Monday, August 31, 2009


Disney Buys Marvel - Whither Spidey?

Bam! Pow! Like Doc Oc and the Sinister Syndicate, Disney has swooped in and bought Marvel Comics for a paltry $4 billion, perhaps leaving Universal in the uncomfortable position of needing rescue by some unnamed superhero.

The big question for all Islands of Adventure-Universal fans: What will happen to Spider-Man? Indeed, what is the fate of Marvel Super Hero Island?

For it's part, Universal is saying Spidey stays put. But, tellingly, there was no time frame included in the statement by Universal spokesman, Tom Schroeder.

In the Tampa Tribune, Disney execs are quoted as saying that "many third-party licensing deals would remain in effect."

But licensing deals are never open-ended. The time will come when Universal's right to use Marvel properties will expire. That's when things will get interesting.

Disney has a history of doing whatever it can to wrest market share from its nearby competitors (Pleasure Island vs. Church Street Station; Disney-MGM vs. USF; Animal Kingdom vs. BGT; two Disney water parks vs. Wet n Wild). It defies logic to expect the future not to mirror the past.

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Monday, January 19, 2009


This Bud's . . . 4 Billion?

More blather about the potential sale and possible pricing for the Busch theme parks, this time from the hoity-toity Financial Times.
Busch Entertainment, the group’s theme park business, which owns SeaWorld Orlando, is expected to be one of the first business units put up for sale with a possible price of up to $4bn.

Potential bidders include Merlin Entertainments, the Blackstone-owned theme park group whose assets include Madame Tussauds and Legoland.

Possible strategic bidders include media group Walt Disney, the world’s biggest operator of theme parks, and Universal Studios, which is majority-owned by the US television and film business, NBC Universal.

Pass the grains of salt, please.

You can make up your own mind, but I can't imagine Disney wanting the parks. As for Universal, I think money would be a major stumbling block. But then, what do I know?

Get the only guide to all the Busch parks in Florida.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007


Disney Wins One For U.S. Tourism

Disney Co. lobbyists have been instrumental in wresting new legislation out of Washington that will (of course) benefit Disney but that will also prove a boon to other Orlando attractions and a shot in the arm for U.S. tourism in general.
Under the new law, more countries could qualify to send tourists to the United States without visas for up to 90 days. Only 27 nations can do that now, but tourism officials hope others will be added if required security improvements are made.

The immediate beneficiaries will be South Americans. Ole!

Disney deserves a lot of credit on this.
The [Orlando CVB] recently released figures that about 300,000 South Americans came to Orlando annually from 2003 to 2005. Western Europe, whose travelers often don't need visas, sent about 1.4 million visitors to Orlando in 2006.

That has pushed Disney and the $700 billion U.S. tourism industry to find ways to attract new tourists globally. To promote that goal in Washington, Disney last year joined top travel companies in a coalition called the Discover America Partnership.

The group was central in promoting the visa change, at one point hiring as a consultant Tom Ridge, former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The partnership now wants Congress to help promote U.S. travel in overseas markets.

"Disney has been very active in contributing to this process," said Geoff Freeman, executive director of the Discover America Partnership.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007


"A Game For People Who Hate Disney"

The year is 2015. Steeped in national debt, the United States reluctantly allows the Walt Disney Company to purchase the entire peninsula of Florida in the largest geographic acquisition since the Louisiana Purchase. Under its new president, formerly-ousted CEO Michael Eisner, the newly-sovereign state is renamed Los Disneys. Your job is to infiltrate the Magic Kingdom, blasting your way through animatronic pirates, holographic ghosts, tourists, security guards and even Mickey himself in an attempt to seek and destroy the frozen head of Walt Disney. However, doing so inadvertently triggers Eisner’s doomsday device… unless you can stop it.

Sound like fun? Well then, Los Disneys, a new video game, which I learned about through the CrunchGear site, may be just what you're looking for.

Apparently this is a reissue of an older game that used be compatible only with Macs. According to the Los Disneys site, the new version "is now compatible with Windows and even allows for cross-platform network gaming." You can download the game at the site.

Some other site features, including "Disneyworld Babylon," described as a "discussion forum for disgruntled tourists and employees of the Magic Kingdom," weren't working on a recent visit.

From what I can see of the game via the screenshots, it looks like it gives players the opportunity to waste some beloved Disney characters. I can't imagine that Disney will sit still for this unauthorized use of their intellectual property. It'll be interesting to see how they respond.

Disclaimer: Save the hate mail. I have nothing against Disney. In fact, I love Disney, as my participation in Disney-related events like Magic Meets and MouseFest will attest. I just thought the Orlando-loving community would like to know about this.

Also, I'm not a gamer myself, but I'd love to hear gamer reaction to Los Disneys. Feel free to post in the Comments.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007


Has Disney Crossed a Line?

Tinker Bell on a martini glass? Groan.
Try perching Mickey or Minnie or one of the Disney princesses seductively on the rim of a martini glass, then calling it a Disney collectible poster.

Forget it. Some things just can't be mixed without looking goofy or profane.

Yet there is one Disney character who pulls it off, in the new Disney poster "Tinkertini" by California artist Mike Kungl: Tinker Bell, the cartoon pixie with the fairy-tale innocence and the Jessica Rabbit figure.

The Walt Disney Co. has rediscovered the old favorite, modeled after actress Margaret Kerry and introduced in 1953 to Disney audiences in the animated film Peter Pan. With multiple new lines of T-shirts, toys and other products already out or on their way, Disney is capitalizing on the notion that Tinker Bell's spunky persona, mysterious back story and pinup-girl looks give her an appeal to Disney's usual safe-for-families market -- and a little beyond.

Tinker Bell is hot.

Maybe I'm just feeling old this morning, but the last company I want to see further sexualizing children and the cute little fairies they adore is Disney.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Meet A Disney Legend, Charles Ridgway

Attention Disney cast members, past and present, Disney fans and Disney fanatics. This is your chance to meet a bona fide Disney Legend, whose intimate knowledge of Disney parks goes back to the days before Disneyland opened, when he talked a neighbor kid into sneaking under the fence as a publicity stunt for an article he was writing.

To celebrate the publication of his new memoir, Spinning Disney’s World: Memories of a Magic Kingdom Press Agent, Charles Ridgway will make a series of public appearance across Central Florida in March and April.

Charlie will be sharing his reminiscences of Walt and Roy, Michael Eisner and an all-star cast of movie stars, royalty, television personalities, and journalists, as well as the unsung cast members who make Disney magic every day.

After serving as a publicist for Disney parks around the world for over 40 years, Charlie was a legend among journalists and public relations professions. In 1999, Disney made it official, proclaiming Charles Ridgway a “Disney Legend” and according him the rare honor of his own window on Main Street, USA.

At most of his bookstore talks, Charlie will be sharing seldom-seen archival photos of Disney history from his personal stash. These appearances offer a rare opportunity to learn the real story behind some persistent Disney folk tales and get answers to those questions about Disney history that have been nagging at you for years.

And don’t forget to ask Charlie everyone’s favorite question, “What was Walt really like?”

Spinning Disney’s World is published in hardcover by The Intrepid Traveler. It is available for sale and autographing at all of Charlie’s appearances.

Here is Charlie’s appearance schedule, which is subject to change. Please call ahead for more information and directions to each event.

Thursday, March 15 – Orlando
Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
Orlando Chapter
Time: Noon
Place: The Citrus Club, 255 S. Orange Avenue, 18th floor
$20 members, $30 non-members, $15 students

Saturday, March 17 – Orlando
NFFC Disneyana Garage Sale
Time: 11 am to 1 pm
Place: Quality Inn & Suites, 8700 S. Orange Blossom Trail, 32809
Charlie will be signing books at the Bookendz booth.

Saturday, March 24 – Orlando
Book talk and signing
Time: 3 pm to 5 pm
Place: Barnes & Noble, Plaza Venezia
7900 W. Sand Lake Road
Orlando, FL 32819

Saturday, March 31 – Merritt Island
Book talk and signing
Time: 2 pm to 4 pm
Place: Barnes & Noble
780 E. Merritt Island Causeway
Merritt Island, FL 32952

Sunday, April 1 – Daytona Beach
Book talk and signing
Time: 2 pm to 4 pm
Place: Barnes & Noble
1900 W International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL 32114

Saturday, April 7 – Orlando
Book talk and signing
Time: 2 pm to 4 pm
Place: Barnes & Noble
Colonial Plaza Market Center
2418 E Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32803

Friday, April 13 – Celebration
Book talk and signing
Time: 7 pm to 9 pm
Place: Reading Trout Books
671 Front Street
Celebration, FL 34747

Saturday, April 14 – West Melbourne
Book talk and signing
Time: 2 pm to 4 pm
Place: Barnes & Noble
1955 W. New Haven
West Melbourne, FL 32904

Wednesday, April 18 – The Villages
Book talk and signing
Time: 6 pm to 8 pm
Place: Barnes & Noble
1055 Old Camp Road
The Villages, FL 32162

Thursday, April 19 – Sarasota
Book talk and signing
Time: 3 pm to 5 pm
Place: Sarasota News and Books
1341 Main Street
Sarasota, FL 34236

Friday, April 20 – Brandon
Book talk and signing
Time: 6 pm to 8 pm
Place: Barnes & Noble
Brandon Square
122 Brandon Town Center
Brandon, FL 33511

Saturday, April 21 – Gainesville
Book talk and signing
Time: 2 pm to 4 pm
Place: Barnes & Noble
Butler Plaza West
3910 S.W. Archer Road
Gainesville, FL 32608

Sunday, April 22 – Clearwater
Book talk and signing
Time: 2 pm to 4 pm
Place: Barnes & Noble
23654 US 19 North
Clearwater, FL 33765

Friday April 27 – Orlando
Book talk and signing
Time: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Place: Urban Think!
625 East Central Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32801

Saturday, April 28 - Ocala
Book talk and signing
Time: 2 pm to 4 pm
Place: Barnes & Noble
Park Centre Commons
3500 SW College Road Suite 300
Ocala, FL 34474

Tell your friends. Bring your kids. getting to shake hands with a real Disney Legend is something they'll remember all their lives.

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