Friday, March 30, 2012

Marvel Meets the Mouse

Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Cinderella. The Green Goblin. Funny as it may sound, these characters now inhabit the same world of fantasy.

It's been a lingering question, since Disney acquired Marvel in 2009, if these famous fantastical personalities would live harmoniously in Disney's own worlds of fantasy: their theme parks.

"The Avengerail"
Bob Iger, the CEO and supreme chancellor of Disney (now that he's chairman of the board, too), recently mentioned that the future will see Marvel characters walking around, posing for pictures in Disney's theme parks.

The superhero's first foray near the theme parks (not including merchandise) will pop up this spring as the TRONorail will be replaced with the Avengerail. It's a good move by Disney, as it will slowly introduce a presence of the new slew of characters to the Disney parks. It's also a great advertising gimmick, and keeps the older models of Walt Disney World's monorails looking fresh. 

It's the first small step towards integrating the two companies (that are now, technically one). When Iger announced that the characters would eventually be making their way into Disney parks, my reaction was one of "No Duh!" 

People will love seeing their favorite super heroes roaming around the parks, but Disney will have to work hard to separate itself from the much less classy Universal Studios that the Marvel Universe is still associated with. 

James Cameron tours Animal Kingdom 
They can't just put them anywhere. Hollywood Studios at the World and the Hollywood Pictures Backlot at California adventure seem like the only logical places to meet and greet with The Hulk and Iron Man. Though, once the idea seems a little more natural, who knows how we'll feel. 

The "Disney" brand has always branched a little from the actual Disney company in itstheme parks, and it's usually for the better. Who doesn't love Star Tours, Indiana Jones or the Terror of Terror? Soon, Avatar, which was distributed by 20th Century Fox, will have a significant presence in Animal Kingdom, and the American Idol experience is a prominent part of Hollywood Studios.

Disney knows how to seamlessly introduce things that weren't produced in-house to its theme parks. Introducing Marvel characters is a challenge Disney has yet to face, as their presence has previously been in a rival theme park, but it's one Disney is almost guaranteed to pass.      

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cars Land and the Realization of a Park

My distaste for Disney California Adventure Park is not something I shy from, but it may be something I abandon come June 15.

That's when the results of park's gigantic, $1.1 billion  renovation will open to the public. This means the new Buena Vista Street, with its classic, 1920's Hollywood theme, and Cars Land, Radiator Springs and all, will open to the public.

It marks the final stage of a re-imaging of California Adventure that brought us The World of Color, The Little Mermaid, and the re-theming of Paradise Pier, all welcome additions what was a less-than-thrilling park on opening day a little more than 11 years ago.

It says a lot about the park's (lack of) original vision that Disney was willing to cough up over a billion dollars to do something for the underwhelming park.

Personally, the only thing that's been there from day one that remains fresh is California Screamin' (the video was shot before the Paradise Pier makeover), which itself has had a design overhaul. I still stand by my statement that there is no place for a story-less river raft ride in a Disney park (That means you too, Kali!).

But alas, with the addition of Cars Land, the new Buena Vista Street, and everything else that has been added since the park's lackluster launch, The Disneyland Resort may actually become a two-day park, instead of a one-and-a-half day outing, where you visit California Adventure on your way to the airport.

I know I'm ready to be impressed with the new additions. How do you feel about them?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Favorite Sherman Brothers Song

Today, the Disney community has learned of the sad news that Robert B. Sherman passed away. The man lived a long, productive life, and provided a great amount of joy to many people (and agony to some when they got a song of his stuck in their head, which in a way is a compliment to his talent).
There's a great documentary, which I have reviewd on Robert and his brother Richard, and I highly reccomend it. There's a great story behind their great music.

I wanted to focus on Robert's legacy, which of course, is music. Though I find most of the Sherman brother's music throughly entertaining, there is one song I favor particularily.

I'll give you a hint: it's about bird who sings words and crooning flowers.

It's the best Sherman brothers song that you can find in a Disney park. Considering its comptition is "it's a small world," that may not be saying much (Though, "it's a small world (after all)" is a genius song, both in concept and the catchiness factor that so many detest).

Unlike "it's a small world," with it's elaborate sets and scenes, the "Tiki Room" theme is the attraction, especially viewed by today's standards. The singing audioanimatronics were extremely innovative when the attraction debuted, but as with all technology, it has become dated. The music, though, is timeless, and is a pleasure to have stuck in your head.

What's your favorite Sherman brothers song? Winnie the Pooh? Chiti Chiti Bang Bang? Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? Comment with your pick!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

One More Disney Day: How Was It?

I've probably come across as bitter for not having been able to go to Disneyland for "One More Disney Day." I'm not. I've been in the Magic Kingdom all night long. If I did it again, I think I might have stress flashbacks.

From the news about how it went for everyone yesterday, I wouldn't have needed to suffer from reliving the memories of my College Program days to be throughly stressed out.
Read it for yourself:

@DLdocumentary: I want to apologize to all kids I've complained about at Disneyland. I'll take you any day over teenagers I dealt with last night. #Disney24

#Disney24 should have been exclusive to pass holders only...what a waste #disneyland

@Disneyland: UPDATE: "One More Disney Day" @Disneyland continues to be very popular. Disneyland park is currently full. Updates to follow. #Disney24

@DLthings:I can't believe I'm saying this, but #Disney24 should have been a hard-ticket event. Anything to avoid the horrors I witnessed last night

I read tweets that claimed 2.5 hour wait times JUST TO GET INTO THE PARKING LOT.

@iamonemike 's screen shot of the traffic around Disneyland
I completely understand the novelty of attending what could be a one time Disney event. It would have been special to be part of.
But it's February. There is not reason to wait in any line more than 20 minutes at Disneyland. It's the down season, meaning the weather isn't great (I heard it hit the 40's last night) and the crowds should be slim.

So, kudos are in order to the marketing team for the event. Just like many of the different types of runDisney events, "One More Disney Day" made a typically slow day into a money making hit for the theme parks.

It just doesn't sound like any magic was made. And magic is why you go to the disney parks.