Disneyworld 2016!

dont take this the wrong way, but Disneyworld, Bitches! 

 

NY Times: Disney controlling lines with (gasp) technology!

Disney Tackles Major Theme Park Problem: Lines

An underground high-tech nerve center at Disney World addresses the most low-tech of problems: long waits.

http://nyti.ms/gvNsmz

Is Guy Laliberté the Walt Disney of our times?

There’s a Youtube movement afoot to use Disney short animated films mashed up with modern soundtracks to create fantastical animated shorts that have psychedelic feelings- as the blog I found them from ( Broke Hoedown, via The Disney Blog)– “it’s like Cirque du Soleil but with Disney cartoons.” Right on! The Pink Floyd one is particularly trippy and really great.

Guy Laliberte
Guy LaLiberte
Walt Disney
Walt Disney

That quote started me thinking– is Guy Laliberté the Walt Disney of our times? (For those of you who don’t know, Guy is the CEO and basically founder/dictator of Cirque du Soleil. He had other partners, but he bought them out, risked everything he owned, and voila, he’s now a billionaire with a circus and entertainment empire. You can read more about him in this article from Forbes.

I think one could argue that Cirque du Soleil and Disney are in the same business– immersive entertainments for the whole family. They approach it from different aesthetics and different ends and with (perhaps) different goals in mind.
And they both certainly have the idea of legacy, empire, and creating something that is all of one cloth.

I think that one could certainly say that Cirque du Soleil is standing on the shoulders of Disney– ie, they didn’t have to reinvent a lot of that wheel. And although right now, Cirque du Soleil is primarily circus oriented entertainment– I think the time is not far off for cirque resorts, theme parks, and other properties (they already have had television programs)

Walt had a sweetness and an innocence about him that LaLiberte doesn’t seem to have– although Walt has been nearly canonized, so perhaps that sweetness is more of a manufactured after-taste that LaLiberte will have when he’s in the ground and nothing but his empire remains.

All of this makes me think of a great song by T-Bone Burnett called Hefner and Disney

The lyrics are below:

Somewhere between Never Neverland and Wonderland
In a land called Never Wonderland
There lived a beautiful wealthy young divorcee
With a checkered past and a bad memory
Who should probably remain nameless
And men travelled from far and wide and try to win her hand
And she took in stragglers from all over the known world

Her newest guests were (as her mother called them)
“The latest Russians to defect”
One’s name was Hefner
The other’s name was Disney
Disney smoked a pipe and was very philosophical
He was constantly surrounded by go-go girls
And he used to take pictures of them without any clothes on
And sell them to the neighborhood children

Hefner on the other hand was not so introspective
He loved a good story just like anybody else
In fact he loved the myths of Never Wonderland so much
That he made elaborate moulded plastic sculptures
Of the characters in the myths
Then … he would put them out in the garden
Until …. he had built a whole nother land in Never Wonderland
Which he called Hefnerland

And the neighborhood children loved them
They had lots of fun playing in Hefnerland
And looking at all Disney’s go-go pictures
Because they didn’t know any better
And they didn’t know any worse
But the beautiful wealthy young divorcee thought
That they were only after her money
Sometimes she even wished they would go back to Russia

(But between you and me they were really dupes of the Wicked King
Who wanted to rob the children of their dreams)

As Disney as it gets… without being Disney

Universal & Warner Brothers are going to create a Harry Potter area of their theme park…

FROM THE PRESS RELEASE:
READ THE FULL PRESS RELEASE

Expected to open in late 2009, the new environment will feature immersive rides and interactive attractions, as well as experiential shops and restaurants that will enable guests to sample fare from the wizarding world’s best known establishments. Also debuting will be a state-of-the-art attraction that will bring the magic, characters and stories of Harry Potter to life in an exciting way that guests have never before experienced.

“We are going to devote more time, more money, more expertise and more executive talent from throughout our entire organization and creative team – as well as from Warner Bros., our partners – to ensure that
this entire environment is second-to-none,” said Tom Williams, chairman and CEO, Universal Parks
and Resorts.

Brad Globe, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products, added: “In Universal, we found the right partner whose unparalleled commitment will ensure that this is a world class destination. Their track record of success and the consistently high level of entertainment at all of their parks gave us the confidence to know that they will meet—or exceed— the extremely high expectations we all have for this project.”

The Academy Award-winning production designer Stuart Craig, who has worked to bring the world of Harry Potter to life in all of the feature films to date, leads the creative design for the area to ensure it remains faithful to the look and feel of the films.

“Our primary goal is to make sure this experience is an authentic extension of Harry Potter’s world as it is portrayed in the books and films,” said Craig. “I am very excited to be working closely with the Universal Orlando team to bring the area to life.”

Major Rumors Afoot

Blue Sky Disney, one of the blogs with a lot of inside intel on upcoming Disney stuff, is predicting major changes in Orlando– especially at MGM (soon to be known as Disney-Pixar!) Also, some interesting doings and the slim possibility of something known as Beastly Kingdom (an area of Animal Kingdom that will explore mythological creatures like unicorns, chimeras, dragons, etc)

Read all the juicy Disney tidbits, and possible red herrings at

http://blueskydisney.blogspot.com/

Vertical Architectural Design at Disney

There’s a great article about the use of skylights at Disney (
http://passport2dreams.blogspot.com/2007/05/verticality.html)

His argument is that the vertical spaces at Disney were the hardest to design, and that there are false skylights all over Disney in the imagineers quest to control the environment. It’s hard to argue with his photographs and his well-reasoned analysis.

The only disappointing thing about this is that now I have to go back and read his entire blog to see what other gems I’m missing! And I’m already behind in my movie-going (haven’t seen Spiderman, or Pirates for that matter), my television watching, and my book-reading (not to forget my other Blogs-reading)

And let’s not forget that he’s got a great list of other Disney blogs for me to check out.

It’s going to be a LONG weekend!

“The Immersive Experience Business”

Way back in college, our marketing professor told us about the epiphany that Xerox had one day– the day they decided they were in the Information business, and not the copier business. That small epiphany led them to a whole new level of business, and gave them an entry into well… what is now the 21st century. In some ways, it’s what stopped them from being Olivetti (the once ubiquitous typewriter that is now oh so quaint)

In a recent article in the Orlando papers (READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE.) about a shakeup at Disney Imagineering (for those of you who don’t know, Imagineers are the guys at Disney that do all of the thinking work) One of the corporate types is quoted as saying, “We are in the immersive experience business; it’s no longer the parks and resorts business.” She also promises that Disney will create more “immersive experiences”-

I like this as a redefinition of Disney as a whole– except that I would say they are in the Experiences Business. They provide experiences for people. Sometimes they can be a little too prepackaged, or not without adventure and excitement (that’s often the complaint about Disney-fying Times Square– they put their squeaky clean all over a place that is more exciting when it’s dirty)

Anyway, I thought this was worth mentioning. Immersive Experience.

Fort Wilderness to be torn down.

According to our friends over at the Disney Blog, Fort Wilderness, which has been closed to the public, will become part of the memorabilia. It’s being torn down to make way for something that will be open to the public, and hopefully not too new-fangled.

It’s a hard rope to walk on (the difference between being nostalgic and being fixated on the past) It’s even harder when you are a large corporate entity, and have shareholders demanding maximum utilization of assets.

I’m pretty sure this is all for the best, but am still a little sad for it.

There’s a great picture of Walt and somebody’s Grandfather planning out Fort Wilderness on the Disney Blog link above.

Just checking in

Boy I had such grand plans for this website! Realy wanted to lay down what I was thinking about Walt, and connect all of the dots.

Well, the good news is I still have time. Or as they say, Disneyland wasn’t built in a day!

Disney pulls the plug on fat-food promotion.

Starting in 2008, when current contracts expire, Disney will no longer let its characters be used as shills for junk food. It’s a good idea, in theory,and the right thing to do– but they should have gone further– as the article states, they have said nothing about the pervasive marketing of junk food on their channels. If Disney wants to be a corporate leader for good, they should, you know, lead!

This in from the Wall Street Journal:

Disney Pulls Its Characters From Junk Food

Move Sets Limits on Fats, Sugar
And Calories in Product Tie-Ins;
Getting a Pass on Birthday Cakes
By MERISSA MARR and JANET ADAMY
October 17, 2006; Page D1

Seeking to promote more healthful eating habits among children, Mickey Mouse and his Walt Disney Co. friends are changing their diets.

Disney announced a companywide initiative to phase out the promotion of unhealthful foods to kids and eliminate artery-clogging trans fats from its theme-park menus and its licensed and promotional products. The Burbank, Calif., entertainment company said its characters and brands will be used only on child-focused products that meet certain guidelines in terms of calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar.

“A company such as ours, with the reach we have, has a responsibility because of how much we can influence people’s opinions and behavior,” says Disney CEO Robert Iger. He adds: “There’s also a business opportunity here.”

While the plan is the most extensive yet by a media company to address concerns over marketing to children, it stops short of tackling the thorny subject of food makers advertising unhealthful products directly to kids on Disney media outlets. Disney doesn’t run advertising on the Disney Channel but does carry sponsor messages, which will be covered by the new guidelines. Disney does carry advertising on its kids’ programming block on the ABC television network and its Toon Disney cable channel.