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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mickey Mouse - The Force is with You



This week's Tip Tuesday post will take a back seat to the major, galactic-sized news that came out late today - Disney is buying Lucasfilm for just over 4 billion.

There's a lot of news already out on this developing story, so I won't spend much time on the finer details.  Instead, I will share my thought on what this new acquisition will mean for Disney and for the parks.

To recap, here are the basic details of the deal, announced today:
  • Disney will own Lucasfilm, including all the affiliated operations like Industrial Light and Magic, Lucas Arts and Skywalker sound.  
  • Disney will own the rights to all Lucasfilm characters and stories - this includes Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
  • Kathleen Kennedy, current co-chair of Lucasfilm will become President of Lucasfilm and will come under the Walt Disney Studios.
  • Total purchase price is $4.05 billion.  This deal has yet to be approved by certain government antitrust regulations.
  • Lucas will become a major shareholder of Disney - the 10th largest.
So those are the details of the deal - in a nutshell.  Again there's so much more to this, so I suggest you check out some of the following news releases and news coverage.
Official Disney news release
Starwars.com video announcement by George Lucas
Coverage by CNBC.com
Coverage by the Wall Street Journal

But wait... there's more!

As if the purchase announcement wasn't enough, Lucas dropped another proton torpedo: Star Wars:  Episode 7 is coming in a few years.  Yes, you read this correctly - Episode 7!!!  In an interview on Starwars.com, Lucas revealed he has developed story treatments for Episodes 7, 8 and 9.  Episode 7 is in story development and is initially slated for release in 2015.  Bob Iger, Disney CEO indicated additional Star Wars films could be coming out every two or three years following Episode 7.

So it seems fairly certain that we will have a new Star Wars trilogy for an entirely new generation of Star Wars fans.

So what will this mean for Disney and for the parks?

First, it means Disney, literally, has a whole new galaxy of characters and story material to draw from.  It also means that you will see a lot more Star Wars and Indiana Jones coming to the parks.  Could this be the final hurdle for the long-rumored "Star Wars land" at Disney Hollywood Studios?  Could this lead to something even bigger -- an entirely new 5th park?  I suspect we may hear some major, major, major (did I say major?) announcements at the D23 Expo next August related to Star Wars, both in terms of movies and the parks -- oh and there's also consumer products as well.  There's so much to this deal.

Here's what I think this deal also means (though I have little to back this up, so it's just my gut feeling):  Avatar-land at Animal Kingdom is dead.  There have been reports that the deal between James Cameron and Disney was becoming shaky over investment prices and creative control.  I suspect now that Disney and Lucasfilm are in the same family, James Cameron will be left out in the cold.  I could be wrong, but, to quote every Star Wars movie, "I have a bad feeling about this."

The more I think about this deal, the more I start to see what Iger's legacy will be for the Disney company.  Walt's legacy is Mickey Mouse and Disneyland.  He started it all.  Eisner's legacy is reinvigorating Disney animation and growing the parks.  Iger's legacy will be growing the Disney family.  Think about it.  Under Iger's leadership, Disney has purchased Pixar, Marvel and now Lucasfilm.  In the span of only a few years, Disney's book of available stories and characters has exploded and the Disney family is larger than ever.

I personally can't wait to see just how far Disney/Lucasfilm can go together.  I'm ready to again jump into hyperspace to a galaxy far, far away.

The Force is with us.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Boma

Boma 


Ok, so it's been a while.  Starting a new masters degree program can do that to you.

But I'm back now, so let's move forward with another Tip Tuesday!

This week, I wanted to share my thoughts about a restaurant I first visited in June and LOVE!

Boma!!

Located in the lower level of the Jambo house of the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boma is a buffet restaurant offering breakfast and dinner.  Breakfast items are fairly common and what you'd expect from any breakfast buffet.

But it's a dinner where Boma really shines.

Beginning at 4:30 p.m., Boma offers what the menu calls "an abundance of African and American specialties."  While there are some traditional favorites, the offerings do rotate.

Boma 

My personal favorite is the carved roast pork with the Boma mustard (I could enjoy that mustard day and night!).  If you're a soup person, then Boma is for you.  Each night several different soups are presented from butternut squash soup to crab soup to coconut chicken curry soup.  Again, buffet offerings change daily, so you might not see your favorite item every night.

The desserts at Boma are decadent beyond belief.  I was blown away by what was presented.  To be honest, you could justify the cost of Boma based on the desserts alone.

Speaking of cost, be prepared to pay to dine at Boma.  As of this post, the breakfast buffet runs about $25 for adults, $15 for kids and dinner runs about $40 for adults and $20 for kids.  These prices may be higher during peak periods.

Boma 

Another element to consider is that Boma is quite popular as the photo above depicts.  If you're interested in dining at Boma, you'll want to make your ADR's as soon as you can.  Also be prepared for a bit of a wait in line at the buffet, so you may want to plan to get two plates at one trip.

Finally, dining at Boma is a great reason to get out and explore different resorts, especially resorts that are a little more out-of-the-way like the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

So go!  Enjoy!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Photo Friday: A Grand morning

Grand Floridian in the morning light 


Ok, so it's not Friday.  Nevertheless, here's this week's photo Friday!

Obviously, this is the Grand Floridian.  What drew me to this shot this week was how the morning light basked the resort in amber light along with the reflection in the Seven Seas Lagoon.  This shot was taken from a balcony at the Contemporary Resort.  I've commented before about how I really like the Magic Kingdom view rooms at the Contemporary, perhaps the best theme park view rooms in all of Walt Disney World, and this shot is just one more reason.

Oh, and did you see the four hot air balloons in the distance?

Until next time!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Even more reason to get there early

Hey there, hi there, ho there!

It's Tip Tuesday time!

If you're a regular here at DisneyDaddy, you know I'm a big fan of getting to the parks early to take advantage of the low morning crowds.

In the past, Disney held an event known as "rope drop" where guests could queue up at a pre-selected area and wait for an official opening.  Often, a welcome show greeted guests before the countdown to park opening.

Lately, though, this practice has been changing, especially at Epcot, Disney Hollywood Studios and Disney Animal Kingdom.

Now, it appears that the welcome shows are a thing of the past, with the exception of the Magic Kingdom, and, more importantly, gates are starting to open even earlier than expected.

Recent reports indicate that though park opening may be set for, say, 9 a.m., guests can often start entering the park and going straight to attractions as much as 15 minutes before the posted time.  Basically, the park opens 15 minutes early, in this example.  While this isn't an official practice yet, it does appear that this is happening on a nearly daily basis, though reports vary on how much before the official opening cast members are allowing guests to enter the park.

So what this really means to you and me is that you really need to get to the turnstiles no less than 30 minutes before the posted park opening time, because you'll likely be allowed to enter before that opening.  This also goes for Extra Magic Hours.

With all the recent and rumored future changes to FastPass, a few more crowd-free morning hours is a magical thing.

So, like I always say, get there early and enjoy those low-crowd mornings!