Posts Tagged ‘Walt Disney World’

Disney’s Impact on Florida

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Fascinating article in today’s Orlando Sentinel: “Disney says it generates $18.2 billion a year in Florida.”

Starts with a bang:

Walt Disney World and its related businesses in Florida generate an estimated $18.2 billion a year in economic activity and more than 1 out of every 50 jobs in the state, according to an impact study paid for by the giant resort and released Wednesday morning.

It ends strongly, too:

It amounted to a cumulative direct economic-impact of $6.3 billion. When researchers modeled in “indirect and induced” impacts from Disney’s operations, they said the impact swelled to $18.2 billion and approximately 161,000 jobs.

We’re back!

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

We’re back from our vacation to Florida and Walt Pixar World. Err … “Walt Disney World”.

For a minute I was confused, it appeared those Pixar characters had taken over the entire kingdom. But more on that another time.

It’s odd, they’re gearing up for the 40th Anniversary down there (the Magic Kingdom opened on October 1, 1971).

It makes me feel old that I remember the 15th Anniversary so vividly.

Walt Disney World 15th Anniversary logo

Anyway, photos will be along in a few days.

Disney Video Sociology

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

So we watched a Walt Disney World planning video last night.

Actually I should say I sprung a Walt Disney World planning video on Liz last night.

The sad part is that it was pretty hokey; even my own interest was waining, so I couldn’t fault Liz when I saw out of the corner of my eye that she had picked up her iPhone and started scrolling through something more interesting.

So I quickly turned it into a sociological experiment: I pointed out that one of the video’s hostesses spoke perfect English, with just a hint of a Mediterranean accent. Was she Greek? Turkish?

The iPhone went to the coffee table. Liz was back in the game.

We determined that her parents emigrated to Canada sometime around the Lebanese Civil War in 1975 when she was young, like say 6 years old.

Liz was hooked. We investigated each time they used African American actors. Asian American actors. Grandparents. Honeymooners.

It’s actually a pretty interesting experiment, because every actor’s casting was a clear choice, likely debated by a team of experts and executives and marketing people.

25 Years of Living Seas

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Today marks the 25th anniversary of Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion (formerly “The Living Seas”).

You might remember that John Ritter hosted the television special that introduced us to Seabase Alpha, Seacabs and Hydrolators.

Here’s a peek at that special now:

Disney Dollars

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Interesting article over at the Orlando Sentinel, “Disney becoming more generous with political contributions.”

Disney, employing close to 60,000 people in Central Florida, has lots of clout, but apparently they’re not above buying a little more.

While I’m not naive to this sort of thing, it’s a little sad to me that they’re greasing the palms of so many Republicans.

Here’s a post about that: “[Walt] Disney World’s favorite Florida politicians.”

Return of the PeopleMover

Friday, August 6th, 2010


So in 1975 Walt Disney World revamped their Tomorrowland, adding some attraction named “Space Mountain” along with with the a people mover named, well, the “WEDWay PeopleMover”. After the fancy refurbishment of Tomorrowland in 1994 it was renamed the “Tomorrowland Transit Authority” but little changed otherwise.

Apparently now it’s going to be re-renamed to the “Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover” – “‘PeopleMover’ is Coming Back at Walt Disney World.”

Also, to be a nitpick, this article is incorrect when it says the pollution-free linear induction motors were introduced at Disneyland in California in 1967. Disneyland’s PeopleMover (which closed in 1995) used the propulsion system of rotating Goodyear tires.

Its sponsor?

Why Goodyear, of course.

Star Wars Video

Thursday, May 20th, 2010


Star Wars Weekends kickoff tomorrow at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios).

Robert Foster’s Autobiography

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

I’ve been thinking about that new Disney book Project Future that I was telling you about yesterday (see New Disney Book).

I’m psyched for it, but there’s another book that I really want to read.

Sadly, it’s unpublished.

I swear I’ve talked about this before, but I can’t find the link. See, in the late 1960s when Walt Disney wanted to build what became Walt Disney World he sent a company lawyer to Florida to start buying up land.

And that lawyer, Robert Foster, wrote his story down.

From what I know it’s a story of pseudonyms and shell companies, determining who owned the land (and the mineral rights to said land) – probably all of the stuff in the new book above.

Sadly, Foster, who used the name “Robert Price” to keep his identity secret, never got his book published.

(And Foster/Price shouldn’t be confused with Harrison “Buzz” Price, whose Walt’s Revolution!: By the Numbers is a nerdy good read).

Foster/Price did, however, get a window on the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street, USA as both “Foster” and “Price”, a rare feat.

New Disney Book

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

How have I not heard of this book?!

If this were any more up my alley I would have written it! Check out this Orlando Sentinel article: “Talking With Chad Emerson: A ‘spy-like’ start for Disney.”

It’s out now, and affordable for someone’s birthday two weeks from today … (cough link cough).

Lost Theme Park Attraction

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

I have no idea what website this came from, or what a “PaleyFest” is, but this article popped up on my radar yesterday: “‘Lost’ Creators Want to Get the Finale Right – PaleyFest Report.”

Most of it was useless info, but then there was this bit:

the most exciting bit of news for series fans might be that Disney is considering turning the island attraction at Disneyland (once the ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ Tree House, later a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’-themed scene). Yes, ‘Lost Island.’ Theme park fans should stay tuned.


The problem is … it doesn’t make sense.

See, Disneyland (in California) had a Swiss Family Treehouse that turned into Tarzan’s Treehouse about a decade ago. No Pirates to be seen.

In case they messed up their coasts, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdon (in Florida) has a Swiss Family Treehouse that’s still Swiss.

The Pirate Treehouse just doesn’t exist.

I think the attraction to which they are referring is actually Disneyland’s Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island.

In 2007 the island, formerly all Tom Sawyery, was invaded by Pirates for the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. They still haven’t left yet.

It’d be relatively cheap to overlay Lost on the island, and it’d be a huuuugggggeee draw. Especially for the repeat crowd in Southern California.

Yep, Sawyer on Tom Sawyer’s Island? Let the in-jokes begin …

Wide World of Sports Rebranding

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

ESPN Wide World of Sports logoWhile I guess the signs have been changed for some time, today’s the official relaunch of Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex as the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Even though I’ve been to WDW several times since the complex opened in 1997, I’ve still never seen it.

Maybe next time …

New Fantastyland at WDW

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

You might have heard Walt Disney World announced a new Fantasyland back in September.

Back then they released this painting:

Fantasyland visual development

The Fantasyland Forest expansion will be complete in 2013 and feature mostly new Princess themed attractions, restaurants and character meet-and-greet areas.

Lost will be most of Mickey’s Toontown Fair (including Mickey’s house … odd) and the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage attraction that’s been closed for over 15 years, anyway.

The most anticipated new attraction is Under the Sea: Journey of The Little Mermaid that will take you literally under the sea in an Omnimover system (like the Haunted Mansion) and be identical to the one being built right now out at Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim.

Recently I came across this model which is easier to decipher than the painting. Someone else (sadly, I don’t remember who) has labelled the attractions and buildings:

New Fantasyland model

New Fantasyland model with labels

To give you a better idea of the current layout, here’s a map of the land as it stand now:

Fantastyland map

And here’s a Google map photo:

Fantastyland photo

Overall I’m not terribly excited, but it can’t be any worse than closing Mr Toad for the Winnie the Pooh ride.

UPDATE: Oddly Jim Hill has a story about this expansion today! For more artwork and tidbits, check out: “The WDW Resort is looking for a few dozen new Disney Princesses.”