Friday, February 22, 2008

Disneyland Shanghai?

Plans to build a Disneyland style theme park are apparently awaiting approval from Chinese government officials according to Marketwatch. While I don't doubt that Disney has its eye on Shanghai for some sort of expansion. I don't see another 'Magic Kingdom' style park like was built in Hong Kong.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Walt Disney Animation Studios Rumors

The next film due from Walt Disney Animation Studios is "Bolt". That will arrive in November 2008. They're in the home stretch on that one after some retooling as the film went from Chris Sanders at the helm to Chris Williams after John Lasseter and Ed Catmull instituted some changes at the Mouse House.

After Bolt comes "The Princess And The Frog". Animation on that piece is keeping animators who were moved off the Bolt project busy. "Rapunzel" continues to go through story revisions as it shifts from a digitally animated Shrek like parody to something lush and hand drawn.

The big news to come out of Burbank is the name of two other animated projects under development. "Joe Jump" and "King of the Elves" are both in early stages of development. "King" sounds like it might be a co-project between Disney and Jim Henson Studios. "King" is based on a short story by Philip K. Dick. "Joe Jump" sounds like its video game inspired.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Dolly Parton Out, High School Musical In?

Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede rapidly shut its doors after a buyout of the property was accomplished by the Chelsea property group, owner of the Orlando Premium Outlet Mall on the adjacent property. I had the impression at the time that construction was immenent. But now it appears that Chelsea property group just wanted to have that property in its back pocket with no immediate plans for development. Which makes me wonder why Dolly pulled up stakes so quickly, I'm sure some sort of leasing deal could have been worked out.

But, since the property is now vacant, I've heard rumors that Disney may have its eye on the property. Demand for Disney's night-time dinner shows have always been strong, with some selling out months in advanced pretty much regularly. Why not leverage this open property with a dinner show based on one of today's hot properties. And what's hotter than High School Musical right now? Pretty much nothing.

The planning is still in the very early phases with lots of details to be worked out. But there is already a lot of HSM production going around (a stage show, an ice musical, and the theme park shows), so there is a lot from which performances could be drawn.

I've often thought that Disney is missing out by not having permanent installations of some of its licensed traveling road shows at its Orlando base. A broadway theatre and an ice rink could rotate versions of the current traveling shows. Put these out by Downtown Disney for entertainment and dining tie-in, or put them at Wide World Of Sports, and add more dining to that area (plus the ice rink could also serve a sports purpose).

The broadway style theater would be a natural tie-in to launch national tours, workshop potential shows, or just become a 'winter' resting place for some of the tours that need a stop and rest their traveling cast. I think the end result would be a drawing of additional talent to the Orlando area as some performers choose to make their homes here and perhaps transition to more permanent jobs at the theme parks after their show closes or moves on.

But that's just me dreaming. A High School Musical dinner theatre could actually have legs.

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