Walt Disney World is apparently planning to allow guests who stay at their most expensive resorts with "club level" service to buy cut-the-line ride Fastpasses for $50/day, according to WFTV's Chip Skambis.
This privilege would be only for those who stay three nights in club-level rooms, which seem to go for about $800/night and up (way up).
Disney has long tried to seem egalitarian in the way it treats ride lines. The Universal Orlando theme parks down the road have no such compunctions -- they allow anyone willing and able to pay $170 - $190 per day to cut past every poor slob who could only afford the $110/day admission price.
But Disney has avoided this overt wealth-pandering, basically having everyone play by the same line-waiting rules. Sure, Disney has had its “VIP tour service,” in which, for $425-$600 per hour (that’s not a typo: per HOUR) you can hire your very own line-cutting top-flight Disney “cast member,” but that's clearly for the super-rich, and who wouldn't cater to that group? Not even the most militant Marxist would want to see Mark Zuckerberg and family among the crowd waiting in line for Peter Pan’s Flight.
But I just came from Disney World, and I could see the writing on the wall.
First of all, the nature of these Fastpasses has changed. When they got their start, they were a way for people to show up at a ride, and then, instead of waiting on the line, get a slip of paper to show up at a later time and get right onto the ride -- essentially allowing them to do other things during the time they would have otherwise been waiting on the line. Read the rest
In defending his vote to dismantle Net Neuratlity rules, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai insisted that not much would change for consumers; ISPs would voluntarily refrain from degrading internet service.
Michael Powell, president of the telecom lobbyist N.C.T.A., wrote that the good ol' invisible hand of the free market would ensure that the principles of net neutrality would still be adhered to: "Degrading the internet, blocking speech and trampling what consumers now have come to expect would not be profitable, and the public backlash would be unbearable. Economic self-interest and the pursuit of profits tilts decidedly toward an open internet."
Never mind that ISPs often act as local monopolies, immune to competition, and have already been convicted of breaching Net Neutrality on a huge scale, multiple times, affecting 100 million Americans while it was illegal to do so.
Of course, ISPs have actually been planning to toss Net Neutrality principles out the window once the rules were revoked, for months.
While Net Neutrality rules were firmly in place, Comcast had this pledge on its website for years, and as late as April 25, 2017 (according to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine):
On April 26, Ajit Pai announced a vote the start the process of eliminating Net Neutrality rules.
On April 27, Comcast somehow had a change of heart regarding its fidelity to Net Neutrality principles, and its website's commitments were suddenly missing a few key promises (see the date in the upper right corner). Those promises are still absent from its website today. Read the rest
Every fall, New York City's Society of Illustrators puts on this hidden-in-plain-sight gem of an exhibit. The Original Art Exhibit displays original illustrations from a selection of the best picture books of the year.
Not only do you get to view the original paintings, drawings, and even sculptures that were used to illustrate these books, but the books themselves are on display so you can see how they appear in the finished product.
As an adult who loves art and kids' books, this is a blast for me. But it's just about the best art exhibit you can take a kid to. Because paintings in an art museum can seem abstract to a kid, but these pictures are used to tell amazing, exciting, and/or funny stories, in a format they're intimately familiar with.
And kids get a sense of how picture books are made. They don't sprout up on library and bookstore shelves fully formed; they are made by real people's imaginations and hands, using tools just like the ones kids use to make art.
My kids loved (and my nieces currently love) to find the books and the pages that match the original artwork on the wall. And we'll make a list of their favorites and I'll order them from the library -- in a couple of weeks we have a stack of great picture books they have a personal connection to.
This year's exhibit is great once again, and runs through December 30.
Above is the contribution of the great Adam Rex, who painted the covers of my two kids' books (so far), the EMU Club Adventures series. Read the rest
70 or so South American animators were assembled by Brazilian animator Ivanildo Soares to recreate a 1961 Woody Woodpecker short, "The Bird Who Came to Dinner."
It's a late-era Woody cartoon, and it's pretty uninspiring. But somehow it inspired these animators to reimagine the entire cartoon, individually, and in intervals of only a few seconds that are weird, creative, and jarring. The soundtrack is exactly the same, but every cel has been replaced, in very diverse styles.
Here is the original 1961 cartoon.
And here is the new South American twist. It's pretty fun to watch.
What spurred these animators to this project? I can't seem to find the answer, but it may have something to do with this: Like France's inexplicable love for Jerry Lewis, and the theory that "Germans Love David Hasselhoff," South Americans apparently love Woody Woodpecker.