DisneyParks Blog - We all have a favorite host from ABC’s “The Chew” –
superstars Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall and Daphne
Oz each have a special way of sharing their culinary know-how on the
Emmy-Award-winning lifestyle series. And for the first time in the show’s
history, these dynamic hosts are leaving the Manhattan studio to tape shows
October 7, 8, and 9 from the 20th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine
Festival at Epcot. The five festival episodes will air October 12-16.
Shows will be taped before a live audience (visit thechew.com for
information on how to obtain tickets), and we’re sure the hosts will be all
over Walt Disney World Resort discovering remarkable dining finds, getting a
taste of innovative, fun and healthful eats – the best the vacation kingdom
has to offer.
Along with the taping of the show, “The Chew” will be featured in two
marketplaces throughout the festival’s 53-day celebration from September
25-November 16, helping celebrate 20 delicious years. For the first time in
the festival’s history, marketplaces will expand into Future World in the
new Next Eats festival area with three delicious dishes
from “The Chew” in their Sustainable Chew Marketplace:
Savory Pork Spareribs with Cheesy Mascarpone Grits; Ricotta & Zucchini
Ravioli with Tomato Sauce, and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Figs and
Pistachio Brittle. (Herbs and veggies from The Land pavilion will flavor the
marketplace dishes when harvested.) The eco-home-inspired marketplace will
offer a chance for guests to learn more about how food is grown and the
importance of sustainability.
Also in Next Eats, Disney chefs are collaborating with “The Chew” for the
Chew Lab, a cutting-edge marketplace inspired by
food-science labs and the hottest culinary tech trends.
“The Chew” airs on ABC Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. EST, noon CST. For
updates on the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, visit
epcotfoodfestival.com throughout the summer.
DisneyParks Blog - So you’re not
able to be at Walt Disney World Resort for the Fourth of July but you want
to celebrate the holiday in Disney style? Well, the Disney Parks Blog has
you covered. We are excited to announce that the Magic Kingdom Park July 4th
fireworks show will stream ‘live’ at 9 p.m. EDT right here on the Disney
Join us as “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert In The
Sky” paints the sky red, white and blue and fills the air with patriotic
music. This special show features perimeter fireworks launched from around
Magic Kingdom Park and an island in Seven Seas Lagoon.
To make sure you have the best view in the house we are providing two
live cameras for you to choose from. One camera in front of Cinderella
Castle and the other near Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to take in the
entire perimeter spectacular. Guests viewing from their desktop will be able
to switch between the two cameras during the show. Those ‘on the go’ and
joining us on mobile devices, will be able to take in the live view from the
The live feed starts at 8:50 p.m. on the Disney Parks Blog, with the
fireworks show beginning at 9 p.m.
We are excited to offer this unique opportunity and hope you join us as
we celebrate this great nation Disney style.
DisneyParks Blog - The final phase of Disney’s Polynesian Villas &
Bungalows, the newest Disney Vacation Club property at the Walt Disney World
Resort opened today, marking the completion of all 360 Deluxe Villas at the
I recently had the opportunity to stay in one of the resort’s Deluxe
Studios and it was truly a fantastic experience. During my stay, I zipped
over to Epcot via the monorail and made it back in time to watch the Magic
Kingdom Park fireworks from the resort. I strolled along the resort’s beach
area and tested out room service (late-night pizza was fantastic, but not as
yummy as eating Tonga Toast in bed the next morning). At Disney’s Polynesian
Village Resort I took my son on his first pontoon boat ride on Seven Seas
Lagoon, spoiled his lunch by getting him a Dole Whip from Pineapple Lanai
and sampled drinks on the outdoor patio of the new Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.
In addition to the resort’s unbeatable location and fun amenities, the
features within our Villa make this my favorite Disney Vacation Club Deluxe
Studio to date. We especially enjoyed the spacious split bath design, the
hidden pull-down bunk-size bed and the kitchenette (the fridge would have
been perfect for our leftover take-out pizza, had we not polished the whole
thing off right away).
Want to see more? Take a tour of this unique accommodation in this video.
Jalopnik - If you’ve ever been on Space Mountain at Disney, you
just know deep down that if you stuck your arm out, your limbs would get
chopped off by one of those rafters flying by. Except it doesn’t. No one’s
limbs ever get chopped off. This weird looking device is how Disney makes
sure it doesn’t happen.
In a post about
the banning of selfie sticks on reddit’s r/offbeat, a user claiming
to be a Disney employee under the nom-de-plume
EnglishMobster noted that this is the only real way companies have to be
sure that you and your unusually long-necked family won’t get your heads
We have a thing called the “Envelope of Protection.”
Basically, all attractions made since 1965 are designed in such a way that
the human body cannot reach out and touch anything — here’s a vehicle they
use to test this (that’s from Walt Disney World in Florida, but California
uses the same concepts). This means that when a rollercoaster is going 45
MPH, you can have your hands out and you won’t get hit (it’s not a good idea
to test that, however — we do tell you to keep your hands and arms
inside the vehicle at all times).
As you can see from the video, it’s basically a big
spindly disc that simulates the furthest possible reach even the most
orangutan-shaped human could muster. If it can make it through the ride, you
can (most likely) make it through the ride.
Not all “envelopes of protection” look like this,
though. Some look like this, though they’re generally all built
around the same concept.
EnglishMobster went on to talk more about why selfie sticks are now banned
at theme parks, which mostly boils down to the fact you are all idiots who
can’t be trusted not to bring them onto the ride no matter how many times
people tell you not to do it.
there’s huge matters of good taste here, since selfie sticks are the new
Crocs and Socks combo.
But that last
part is actually just my personal opinion.
Orlando Sentinel - Out with virtual reality, in with basketball hoops:
DisneyQuest will close next year to make way for an NBA-themed attraction.
The five-story center with video and virtual games opened in 1998 at the
entertainment district's West Side. The building is a landmark at Downtown
Disney, which is undergoing an expansion.
DisneyQuest's attractions include CyberSpace Mountain, a a
design-your-own-roller-coaster motion-simulator ride, and Mighty Ducks
Pinball Slam, a life-sized game in which players stand on a joystick that
controls cartoon characters on a screen. DisneyQuest has more traditional
video games too.
It appears DisneyQuest — once planned to be a worldwide chain of 20
virtual-reality centers — fell victim to changing technological times. In an
era of smartphone apps, lifelike video games and other interactive
attractions, DisneyQuest started to appear dated to many people.
Chris Fouche, 37, of Orlando remembers being "blown away" when it first
opened. When he took his 5-year-old daughter last year, though, "wow"
quickly morphed into "meh."
"Now it seems really stupid and really cheesy. I have more power in my
phone than in that whole building," he said. "But back then, it was a trip."
A few weeks ago, the majority of the features were out of order, Buzz
Lightyear's AstroBlaster broke down, and most of CyberSpace Mountain's
simulators didn't work.
The experience is not cheap. One-day tickets cost $47.93 for adults and
$41.54 for children.
That cost — along with the difficulty of reaching anyone by phone and the
relatively late opening time — was the reason StarChild Academy in Apopka
stopped taking summer-camp programs there.
"The whole thing was too complex for us," StarChild owner Cindy
Visits to DisneyQuest are included in Walt Disney World's premiere
passes. The company did not have details about whether it will substitute
any other experiences in the premiere passes once DisneyQuest closes.
The Orlando location had a longer run than others Walt Disney Co. tried
building. One in Chicago closed shortly after opening because it didn't live
up to the company's expected returns. Plans for another in Philadelphia fell
through amid financing problems for a proposed urban entertainment center
Ed Chambers, president of the Service Trades Council coalition of Disney
unions, said new jobs will be available for DisneyQuest workers.
The NBA Experience at Downtown Disney will include high-tech experiences,
a restaurant and a store.
"It seems like a perfect fit for that kind of restaurant and
entertainment center," Roseboom said of the building. "Just the size of it.
There's lots of areas in DisneyQuest where you can look over and see down. I
can just picture basketball games there people can play on and things like
Earlier this year, Disney removed all the redemption counters for video
games at DisneyQuest and its hotels. It also closed Tomorrowland Arcade in
the Magic Kingdom, placing games from that location into the hotel arcades
to replace the ones that issued prizes for points.
Many thought those moves were related to concerns about not complying
with recently-changed state laws that banned Internet cafes, but also
affected other types of games.
- Christine M. McCarthy has been named Senior Executive Vice President and
Chief Financial Officer and Kevin Mayer has been named Senior Executive Vice
President and Chief Strategy Officer of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS),
effective immediately, it was announced today by Robert A. Iger, Chairman
and Chief Executive Officer.
“Christine has done an incredible job as Disney’s Treasurer over the past
15 years, and her strong leadership and keen financial acumen make her an
ideal Chief Financial Officer,” Mr. Iger said. “She is highly respected in
the finance sector, and in this new role she will have even more impact on
creating value for Disney shareholders.” Ms. McCarthy will report directly
to Mr. Iger.
“Kevin has overseen Corporate Strategy and Business Development at a time
of unprecedented growth for Disney, playing an integral role in our
successful acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm,” Mr. Iger said.
“With this promotion to the new role of Chief Strategy Officer he will
continue to focus on growth opportunities and help position the company for
the future.” Mr. Mayer, who previously reported to the Chief Financial
Officer, will jointly report to Mr. Iger and Thomas O. Staggs, Chief
As CFO, Ms. McCarthy will now oversee Investor Relations, Corporate
Planning and Control, Tax, Corporate Treasury, Corporate Real Estate,
Facilities, Integrated Supply Chain Management, and Corporate Citizenship.
She succeeds James A. Rasulo as CFO.
“I am humbled and honored to be entrusted with the role of CFO of this
incredibly dynamic company,” Ms. McCarthy said. “Under Bob’s leadership,
Disney has delivered record results, and I look forward to working with our
talented senior management team as we build on the company’s financial
strength and strong balance sheet to deliver shareholder value.”
In Ms. McCarthy’s most recent role as Executive Vice President, Corporate
Real Estate, Alliances and Treasurer, she developed a finance team
responsible for treasury, corporate finance, capital markets, financial
risk, international treasury and investments, credit, and risk management.
Mr. Mayer has served since 2005 as Executive Vice President, Corporate
Strategy and Business Development, and in his new role as Chief Strategy
Officer he will oversee Corporate Strategy, Business Development,
Acquisitions, Enterprise Information Technology, Innovation, Brand and
Franchise Management, and Global Corporate Alliances.
“I'm extremely gratified to be given this opportunity to further expand
Disney’s assets and businesses,” Mr. Mayer said. “Disney’s growth has been
incredible these past several years, and I am proud of the role my group has
played in facilitating that expansion and excited by the strategic
opportunities that lie ahead for the company.”
In 2009 and 2011, readers of The Deal named Disney the Most Admired
Corporate Dealmaker in the consumer sector.
Mr. Mayer rejoined Disney from L.E.K. Consulting LLC, where he was a
partner and head of the Global Media and Entertainment practice. Prior to
L.E.K., Mr. Mayer held leading positions at interactive and Internet
businesses, including chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Interactive, where
he managed all aspects of new media business, including content, sales,
business and technology development, and distribution.
Mr. Mayer first joined Disney in 1993 as Manager, Strategic Planning,
where he spearheaded strategy and business development for all of Disney's
interactive/Internet and television businesses worldwide. Later, he became
Executive Vice President of the Internet group, responsible for the
operations, business plans, creative direction and distribution of Disney's
popular Web sites, including ESPN.comand ABCNews.com. Mr. Mayer received his
M.B.A. from Harvard University in 1990, and holds a M.S.E.E. from San Diego
State University and a B.S.M.E. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ms. McCarthy has served as Disney’s representative on the board of FM
Global since 2010. She is also a Trustee of the Westridge School for Girls
in Pasadena, Calif., and a mentor for the National Math and Science
Initiative’s STEM program. She has been named multiple times to Treasury &
Riskmagazine’s “100 Most Influential People in Finance,” and in June, 2015
she was named Treasury Today magazine’s Woman of the Year, one of the
profession’s most highly regarded benchmarks.
Prior to joining Disney, Ms. McCarthy was the Executive Vice President
and Chief Financial Officer of Imperial Bancorp from 1997 to 2000. She held
various finance and planning positions at First Interstate Bancorp from 1981
to 1996, and was elected Executive Vice President in Finance for First
Interstate in 1993. Ms. McCarthy completed her Bachelor’s Degree in
Biological Sciences at Smith College, where she received an award for
excellence in botany, and later earned an MBA in Marketing and Finance from
the Anderson School at UCLA.
Orlando Sentinel - Another attraction is closing at Disney's Hollywood
Studios theme park. The last day for the Magic of Disney Animation will be
July 12, Disney confirmed Monday.
"Work is underway on a new experience, and we look forward to sharing
more information in the future," a Disney World spokeswoman said.
The adjacent Animation Gallery will remain open until late August.
The area is one of the original attractions when the park opened under
the name Disney-MGM Studios in 1989. One of its features was the ability for
guests to spy on actual Disney animators at work. The attraction now
includes a short film about how Disney characters are made; Animation
Station, where character-driven art lessons are given; and a character
The closure is the latest in a series of recent departures at Hollywood
Studios. Gone are the Studios Backlot Tour and American Idol Experience.
Earlier this year, Disney removed the large sorcerer's hat that had become
the icon of the park.
In March, Disney CEO Bob Iger told shareholders that the park would
undergo another name change, although the new moniker has not been
announced. It started going by the Hollywood Studios name in 2008.
Disney has said it will build more Star Wars attractions at its parks,
and Hollywood Studios is usually listed as a natural choice because of its
current ties to the franchise, including the Star Tours ride and the Star
Wars Weekends events.
DisneyParks Blog - With the Fourth of July holiday right around the corner
at Disney Parks, I recently found a few items to help guests show their
patriotic Disney Side.
Our newest retail MagicBand features Mickey Mouse standing in front of an
American flag. This limited release item has a retail of $24.95 and can be
found in select merchandise locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort.
I adore the Fourth of July limited edition pin with Carl and Ellie from
Disney•Pixar’s “Up.” This pin has an edition size of 3,500 and will be
released at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. I also like the new,
open edition Minnie Mouse bow decorated in red, white and blue.
The Graphic Apparel team introduced shirts including a tank top along
with short and long sleeved options. These designs will be similar in both
California and Florida with the only differences being the name of the
Disney Resort destination.
Finally, guests visiting Heritage Manor Gifts in World Showcase at Epcot
will find some unique Americana items including shirts. The location also
carries USA Charm Bracelets by Alex and Ani in both gold and silver.
VB - Disney Interactive is no longer a
standalone pillar with The Walt Disney Company
The corporation announced that it is combining its video game publisher
wing with Disney Consumer Products. This new division is now known as Disney
Consumer Products and Interactive Media (DCPI). In recent years, Disney has
pulled back from some of its more ambitious attempts at tackling the gaming
market, and it is now much more focused on smartphone and tablet apps. This
signifies that — beyond its mobile and Disney Infinity business — the
multimedia conglomerate wants to limit its exposure to the gaming space. In
the past, the division has bled money due to having several in-house
studios, but the company’s gaming strategy is now much leaner and focused.
The merger with the products division also comes as the Disney Infinity
franchise continues to find success. The series combines games with
interactive toys, and it is one of the top sellers over the last two years.
It seems likely that the company may want more initiatives along those lines
and DCPI could deliver that. Since publisher Activision kicked off the
interactive-toy market four years ago with Skylanders, these kinds of games
have generated more than $4 billion in sales. And a survey has found that
parents regularly spend more than $100 on these kinds of products and toys
every six months.
Disney Infinity and Disney Infinity 2.0 debuted during the last half of
the year in 2013 and 2014, respectively. 2.0 focused on Marvel characters,
and 3.0, which is coming Aug. 23, is all about Star Wars. With huge
brands like that, Disney Infinity has started to grab a significant portion
of the interactive-toy market — both in terms of software and action-figure
sales. This has led to Activision firing back with a new Skylanders game
that will include some Nintendo characters and vehicles, but it has also led
to Warner Bros. and Lego agreeing to enter the space with Lego Dimensions.
That game will bring together interactive toys from popular brands like The
Lord of the Rings, Batman, and Back to the Future.
Meanwhile, Nintendo’s Amiibo interactive figures are still so popular that
they are often nearly impossible to find in stores and regularly outsell
Skylanders and Infinity.
In a statement, The Walt Disney Company chief operating officer Tom
Staggs explained that “a shared innovation strategy will enable this new
segment to create unique and engaging products and experiences that exceed
Disney notes that the consumer-products division and its gaming publisher
have had increasingly similar objectives over recent years. The merger will
enable the two companies to share their expertise in technology as well as
their relationships with retailers.
Going forward, Leslie Ferraro and Jimmy Pitaro will jointly run the
division. Ferraro was previously the head of Disney Consumer Products while
Pitaro ran Disney Interactive.
In addition to the existing consumer products and gaming businesses —
which include licensing, product development, and game development — Disney
will create a new research-and-development division called DCPI Labs. This
group will look into cutting-edge technologies to build new immersive
DisneyParks Blog - Disney VoluntEARS Month at Disney Cruise Line is a unique
opportunity for shipboard crew members to give back to communities in
different ports of call around the world. More than 150 crew members across
all four Disney ships participated in Disney VoluntEARS Month in May,
demonstrating that we all have the ability to make a positive impact.
This May, 10 organizations from five communities in Central Florida, the
Bahamas and the Caribbean benefitted from more than 450 volunteer hours.
Crew efforts impacted charitable causes focused on areas including
education, health/wellness and animal care/rescue.
Each year, the cast and crew at Disney Cruise Line provide thousands of
hours of community service – from raising funds for disaster relief to
spreading Disney cheer in children’s hospitals around the world.
DisneyParks Blog - Independence Day is coming up, and the parks at Walt
Disney World Resort are planning to celebrate our nation’s 239th birthday
with some star-spangled salutes to America!
If you’re visiting Walt Disney World Resort for the 4th of July, here are
some highlights of the special entertainment planned for that day:
Magic Kingdom Park – “Disney’s Celebrate America! A
Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” rockets into the air above Cinderella
Castle. This special, fireworks spectacular will be presented two nights
in a row, at 9 p.m. on both July 3 and 4.
Epcot – On July 4, enjoy a special concert of great
American songs by Voices of Liberty at America Gardens Theater, where
they’ll be performing at 12:30 p.m., 1:45 p.m., and 3 p.m. You can also
meet Chip ‘n’ Dale in patriotic attire outside The American Adventure,
and at 10 p.m. that evening “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” joins
the celebration with the addition of a heart-pounding, all-American
Disney’s Hollywood Studios –The “Coolest Summer
Ever” Dance Party leads up to a “Rockin’ 4th of July Celebration,” as
the sky above Disney’s Hollywood Studios ignites in a shower of
shimmering light for a pyrotechnic, rock ‘n roll road trip across
America. The DJ kicks things off at 5:45 p.m. and keeps the party going
until fireworks time at 10:15 p.m.
Looks like the 4th of July is going to be a blast all across Walt Disney
OC Register -
Last week, The Walt Disney Co. showed how much it values keeping Anaheim out
of its ticket-pricing business.
The corporation announced it would commit to a $1 billion expansion at
Disneyland Resort. provided the city forgoes taxing admission tickets for 30
Anaheim has never charged taxes on Disney tickets. But the 1996 deal that
spelled out that policy expires next year.
Disney’s effort to get ahead of the curve shows how much control it wants
to maintain over its carefully calibrated prices that have kept rising – but
not so much that attendance has suffered. A new tax, even a relatively small
one, could affect that strategy, experts said.
“Every dollar they can save from a tax is a dollar they can charge,” said
Scott J. Smith, an assistant professor of hospitality at University of South
Carolina. “It’s not like they’re going to keep the price the same” without
Smith, who studies theme parks and revenue management, said Disney has
been very smart at angling for “price optimization” – the highest it can
charge without hitting resistance from customers.
Despite pricing out some – one-day, one-park tickets now cost $99 –
Disneyland last year attracted 16.7 million visitors, a 3.5 percent increase
Start adding taxes and, unless Disney is willing to eat the difference,
it might push tickets past the breaking point for many consumers, Smith
Disney officials said they believe a tax would hurt attendance and guest
There’s also a subtle psychology involved in prices. If tourists have to
figure in taxes and fees, the price of a theme park ticket could start to
feel like the expanding cost of travel, with its hefty hotel taxes and
airline luggage fees.
Billions from parks
Robert Niles, editor of Theme Park Insider, an industry blog, said he
doesn’t believe Disney has a real fear that the city will start charging
admission tax after decades without one. The company, he said, is more
likely trying to give political cover to its allies on the City Council when
the deal comes up.
“It gives the impression that Anaheim gets something in return,” he said.
At the end of 2014, Disney’s parks and resorts were its second-biggest
source of revenue, after its media networks, with operating revenue of $2.6
billion, a 20 percent jump from the previous year, according to financial
Here in Orange County, Disneyland Resort accounts for nearly a third of
the $9.6 billion tourism market and generates $370 million in state and
local tax revenues, according to a study commissioned by Disney. The city’s
tax revenue from hotel stays, heavily tied to Disney parks, is projected to
hit $133 million next year – nearly half of its total revenue.
Still, Anaheim faces a half-billion dollar unfunded pension obligation.
And mayor Tom Tait opposes Disney’s proposal, saying he doesn’t want Anaheim
to be handcuffed for another three decades. As of Friday, the majority of
the Council was in favor of Disney’s $1 billion plan.
No other city that houses a Disney theme park has applied an admissions
tax. Florida charges a general sales tax of 6.5 percent for each ticket
purchased for Walt Disney World.
Bryan Starr, vice president of government affairs with the Orange County
Business Council, called the deal proposed by Disney a “no brainer” for
Anaheim City Council members. “Anaheim has a golden goose right here. It
seems natural they’d seal the deal.”
Niles, the industry blog editor, said he doubts Disney would walk away
from its investment over the admissions tax deal.
At the state level, there have been efforts to charge sales taxes or
admissions surcharges on theme-park tickets. None has panned out, said John
Robinson, chief executive of the California Attractions and Parks
Association, an industry association that fought the proposals.
A study commissioned by his group last year found that even a 4.25
percent admissions tax would result in 1.6 million fewer visits at
“It was education of the legislators and the realizations that there are
consequences to raising taxes,” Robinson said, citing reduced business and
cuts to the workforce. “You have to make up that revenue.”
At municipal levels, an admissions tax is nothing new for sports parks
and other entertainment venues. In San Francisco, home to the Giants
professional baseball team and former home of the football 49ers, the city
has a maximum $2.25 admission tax for tickets that cost more than $27. In
1998, voters approved an amendment to a measure that would limit admissions
tax for Giants game to 25 cents until 2023.
San Francisco received $2.8 million in 2013-2014, according to the city
controller’s office. With the loss of the 49ers, that will fall by half.
In Sandusky, Ohio, Cedar Fair’s Cedar Point theme park – a sister park to
Knott’s Berry Farm – has had an admissions tax since at least 1998.
Last year, when that city faced a $1 million budget shortfall, park
executives actually lobbied for voters to raise the admissions tax from 3 to
4 percent and committed an extra $500,000 a year to help the city.
Voters approved the 4 percent tax measure. A few months later, the
one-day admission ticket to Cedar Point increased by 4 percent, to $62.
Orlando Sentinel - Walt Disney Co.'s theme-park visitors are spending a lot
more money, on everything from $105 Magic Kingdom tickets to $110
special-edition Tommy Bahama shirts.
Per-visitor spending at Disney's domestic parks has increased 7 percent
to 8 percent annually for the past four years. That figure outpaces
attendance growth and is higher than in previous years back to 2003, when
Disney began providing those details in regulatory filings.
Analysts say a combination of factors is at work, including a recovering
economy, price hikes, higher-quality offerings, and the MyMagic+ technology
Disney did not make executives available for an interview.
In an e-mailed statement, spokeswoman Kim Prunty noted Disney has
experienced record attendance — "the result of delivering a magical
experience that only Disney can provide. As guest demand continues to grow
for our parks, we will work to ensure that all our guests have experiences
that consistently exceed their expectations."
Walt Disney World prices drew attention this year as one-day Magic
Kingdom tickets broke the $100 barrier. Other increases included a 9 percent
jump in basic annual passes for Florida residents.
Disney raises prices regularly. Still, "I actually think they're being a
little bit more bullish than they have in the past," said Scott Sanders, a
former Disney vice president of pricing.
The possibility looms of even higher prices during peak seasons to spread
out demand. Disney recently sent out a survey suggesting a hypothetical
tiered pricing structure including $125 Magic Kingdom tickets during
Christmas and July. The survey asked guests about how tiered pricing would
have affected their visit choices.
Water parks on Disney's property have already begun charging higher
summer prices. Tickets cost $58, as opposed to $53 the rest of the year.
Disney says it is far from turning into an elitist playground. Its
affordable options include budget-oriented hotels, monthly payment plans for
passes, Florida-resident discounts, and lower prices on renewed passes.
A recent report from the Themed Entertainment Association and consulting
group AECOM noted the stagnation of middle-class incomes. That, the report
said, "raises questions about the sustainability of recent ticket price
increases" throughout the industry.
So far, though, experts say big theme parks haven't hit the price
"They know they can take pricing and they have been taking it pretty
aggressively," Sanders said. "Until they see a negative impact, they're
going to continue to do it."
Universal Orlando recently raised one-day ticket prices to $102. Owner
Comcast Corp. says in SEC filings that both attendance and guest spending
have grown but does not give details.
SeaWorld, on the other hand, saw declines in both attendance and
per-person spending last year as it struggled with controversy and
competition. In May, it raised its one-day ticket price to $97 but dropped
the cost of an advance-purchase weekday ticket.
Disney discounted during the economic downturn, with offers including
free birthday admission. Those have gone away. Visitors can — and want to —
spend more now, Pacific Asset Management analyst Bob Boyd said.
"Disney has also done a better job in recent years with the quality of
their merchandise and their food offerings such as the Be Our Guest
restaurant," Boyd said in an email. "Many consumers are quite willing to pay
more for that kind of high quality experience."
New opportunities for conspicuous consumption abound. Disney has rolled
out dessert parties costing up to $100, time-share Polynesian Village
bungalows renting for more than $2,000 a night, and Disney-style Tommy
Bahama shirts with triple-digit prices.
Experts say Disney is also providing more opportunities to spend.
Increased FastPass usage through MyMagic gets people through lines quicker
so they can spend more time in shops and restaurants. MagicBands can also
function as credit cards.
Meanwhile Disney's per-guest domestic hotel spending rose to $280 last
fiscal year, compared with $267 in 2013.
The company recently told analysts occupancy at its domestic hotels, at
89 percent, was close to peaking.
"How do you then build your operating profit, which Wall Street expects?"
said Dave Shute, who tracks hotel costs for his Disney-oriented
yourfirstvisit.net website. "If you can't put more hotel rooms in, you raise
"How do you then build your operating profit, which Wall Street expects?"
said Dave Shute, who tracks hotel costs for his Disney-oriented
yourfirstvisit.net website. "If you can't put more hotel rooms in, you raise
There have been some discounts available. Nicole Paris, a Maryland
middle-school teacher, recently took advantage of one for her family's visit
at the Wilderness Lodge.
Still, "it seems like there's a lot more … opportunities for those with
more money to get something better than everybody else," said Paris, 44.
"It seems against the Disney spirit," said her mother Hermi Schijf of the
Kevin Gates of Warsaw, Ind. saved for a year for his Disney trip, which
he said cost $35,000 for a family of 13 to visit for a week.
It's more expensive than other vacations, said Gates, 46, but "it's a
life experience. It's a one-time experience."
The Street - For years, ESPN
has gone by the nickname of the "The Worldwide Leader In Sports."
Lately, however, it seems like the cable-TV network has also been the
leader in rising costs for Disney
(DIS), its parent company. Programming and production costs at
Disney'scable-TV unit, of which ESPN is its larger component, are expected
to rise by "low-teen percentage points" for the company's fiscal year ended
In a business in which content is king, the price of acquiring
live-sports content is continuing to rise, and ESPN may have to trim costs
elsewhere, possibly with its on-air talent and behind-the-scenes employees.
Last month, ESPN severed ties with popular sports blogger and
columnist Bill Simmons and his reported $5 million annual salary.
Simmons was seen as on the hot seat for months after some of his
comments about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Goodell's handling
of the Ray Rice domestic-violence incident.
Some industry analysts have raised concerns about ESPN's impact on
Disney. Last week, Morgan Stanley's Benjamin Swinburne said that he even
though Disney may take in almost $2 billion in box-office receipts from
Star Wars: The Force Awakens later this year, he is keeping his rating
on Disney's stock at equal-weight, partly because of ESPN.
Swinburne said he sees "more limited upside" for ESPN to increase revenue
from affiliates that carry the network, as well as programming-rights costs
that "may grow more quickly than expected." He estimates that ESPN's ad
revenue during Disney's fiscal third quarter will fall 2% from a year ago
and will rise just 3% for the company's full fiscal year ending in
September, as opposed to an earlier estimate of a 6% increase.
In a statement, Disney said that "ESPN has led the sports and media
industries for more than 35 years by making smart, strategic investments
and constantly innovating. It is a key component of The Walt Disney
Company's diverse portfolio and will remain a consistent driver
of shareholder value."
Disney shares were slipping 0.7% Monday to $114.15, trimming its 2015
advance to 21% compared to a 1% gain for the S&P 500(^GSPC).
When Disney reported its fiscal second-quarter results in May, the
numbers were typically formidable for the world's largest entertainment
The company posted earnings of $2.11 billion, or $1.23 a share, on $12.5
billion in revenue, up from a profit of $1.92 billion, or $1.08 a share, on
sales of $11.65 billion in the same period a year ago. Disney CEO Bob Iger
said that the company's results were "reflected in the phenomenal worldwide
success" of the recently released film, Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron,
which has grossed more than $1.3 billion since its release in April.
But ESPN, which is a cash cow for Disney, got a bit of a short shrift in
the quarter. Its earnings performance appears to be enough of a concern to
warrant some cost-cutting pressure.
USA Today - If you're looking to create an artful self-portrait with that
famous mouse at the Magic Kingdom, you'll have to do it the old-fashioned
way -- with your arm.
The land of Mickey and
Minnie Mouse is banning the selfie stick.
Word on the popular "selfie" device came from Disney officials Friday.
Citing safety concerns, the sticks will no longer be allowed inside any
Walt Disney World's four Florida parks and two Disneyland parks in
California, as well as DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive in Orlando. Disney
hotels and resorts will still allow the devices.
The selfie-stick ban in Disney's U.S. parks starts Tuesday. The sticks
will be banned from
Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disney on July 1.
"We strive to provide a great experience for the entire family, and
unfortunately selfie sticks have become a growing safety concern for both
our guests and cast," Disney spokeswoman Kim Prunty said in a statement.
Selfie sticks – which attach to smartphones or cameras and allow users to
take self-portraits, or "selfies" – have steadily grown in popularity the
past few years, especially among vacationers wishing to capture their
special moments and post them to social media sites, such as Facebook,
Twitter and Instagram.
Disney joins a growing list of attractions and stadiums around the world
banning selfie sticks, citing safety hazards or view obstructions. They
Museum of Modern Art in New York, the
National Gallery of Art in Washington, all 19 Smithsonian museums
and galleries, the
Art Institute of Chicago, the
Getty Center in Los Angeles, Rome's Colosseum, Brazilian soccer
Kentucky Derby, the
Wimbledon tennis championships, and the
Lollapalooza and Coachella music festivals.
They have been the subject of growing concern at Disney's theme parks. On
Disney California Adventure's California Screamin' roller coaster
was stopped mid-ride when a passenger pulled out a selfie stick. Passengers
were evacuated from the ride, which was stopped for more than an hour.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster has had to be stopped
several times when passengers pulled out selfie sticks.
The sticks have always been banned on rides and earlier this year Disney
officials began posting "No Selfie Sticks" signs at the entrances to
attractions to remind guests, but the park-wide ban will keep them off the
premises entirely. Guests bringing selfie sticks to the gates at the parks'
entrances will be asked to check the devices there, according to Disney.
DisneyParks Blog - The Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration continues all
summer long, honoring 60 years of the Happiest Place on Earth, and on July
4th we’ll also be saluting 239 years of the United States of America with
some special Independence Day entertainment.
Disneyland park – “Disneyland Forever,” the all-new
street-to-sky fireworks spectacular, will be presented July 4 at 9:30
p.m. Following the show on that night only will be a patriotic,
pyrotechnic grand finale to celebrate America’s birthday.
Disney California Adventure park – On July 4, a
special pyrotechnic water display will be presented at the start of all
three performances of the new “World of Color – Celebrate!” at 9 p.m.,
10:15 p.m. and 11:15 p.m.
Military Bands – Several outstanding Air Force and
Marine bands will be performing at locations throughout the Disneyland
Resort, from July 2–6. Be sure to check out Kevin’s original post for
all the details!
Orlando Sentinel - Captain EO," the short sci-fi
film starring Michael Jackson, is back on the schedule at Disney World. The
company website puts it on the roster beginning Sunday, July 19.
The feature left Epcot in April to make room for a preview of the Disney
film "Tomorrowland," starring George Clooney. Later, that Future World space
was home to "Inside Out," an animated feature that debuted last Friday. It
made $90 million in its first weekend in theaters.
"Captain EO" also was seen at Disney
parks in Japan, France and Anaheim, Calif.
DisneyParks Blog - From July 2-5, guests can enjoy more special performances
by military acts than ever before, continuing a tradition of inviting the
military to perform at Disneyland, started by Walt Disney on opening day. If
you are visiting the Disneyland Resort this Fourth of July weekend, you may
want to catch one of these patriotic shows! Below is a schedule of
United States Air Force Honor Guard from Washington D.C.
July 2-5, 2015
3:15 p.m. – Sleeping Beauty Castle Forecourt
4:05 p.m. – Prior to Mickey’s Soundsational Parade
Disney California Adventure Park
11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. – Paradise Pier, near the “World
of Color” viewing area
Fourth of July added performances
5:15 p.m. – Flag Retreat Ceremony (Color Guard only) in Town Square
6:45 p.m. – Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree
United States 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band from Mira Mar, CA
July 4, 2015
4:10 p.m. – Prior to Mickey’s Soundsational Parade
5:15 p.m. – Flag Retreat Ceremony in Town Square
7 p.m. – Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree
Downtown Disney District
11:30 a.m. (breakout rock band) – Main Stage
United States Air Force Band of the Golden West from San
July 5-6, 2015
Downtown Disney District
6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m. (breakout rock band) –
DisneyParks Blog - There’s no better place in
Disney’s Hollywood Studios to see and be seen than The Hollywood Brown Derby
Lounge. Especially with the addition of small plates and beverages with the
newly renovated outdoor bar.
New small plates include grilled Bloody Mary-marinated shrimp and chorizo
and heirloom tomatoes on toasted ciabatta with garlic herb butter and a new
seasonal soup — Zellwood Corn Bisque, served with a corn and lobster fritter
and Ancho chili oil. Or share the Crispy Bites, featuring parmesan and goat
cheese risotto sticks with a peach-habanero chili sauce, Brie with a sweet
onion and orange jam, and affiné blue and mushroom arancini with a fig and
balsamic dip. These new tastes join favorites like The Famous Hollywood
Brown Derby Cobb Salad, Derby Sliders, and Artisanal Cheeses and Charcuterie
New additions to the drink menu include a Mint Julep made with premium
reserve bourbon; the new Bloody Mary turns up the heat with pepper-infused
vodka and a garnish of olives, spicy pickles, and pickled green beans; a
Champagne Cocktail with sweet and floral elderflower liqueur and Fairytale
by Iron Horse Celebration Cuvee (exclusive to Walt Disney Parks and
Resorts); Sangria; and, my favorite, the Grapefruit Cake Martini — a
delicious twist on the classic dessert.
Stop by The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge to take in the sights, sounds
and tastes of Hollywood and leave feeling like a star!
DisneyParks Blog - The new Disney•Pixar film “Inside Out” just hit theaters
a few days ago, and guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios area already having
fun learning how to draw the film’s colorful cast of characters at the
In case you haven’t seen it yet, “Inside Out” takes a look at the life of
a girl named Riley, who moves with her family from the Midwest to San
Francisco. Her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – live in
Headquarters, the control center of her mind, where they help guide her
through her daily life, including the challenge of taking on a new school
Today we’re sharing a tutorial on how to draw Anger, a member of the team
who is passionate, fiery and quick to react.
Want to learn how to draw another Disney character? Check out our full
list of tutorials below.
Anna from ‘Frozen’
Baymax from ‘Big Hero 6’
Buzz Lightyear from ‘Toy Story’
Dopey from ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’
Flynn from ‘Tangled’
Fred from ‘Big Hero 6′
Genie from ‘Aladdin’
Grumpy from ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’
Hiro from ‘Big Hero 6’
Joy from ‘Inside Out’
Jack Skellington from ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’
DisneyParks Blog - Disney’s Wilderness Lodge takes guests on a journey to
the beautiful Pacific Northwest, with design inspired by turn-of-the-century
National Park lodges. And Artist Point carries that theme into the dining
room with dramatic murals, timbered columns and pretty views of Bay Lake and
Silver Creek Falls.
So, of course, the cuisine helps tell the story, and Chef Michael
Gonsalves, new at the helm in the Artist Point kitchen, is having fun with a
menu that is focused on the America’s Pacific Northwest. “We are looking to
convey the wonders of nature through food,” says Chef Michael.
Regional dishes such as Dungeness crab cakes, steamed mussels, Cedar
plank salmon and wild-caught prawns and halibut are on the menu, but Chef
Michael is having fun with new tastes, too. A dashi-braised short rib
starter is served with kombu turnip pickles, daikon and wild greens. Charred
field asparagus with Berkshire prosciutto, mustard vinaigrette, and foraged
greens also graces the menu. And he showcases produce from the “Land” at
Epcot as well with offerings such as the “Land” Greens Salad featuring
Masumoto Peaches, and Seed Granola.
Favorites such as the smokey portobello bisque with crispy shiitakes
stays on the menu, as well as the buffalo strip steak from North Fork
Canada. For summer, Chef Michael is adding a new cheese and house-made
“We’ll be offering Pacific Northwest cheeses with house-made seed lavosh
and crostini,” says Chef Michael. “And the house-made charcuterie will be
‘nose-to-tail,’ using the whole hog.” The restaurant’s beef, bison, halibut
and salmon all are sourced from the Pacific Northwest too.
Most popular dish? The Cedar plank salmon, says Chef Michael, with his
new rendition with local potatoes, baby fennel, Florida citrus and ver jus.
Every dish on the menu gets a wine pairing from sommelier Alvin Burrill,
with each selection from Washington or Oregon. But Alvin also might
recommend a Pacific Northwest ale if you ask, like the handcrafted Rogue
Ales made in partnership with Voodoo Donuts (strange but true).
Looking ahead, Chef Michael says they are working on a terrace dining
experience with a communal chef’s table – stay tuned for details!
Variety - Two years have passed since “Teen Beach Movie,” but just three
months of time onscreen. And that offers about as much as anyone needs to
know about the sequel, “Teen Beach 2,” which clearly feels no incentive to
tamper with success. The only wrinkle, such as it is, involves reversing the
first movie’s central conceit, bringing characters from a ’60s beach movie
into the present-day real world, instead of vice versa. But all that – and
the other plot threads stitched together from various sources – is a pretty
thin excuse to reunite the gang to dance and sing again.
To its credit, Disney Channel’s commitment to live-action musicals
introduces its audience to a genre that doesn’t gain much exposure elsewhere
on TV, so the second-guessing should be kept to a minimum. That said, given
that some parents will doubtless be lulled into sitting through these
exercises with their kids, it behooves them to make the between-the-music
sequences as painless as possible.
That objective isn’t helped by letting the movie run 104 minutes, which
results in additional clunky dialogue and exposition to connect the musical
numbers generated by a small army of songwriters and producers, and
choreographed by Christopher Scott and director Jeffrey Hornaday. While a
few of those performances stand out – including a clever one about how much
better it is to be in the movies – there’s a semi-numbing sameness to the
pop hooks and vocals.
As for the plot, well, beyond the obvious “The Purple Rose of Cairo”
riffs (again), “Grease” is the word. Because while surfers Brady (Ross
Lynch) and Mack (Maia Mitchell) were brought together by their adventure in
the movie “Wet Side Story,” now that summer’s over, they find themselves
mismatched now that they’re back in school – her an ambitious overachiever,
him a slacker who misses a College Fair. “It’s almost like the school you
wants nothing to do with me!” Brady pouts.
Fortunately (or not), fiction intrudes, with the two leads from the
movie, Lela (Grace Phipps) and Tanner (Garrett Clayton), stumbling into
Brady and Mack’s world. Although the two real kids fret about the possible
consequences, the celluloid ones are so dazzled by modern gizmos (among them
the smartphone and disembodied voice of Siri) that they’re in no hurry to
retreat to their two-dimensional realm, even if it risks falling apart
Everything else is really just the storytelling equivalent of pulling
taffy, trying to create enough impediments to keep the narrative clunking
along until the next spontaneous outbreak of song. Thankfully, there’s a
great deal of talent on the screen, though the words generally sound far
better when sung than spoken.
Ever since “High School Musical,” Disney has been enamored with mining
this niche, and why not? Not only do the movies garner high ratings, they
offer ancillary benefits (including the original music) to feed its
merchandising pipeline, and a platform to launch new programs — in this
case, a sitcom with its own time-travel twist, “Best Friends Whenever.”
With that in mind, another trip to the beach seems inevitable, although
having now explored both sides of this plot, some new wrinkles are probably
in order. Pirates? Or dinosaurs? After all, as long as you’re going back in
time and pilfering from movies, why not pull out the big guns?
Movie; Disney Channel, Fri. June 26, 8 p.m.)
Filmed in Puerto Rico by
Executive producers, Michelle
Manning, David Buelow; producer, Michael O. Gallant; director, Jeffrey
Hornaday; writers, Matt Eddy, Bill Eddy; story by Dan Berendsen, Robert
Horn; camera, Mark Irwin; production designer, Jennifer Dehghan; editor,
David Finfer; choreography, Christopher Scott, Hornaday; music, David
Lawrence; songwriters/producers, Mitch Allan, Dan Book, Nikki Leonti,
Evan Bogart, Riker Lynch, Rocky Lynch, Ross Lynch, Ellington Ratliff,
Jens Koerkemeier, Matthew Tishler, Amy Powers, Niclas Molinder, Joacim
Persson, Charlie Mason, Johan Alkenas, Twin, Jeannie Lurie, Aris
Archontis, Chen Neeman, Faye Greenberg, Adam Schlesinger, Sam Hollander,
Josh Edmondson, Charity Daw, S.A.M, Bobby Huff, John Feldmann; casting,
Jason La Padura, Natalie Hart, Julie Gale. 104 MIN.
Ross Lynch, Maia Mitchell, Grace Phipps, Garrett Clayton, John DeLuca,
Chrissie Fit, Jordan Fisher, Mollee Gray, Kent Boyd, William T. Loftis,
Jessica Lee Keller, Piper Curda, Ross Butler, Raymond Cham Jr.
The New York Times - I have been covering the immigration beat for The
New York Times for nine years, so I sensed that my recent story about
layoffs of technology employees at Walt Disney World would draw our
readers’ interest. The employees had been replaced by temporary
immigrants, mainly from India, brought in by an outsourcing company, and
the laid-off workers had to train the new ones in order to receive a
But the raw
nerve this article touched surprised me. Millions of people read it, and
more than 3,000 commented on the article and a related blog post.
The story started in March with a Senate hearing on the type of visas —
known as H-1B — that were used for some of the foreign workers. Several
witnesses mentioned the Disney layoffs, which had not been widely
reported. Ronil Hira, a public policy professor at Howard University who
has done careful research on temporary visas, provided a factual
panorama of their uses and abuses.
The story took off
after I was able to contact several former Disney employees who had been
laid off or “forced into retirement,” as one put it. I flew to Orlando,
and found it revealing to see Disney’s kingdom of fun through the eyes
of Americans who had been expelled from it. Most had worked a decade or
more with the company.
Disney had also
instructed its many contractors in the area to not hire the workers that
had been laid off for one year. There are few tech jobs nearby not
connected to Disney.
Many of the workers
said they felt they had to hide in their own hometown. Those I reached
insisted on speaking anonymously and arranged to meet in out-of-the-way
places. But they spoke powerfully about the humiliation they said they
felt spending three months training replacements. They expressed no hard
feelings toward the immigrants; they felt ill-treated by Disney.
pointed to more than 30,000 jobs they said the company had created in
the United States in the last decade– far more than the 250 technology
Readers were very
interested. According to the comments many middle-class Americans said
the story captured an experience they have seen all too often: companies
outsourcing their work, saying their employees’ skills were not
up-to-date even after many years on a job. Our readers saw it as a story
about Disney, an American company, making profits at the expense of
After the article ran,
Disney provided another number in an email sent to people who wrote the
company in protest. The message said the reorganization that led to the
layoffs had produced a net gain of 70 technology jobs nationwide.
But there was one
number Disney did not want to discuss. At Disney/ABC television, about
35 tech employees had been told in late May they would be laid-off and
would have to train foreign replacements. Days after my story about the
Orlando layoffs was published, the new layoffs were canceled. Again,
several employees contacted me, but insisted on speaking anonymously.
They were greatly relieved their livelihoods had been saved, at least
for the moment. But Disney declined to acknowledge those events and
wouldn’t return my phone calls or emails.
Going forward, I will
be keeping an eye out to see if Disney takes other actions indicating a
change of course with its tech workers, while looking deeper at other
companies that have used H-1B and other temporary visas to displace
Orange County Register - A former member of Disneyland’s private Club 33
said his membership was revoked after a friend auctioned off a guest pass
for a children’s charity.
But Disney officials say Joseph Cosgrove had misused his membership for
years leading up to the latest incident.
Mark Corrinet, an attorney representing Cosgrove, 84, of Lake Forest, filed
a lawsuit against The Walt Disney Co. this week in Los Angeles Superior
Court charging breach of contract and other allegations after Disney’s
private club terminated his client’s membership after 47 years.
“Mr. Cosgrove has been a member for nearly five decades,” Corrinet said in
an interview. “In fact, he’s one of the original members in Club 33, and
he’s been a member of good standing the entire time.”
Disney said Cosgrove has only been a member since 1979. The club opened in
Club 33 is an exclusive members-only club in New Orleans Square in
Disneyland and modeled after the VIP lounges that Walt Disney experienced at
the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
Membership to the private club, is extremely limited, with people reportedly
waiting as long as a decade to become a member and, if selected, paying a
$25,000 initiation fee and $11,000-plus in annual dues for use of the
restaurant and lounge and other benefits.
Walt Disney died before the club opened. Disney Co. officials first used the
space to entertain VIPs, sponsors and business associates and later turned
it into a private club with a paid membership.
Cosgrove is a long-time Disney fan whose home is adorned with souvenirs and
memorabilia, and he authored the book, “Walt Dreamers Me.” Cosgrove took his
wife, Janet, to the club on their first date.
Last year, Cosgrove gave a friend a guest-access pass to visit the club. The
woman instead auctioned off the pass at a children’s charity unbeknownst to
Cosgrove, according to the suit.
Members are not allowed to transfer Club 33 access via charity auctions,
according to the suit. When Club 33 management learned of the incident, it
revoked Cosgrove’s membership.
“Disney knew Joe did not sanction nor authorize it,” Corrinet said. “And
without any hearing or allowances for him to defend himself, they (Disney
officials) threw him out.”
Corrinet said the members’ guide states termination is the last step in
resolving issues and membership will first be placed on hold “with the
intention of resolving issues and infractions.”
However, Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown said the Cosgroves frequently
misused their membership.
“Over the years, the Cosgroves repeatedly transferred and sold their
membership privileges, which was a clear violation of membership,” Brown
said in an emailed statement. “We, unfortunately, were left with no other
choice, in order to preserve the integrity of membership.”
Corrinet said he’s reached out multiple times to Disney officials to resolve
the matter but to no avail.
“Mr. Cosgrove is not trying to lash out at people, he just wants his
membership reinstated and some compensation for the grief and costs that he
is incurring to fight for his rights,” the attorney said.
re/code - Fantasy sports site DraftKings, which had
discussed raising money from Disney, is going to get its funding somewhere
But the two companies will have a relationship anyway: DraftKings will
have exclusive rights to advertise fantasy sports on Disney’s ESPN
properties starting in 2016.
Earlier reports said Disney and ESPN were planning on investing $250
million in DraftKings in a deal that would value the company at $900
million. The proposed pact also called for DraftKings
to spend a reported $500 million on advertising with the sports giant
over multiple years.
DraftKings CEO Jason Robins says his ad deal with ESPN calls for a “deep
integration” with the media company, which he says will give it an advantage
against fantasy rival FanDuel. “ESPN is the strongest brand in sports,” he
said. “This is something that will definitely catapult us into the leader
Sources familiar with DraftKing’s plans say it is in advanced talks to
raise a large round from other strategic investors.
We’ve asked ESPN for comment. Journalist James Andrew Miller, a longtime
ESPN watcher, suggested via
Twitter on Tuesday that the Disney
investment deal was dead.
DraftKings, which allows players to bet on fantasy sports for a single
game instead of a whole season, and collect real money if they win, is a
booming business. In Q4 of last year it generated $17 million in revenue, up
from $2.5 million a year earlier. But it also spends heavily on marketing,
and in January Robins said his company was not
Last August, DraftKings raised $41 million in a
round led by the Raine Group; it has raised a total of $75 million
DraftKings spends some of that money competing fiercely with FanDuel;
the two companies dominate the “daily fantasy” market and fight over
exclusive deals to advertise with sports leagues, teams and on media
FanDuel has raised a reported $86 million from backers including
Comcast and its NBC sports group.
Street - Shares of the Walt Disney Co. (DIS - Get Report) are up by 1.24% to
$114.03 in mid-morning trading on Monday, as over the weekend "Inside Out"
the latest animated film from Disney/Pixar enjoyed a $91.1 million domestic
launch. This was the second-highest opening weekend in the studio's history,
the Los Angeles Times reports.
In 2010, 'Toy Story 3' earned more with a $110.3 million opening weekend.
"Inside Out" beat expectations of $60 million and may be the first Pixar
film not to debut at number one, the Times noted. Universal's
'Jurassic World' is still dominating the box office.
Disney's strategy when it came to getting exposure for "Inside Out"
included showing it at Cannes, the CinemaCon trade show and hosting other
screening in order to generate an early buzz, the Times added.
"It all culminated in a mass critical reception that basically told
consumers you'd be crazy not to see this movie," Dave Hollis, the head of
distribution at Disney told the online publication.
"It helped create urgency for it, becoming a motion picture event, a
cultural event," Hollis continued.
"Inside Out" centers on 11-year-old Riley and how the various and
colorful emotions in her head help her to cope with a move from the Mid-west
to San Francisco.
Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates DISNEY (WALT) CO as a Buy with a
ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their
"We rate DISNEY (WALT) CO (DIS) a BUY. This is based on the convergence
of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the
majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in
multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share,
increase in net income, notable return on equity and good cash flow from
operations. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows
low profit margins."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
DIS's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of
3.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased
by 7.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost
the earnings per share.
DISNEY (WALT) CO has improved earnings per share by 13.9% in the
most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company
has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over
the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the
past fiscal year, DISNEY (WALT) CO increased its bottom line by earning
$4.25 versus $3.38 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an
improvement in earnings ($5.07 versus $4.25).
The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter
one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and
exceeded that of the Media industry average. The net income increased by
10.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from
$1,917.00 million to $2,108.00 million.
The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same
quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in
the organization. In comparison to the other companies in the Media
industry and the overall market, DISNEY (WALT) CO's return on equity
significantly exceeds that of the industry average and is above that of
the S&P 500.
Net operating cash flow has increased to $2,918.00 million or 15.47%
when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, DISNEY (WALT)
CO has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth
rate of 15.14%.
Orlando Sentinel - Orange County sheriff's deputies who serve Walt Disney
World do more than just write traffic tickets and deal with unruly guests —
they also respond to crimes ranging from car break-ins to robberies that are
reported on resort property.
As the number of visitors to Disney has grown over the years – last year
its theme parks alone drew an estimated 50 million visits —
the Orange County Sheriff's Office has taken on a more prominent role. Among
its tasks: traffic enforcement and increased efforts patrolling parking lots
to prevent the dozens of car burglaries among their tens of thousands of
"It's not a situation that we want, where we've got tourists consistently
coming to the area and they leave dissatisfied because their car was broken
into," said Capt. Jeff Eifler, commander of the Sheriff's Office sector that
Car burglaries have dropped from 221 in 2010 to 70 last year, according
to sheriff's data. The focus on parking areas has also extended to Downtown
Disney's new garages. Disney's current contract with the Sheriff's Office,
which expires Sept. 30, was updated recently to add eight bike-patrol
deputies. They patrol the new garage and will patrol in a second that's
Now, Disney is paying to build a new $2.5 million sheriff's substation
that will open in October.
Currently the Sheriff's Office mostly works out of a fire station
operated by Reedy Creek, a taxing district primarily funded by Disney. Reedy
Creek is paying for and will own the new 6,300-square-foot sheriff's
substation north of Disney's Saratoga Springs. Three detectives who work
with Disney on ticket fraud investigations out of a nearby SunTrust building
will move into the new facility as well.
There are now 36 deputies, 20 administrators and clerks, and seven
detectives serving Disney. The cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista,
controlled by Disney, pay $6.9 million this year for the service.
"It's not exactly I would say law enforcement's No. 1 concern that crime
is out of control here or anything," said Bill Warren, Reedy Creek's
district administrator. "We just wanted to make sure we have appropriate
The Sheriff's Office says the contract covers all its costs of providing
service. The amount of the contract, however, is $5.6 million less than the
$12.5 million Disney would pay if it were charged the standard
law-enforcement tax paid by other unincorporated Orange County property
Because Disney lies within the borders of its own specially created
cities, it escapes that tax. No other city contracts with Orange County for
service any more in lieu of having its own police force. Belle Isle used to
but now has its own department. Some other Central Florida cities do
contract, including Minneola which pays Lake County $1.2 million annually
for 12 employees and Deltona which pays Volusia County $9.9 million.
The difference in Disney's law-enforcement costs has drawn criticism over
the years from some Orange County politicians, including former commissioner
"The cost of safety, particularly with the Sheriff's Office, it's not
that cheap," Stewart said. "We all pay a certain rate, and I just think that
rate should be across the board the same rate."
Disney points out it paid $101 million in Orange County taxes last year,
even though it handles many of its own government services through the
separately funded Reedy Creek district.
Orange County government, which funds the Sheriff's Office, does not
approve the budget and staff does not review it, a county spokeswoman said.
Eifler said the Sheriff's Office carefully calculates the cost of
"We don't want the taxpayers of unincorporated Orange County paying for
anything as it relates to the enhanced-services contract," Eifler said.
Orange County deputies make tens of thousands of service calls each year
to the resort area, many of them routine checks. Orange County sheriff's
data shows that last year there were 117 "part one" crimes — particularly
serious ones such as robberies and car burglaries — on two zones covering
Disney. Over the past five years that number has dropped annually, from 275
in 2010. Car burglaries made up the majority.
Meanwhile traffic stops at the resort dropped significantly. Orange
County does not break them out for the Disney area. But stops for Sector 6,
which until 2013 was almost all Disney property, dropped from 15,000 five
years ago to 8,700 in 2012. It rose to 11,600 last year, after the sector
When Disney opened in 1971 it relied primarily on its own security force
to make traffic stops and keep order.
The resort currently has more than 1,000 private security guards. They
are the first line of defense throughout the theme parks, where sheriff's
deputies respond to crimes but generally don't patrol.
In the early days, deputies had been discouraged from parking cars in highly
visible areas or using emergency lights and sirens, according to the book
"Married to the Mouse." That is not the case now, Eifler said.
Sheriff's Office began providing service to Disney with an initial agreement
in 1993, Warren said.
In 2005, the first new contract with the Orange County Sheriff's Office
since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks went into effect. The number of
sheriff's personnel doubled to 52 amid concerns not only about terrorism but
speeding and traffic violations.
Throughout the years, the original attitude has "changed and kind of
morphed into … 'We want you,'" Eifler said. "They understand that the
visibility and the presence of law enforcement very often makes the guest
The Verge - After nine months of legal wrangling and the occasional Twitter
sniping, deadmau5 and Disney are on good terms again. According to The
Hollywood Reporter, the electronic music titan (real name Joel
Zimmerman) and the entertainment giant have settled their dispute over the
use of deadmau5's famous mouse head, a staple in record artwork and live
performances that resembles Mickey Mouse's iconic silhouette. When deadmau5
attempted to trademark the logo in the US last September — he already holds
the trademark in over 30 countries — Disney filed to block the application,
claiming that deadmau5's design was "nearly identical in appearance,
connotation, and overall commercial impression to Disney’s Mouse Ears
This prompted a major airing of grievances on deadmau5's part,
both on Twitter and through the US Trademark Office. He filed a cease and
desist regarding Disney's use of his hit "Ghosts 'n' Stuff" in a video remix
featuring Mickey himself, just one part of an official rebuttal that
stretched over thousands of pages. He also revealed that he had been
approached by Disney about collaborating on a series of projects, including
a reinterpretation of Fantasia for its 75th anniversary and a remix
of the Star Wars theme song for the animated Disney XD series Star
Wars Rebel. But Disney didn't budge, and insisted that its opposition to
the trademark had less to do with deadmau5's costume than its potential use
for selling a wide array of licensed merchandise.
The exact terms of the settlement remain unclear, though more details
should be revealed when the resolution is officially registered with the
The final Starbucks in Walt Disney World Opened today at Disney's Animal
Kingdom. The former location of Creature Comforts, a gift shop, closed last
year to make room for the coffee companies sixth store at Disney World.
The location offers the full line of Starbucks coffees and pastries as
well as Disney Cupcakes, soda, milk, water and fruit.
Baristas rejoice your only a skip and a hop away from Starbucks when your on
vacation at the Happiest Place on Earth.
DisneyParks Blog - As summer begins at Disney Parks, here is a sneak preview
of items coming later this year. This is one of my favorite articles to
write as I get to share some awesome things currently in development.
Time For MagicSliders
One of the more popularly requested accessories for MagicBands at Walt
Disney World Resort is a watch. I’m happy to report there will be two
MagicSlider timepieces coming this summer – a Minnie Mouse analog timepiece
and one with a digital display.
Disney Pins From Regions Beyond
Memento Mori, the Haunted Mansion-themed shop located in Liberty Square at
Magic Kingdom Park, inspired two open edition pins coming late summer. One
pin resembles the brooch that female cast members wear in the location,
while the other looks like a sign found outside the shop. You can see both
of those items in this previous article.
Cogsworth and Chef Figment
Cogsworth may be one of my favorite characters from Disney’s “Beauty and the
Beast.” I was happy to see there will be a medium-sized figurine coming this
September. This figurine is the companion piece to the Lumiere figurine we
released in 2013. The best part – Cogsworth’s face is a working clock!
Also arriving this fall is a new 12-inch Figment plush created especially
for the 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. My favorite festival
of the year returns to Walt Disney World Resort from September 25 through
This fall, Chernabog from Walt Disney’s “Fantasia” and Hades from Disney’s
“Hercules” will be featured on new Disney Villain T-shirts. I love this
artwork created by Disney Design Group artist Dave Keefer.
Disney Theme Park Holiday Ornaments
This year, we will release ornaments featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse
dressed in attire representing different Disney Theme Parks. It’s probably
no surprise that I adore the Epcot ornament especially since Mickey and
Minnie are wearing their spacesuits from the 1980s.
Look for these and other items coming to select merchandise locations at
Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort.
Orlando Sentinel - Disney's Hollywood Studios again will celebrate all
things Anna and Elsa with its Frozen Summer Fun promotion. Here are some
things to know before you go, although there's no big rush: The activities
run daily through Sept. 7.
1. Olaf was found his place in the spotlight. Using a "live" version of
the character in his show and processional makes him, ironically, more
animated. And he's also more engaging and interactive. And agile. And dang
if his "In Summer" song isn't stuck in my head.
2. "Olaf's Summer Cool Down" lasts only 10 minutes, but that's a great
length in the Central Florida heat. The show is also part dance party/beach
party, but when "icy magic" is promised, the crowd cries YES.
"I think the idea of the show is to give Olaf as much interactive
opportunity as possible," said show director James Silson. Thus: Singing,
dancing, beach balls.
3. This year, the royal processional happens twice a day and has two show
stops. A new separate, icy float is promised for Elsa.
Anna rides in a carriage upfront. Another good addition is the
amplification of the characters, who can now speak to guests lining the
4. "For the First Time in Forever," the "Frozen" sing-along, closes at the
Premier Theater on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, it reopened at the revamped
Hyperion Theater, former home of the American Idol Experience and a much
more centralized location in the park. This means more seats, more special
effects and more snow inside. The enhanced effects have been in the works
for seven or eight months, said Michael Roddy, show producer. But it's all
new equipment there.
"Everything is here is absolutely brand-new state of the art," he said.
"This is a brand-new screen, brand new technology -- 2015."
5. Finally, a shout-out to cast members in the processional, wearing too
many clothes and yet happily singing along. Even the folks on horse clean-up
duty were all smiles. But I don't think I'd use that image on the next
Disney employment drive.
DisneyParks Blog - Disney•Pixar’s newest original film “Inside Out”
arrives in theaters on June 19. I’m looking forward to seeing it with my son
who has been watching the trailers for months now. While my parents were
visiting us, they bought him a few Disney Tsum Tsum featuring characters
from this upcoming film. I recently visited Downtown Disney Marketplace to
discover what other items were now at Disney Parks.
The small “Inside Out” assortment includes home décor, apparel, plush and
toys. I love the five plush inspired by the emotions of Joy, Sadness, Anger,
Disgust and Fear.
I found the Disney Tsum Tsum my parents purchased at Once Upon a Toy in
Downtown Disney Marketplace in Florida. They will also be offered at World
of Disney in Downtown Disney District in California.
Other items include a deluxe figurine playset, a coffee mug, and a new
book titled “Sadly Ever After” by Elise Allen with illustrations by Dan
I love the packaging for the open edition six-pin set. Disney pin
collectors should also look for an open edition pin with Joy and Bing Bong
and a limited edition opening day pin (the latter has an edition size of
Finally, the D-Tech on Demand boutique in the Marketplace Co-Op at
Downtown Disney Marketplace will also offer six different “Inside Out”
designs. You can create and customize a case for the following mobile
phones: iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 5/5S/5C, iPhone 6/6+, Samsung Galaxy SIII,
Samsung Galaxy S4 and Samsung Galaxy S5. These new designs will be
introduced at the location by June 19.
Select items will be found in a variety of merchandise locations at
Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. You can find other items from
“Inside Out” online
New York Times - In late
May, about 35 technology employees at Disney/ABC Television in New York and
Burbank, Calif., received jarring news. Managers told them that they would
all be laid off, and that during their final weeks they would have to train
immigrants brought in by an outsourcing company to do their jobs.
The training began, but after a few days it was suspended with no
explanation. In New York, the immigrants suddenly stopped coming to the
offices. Then on June 11, managers summoned the Disney employees with
different news: Their layoffs had been canceled.
“We were read a precisely worded statement,” said one of the employees, who
was relieved but reluctant to be named because he remains at the company.
“We were told our jobs were continuing and we should consider it as if
nothing had happened until further notice.”
Although the number of layoffs planned was small, the cancellation, which
was first reported by Computerworld, a website covering the technology
business, set off a hopeful buzz among tech employees in Disney’s empire. It
came in the midst of a furor over layoffs in January of 250 tech workers at
Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. People who lost jobs there said they had
to sit with immigrants from India, some on temporary work visas known as
H-1B, and teach them to perform their jobs as a condition for receiving
But it remained unclear on Tuesday who had initiated the change of strategy
at Disney/ABC or whether it was part of a larger change in direction,
because Disney executives declined to discuss it.
Emails and calls over several days to Kevin Brockman, a senior spokesman for
Disney/ABC Television Group, were not returned. Cognizant, the global
outsourcing company based in New Jersey that was bringing immigrants to the
television group, also did not respond to calls or emails.
About 15 of the television group’s tech employees were in New York and the
rest were based in Burbank.
The layoffs at Walt Disney World and at other companies have added fuel to a
debate about temporary visas, including H-1B’s, that outsourcing firms use
to bring immigrants, mainly from India, for technology work. The visas are
meant for foreigners with specialized skills to fill discrete positions when
Americans with those skills are not available. In the applications large
companies must file for the visas, they have to confirm that no American
workers will be displaced.
The Labor Department said last week that it had opened an investigation into
two outsourcing companies, Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys, for work
they did for Southern California Edison, a power utility. It also referred
complaints to the Justice Department for a separate inquiry. Senator Bill
Nelson, Democrat of Florida, has called for an investigation of the H-1B
Tech workers who lost jobs in Orlando said Cognizant was one of the firms
importing Indian immigrants to replace them.
Current and former Disney tech workers have previously not spoken publicly
about the layoffs. But on Saturday, one former Disney employee in Orlando,
Keith Barrett, 57, posted a personal account on Google Plus. After working
at Disney for more than 10 years, he wrote, he was forced in January to take
a retirement that “was not planned and was seven years before we were
financially ready.” He said his family was “dealing with medical
His time at Disney was “filled with numerous awesome moments,” wrote Mr.
Barrett, who runs a blog about information technology and was managing
development projects when he was laid off.
The tech employees he knew who had been required to train foreign
replacements had “routinely sacrificed personal time and freedoms to help
make your experience what it was” in the theme parks, he wrote. Their skills
were adequate for the broad reorganization of its technology operations
Disney had announced, he said. “Any skill situation could have been
addressed by repositioning and/or training existing staff,” Mr. Barrett
In New York and Burbank, the layoffs announced on May 28 would have affected
employees in charge of developing and maintaining internal systems. Since
the layoffs were rescinded, employees have not received any new information
from managers, several of them said.
Disney executives have said the reorganization that led to the Orlando
layoffs had resulted in an overall increase of 70 technology jobs and the
rehiring of some people who were laid off. Kim Prunty, a Disney spokeswoman,
said outside contractors “are required to comply with all applicable
Variety - It looks
like fans of Disney’s “Princess Diaries” series will have to wait a little
longer for that third installment.
Following a week of rumors that another sequel was on the way, sources
close to the situation have confirmed that Disney is not developing a third
Rumblings of a third pic began at the end of last week when the Tracking
Board reported a sequel was in development and continued after “Princess
Diaries” actress Heather Matarazzo tweeted that good news was on the way for
fans of the franchise.
A source close to the project said a conversation had occurred about a
possible sequel but nothing came from that meeting. As of now no
screenwriter is attached and the film is not being developed by the studio.
Sources close to Hathaway also confirmed that there is no script and that
the actress is not attached to any sequel at this time.
That doesn’t mean a third installment will never happen, especially since
the franchise still has a loyal fanbase and Hathaway has become even more of
a star since “The Princess Diaries 2.” Until the studio is happy with a
story that does the series justice, fans will have to wait a little longer
for a threequel.
The original pic overperformed at the box office, bringing in $165
million worldwide on a $26 million dollar budget. The sequel brought in $95
million at the domestic box office.
DisneyParks Blog - There’s a chill in the air. Have you felt it? A little
snow cloud is descending upon Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and soon there
will be frozen fractals all around as we open up the gates to the 2015
edition of Frozen Summer Fun!
This summer-long special event starts Wednesday, bringing
with it a full day of “Frozen” fun from park open to park close. Here are
the highlights of what’s new this year:
Frozen Royal Welcome – This procession of
Arendelle’s finest happens twice each day, and this year Olaf is joining the
fun. You’ll get to see Anna and Kristoff, of course, and Elsa makes an
appearance on an all-new ice palace float!
Olaf’s Summer Cool Down – This new show on
the event stage at the center of the park brings Olaf and some of his
friends to have a little fun with everyone “In Summer.” And as temperatures
heat up, Olaf happily shares a burst from his personal snow cloud to cool
“Frozen Fever” – Head into the ABC Sound
Studio to enjoy special screenings of the new animated short “Frozen Fever,”
along with a peek behind the scenes at the making of the film.
For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along
Celebration – This popular show moves into the beautiful Hyperion
Theater at the heart of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where you’ll discover
all-new in-theater effects and special appearances by Anna, Elsa and
“Frozen” Fireworks – Following the “Coolest
Summer Ever” Dance Party, Olaf returns to the event stage with Anna, Elsa
and Kristoff for a grand finale to the day’s festivities, kicking off an
awe-inspiring fireworks display set to the glorious music of “Frozen” and,
of course, a flurry of snow!
Frozen Summer Fun begins June 17 and continues through
September 7, 2015. Maybe it’s the party talking or the chocolate fondue, but
I’m really looking forward to checking out all the new features of this
year’s event! What are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the
Business Insider -
Wendy Wright is a home-schooling mother of
two, a prolific blogger and a self-described "Disney Nut." Her cats are
named Mickey and Minnie, and her blog is filled with advice for visiting
Disneyland, tips for holding Disney-themed parties and reviews of Disney
Wright's enthusiasm for all things Disney eventually drew the attention
of the Walt Disney Co, which invited her to join a carefully vetted group of
roughly 1,300 Disney Social Media Moms.
The group of mothers - and a few fathers - are part of a Disney effort to
incorporate the enthusiasm and influence of parents into its marketing
Wright isn’t sure why she was picked, but guesses her online postings
about Disney helped. "There's been a lot on social media about our trips to
Disney," said Wright, who writes about technology, entertainment and other
subjects from her home in Phoenix. "It's very obvious we are a Disney
Disney moms are not paid, but they receive perks from the company for
their efforts, including - for some - deeply discounted, four-day family
trips to Walt Disney World for the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, an
event that is part vacation and part educational conference.
Disney does not tell the mothers what to write or tweet about, and it
doesn't require them to post. Still, this year’s social media moms event in
May generated 28,500 tweets, 4,900 Instagram photos and 88 blog posts full
of ride reviews and videos of kids meeting Disney characters. And the moms'
postings are overwhelmingly positive.
The theory is that mothers with a large online presence have the ability
to influence travel and entertainment planning of other mothers. "For a big
chunk of our guests, it's the moms who are making [travel] decisions," said
Tom Staggs, Disney's chief operating officer.
The mothers say they like having a connection to Disney - as well as the
possibility of scoring a spot at the Social Media Moms Celebration, which
was first held in 2010. Each year, the company's theme parks division
e-mails invitations to 175 to 200 people.
This year, the moms made #DisneySMMC a trending Twitter topic on the day
the invitations went out. "A very magical invite with pixie dust arrived!"
Wright tweeted on March 21.
In the run-up to the celebration, the invitees posted on Pinterest the
"Frozen"-inspired outfits and Mickey Mouse-adorned handbags they planned to
bring to the Mother's Day weekend event.
Exactly how Disney chooses its social media moms is a mystery, stoking
online speculation about the secret formula. One blog post that offered
advice on how to get picked was shared 1,600 times.
Common tips include interacting with Disney's Twitter accounts and
expressing interest in attending one of the smaller social media events
Disney hosts in various cities.
Disney executives will only say they look for moms who fit its
family-friendly brand, use multiple social media platforms and are active in
their communities offline.
The moms include bloggers and book authors as well as radio, TV and
YouTube personalities. They tend to cover topics such as family life,
parenting, cooking, travel and crafting in addition to their postings about
Disney, and only a minority are superfans who write primarily about the
company’s products and theme parks, social media moms said. This year's
celebration attendees had a combined Twitter following of 5 million people,
or about 27,000 each on average.
To get on Disney's radar, Rachel Pitzel, a mother of two who lives in
Playa Vista, California, filled out an online application for, and was
accepted to, a social media event the company held in Scottsdale, Arizona
This year, she was thrilled to receive an invitation to the celebration
in Orlando, Florida. "You feel like a kid again," said Pitzel, CEO of Club
MomMe, a social and educational group for parents.
But the invitation doesn't come free. Attendees get deep discounts, but
they nevertheless pay for their packages, which include three nights at
Disney's Yacht Club Resort, theme park tickets, fast passes to skip lines
and a beach-themed party. Families also pay for their own transportation.
At the day-long conference, the moms
attend motivational sessions and receive social media tips and Disney
updates. This year, they learned how to use Pinterest data, heard from
11-year-old lemonade stand entrepreneur Vivienne Harr and listened to a
Pixar producer talk about the Disney-owned animation studio.
Disney reminds attendees of government requirements that they disclose
the benefits they received when writing about the event. The company
declined to disclose how much it spends on the program.
Disney was the first major company to tap the influence of moms across a
wide spectrum of social media, but the approach is now being used to promote
a range of products, including Hewlett-Packard printers and Cottonelle
HP hired 14 mom bloggers to post print-at-home craft and project ideas on
a website called MyPrintly. Kimberly-Clark's Cottonelle brand paid a group
of mom influencers to serve as roving reporters and share experiences at a
New Kids on the Block concert it sponsored.
Overall, moms spend $3.2 trillion annually in the U.S. economy, said
Maria Bailey, a consultant who advised Disney on its social media effort and
runs BSM Media, a marketing firm that connects brands with moms.
"I have clients who call and say I want to do what Disney is doing,"
Bailey said. "Companies want to capture the mom market."
Variety - Disney ABC Television Group launched its Summer of Creativity
initiative on Monday — a movement to support and inspire socially-conscious
In addition to programming relevant content and public service
announcements, the media conglomerate is offering 100 $500 grants to support
individual service projects.
“Across Disney, our concern for kids and families extends beyond their
entertainment to the communities in which they live,” said David Ambroz,
executive director of corporate citizenship and social responsibility at the
Disney ABC Television Group. “Through our group’s powerful reach and impact,
we can inspire and support individuals to create change in their lives and
the world around them.”
Programming events associated with the campaign include a spotlight on
“Good Morning America” in July for several exemplary non-profits, and a
one-hour ABC special in August hosted by Selena Gomez.
DisneyParks Blog - As a long time fan of Figment, I’m thrilled to announce
that Dreamfinder and Figment will return this fall in an all-new Disney
Kingdoms comic series titled “FIGMENT 2.” This new series is a sequel to the
fan-favorite, sell-out Figment miniseries based on the beloved Journey Into
Imagination attraction in Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort.
“Figment 2” will be written by Jim Zub and penciled by Ramon Bachs. The
Disney Kingdoms team shared with me the cover artwork created by John Tyler
Christopher. He also drew an incredible action figure variant cover for this
first issue (I know I’m not the only one wishing those action figures were
I recently caught up with Jim Zub, who wrote the first “Figment”
mini-series, to learn more about what readers can expect.
Steven: What was your reaction to the fan response to the
original Figment miniseries?
Jim: “Working with these beloved characters and having
our new story be embraced by Disney fandom was an absolute thrill. Whenever
you’re working with established material, you want to find a balance between
giving people what they expect and adding something new and unexpected. I’m
incredibly proud we were able to do just that in a way that respect the core
themes that make Journey Into Imagination so special.”
The miniseries was an origin story for Dreamfinder and Figment.
Where do you hope to take readers with this new adventure?
Jim: “Our new journey picks up right where the previous
mini-series left off. Figment and Dreamfinder are now in the modern world
and they’re going to discover that a lot of things have changed in their
absence. The legacy of dreams and imagination they left behind more than a
hundred years ago is greater than they ever expected, but they’re going to
find it hard to live up to their own legend. Couple that with a young
dreamer inspired by the Academy Scientifica-Lucidus and a dark threat from
an unexpected source and we’ve got all the ingredients for high adventure.”
I recall hearing you rode the original EPCOT Center attraction
with Dreamfinder. Do you have a favorite memory from that experience?
Jim: “I visited Walt Disney World Resort over 25 years
ago, so my memories of the original Journey Into Imagination attraction
aren’t razor sharp. Going through the reference material sent over from Walt
Disney Imagineering helped remind me of the main visual elements. We wanted
to bring those elements into our comic in unexpected ways. Some of it is
through lines of dialogue or lyrics of music, but also specific visual
motifs as well. With both stories, I’ve tried channeling the feelings of
wonderment and exploration the attraction left me with.”
If you missed the first miniseries, Disney Kingdoms recently released a
hardbound book of all five-issues. I found my copy at Once Upon a Toy in
Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort.
Look for “FIGMENT 2” coming to Disney Parks this fall.
Master Herald - With the resounding success of “Frozen” late in 2013 which
eventually became the most successful animated film in history, any attempt
to make a sequel out of it will surely be under extreme pressure to either
match its level or better yet, surpass it.
But Disney Pictures knows that is
easier said than done. It has attempted the same feat with some of its most
successful animated films like
“Fantasia,” “Rescuers Down Under,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Alladin,” among
many others but it turns out that the sequels were
just good enough for
videos and not for theatrical release, notes iDigital Times.
The pressure is also heavy on co-directors Chris Buck and
Jennifer Lee to deliver something
very good and call “Frozen 2” not just the sequel of the most successful
animated film in history but the equally or better sequel of the once most
successful animated film in history.
Apparently, Disney is taking its sweet time not to rush the film because
they would not want to make a half-baked sequel at all,
committing instead to make “Frozen 2”
With that being said, Disney actually relinquishes the pressure to its
two directors for “Frozen 2,” the other one of whom (Jennifer Lee) shall
also be writing the screenplay for the film.
Starts with the good ending
In a recent interview with Chris Buck, he said that the ending for
“Frozen 2” has already been agreed upon, probably between him and Jennifer,
and that they are now brainstorming on how
to start it right and integrated the pieces and mesh it together to
make an amazing another animated movie.
But the duo has plenty of time they need to come up with something great
and amazing as reports have it that Disney would not be releasing “Frozen 2”
As Chris Buck did not mention any specifics about the movie’s planned
ending, describing it only as terrific, the pronouncement led to
speculations about what would it be, mostly focusing on the possible love
interest for Queen Elsa.
Many fans of “Frozen” are pushing Olaf to become the love interest of
Queen Elsa since the snow character embodies true love and selflessness in
the first film. But of course, Olaf’s character should be refreshed and
modified, and that there should be a twist in his character if he is to
become Queen Elsa’s love interest for the sequel.
There have also been previous reports that a reformed Prince Hans would
also be back for “Frozen 2” to redeem
himself for his villainous role in the first animated film and will
eventually become Queen Elsa’s love interest.
Returning main characters
“Frozen 2” will see the return of
the main characters of the first film including Queen Elsa, Princess Anna,
Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven.
The plot of the second movie could be similar as “Ozma of Oz” but fans
are more excited on who would be the
love interest of Queen Elsa since she did not have any at all during the
In an interview last week, Buck
said that the important thing is that they know where they are going but
admitted that they still have a lot of things to figure out.
The Oscar-winning animator, screenwriter, and director admits that it is
really a challenge to further improve on perfection since “Frozen,” being
the top-grossing animated film in
history, is in itself a perfect
He said that it’s really tough putting together a sequel for a very
successful movie because of the pressure and weight of expectations that is
given on him by the producers and
most especially the fans.
Having had his fair share of film-making experience, Chris Buck truly
understands the power of animation and how it captivates young audiences
from all around the world.
Walt Disney officials are also hoping that the immense success of
“Frozen” will trickle all the way to “Frozen 2” when it is released a few
years down the road.
DisneyParks Blog - A few weeks ago, several new retail and dining
experiences were announced for Disney Springs. Among them: The Edison, a
lavish “Industrial Gothic”-style restaurant, bar and nighttime destination
that will feature exceptional classic American food, artisanal craft
cocktails and unparalleled live entertainment.
Similar to its sister location on the west coast, The Edison at Disney
Springs will be dedicated to a resurgence of old-world style, sophistication
and romance. Themed to a 1920s-period electric company, the space will
recall an exuberant era of invention and imagination. With 35-foot ceilings
and a range of themed areas to explore, The Edison will feature nightly
entertainment including contortionists, palm readers, DJs and more.
Today, I’ve also got more details on STK Orlando – a new rendering and
another fun bit of info: this location will be the only spot that offers
rooftop dining, in a gorgeous lounge setting, at Disney Springs.
Progress also continues on Morimoto Asia, the first pan-Asian restaurant
from celebrity Chef Masaharu Morimoto.
STK Orlando and Morimoto Asia will debut later this year. The Edison will
open in 2016.
Variety - Disney Animation has
finally released the first look of its upcoming film “Zootopia.”
This buddy-cop animated movie, which Disney-Pixar CCO John Lasseter
described as “classically Disney” at the Cannes Film Festival last month,
pairs a con-artist fox (voiced by Jason Bateman) with a bunny cop (Ginnifer
Goodwin). The two animals team up to crack a missing mammal case.
The first image, debuted by USA Today, shows the sly fox tripping the
Disney had revealed only concept art for the film when it first announced
the project at 2013’s D23 Expo.
Variety - Marvel has unveiled a dozen of the licensees for next year’s
“Captain America: Civil War” in the wake of Marvel-Disney’s “Avengers: Age
of Ultron” grossing $1.35 billion at the worldwide box office.
Marvel gave retailers a first look
Wednesday at Licensing Expo 2015 in Las Vegas, with categories including
apparel, accessories, footwear, core toys, sporting goods, consumer
electronics, seasonal, costumes, party goods, stationery, food, home
furnishings and collectibles.
Hasbro, Lego, Funko, Hot Wheels, Rubies, Mad Engine, C-Life, Jay Franco,
Global Brand Group, Kellogg’s, Hallmark and American Greetings have signed
on. The show will exhibit finished art and initial renditions of products,
which will began landing on store shelves about eight weeks prior to the May
Paul Gitter, senior VP of licensing for Marvel at Disney Consumer
Products, told Variety that the overall campaign will build on the
success of licensed products for “Age of Ultron.”
“We’ll see an extension mixing in new characters with new skills,” he
added. “There will also be a big focus on adult female apparel.”
“Captain America: Civil War” opens
May 6 with Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America along with Robert
Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily
Vancamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany,
Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Frank Grillo, William Hurt and Daniel Bruhl.
The campaign will feature a
celebration of Captain America’s 75th anniversary that will be limited to
higher-end retailers. There will also be focus on newer characters War
Machine, Falcon, Vision, Black Widow and Black Panther; and an expansion
into healthy living and travel.
“The Avengers team is both
aspirational and hugely merchandisable, made up of multiple, unique heroes
coming together with amazing skills, cool vehicles and a high tech
headquarters,” Gitter said. “‘Captain America: Civil War’ not only gives us
new storytelling for our favorite superheroes, but also introduces new ones
allowing us to expand product lines for kids and fans.”
The storyline in “Captain America:
Civil War” picks up where “Avengers: Age of Ultron” left off as Steve Rogers
leads the new team of Avengers. The film is directed by the brother team of
Anthony and Joe Russo from a screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen
DisneyParks Blog - Today the Disney Magic sailed through Norway’s
breathtaking fjord that inspired Arendelle in “Frozen,” arriving to the
charming village of Geiranger.
After thrilling Port Adventures in Geiranger, like kayaking through the
fjord, hiking to waterfalls and flightseeing over mountains, Disney Magic
cruisers will be gearing up for our special day of “Frozen” fun tomorrow. In
this video, Cruise Director Brent tells you more about the exciting
activities taking place this week with your friends Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and
If you haven’t been following Brent’s voyage report, take a look back at
his posts this week, and stay tuned for more!
DisneyParks Blog - The story of “Frozen” has swept the hearts of people
around the world, and we have been busy bringing it to life in our parks —
from royal greetings with Anna and Elsa to sing-alongs to special screenings
of the animated short “Frozen Fever.”
We first told you about our plans for a “Frozen” attraction in Epcot last
fall and today, we’re thrilled to share a first look at what’s coming when
it opens in 2016.
“Frozen Ever After,” is an adventure fit for the entire family that will
take guests through the kingdom of Arendelle. The fantastic Disney
storytelling combined with new technology and favorite moments and music
from the film will make guests feel like they stepped into the magical world
Guests will be transported to the Winter in Summer Celebration where
Queen Elsa embraces her magical powers and creates a winter-in-summer day
for the entire kingdom. They will also visit Elsa’s Ice Palace and the
ice-blue world of the North Mountain along with other locations before
returning to the Bay of Arendelle. Of course, favorite “Frozen” characters,
including the Snowgies from the animated short “Frozen Fever,” will be part
of this new attraction, along with the spectacular sights inspired by the
The Norway Pavilion’s exterior will be expanded with many unique
Norwegian architectural features and the interior design of the “Royal
Sommerhus” will reflect the cultural arts and crafts of Norway, providing a
charming setting for guests to meet Elsa and Anna.
We’ll have more updates to share in the future, so keep checking for
details right here.
Washington Post - At Disney World, the men and women who portray Mickey
Mouse, Cinderella and Goofy have something in common with those who labor in
the CIA’s clandestine service: They can’t disclose their identities.
Then they take off the costume, clock out, and —
Nope. It’s a secret. One so classified that performers at Walt Disney
World are now required to sign a document agreeing not to disclose what
characters they play, so as to maintain the magic of the Disney experience.
Jack Sparrow can’t ask the women he flirts with out on a date. Tweedle
Dee can’t have a LinkedIn account or post photos of himself on Twitter.
Goofy is vague about his job on his résumé. When Cinderella’s husband asks
her about work, she mumbles something along the lines of “I could tell you,
but then I’d have to kill you.” Mickey is basically a big-eared, floppy
footed secret agent, minus the ear piece and the invisible ink.
And the union that represents them, Teamsters Local 385, isn’t happy
about it. The new confidentiality agreement formalizes a longtime tradition
of keeping quiet about performers’ identities. But Donna-Lynne Dalton,
recording secretary and business agent for the union and a former character
herself, says the policy takes things too far.
“They don’t work for the CIA,”
On Friday, the union filed a complaint about the policy with the National
Labor Relations Board office in Tampa. The union has also filed a grievance
with Disney’s labor relations department, according to Reuters.
Dalton said that the formal agreement was never negotiated as part of the
characters’ contract last year. Mike Stapleton, the Teamsters’ president,
added that it unfairly restricts their freedom of speech.
“Suddenly the company wants to pretend there aren’t people behind those
costumes and the Constitution doesn’t extend to the theme park,” he told the
Besides, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse have careers to think about, and
the new agreement means they can’t post their résumés online.
Dalton told the AP that 1,200 character actors across the park are
covered by the policy. The park makes a distinction between “fur characters”
like Donald and Mickey, who wear costumes that totally conceal their faces,
and “face” characters — pirates, princesses and others — who don’t wear
masks. But both are forbidden to reveal their identities. Dave Gardetta, a
former Jack Sparrow at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. (which has similar
policies but is not a subject of the NLRB complaint), wrote in an essay for
Los Angeles Magazine that he was fired for giving his real name during an
in-costume interview he did while not at work.
So far, none of the Disney World character actors have faced disciplinary
action, Dalton said, but many are still worried.
“The performers are very concerned because you can’t un-tell somebody
something,” she said. “They have family and friends that already know this
and have pictures of themselves in their performing roles. It’s out there.”
Disney said that the cone of silence around characters’ out-of-costume
identities is part of the park’s charm. Performers must act as though
they’ve just stepped out of the movies they’re famous for — Snow White is
baffled by iPads, “fur” characters are never spotted halfway in costume. Gardetta,
the ex-Jack Sparrow, wrote that he was instructed to never admit to anyone
that he played the character. “Jack Sparrow and I are just friends,” he’d
“We’re proud of the role characters play in guest experience,”
spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler told the AP. “This is in line with our
longstanding expectation for cast members to uphold character integrity.”
Lee Cockerell, a now-retired former executive vice president of Disney
World operations, said that concealing their Disney identities is “kind of
one of these professional things that people do.”
“From Disney’s point of view, fantasy’s real,” he told the Orlando
Sentinel. “You don’t want to start disappointing kids and having this out
But Dalton said that restricting actors’ ability to talk about their work
out of costume is a matter of fairness, not fantasy.
“I believe in character integrity and not destroying the magic, but these
are performers,” Dalton told the AP. “A performer who plays Santa Claus and
wants work, he goes out there and says, ‘I played Santa Claus.'”
Disney News - The animated short 'Frozen Fever' will play at the ABC Sound
Studio starting June 17th through September 7th. the short will play
starting at 10am twice every hour through closing as part of 'Frozen Summer
Fun Live at Disney's Hollywood Studios' at Walt Disney World.