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.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Disney's strategy vs the competition 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 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.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Magic Kingdom attendance is up

DIS News has this post about theme park attendance in North America. No surprise to anyone, attendance at Magic Kingdom at WDW is up 6%.
The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World topped the chart, with a 6 percent increase, up to 18 and a half million visitors. Universal Studios Florida had one of the largest increases in traffic, with a 14 percent jump in visitors bringing them to just over seven million.
Tokyo Disneyland was 2nd in attendance increase, followed by Disneyland. Sea World saw a decrease in attendance, probably due to recent bad publicity.  The full list is in the post.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Larsen on Maleficent and good curse design

Some critics liked Maleficent, as this review from J. Larsen at shows.

Spoiler alert, if you haven't seen the movie yet.

 Many critics panned the movie but this seems to be one of those movies that critics generally don't like but regular people do.  Having just seen the movie I thought it was better than expected, and had many good scenes.  Of course Angelina Jolie is very good, and the story of why she turned evil, and eventually softened, at least makes sense from a story-telling point of view.  Much like Wicked, where the theme was "it's not easy being green", Maleficent's motivation for turning evil was the loss of her wings.  Disney fans might not like the softer Maleficent but it works in the movie because she starts out that way.

An interesting plot twist was when Maleficent tried to remove the curse she put on Aurora 16 years earlier.   She could not remove the curse because it came with the clause "no power on Earth can remove it" -surprisingly this included Maleficent.  This shows why you should design curses that have a back door.  This non-revokable clause led to the ferocious ending where Maleficent had to go to the castle with an unconscious Prince Charming in tow.  Because they couldn't remember the king's instruction, the pixies brought Aurora back to the castle on her 16th birthday, one day too soon.  This led to Aurora finding a spinning wheel, despite the king's earlier order to destroy them all, and pricking her finger. This seems to say that the curse was arranging events so it would work. If the pixies kept Aurora away from the castle for one more day, would the curse just expire?  I would guess that a non-revokable curse like that will find a way to work.  Maybe an elf would suddenly deliver a spinning wheel to the cottage.  Another interesting twist - PC's kiss to wake up Aurora didn't work either.  But something did work and that is left to the movie-goer to find out.

Random WDW Picture

Dancing on Main Street, USA.


Monday, June 02, 2014

Cameron on Avatar Land

DIS News reports on comments made by James Cameron on the planned Avatar Land at DAK.
Cameron spoke at the Los Angeles Times Hero Complex Film Festival on May 31 and said of the project, "It's going to be called, I believe, 'Pandora: The Land of Avatar'."
It's really just a place you're gonna wanna go and hang out. It's gonna be gorgeous. Of course it's gonna be gorgeous at night and they're using every new trick, every new bit of technology that they've created.
Opening of the new Land is scheduled for 2017.

Maleficient, according to some

DIS News posted this review of the movie Maleficient and it's obvious from the title of the blog post that the authors did not care much for the movie.

The review liked the music score, Angelina Jolie's acting and the CG landscapes.  But it was downhill from there. According to the review, the script was weak, the acting "embarassing", and the dialogue "cringe-worthy" at times. 

But possibly the worst thing about the movie is that it tried to make Maleficient into a softer, non-villain.  As the review points out, people love the Disney villains for what they are- basically evil, not someone with a difficult past that makes them a little annoying.

“Maleficent takes the quintessential Disney villain character and turns her into a weak protagonist in a film full of atrocious acting and decrepit dialogue.” - See more at:
“Maleficent takes the quintessential Disney villain character and turns her into a weak protagonist in a film full of atrocious acting and decrepit dialogue.” - See more at:

Random WDW Picture

Saw this gentleman staring at the crocks during our Safari ride. He was probably in the middle of his Wild Africa Trek tour, something that we would like to do one of these days.