruously states that the plaintiffs are not looking for “priority” access but, in the same sentence, says the plaintiffs “have a special need for near-immediate access.” - See more at:
The plaintiffs’  primary complaint is that, while GAC delivered immediate access, DAS assigns a return time for each attraction but that returning at this time will not guarantee immediate access.  Even so, the complaint incongruously states that the plaintiffs are not looking for “priority” access but, in the same sentence, says the plaintiffs “have a special need for near-immediate access.” - See more at:

Disneyland restaurant awards

Dis News reports that food critics in Southern California have given various awards to several DLR restaurants, in the parks and hotels. Some of the restaurants on the list include Steakhouse 55, Napa Rose and Blue Bayou.  Even Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel was given 3 stars.  Many people feel that DLR has better food than WDW and these awards help support that opinion.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hallmark's 2014 Dream Book Catalog

If you collect Hallmark's Disney ornaments, then their Dream Book catalog is something you look forward to every year. The 2014 catalog is about to be released, but you can find it already online.

The regular Disney ornaments are listed on Pg. 38, 39 (how quickly do you think the Olaf ornament will be sold out?), 55, 56, 57, 58, and 59. But look further. On Pg. 86 is a separate set of ornaments that will be released gradually, starting in July 2014 and goes into July 2015! So the entire set will be released for a period of about a year!

What they are not showing in the catalog is an ornament stand the shape of Mickey's head that was made to hang all of this ornaments set. The list price for the ornament stand is $49.95. However, upon my conversation with the owner of a Hallmark store near us, I was told that during the initial release of the set, this stand will be on sale for 50% off!

So if you collect Hallmark Disney ornaments, consider yourself warned!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Epcot's "After Hours Wind Down"

Read this on the Disney Food Blog. It seems that they are introducing some late night munchies at Epcot after the end of Illuminations!

After you enjoy Illuminations over World Showcase Lagoon (yep — AFTER the park closes!), purchase a ticket and choose from four of World Showcase’s hottest spots for drinks and small plates! (We’ve got a sample menu for you at the bottom of this post, so keep reading!)
This is a hard ticketed event. The price for admission to Epcot After Hours Wind Down is $35 per guest, and entitles the guest to one beverage and a selection of light snacks. Tax and gratuity are not included in the cost.

After guests enjoy their included tasting, they’re free to stick around and enjoy the venue until 11 p.m.

You know what? This actually sound rather enticing! I'm going to look into this and see if we will have time to do this on our upcoming trip.


Wednesday, April 09, 2014

My Magic comments

A long article by Tim Grassey at talks about the strategy behind the MyMagic+ system and how it represents a change in thinking by Disney executives compared to several years ago. Tim goes into great detail with major developments and WDW and year to year attendance figures.  The premise of the article is that Disney is on a long road to failure with the new system which, like many other developments, is intended to keep people at the parks and spend more money.  Rather than invest in new attractions as Universal is doing, Disney is reportedly spending over $1.5 billion on this technology to keep people from going off property.   
For 35 years, Disney World had steady organic growth generated largely by continued reinvestment into the parks themselves. However since Expedition Everest debuted in 2006, Disney has failed to innovate in Central Florida. Financiers have taken over the company from the creative minds that made it great.
Led by Iger and now CFO Jay Rasulo, the company has sacrificed guest satisfaction in favor of getting the most money out of a guest on their current trip. This shortsightedness sacrifices future profits for current cash flow. In Disney’s eyes there will always be a new crop of guests to replace those they lose. Repeat visitors aren’t as profitable as the first timer. Every corporate decision is made with the next quarter’s balance sheet in mind while five, ten and twenty year plans are seemingly non-existent.
Strip mining Walt Disney World is not a long term plan, and it’s one that will eventually catch up with those doing the mining. There are no diamonds left to uncover, no matter how many Dwarfs are sent to look for them.
The article is obviously highly critical of Disney's current strategy.  According to the article, Disney is trying to avoid getting into an attraction war with other theme parks and get people to spend more money instead.  But this may be a losing strategy as the novelty wears off and the supply of first time guests starts to decline. The problems will be more obvious if the MyMagic+ system fails to generate enough revenue to compensate for the replacement and upgrade of the technological components.  Then Disney will have sunk over $1.5 billion (pun intended) into technology without having new attractions to attract people. 

Friday, April 04, 2014

Polynesian Resort DVC water bungalows

This article at shows many photos of the construction of the new DVC water bungalows at the Polynesian Resort. These are somewhat similar to the Treehouse Villas, except for being on stilts over the water.  Disney is apparently trying to capture the popular conception of life in Polynesia. 

The Bob Iger Legacy

Back in 2011, Disney announced that Iger intends to step down as the CEO of the Walt Disney Company in 2015, which is a year away. I mentioned in a blog on this news that I consider his tenure as the CEO of the company to be an extremely successful one. I admire him greatly in what he had accomplished, especially during some of the toughest years financially during the economic crash of 2008/2009.

I was reading some articles online on the company when I started to think of what his legacy will be when he leaves his CEO post. Even though it is a year away, and he might still pull another big announcement out of his hat, I decided to list what I, as a Disney fan, consider to be Iger's lasting legacy to the Walt Disney Company.

1. Diffusing the tension with Roy Disney.

This was one of his first major accomplishment. Regardless of whether Roy Disney was still in the company or not (he was ousted as a board member by Eisner), Roy Disney still has a great influence, especially as a "spiritual leader" of the Disney philosophy. Along with Stanley Gold, the movement to "Save Disney" via the website was gaining traction, and was a black mark against the company. Iger was able to diffuse the bad blood that was boiling around the company and was able to bring Roy Disney back. To me, this was the first and necessary step to repair the Disney company image and morale.

2. Bringing back the Walt Disney Animation Studios

This was the biggest surprise and disappointment out of the Eisner administration. Even if this part of the company was not doing well at that time in terms of box office performance, there is such an emotional and historical attachment to this part of the company that, in essence, started it all that it practically sealed Eisner doomed future with the company. Iger's decision to bring it back, and to nurse it to life under the leadership of Ed Catmull and John Lasseter was soundly applauded, and now, with the success of "Frozen", that division of the company has arrived and well-worth the effort!

3. Getting back Oswald

The company "traded Al Michaels to NBC/Universal" to get back Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Financially, this isn't a big financial advantage, but this shows that Iger isn't just someone who focuses on the bottom line. He also paid attention to the history of the company, and getting Oswald back to the Walt Disney company was the right thing to do. Certainly, it must have endeared him to Diane Disney Miller (I'm guessing) for bringing back one of her father's earliest creations.

4. Bought Pixar

This was the first major acquisition by Iger, and it was a brilliant move. He rebuilt the bridge with Steve Jobs, and managed to acquire Pixar to ensure a continuing supply of not only amazing movies, but also characters that fuel Disney's theme parks, merchandise, and other parts of the company. It is now very hard to not think of Disney and Pixar being together.

5. Bought Marvel

Now I have to admit that this came out of nowhere for me. I didn't see this one coming. But now, after all the blow-out success of the Marvel universe, and the potential for non-stop merchandise and theme parks tie-in, I can see myself saying "why, of course!" So this was definitely a blockbuster acquisition.

6. Bought Star Wars

While this was unexpected, it was not a surprise. After all, Star Wars attractions and Star Wars Weekend are already established at the theme parks. What was unexpected was George Lucas giving it up. But I suppose, if he wants to give it up, Disney is the most logical place that he would sell it to.

7. Shanghai Disneyland

Even though Iger opened Hong Kong Disneyland, the plan for that theme park were in place before he took over the company. Shanghai Disneyland, on the other hand, should be all his, and I expect that he will be there at the grand opening next year. This will seal the deal in Disney's continued attempt to establish the brand in China.

8. Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy

The decision to add two more ships to the Disney fleet was huge, both figuratively and literally. These are humongous ships, almost 50% larger than the older two ships. It was a bold move, especially since they both went into service during the economic slowdown, to established the Disney Cruise line even more.

9. Aulani

This is only the 3rd Disney resort outside of the existing Disney resort area (the other two being Vero Beach and Hilton Head). It not only expanded the Disney resort area, but also expanded the DVC arm into new territories.

10. Revamping Disney's California Adventure.

This was clearly one of the best moves ever because DCA has now become not just a park to go when Disneyland is packed. Carsland is clearly a hit, and while it took $1.2 billion to rectify this Eisner's mistake, it was worth every cent.

There is still at least a year left in Iger's tenure, and he could easily pull out another surprise, but as of now, I consider these to be the biggest legacy he will leave behind with the Company. The Walt Disney Company is in a much strong position now, both financially and in its future outlook. Whoever the next CEO of the company will be, he/she has huge shoes to fill.


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Disney vs Dead Mouse has this article about a possible trademark action by Disney against Joel Zimmerman, who goes by the stage name of  Deadmau5 - pronounced "Dead Mouse".  Zimmerman has applied to the Trademark Office for a mark to appear on a wide variety of products, but the mark looks a lot like a certain mouse we all know. 
Disney could potentially argue that the Deadmau5 mark is misleading and will confuse the source of goods and services. Disney has requested and been granted 90 days to investigate the claim and file a notice of opposition.
One of the issues will be whether the consumer could confuse products bearing Mickey's likeness with products carrying the Deadmau5 logo.