Monday, August 31, 2009
And here we go...
10. Stitch joins the X-Men (Disney puts Stitch in everything else, why not the X-Men?)
9. The Fantastic Four and The Incredibles will work together (and realize they've all got the same powers!)
8. Monsters Inc. 2 will be a more extreme story with the Hulk, Wolverine, and Dr. Doom joining the scare floor.
7. Spiderman 4 will have Mickey Mouse playing the part of the Web-head.
6. Rapunzel will now be played by Mr. Fantastic in drag. No need for special effects now.
5. Mini-Mouse takes on a whole new meaning.
4. An Ape-Man attraction will show up at Animal Kingdom (along with any other Marvel characters even remotely related to animals)
3. The Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure will be replaced by the Avengers Race to Save the World (or something like that). Of course, Kim Possible will join the Avengers, though Ron Stoppable doesn't make the cut.
2. Fantasmic! will be changed to Magical Marvel!
1. Much like the infamous hidden Mickey, we now get to look for hidden Stans (as in Stan Lee) in every Disney/Marvel movie and the parks. He makes a cameo in all the Marvel movies, so why not slip in an animated Stan Lee in some Disney films?
What crossover do you see? Post a comment!!
Questions quickly arose over the future of Marvel-themed attractions located at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando.
Here's what a Universal spokesperson said to the Orlando Sentinel:
"Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal's Islands of Adventure and the Marvel characters are a beloved and important part of the Universal Orlando experience. They will remain so," said Tom Schroder, a Universal spokesman. "Our guests are going to get to meet Spider-Man and all our other Marvel characters. We believe our agreement with Marvel stands and that the Disney/Marvel deal will have no impact on our guest experience."
Disney CEO Bob Iger said the following on CNBC today:
"Marvel characters have already proven to be strong in terms of theme park attraction and we believe there are a lot of opportunities around the world, not in every one of our parks because there are some existing agreements that we obviously have to honor, but in a number of places for us to use the Marvel characters to basically help us grow our theme park business and better entertain people."
While it appears Spiderman, the Hulk, the X-Men and Doctor Doom won't be coming to Walt Disney World (Universal apparently has the east coast rights for as long as the attractions are operating), you can bet that no new characters will be coming to Universal. I wouldn't be surprised if a team of Disney lawyers also will be looking to find some holes in the deal. In the meantime -- it appears the doors are wide open for Spiderman and the rest of the Marvel cast to swing their way into any other Disney park, for instance, Disney's California Adventure. This also may be the concept Disney's been looking for to finally build the third California-based park.
This is all just guesswork right now. One thing's for sure, Disney is looking to the future and they've just grabbed one of the two major players in the superhero genre. I wonder what DC Comics thinks about this? Of course, DC Comics and Warner Bros. teamed up years ago.
Today, Disney announced they are purchasing the Marvel Entertainment Co. for four-billion dollars. Below is a news release from Disney:
Building on its strategy of delivering quality branded content to people around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) has agreed to acquire Marvel Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:MVL) in a stock and cash transaction, the companies announced today.
Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney on August 28, 2009, Marvel shareholders would receive a total of $30 per share in cash plus approximately 0.745 Disney shares for each Marvel share they own. At closing, the amount of cash and stock will be adjusted if necessary so that the total value of the Disney stock issued as merger consideration based on its trading value at that time is not less than 40% of the total merger consideration.
Based on the closing price of Disney stock on Friday, August 28, the transaction value is $50 per Marvel share or approximately $4 billion.
"This transaction combines Marvel's strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters including Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor with Disney's creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and a business structure that maximizes the value of creative properties across multiple platforms and territories," said Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. "Ike Perlmutter and his team have done an impressive job of nurturing these properties and have created significant value. We are pleased to bring this talent and these great assets to Disney."
"We believe that adding Marvel to Disney's unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation," Iger said.
"Disney is the perfect home for Marvel's fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses," said Ike Perlmutter, Marvel's Chief Executive Officer. "This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney's tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world."
Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Marvel including its more than 5,000 Marvel characters. Mr. Perlmutter will oversee the Marvel properties, and will work directly with Disney's global lines of business to build and further integrate Marvel's properties.
The Boards of Directors of Disney and Marvel have each approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, effectiveness of a registration statement with respect to Disney shares issued in the transaction and other customary closing conditions. The agreement will require the approval of Marvel shareholders. Marvel was advised on the transaction by BofA Merrill Lynch.
Friday, August 28, 2009
So far, Disney has not announced anything about this new show.
If this is true, it would be nice for something to go on that unused stage, even if it is temporary. While Stitch's Supersonic Celebration was a disaster, I hate to see good space go unused.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Just as the classic Toy Story film franchise returns with the re-release of the first two movies in 3D this October, John Lasseter is taking fans behind-the-scenes in a new, exclusive seven-part YouTube video series (www.YouTube.com/disneyliving), where he introduces the new Toy Story Definitive toy line, the most film-accurate replicas yet. Each video offers a different part of the story from Lasseter’s own words to a profile on each character - including Sheriff Woody, Rex, Space Aliens, RC Remote Control Car and Buzz Lightyear - along with never-before known facts and more.
From the stitching and facial expressions to the original packaging from the movie, Lasseter explains why this new Definitive toy line is a collector’s dream. The highly detailed replicas from Thinkway Toys and Disney Consumer Products are fully articulated and come with many features such as sound effects and even include a Certificate of Authenticity. (Now available at mass retailers, Disney Stores and www.DisneyStores.com.)
Look for additional videos here on DisneyDaddy!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I thought I'd continue on the topic of FastPasses with another tip about how to get the most out of a FastPass.
As you know, a FastPass ticket gives you a time window in which to return and ride a particular attraction. The FastPass system has a pre-set number of tickets to give in each five-minute increment. When the allotment for the day runs out, FastPasses are no longer offered.
So here's a question for you: If you arrive at your attraction BEFORE your time window opens up, will you be allowed to enter the attraction? The answer is NO. The cast member will kindly ask you to wait until the beginning time (circled in green in the example) comes up.
OK, here's another question for you: If you arrive at your attraction AFTER your time window has passed, will you be allowed to enter the attraction? The answer is YES! Most cast members will allow guests with FastPasses that were for an earlier time in the day to enter the attraction.
A final question for you: If you arrive at an attraction with a FastPass from a previous DAY, will the cast member let you in? The answer is NO. In the past, the answer might have been yes, depending on the cast member, but Disney has recently cracked down on the use of old FastPasses, so you're not going to be able to get away with using a FastPass from a previous day anymore.
So this week's tip is pretty simple. Don't feel like you have to rush to make a FastPass window before it "closes," because the window doesn't really close. Just forget about the later time listed. You have until the end of the day to use that FastPass. Just keep in mind that after the park closes, that FastPass becomes a souvenir (which isn't a bad idea if you want to keep a FastPass from your favorite attraction - it can make for a neat keepsake!).
Sunday, August 23, 2009
With this in mind, I'd like to call you attention to a few new Disney blogs that have surfaced in the last month.
The W.E.D. Page: This is by Tony Caggiano. It focuses on the Disney of the past and helps us all remember the Disney that was to appreciate the Disney that is and the Disney that will be. I had the priveledge of meeting Tony at MagicMeets this year. He is a true Disney fan and I look forward to many great posts from Tony.
In Disney Style: This is by Mary Jo Collins. This blog focuses on how you can bring a bit of Disney style to your everyday life. This blog also will have information on some of Disney's marathons and other running activities. I've known Mary Jo through Facebook for quite a while and I'm sure will have some outstanding content for you.
I hope you will take a few moments to check out these new blogs. I'm already a follower of both.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
This restaurant needs no introduction. It's run by the head cheese himself - Mickey Mouse!
It just so happens that this restaurant also is the most popular character-dining location in all of Walt Disney World, and for good reason.
Of course I'm talking about Chef Mickey's!
As character dining goes, it really doesn't get any better than Chef Mickey's, located at Disney's Contemporary Resort. In one meal, guests will meet the entire Disney Fab 5: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto.
In recent months, Chef Mickey's has received a decent expansion, taking over a portion of space that was the Concourse Steakhouse, which has allowed for a little bit more seating, but also a better queue area for the pre-meal photo opportunity.
Chef Mickey's is a Disney Dining Plan (DDP) participant, requiring one table service credit per guest. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a buffet format. Parents: this is one meal even the most picky of eaters will find something they will like. The entrees are creative and quite good. I personally prefer lunch/dinner to breakfast, simply because the dinner menu offers more variety as compared to breakfast. Just about every breakfast opportunity at WDW offers eggs, sausage and bacon.
What sets Chef Mickey's apart is the atmosphere. This is a place where even the oldest guest can be a kid again (or finally act like the kid they really are - that would be me!). The characters spend plenty of time at each table and the wait staff helps to make your experience magical. Oh, and talk about celebrations - the folks at Chef Mickey's will find ANY reason to celebrate! My son graduated from 5th grade this summer. The server saw his "I'm Celebrating" button and the next thing we know it's party time!
Before being seated, guests have the opportunity to have a photo opp at a big hidden-mickey themed plate. I have several of these photos. The location for this photo opp changes from time to time and (as you can see) will reflect different holiday seasons (when appropriate). The photos are nice to get if you like family photos. This is the one PhotoPass-like opportunity at Chef Mickey's. Otherwise, you're on your own for character photos.
We don't always purchase the photo - it is optional and runs somewhere around $30 or so for an 8x10 and a pair of 5x7's. The other benefit is that the photo does include a photopass code on the corner, so you can add this shot to your photopass CD and get the digital version as well.
Chef Mickey's is a must-do for everyone who visits Walt Disney World. As for my family, Chef Mickey's has become our most favorite place to eat. In fact this November, we will have Thanksgiving dinner at Chef Mickey's, of all places. We enjoy the fun, the friends, the food and the family time.
What could be better?
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
So far, there's no official word as to why Disney decided to return to the 180-day window.
What this means for anyone with travel dates this winter and spring is that October 27 will become a very busy day. An entire 90 days worth of bookings will open up on a single day. Be prepared for the WDW Dining line (407-WDW-DINE) to be very busy and for the new online booking pages to be overwhelmed, especially with Disney's latest offer to extend free dining until December.
It will be more important than ever to be ready at 7 a.m. on October 27th. If, by chance, the 90-day window for your upcoming trip opens up BEFORE October 27, I highly recommend making your ADR's before the hoard starts booking on the 27th.
As more information comes in about this topic, I'll let you know.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Kouzzina (which is Greek for "kitchen" - very appropriate) will feature different Greek and Mediterranean dishes. The new restaurant takes the place where Spoodles was located at the Boardwalk Resort.
Created by Iron Chef Cat Cora (the only female Iron Chef), Kouzzina will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.
You can check out more about Kouzzina on the Walt Disney World Web site, including menus.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
- Did you know you can walk between Epcot and the Studios? Walking briskly, you can get from one park to another in about 15-20 minutes (I've done it).
- Did you know you can walk from the Contemporary to the Magic Kingdom? After that great breakfast at Chef Mickey's, it's far faster to simply walk to the Magic Kingdom entrance than take the monorail all the way around the Seven Seas Lagoon to reach the Magic Kingdom. It takes 5-10 minutes at the most.
- Did you know that it can be faster to take a launch to the Grand Floridian than to take the resort monorail (after standing in line)? If you time it right, you can catch a launch and get to the Grand Floridian by the time the monorail is at the TTC.
- Did you know that the Friendship boats have three stops between Epcot and the Studios? From Epcot to the Studios, these boats stop at (in order): The Boardwalk, The Yacht/Beach Club and the Swan/Dolphin. Depending on where you're going, you might be better to get off at an earlier stop and walk the rest of the way.
- Did you know that no WDW transportation goes directly to the two miniature golf courses? This doesn't mean you're out of luck. If you want to go to Fantasia Gardens, simply take a bus to the Swan/Dolphin. If you want to go to Winter Summerland, take a bus to Blizzard Beach.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
A Disney spokesperson has confirmed that the Behind the Seeds Tour will not be impacted, nor will food production as a result of an ongoing refurbishment of Living With the Land at Epcot. The refurb "is of a technical nature, not an upgrading of the show," says the spokesperson.
This may dispute rumors that the attraction was to get larger boats. I've also heard reports that Imagineering was going to update the films running in the barn show scene.
If this refurb is indeed "technical" in nature, then I wonder if there was some sort of malfunction that is going to take some time to repair.
What an incredible day today (well, now yesterday) was. I attended my first MagicMeets event in Camp Hill, PA. Many of my Disney friends were there including Justin Machoney, Lou Mongello, Tony Caggiano and many, many more. It was so nice to finally meet some of these online friends in person and that alone was worth the trip.
But wait, there's more.
Justin, of course as you no doubt recall, recently ended his time as Disney first (and still only) Chief Magic Official. He gave a moving presentation about how you can make your (and other's) dreams come true. It's all about being "incredible!" If you ever get the chance to hear Justin speak, I highly recommend it. He is quite a motivational speaker. Who knows, maybe this is Justin's new calling.
But wait, there's more.
Following Justin's talk, I attended a breakout session with Deb Wills (of AllEars.net) and Beci Mahnken (of MEI/MouseFan Travel). The two gave a great talk about Adventures By Disney that just about has me hooked to go on an ABD trip to Europe.
But wait, there's more.
During Lunch, the Dream Team Auction was beginning to wrap up. This auction featured 100 items (including two panoramic prints I donated). I managed to be the high bidder for two fun items. What was EVEN BETTER was that my prints raised more than $600 for the Dream Team. I was (and still am) totally astounded by the overwhelming amount my prints went for. I really didn't think they would raise more than about $100 a piece. Instead, they went for about three times that amount.
I am truly humbled, honored and privileged to have played a small part in making magic happen for kids in need and I thank Lou Mongello and Pat Whitson for the opportunity to be a part of the Dream Team.
But wait, there's more.
In the second breakout session, I attended a great talk by Tim Devine (of the MagicInPixels.com). Tim had some great tips and reminders about what makes good photography and what makes great photography. It's always good to hear how some of the real pros like Tim take shots.
But wait, there's more.
After the second breakout session, we all had some trivia fun with Lou Mongello, and then it was time for the main event -- the announcement of how much was raised for the Dream Team overall.
Thanks to a very generous Tony Caggiano (of the WED page blog), the 2009 MagicMeets event raised a whopping $26,235 for the Dream Team to benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation. This is an incredible amount and there wasn't a dry eye in the room (myself included) when the final total was announced (see photo above).
I want to thank everyone to attended MagicMeets -- it was a thrill to meet many of you, I hope to meet you again in the future and I hope to meet other fans in other events (sadly, I can't make it to the D23 Expo).
MagicMeets 2009 was a blast and I'm very glad I was here to be a part of it.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
If this cover is any indication, it appears our favorite DHI's are in for even more trouble, this time in Epcot.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
According to Disney's own operational updates page, the attraction is scheduled to be down through Halloween.
There are rumors that one possible reason for the refurbishment is so Disney can add larger boats to the attraction. Doing so would require the waterway through the greenhouses to be altered to accomodate the larger boats.
The larger question is why this refurbishment is needed. Based on my experiences, Living with the Land isn't so heavily visited that the larger boats would be needed to increase guest throughput. I can't recall seeing more than a 30 minute wait time, even during the most crowded of days.
The rapid and unexpected nature of this attraction also leads me to think that perhaps there was some sigificant malfunction that would take quite a while to repair and, at the same time, required a rapid closure.
That is, unless it's the Overtakers and then we're all in trouble! Have no idea what I'm talking about? Read the Kingdom Keepers series.
As for the Behind the Seeds tour, I am hearing that it will not be affected (see the comments), though I've got a question into Disney to confirm this.
To honor their own loyal laborers, they are also awarding complimentary stays and dinners for nine lucky cast members and their families. All cast members who have worked at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort for at least one year will be eligible to enter a Labor Day raffle.
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort offers the ideal escape from the day-to-day stresses of work. The resort is conveniently located within walking distance to Epcot(R) and Disney's Hollywood Studios((TM)), and is nearby Disney's Animal Kingdom(R) Theme Park and Magic Kingdom(R) Park.
Visitors can indulge in meals at the resort's 17 restaurants and lounges, including Todd English's bluezoo and Shula's Steak House; be pampered at the luxurious Mandara Spa; stay active with nearby championship golf, tennis and mini golf and enjoy special Disney benefits which include complimentary transportation to Walt Disney World Theme Parks and Attractions and early or extended park hours with the Extra Magic Hours benefit.
Guests can reserve the "$99 in 09" Labor Day deal by calling 1-800-227-1500.
Offer is valid Sept. 1 - 9, 2009; requires a minimum three-night stay and is subject to rate plan availability.
Imagine this: You're at your favorite park shop and you find that wonderful big snow globe you've been looking for for months. You buy it in an instant. Now you have a problem, and might not even know it.
What's the problem? You flew to Walt Disney World and you're flying home. This means you have to go through the TSA security checkpoint at whichever airport you're flying out of. You don't want to put this very fragile item in your checked luggage for fear it will be broken (which is quite possible). So the best answer is to put the snow globe in your carry-on bag, right? Afraid not. TSA will only allow three ounces of fluid to be in a carry on bag (see this link for more details). Three ounces isn't much at all, and that snow globe has way more than three ounces. TSA won't play around. They will not allow you to put the snow globe in your luggage, since it's already been checked. Now you are out of luck.
So what do you do? Well the best thing to do is to plan ahead to get larger, fragile, TSA-unfriendly items hope. The best thing to do is ship it. Every Disney store offers shipping options. In this day of baggage fees and carry-on bag limitations, it might be better and easier to ship it anyway.
I did this during Star Wars Weekends 2007 when I purchased a Minnie big fig. The box was huge. I shipped it home for about $25 and didn't have to worry about getting it on the plane or having it damaged as checked baggage. It arrived about 2 days after I got back home.
Now, snow globes aren't the only problem you can face at the TSA security desk. In the article mentioned above, a boy wanted to bring his toy gun purchased in Frontierland onto the place. While I understand how some might think TSA should allow this to pass, their rules are ironclad (see here for more about restricted items). The good news is that you don't have to ship these items, just put them in a checked bag and you're good to go.
Dealing with airport security can be fairly painless, if you do a bit of planning and think. If you think it might be prohibited, it probably is. Either check it or ship it.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Check out official prices here.