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March 26, 2008
Disneyland to Add Charachter to Classic Ride
Walt Disney Imagineering has announced it will make show scene changes to the "it's a small world" attraction at Disneyland in addition to operational changes during the on-going refurbishment. Nationally relevant characters re-stylized to Mary Blair's original vision will be added to the attraction's international show scenes. Pointing to Mary Blair's work on Alice in Wonderland as inspiration for the changes, Imagineering revealed that Alice and the White Rabbit will be melded into the United Kingdom scene. While other specific examples were not revealed, Imagineering has stated that all character additions will "respect and honor the original creative intent" of Blair's original style.
The Walt Disney World Resort has announced the 2008 dates for their annual after-hour Holiday Parties, expanding their offerings to a total of 25 Halloween Parties and 18 Christmas Parties. Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will kick-off September 5 and continue on select nights through October 31. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party will kick-off November 10 and continue on select nights through December 19. Tickets for both sets of parties will go on sale May 1, 2008.
The Walt Disney Company has confirmed that it is in advanced talks to regain ownership of two-thirds of Disney Stores in North America from The Children's Place Retail Stores Inc. While Children's Place posted a net gain when one-time items are excluded, they still fell short of analysts' average estimates as a tough economic environment crimped consumer spending. Children's Place said consolidated comparable sales for all its stores in the fourth quarter rose 3 percent, while the Disney Stores comparable sales fell 4 percent.
Despite any comment from the Walt Disney Company, regional media outlets continue to report that the company has agreed to build a theme park in mainland China. According to recent reports, the theme park will be built in Chuansha town, Pudong, Shanghai. The city is preparing for the construction and waiting for approval from the State Council according to Shanghai mayor Han Zheng. Regional media outlets are being lead to believe The Walt Disney Company will make a public announcment of their plans timed with the opening of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Disney Cruise Line and Port Canaveral have truck a deal that will keep Disney ships sailing out of Brevard County for the next 15 years and provide multi-millions in upgrades. Disney has agreed that all of its vessels will be based out of Canaveral through 2022 and will also pay $22 million in port upgrades -- including dock extensions, terminal expansion and environmental upgrades. Canaveral has agreed to spend between $8 and $10 million to build a 1,000-space parking garage. Additionally, Disney has agreed that the two mega-cruise ships it is building, which are scheduled to arrive in 2011 and 2012, at Canaveral through at least 2014.
Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts have announced to the media that the new Toy Story Mania! attractions will open "Late May 2008" and "Late June 2008" at Disney's Hollywood Studios park and Disney's California Adventure park, respectively. These opening "dates" have been specified from "Summer 2008" for both of the twin attractions. Additionally, lucky members of the media were recently part of a "play test" at the west coast location. These previews have been received well with the attraction being called "highly immersive" and "raising the bar".
Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, an outdoor adventure that has been a favorite with Walt Disney World guests since 1971, is receiving some enhancements. To address the needs of today's larger vehicles, an intensive effort will begin to widen and lengthen the concrete parking pads, while maintaining privacy and tranquility provided by natural vegetation. A new "Premium" campsite will be available that feature extra large concrete pads for larger vehicles -- also upgrades to existing amenities such as picnic tables and grills.The main pool at Fort Wilderness will be enhanced with a themed water slide, hot tub and children's wet play area.
Disney's online division hopes its newly launched DisneyFamilyTravel.com establishes the company as a go to source of family oriented travel and tourism information on the Internet, independent of whatever opinions Disney may have about its own theme parks and those of its competitors. "It's our expertise. We know families," spokeswoman Brandy Phillips said. Disney Family Travel was designed to be disinterested in terms of how Disney's vacation spots might compare with others, according to editorial director Julie Hogenboom.
Disney Travel on Demand has announced the launch of new original programming for its second season, including an exciting new show highlighting the sumptuous dishes created for guests of Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. Launched across the country in May 2007, Disney Travel on Demand brings exclusive, interactive programs featuring a number of interesting topics from Disney Parks around the world to viewers of CableVision and Time Warner Cable.
All the exciting and colorful worlds of the Disney-Pixar pals will come to life in the all-new "Pixar Play Parade," debuting March 14, 2008 at Disney's California Advneture park. Characters will appear in the magical immersive parade, which will invite guests of all ages to take part in the playfulness of a whirling, spinning, fun-for-all animated playground. The parade features acrobatics, bungees, high-energy choreography, interactive surprises and lively bubble and water effects.
The Walt Disney Co. expects to collect $1 billion in revenue from online content this fiscal year, a significant rise from estimates for fiscal 2007, CEO Robert Iger announced. Iger told analysts the company has been "fairly aggressive" in expanding onto the Internet to extend consumer contact with its most popular franchises and create new revenue streams. "If we're not there, (people) will just access someone else's content," he said in comments.
With DVD shelf space at retailers becoming increasingly crowded, Walt Disney Co. chief executive Bob Iger hopes to move some of its TV shows from the past 50 years to its website. Iger announced, "In the near future, you'll see more of that product available on Disney.com, either for free or through some sort of subscription." during the Q&A portion of Disney's annual shareholder meeting in Albuquerque. Currently, ABC and Disney Channel programs are available on those properties' respective sites as ad-supported streams; their shows are also available for paid download on iTunes.
Hong Kong Disneyland hopes to reverse the fortunes of Disney's first theme park in China with a marketing campaign geared toward young, well-to-do Chinese adults. Those Chinese children who were first exposed to Disney as they were growing up in the 1990s - now young adults - are prime potential visitors to the Hong Kong park, Maple Lee, Hong Kong Disneyland vice president for marketing, stated. Advertising will be shifted away from billboards to these younger consumers' medium of choice - the Internet, according Lee.
Disney has launched a mobile phone service in Japan in cooperation with Softbank Corp, entering the tough Japanese cellular phone market following its withdrawal from the the United States. Walt Disney Japan, the local unit of Walt Disney Co., released three types of mobiles, made by Sharp. The new service offers exclusive features that allows subscribers to jump to Disney websites and add Disney's iconic characters to decorate e-mails free of charge.