On Tuesday I linked to a CNN story reporting that Emerson Elementary School in Berkeley, California held a screening of The Lion King, and received a $250 charge for "illegally screening the movie." Today The New York Times reports that Disney chief Bob Iger apologized to the school and said he will donate money to its PTA:
Our company @WaltDisneyCo apologizes to the Emerson Elementary School PTA and I will personally donate to their fund raising initiative.
— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) February 6, 2020
The New York Times notes that it "was not immediately clear whether the company was still requiring the licensing fee after Mr. Iger’s tweet." My guess is that Iger's donation will exceed $250, but that the licensing fee will stand. If Disney dropped the fee, it would set a precedent that would give anyone a good excuse to screen Disney movies at fundraising events without having to buy a license.
The best impressions SNL has ever seen are the work of Kate McKinnon. Read the rest
Deutsche Welle's footage of the empty entrance plaza of Shanghai Disneyland as the PA system broadcasts a message that the park is "temporarily closed" for "prevention and control of the disease outbreak" is indeed "straight out of a Hollywood horror movie," as the caption says. Read the rest
If you ever find yourself time-traveling to 1975 and need to impersonate a Disneyland Haunted Mansion ride-operator, we've got you covered: just remember that in 1975, food and drinks were absolutely not allowed past the main gate, and that E-tickets should be torn in half and placed in the ticket box. (Thanks, Changa!) Read the rest
Tron: Evolution is a Disney video-game that comes with the notorious Securom DRM (previously). Thanks to unspecified DRM issues, anyone who bought the game but didn't activate it can no longer do so, a situation that has been known since at least October. Disney says they're working on a patch but won't commit to a release date. Of course, people who didn't pay for the game and downloaded a cracked version instead aren't having any problems. (Image: Disney) (via /.) Read the rest
Rise of the Resistance officially opens December 5 at Disney's Hollywood Studios, but you can see just about the entire ride right now. What flavor of walkthrough would you like?
Just the pre-show:
Seven minutes of highlights featuring enthusiastic and photogenic ride-goers:
An extended look at the queue:
What do you think--is cloaked Kylo Ren a timeless villain people will care about in a few years? Is it weird to pretend to be a First Order member for work? Are the multiple phases of the ride really a meaningful improvement on Star Tours? Can you think of other rides that hide multiple lines like a turducken of waiting? Read the rest
The 1941 Disney animator's strike was bitterly fought, as Walt Disney refused to grant the concessions that all the other animation studios had agreed to, and instead grew paranoid and accusatory, convinced the "Communist infiltrators" had turned his animators against him. Read the rest
Back in 2007, I wrote a science fiction novella called "The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrrow," about an immortal, transhuman survivor of an apocalypse whose father is obsessed with preserving artifacts from the fallen civilization, especially the Carousel of Progress, an exhibition that GE commissioned from Disney for the 1964 World's Fair in New York, which is still operating in Walt Disney World. Read the rest
Tokyo Disneyland is a curious beast: it's owned by a Japanese company (the "Oriental Land Company") but the company is contractually obligated to use Disney as its sole supplier of rides and designs; historically, TDL has expanded by ordering the very best, most popular rides and shows from other Disney parks, and then paying to have them built to the very highest possible specification -- it's a kind of global best-of Disney park, gold plated and buffed to a high finish. Read the rest
Congratulations to Disney on the exciting new merchandising opportunity of bounty pucks.
I swear these are three different scenes:
And if bounty pucks don't prove popular, there's the less sophisticated tracking fob:
In this video, Disney shows what it takes to deck the Disneyland Resort's halls by bringing us inside the warehouse where they store all of their holiday decorations. Mark Apepe, the lead of this impressive production, hosts this behind-the-scenes peep and shares that they use an estimated 2,000 feet of garland and 80,000 ornaments for the "Main Street package" alone.
The Disney Parks Blog adds to his numbers:
The exterior of Main Street, U.S.A., features approximately 220 garlands that measure more than four miles long, with approximately 80 wreaths and 120 bows bringing the season to life on this charming street.
It takes nearly three dozen cast members 35 days to install the glittering façade of “it’s a small world” Holiday and nearly 18 days to decorate the holiday attraction’s dazzling interior.
The Disneyland Christmas tree stands 60-feet tall on Main Street, U.S.A. and features 1,500 Victorian-inspired ornaments with 100 oversized faux candles.
Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle shimmers during the day and is illuminated each night with more than 126,000 twinkling LED lights, sparkling “icicles” and shimmering snow-capped turrets.
A 50-foot Christmas tree adorns Carthay Circle to help guests get in the holiday spirit. The tree and surrounding buildings are decorated with vintage-style ornaments in keeping with the theme of Buena Vista Street, inspired by Los Angeles as it appeared when Walt Disney arrived in the 1920s.
Like I said, impressive.
Disney has always been a problematic company, from its crypto-minstrelsy (and not-so-crypto-minstrelsy) to its perpetual copyright extensions to its censorship activities to its gender stereotyping to its anti-union work and so on, but, as anti-monopoly activist Matt Stoller (previously) writes, under CEO Bob Iger the company has changed into an entirely different kind of corporate menace: a monopolist committed to crushing competition, rather than an entertainment company that -- whatever its other sins -- was ferociously committed to making movies, TV shows, theme parks, art and toys. Read the rest
Disney is making it very tempting to join Disney+, their new entertainment streaming service, by offering a docuseries that puts a spotlight on its Imagineers.
The Imagineering Story, a docuseries from The Pixar Story filmmaker Leslie Iwerks, pulls back the curtain on the work of the brilliant artist-engineers who have made real-life magic at the Disney Parks for decades. Narrated by Angela Bassett, the six-hour series chronicles the history of the Imagineers, beginning with the inception of Disneyland and tracing the development of all the of the Disney parks and all of the fantastical lands within them (yes, including Galaxy’s Edge) to the present day.
The trailer for it promises a look behind the scenes of the Matterhorn and other restricted areas of Disney parks:
The Imagineering Story will premiere November 12, the same day the new service launches. To be clear: the series will only be available on Disney+, which is $6.99/month or $69.99/year. I'm personally thinking it might be worth checking out.
Disneyland can be a hotbed of infectious disease. A single infected-with-the-measles fun seeker can launch a multi-county disease watch, endangering folks unable to be vaccinated.
A Los Angeles County resident visited Disneyland last week while infectious with measles, health officials said late Tuesday, potentially exposing hundreds of other people to the highly contagious disease.
The individual went to Starbucks at 3006 S. Spulveda Boulevard in West Los Angeles early on the morning on October 16 before going to Disneyland from 9.15 a.m. onwards, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a statement.
"Anyone who may have been at these locations on these dates during these timeframes may be at risk of developing measles for up to 21 days after being exposed," the statement said.