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Disneyland Resort (DL, DLR, DCA) Discussion Thread

P. 393 - Holidays returning November 11th!

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While many of his peers hoarded cash during the downturn, Robert Iger, chief executive of Walt Disney Co., doubled down, investing in entertainment businesses, theme parks, new technology and other infrastructure and counting on the weak economy to keep a lid on construction costs.


Disney just launched a new cruise ship, is expanding its California Adventure and Hong Kong Disneyland theme parks, and is building a new resort in Hawaii. The company is also integrating Marvel Entertainment and its stable of comic-book heroes, which Disney bought last December for $4.3 billion, as well as Playdom, a maker of games for Facebook users, acquired this summer for $563 million.


Last week, with the home-video release of "Toy Story 3," Disney unveiled Keychest, an initiative that automatically gives buyers of its films on DVD or Blu-ray disc access to an online streaming version.


The expansion carries some risk for a business so dependent on consumer spending, which has yet to fully recover. When Disney reports results Thursday, investors will be looking for continued signs of recovery in its ad-dependent media businesses and tourist destinations Mr. Iger, 59 years old, recently spoke with The Wall Street Journal.




WSJ: Your newest cruise ship, the Disney Dream, was the first of several billion-dollar parks-and-resorts investments to come to fruition. You started making many of these expansions amid the recession. Why?


Mr. Iger: In some cases we started before the recession, and some cases we were in it. Our construction costs have tended to be lower because we built in the downturn.


WSJ: What if there's a double-dip recession, or the recovery stalls?


Mr. Iger: If it comes, there are levers we can pull to [reduce] operating costs that are tied mostly to demand, not to reduce quality of service. But we don't see that happening. If we continue with modest improvement, then we feel we're fully capable of absorbing these additional investments.


People want to take their kids on vacation, and often sacrifice other things in their lives to do that. I don't make light of it, but I'm not losing sleep over these investments at all.


WSJ: You're spending $1 billion to overhaul Disney California Adventure, Disneyland's less-famous neighbor. Why?


Mr. Iger: [Apple CEO] Steve Jobs is fond of talking about brand deposits and brand withdrawals. Any time you do something mediocre with your brand, that's a withdrawal. California Adventure was a brand withdrawal.


We debated, "Should we make it one park?" Raise the price at Disneyland, and suddenly one ticket buys you the whole thing. I even had Imagineers design that.


[but] we would have had to put in transportation systems. It would have cost us so much money to put the monorail in. And to do other things to create one park. That didn't make sense.


We all concluded that the only way we would improve returns on that park is if we made it better and we made it bigger. And we decided to put what is now [around] $1 billion into that.


WSJ: What are you adding?


Mr. Iger: We opened up the first attraction, [the animation-inspired] "World of Color." "Little Mermaid" [is] next summer, and then the big kahuna of them all, "Cars Land," which is a 12-acre land [based on the Pixar animated film.] .


[Cars Land] will open in the middle of 2012. "World of Color" has increased attendance since it opened at California Adventure by 20%.


WSJ: In the past year-plus you've made two splashy acquisitions: Marvel and Playdom. How are the integrations of those two companies progressing?


Mr. Iger: [With Marvel] we've taken back distribution, or bought back distribution from [Viacom Inc.'s] Paramount, for some critical franchises. Notably, "Iron Man 3" will be distributed by us, and "Avengers." We're developing three live-action series for ABC and ABC Family. You can buy Marvel products at Disney stores. And we're working on Marvel games.


WSJ: What does the Playdom purchase give you?


Mr. Iger: Playdom gives us access to technology and to experience in a space that we felt we wanted and needed to be in. We did not have that expertise in the company, and we felt that bringing it into the company through an acquisition would get us there much faster than doing it organically.


WSJ: In the past year, you've made many changes in top management. What did you hope to accomplish, for instance, by having Tom Staggs and Jay Rasulo swap jobs as chief financial officer and head of parks and resorts?


Mr. Iger: They looked at me initially like I was out of my mind. I said, "You each need to learn more about the company, because in doing so, you'll be better executives, and this company will benefit from that."


I'm the result of bosses that continued to move me into places that didn't necessarily fit a pattern or wasn't necessarily what everybody expected me to do next. But they took chances with me. I was a sports executive, and I was made head of entertainment at one point.


Believe me, I thought for a moment, "Wait a minute. Am I making a mistake in my career?" Which was going pretty well up until then. It quickly wore off, and I thought, "This is just an adventure. I want to prove that I'm worthy."


WSJ: Disneyland visitors can approach anyone wearing a company name badge and ask for help. Does the boss have as many answers at his fingertips as the park regulars?


Mr. Iger: When I do certain things at the parks, I wear a name tag. Recently, I left a group of Disney executives at one part of the park to go meet my family at another part. So I'm walking with my name tag on.


First I get stopped by someone who wants to know where the petting zoo is.


Then someone says, "If I wait in line here, is it better than getting a Fast Pass?" I quickly realized, "Get that name tag off you!"


Under CEO Robert Iger, Disney bulked up during the slump, counting on the weak economy to damp costs.

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The park blog just confirmed that it is NPH.

Hey, That Sounds Like Neil Patrick Harris

posted on November 8th, 2010 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


On Friday, Guests riding California Screamin’ at Disney California Adventure park may have noticed a familiar new voice as they prepared to board the longest and fastest roller coaster at the Disneyland Resort.

Disney Imagineers recently worked with actor Neil Patrick Harris to make new recordings for California Screamin’. These new themed recordings recall a carnival sideshow barker, in keeping with the theme of all the boardwalk amusements in Paradise Pier.


Disney Parks Blog

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^Wow, you should put a disclaimer on there for Shakes the Obscenely Annoying Cameraman. lol!
Haha yeah sorry about the quality! It's the only video I've found so far that shows the new station audio. I didn't actually watch past that point though since the sound seemed like it was bad (and apparently I was right ).
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^UGH, The view is terrible coming into the park now, and it's only going to get worse! The elcTRONica sign doesn't help it any, and I just wish they would get themed tarps for at least the entrance.


Also, When I was on the train for California Screamin', I could barely hear the launch countdown or the audio in the station for that matter, Still not sure if I like the higher pitched NPH voice, but I'm sure it'll grow on me.


The parks look all Christmas-y-ed out and it was extremely dead today.


^^This one is totally the best.

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  • 5 weeks later...

From the Disney Parks Blog: Link

As we look forward to 2011, we are excited to share that we are making great progress on the expansion of Disney California Adventure park. The year 2010 has been very exciting. In June, we made a big splash with “World of Color,” the nighttime spectacular that is wowing guests every night. On October 29, we reached an exciting milestone with Cars Land with the topping out of the Cadillac Mountain range – about 125 feet in the air. And, many of you have seen The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure and Goofy’s Sky School coming to life along the parade route. Both are scheduled to open in 2011 along with new restaurants and shops as we finish the entire Paradise Pier expansion.

Now, as we move toward a new year, expansion continues. In January, our efforts move to the front of the park.

On Jan. 4, we will begin making way for a new entrance modeled after the legendary Pan-Pacific Auditorium. This means, the “CALIFORNIA” letters will be removed, and we plan to save these icons for possible future use. Now’s the time to get your photos!

As this work continues, we are making adjustments to the Disney California Adventure Main Entrance area, including relocation of some Guest service areas. We’ll keep you informed about those here on the Disney Parks Blog as soon as we have specific dates and locations.

Also on Jan. 4, we will begin the transformation of the Sunshine Plaza area into Buena Vista Street inside the Main Entrance. When complete, it will represent Hollywood as it was when Walt Disney arrived on the west coast in the 1920s.

Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more updates as the expansion continues.


So, hurry while you can, cause the letters will be coming out on January 4th!

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It certainly does look strikingly similar to DHS! I was kind of hoping they would address the issue of the junkyard where the Maliboomer used to be. They really should not leave that area in that condition for much longer, it's far greater of an eyesore that Maliboomer ever was. Also, hoping that Screamin and Wheel get the same facade as Toy Story, so that whole area flows together a bit better. Still think "sky school" is a terrible concept for a theme, for the a mouse coaster. Must have been some character from "The Little Mermaid" they could have used.

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To address some concerns:


The Maiboomer junkyard is currently being converted into a little "park" and meet and greet spot.


Rumor has it that eventually Screamin and the Fun Wheel will get the Victorian look, but don't look for it to happen in Phase 1 of the construction. (Phase 1 is considered the 1.whatever billion that they're spending on BVS and Carsland, it will end in 2012) Supposedly there might be a Phase 2 which will fix Hollywood and Condor Flats as well as giving Screaming and the Fun Wheel period appropriate queues. This, however, is a rumor, not a fact.


Goofy's Sky School is happening, but nobody knows exactly what it will look like when it's done due to all of the conflicting concept artwork (but when was concept ever the real thing anyways?). This is also another rumor, but supposedly the Sky School makeover is only temporary and that later on down the line (2014+) it will be ripped out entirely.


Also, that concept artwork posted on the Disney blog of the main entrance was one of the earliest concept drawings of the turnstiles. I'm not sure how accurate that reflects the current entrance plan now.


And the California letters are being moved, at least according to a guy who's an "insider". I'd bet on him too because he's been spot on with pretty much everything.


I like to think of it this way, when Phase 1 is done (Carsland and BVS as well as all of the other current projects) DCA will only be half done. Fixing everything else, including Condor Flats and Hollywood as well as parts of the Pier, will come later on after 2012. I'm guessing that by 2016 or so the park will be truly complete in the sense that all of the crappy mistakes of the original DCA will have been fixed or torn out by then. At least that's what I hope.


Here's to hoping that Carsland is a massive financial success so that they do get the green light for a Phase 2.

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Not that its going to be exactly the same, but they will most likely be relocated somewhere else in Anaheim. Though they wont be in front of DCA, they will most likely show up somewhere else.


Oh...that sounds good....may I ask where you got your information....


-Zach- Hoping to See the Letters eventually-


It hints at it in the article, but I also have asked around and have been told that they "should" show up again somewhere around town.

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