Disney News

The Future of GM at EPCOT

THE MOTOR REPORT is reporting this morning that General Motors is cutting up to US$800 million from its North American advertising budget this year.

While this will affect GM’s plans for sponsoring the upcoming Transformers sequel,  it is currently unknown whether GM will continue to provide Disney sponsorship dollars for Epcot’s TEST TRACK attraction.  It has been announced that the budget cut applies to GM’s print, TV and film advertising, and its vehicle purchase incentives. 

The sponsorship cost has never been announced, but is estimated to be about US$5 million per year, according to sources. This is just a drop in the bucket when compared to cutting $800 million in a single year.

Disney TV

Full House Screws Up Walt Disney World

One thing that I get annoyed with is when TV shows take liberties with established facts about existing places.  For example, MTV’s Road Rules screwed up in their first season by showing the Winnebago driving north on a highway. The problem was that each subsequent highway shot was from a section of road that was further south than the previous one.  All the editors had to do was place those highway shots in their correct order.  They were going to show those shots anyway, so at least be smart about it.  It was like insisting that the first five letters of the alphabet are “A-B-E-D-C”. 

Disney shopping

Improving Disney Shopping

Just read the latest post on Progress City USA, TEN WISHES FOR THE NEW YEAR #8: OVERHAUL PARK MERCHANDISE.  I completely agree with the points raised about the depressing increase in  homogenization of merchandise available throughout the Disney parks.  

I too, remember a time when the Orange Bird was found at the Tiki Room, and where land-specific merchandise was available.  A time when Main Street, USA’s Emporium shop didn’t run the full length of the street (when Center Street was an actual street separating the two show buildings instead of what we have today).

I want to buy a “Walt Disney World” sweatshirt, not a “Disney Parks” sweatshirt.

I have found myself visiting both Disneyland and Walt Disney World on numerous shopping missions over the years, only to walk away empty-handed and with a full wallet.  There is no doubt that there are plenty of things to buy at the Disney parks, especially if you are a once-in-a-lifetime visitor — but there is often nothing new of interest to the Disney Fan to buy beyond pins.   (Pin collecting and trading is a wonderful hobby, but it does not appeal to everybody.)     And really, how many Duck Butt hats does one family need?

Disney News Websites

Michael Jackson Auctions Off His Stuff

April 22, 2009 can’t come soon enough for many people – that’s when MICHAEL JACKSON WILL BE AUCTIONING OFF HIS STUFF.

Sure, it will cost you $20 just to attend the freakshow, but you know that will be money well spent just for the opportunity to browse through the King of Pop’s underwear drawer. 

Bad example, perhaps.  Think of that more figuratively than literally, please.

The auction will be broken up into 5 different categories, each taking place on different days:

  • Garden Statues and Outdoor Furniture
  • Furniture and Decorative Arts
  • Antiques, Paintings, and Fine Decorative Art
  • Amusements, Arcade Games, and Disneyana
  • Memorabilia from the Life and Career of Michael Jackson

Individually numbered and signed copies of the catalog will be available for $500. 

Disney Movies

A Business Analyst Reviews Pixar’s “UP”

Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield has taken it upon himself to turn movie reviewer, and according to a blogger at Barron’s Online, has offered THIS REVIEW OF PIXAR’S UPCOMING FILM “UP”.  The film was partially screened for movie critics at ComicCon in New York. 

Here are some of his thoughts:

  • Although he only saw the first half of the movie in an unfinished state he came away “concerned” that the movie won’t be able match last summer’s WALL-E performance.  WALL-E  generated $224 million in domestic box office receipts, and $534 million worldwide.
  • The early stages of the film were “somewhat slow”.
  • He doubts younger boys will be that excited about Carl (the older protaganist), though they should like Russell (his young sidekick).
  • There is no female lead character, “which may be an issue in terms of the movie’s appeal to young girls.
  • “We did not come away from Up with the sense that consumers would view it as a “must-own” DVD.” 
  • Finally, he thinks it may be challenging to monetize the characters in the form of consumer products.
Disney Movies

Pixar’s WALL-E Snubbed at the Oscars

You would expect The Los Angeles Times to have a blog dedicated to The Oscars (it is Oscar season, you know).  Their latest entry is entitled CAN WALL-E MAKE OSCAR HISTORY?

You know how WALL-E would make Oscar history?  If WALL-E had won the award for Best Picture or Best Director (had they been nominated, of course).  Sure, Andrew Stanton and the rest of Disney/Pixar are going to put their best face forward and graciously accept the nominations they did receive (Best Animated Feature, Best Music Score, Best Song, Best Original Screenplay, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)… but deep down, you know that this is one case where the Academy needs to stop considering animated films as a red-headed stepchild to be regularly ignored or swept away.


Progress City – A Response

I enjoy reading Michael Crawford’s PROGRESS CITY, USA blog – it offers well-researched, well-written commentary and analysis of the history of Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and other aspects of the Walt Disney Corporation.   If you’re a Disney theme park fan, you will be well served by bookmarking the site and reading the updates as they come in.

I do want to respond to one paragraph written in the most recent posting, TEN WISHES FOR THE NEW YEAR, #9.   In it, Michael says…

“What’s more unsettling are the areas in which the rest of the industry has not only caught up with Disney but surpassed them. These days, pretty much any run-of-the-mill chain motel has free wi-fi, or at least internet service. Not only does internet access at Disney require calling room service for an Ethernet cable, but using the service costs the guest ten dollars per room, per day. This blatant price gouge puts Disney not only behind its high-end competition, but also far behind even its most lowly lodging competitors. It might seem like small potatoes, but considered in the light of the resort’s once-unparalleled level of service it looks shabby at best.”




I do agree with the sentiment being expressed in the overall article, in that there appears to be a small decline in the amount of service at the Disney hotels when compared to the service level offered in years past.  However, to point out the Internet pricing on the Disney property as an example of a service decline is, I feel, misguided.

Disney How To Websites

How to Treat your Business Like Disney

Diana Freeman is a blogger specializing in social media and other related topics.  I really like her stuff; if you have a chance to do so, bookmark her site.

She  recently returned from a Walt Disney World vacation and wrote an interesting piece entitled DISNEY: A MODEL OF SUCCESS FOR YOUR PRODUCT OR WEBSITE, where she analyzes all the things that Disney does well, and how you can apply those techniques to your own business or website.

Here are the high points of what she talks about, and my brief interpretation: