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December 28, 2007
Hotels Proposed For Disneyland Resort Area
Anaheim Developers are proposing new hotels for the area around Disneyland following fears that the shaky economy and political turmoil were driving builders away from the tourist zone. At least 10 plans are in the works to add more than 2,700 rooms in new hotels, timeshares, villas and expanded lodges. Those include Disney-brand hotels, boutique-style settings and family-friendly suites. Anaheim now has more than 20,000 rooms.
Alan Wagner, the first president of the Disney Channel, has died in Manhattan, where he lived--he was 76. In 1982 the Walt Disney Company hired Mr. Wagner to oversee the development of what was then a novel idea, a cable channel dedicated to children and family programming. With a $100 million budget, he recruited a staff of programmers to create new shows as well as to draw from Disney's extensive library of films and programs. The Disney Channel, starting as a 16-hour-a-day cable service, had its premiere in April 1983. Mr. Wagner was president for about a year.
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The first new monorail car in two decades slid onto the Disneyland track on as the theme park prepares for guests to ride it starting in late February. The biggest change is the look of the train: The first electric cars have blue glass and red stripes that change color in the sunlight. The next two cars will be blue with purple glass and orange with blue glass. Bench seats will face the windows, allowing visitors a full view of the parks, Downtown Disney and the Disneyland Hotel. The capacity and speed will remain the same.
With its 3-year-old "Adventures by Disney" program, the Walt Disney Company appears to have claimed a strong position in the worldwide packaged-tour business. Disney entered the business with a pilot project, offering just two tour-group itineraries in 2005, but the program has grown every year. For 2008, the company is booking 18 itineraries in 13 countries, with a total of 370 scheduled tours throughout the year. If Adventures by Disney consistently attains its stated goals, it could draw between 11,000 and 15,000 tourists next year. The published prices suggest that much business could generate revenue in the range of $30 million to $40 million.
Hong Kong Disneyland failed to meet its visitor attendance target for the second year running, a park official said Tuesday, without revealing actual figures. The Hong Kong government - which holds a majority stake in the US$3.5 billion park - has announced that visitor numbers tumbled to over 4 million in its second year of operation from 5.2 million a year earlier. The park plans to introduce four "smaller-scale" attractions in 2008 in a bid to increase the number of activities for visitors, according to the document which will be discussed at an upcoming legislative meeting.
A Disneyland in Shanghai once again appears to be on the cards, after local media outlets reported a slice of land on the Chongming Island was being set aside by the government earlier this month. While no official final decision has yet be announced, some industry experts have speculated that the new amusement park could open after the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai; by which time, the island would also be connected to the mainland via new tunnels and a bridge.
Fathead, the number one brand in sports and entertainment wall graphics and the brand best-known for its official life-size images of professional athletes, animated heroes and entertainment characters, is launching a new line of Fathead wall decor featuring Disney Channel's Hannah Montana, and characters from both the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and the Disney Pixar film Cars.
The Walt Disney Internet Group has launched a UK portal aimed at young adults showcasing its games, films, music and social networking assets in one British Web site. The Disney.co.uk Web site launched on December 10th and follows the launch of the concept in the United States earlier this year. Similar Web portal offerings will be launched in Europe. "We will be looking to France, Italy, Germany and Spain for our next rollouts," said Cindy Rose, head the Europe division of the Walt Disney Internet Group.
It's not often a ride revamp gets both wonderful and woeful reviews by the same individual, but it seems Spaceship Earth's revamp is doing both. During on-going previews, Guests are simultaneously praising the first half of the ride as "in the tradition" of the Epcot keystone ride and slamming the second half of the ride as an unimaginative use of space. Although the attraction is still set to open officially in February, it is uncertain if any changes will be made to the poorly reviewed portion of the attraction.
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort will be the home to first Nightclub venue on the Walt Disney World Resort's property outside the Downtown Disney entertainment and dining area. Rix Lounge, a 300 seat nightspot, will offer house music, specialty drinks and tapas-style appetizers. The venue is operated by Springs Food Service LLC.
Walt Disney Internet Group has announced that it bought iParenting Media to broaden its family Web site base. iParenting Media is a premier media company focused on parents and employs several media channels to reach parents and parents-to-be including online, print and broadcast.iParenting's articles, message boards and product reviews are planned to be folded into Disney Online's existing Web sites.
Disney Cruise Line announced today two new eastern Caribbean itineraries for 2009 -- giving guests more choices than ever before to explore the beautiful islands of the Caribbean -- and special offerings for 2008. Beginning in 2009, St. Croix will be a featured stop on one new seven-night itinerary, and Tortola will be featured on another seven-night itinerary. As a special treat during the summer of 2008, Disney Cruise Line has redesigned the four-night itinerary to offer two stops at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the tropical waters of the Bahamas.
When Spaceship Earth re-opens from its multi-month rehab, the attraction will offer Guests a new audio experience in addition to new and enhanced scenes. Disney has confirmed that the attraction will feature a new 63-piece orchestra/24-voice choir soundtrack created by 10-time Emmy Award-winning composer Bruce Broughton and a new narration provided by Academy Award-winning actress Dame Judi Dench. Although the attraction has been announced to officially re-open in February 2008, it is anticipated that previews of the attraction could start as early as Mid-December 2007.