Archive for March, 2007

What’s new in Italy?

Monday, March 5th, 2007

We announced earlier that Epcot's L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante is getting the axe. Disney originally would only say that its replacement would be "a new Italian restaurant concept." Insiders are now saying that the "new concept" will be a large-scale Dominos Pizza, offering pizza delivery to any location in the park (including attractions!) in 30 minutes or less.

Muppet Mobile Labs

Monday, March 5th, 2007

Last week, visitors to Disney's California Adventure got a chance to view the new Muppet Mobile Labs, a two-wheeled vehicle on which ride muppets Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker. The muppets performed a brief show during which they interacted with guest and conducted various experiments (for example, seeing which of a variety of dangerous contraptions Beaker could escape from before they exploded).

There were a number of technical problems that need to be worked out before this becomes a permanent addition to DCA. Apparently, the two (very short) puppeteers who work within the vehicle had a difficult time operating the puppets, responding to guests, and driving while simultaneously keeping their balance. Said one puppeteer, "Sure, a two-wheeled vehicle looks all cool and scientific, but it's a pain in the ass. If one of us so much as coughs, it falls over, and they take the repair costs out of our pay."

Look for Muppet Mobile Labs to appear on DCA's regular schedule sometime later this year (possibly with the addition of a third wheel).

Who golfs?

Monday, March 5th, 2007

Walt Disney World has announced that the Eagle Pines golf course is going beneath the plow. Disney publicist Hans Gopher, when asked why one of the World's famous courses was being destroyed, replied, "There was a time when golf was a big draw for business people and conventioneers. But the world has moved on since then, and executives are a much younger group, less interested in the pastimes of their fathers."

Following through with this reasoning, Disney also announced that the golf course's former location would be used for the construction of a Four Seasons hotel in which every room contains a high-end computer connected to a server dedicated to Second Life, World of Warcraft, and other social networking and gaming applications more appealing to modern corporate America.

New addition to Pirates!

Saturday, March 3rd, 2007

According to current rumor, the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World will be modified again in 2007. Apparently, animatronic figures of the Dali Lama will be placed in both attractions. At Disneyland, the figure will appear in the bayou section, replacing the old man who sits in a rocking chair (a character that generates many complaints, in that some people think that the creaking of his aging joints sounds something like banjo music).

At Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, "Dali" will appear at the very beginning of the cave section, "so as not to interfere with anything further into the attraction." Of course, this completely avoids the question of whether having this figure in the attraction makes sense at all.

So far as we were concerned, adding the Dali Lama to a Caribbean-themed pirate attraction made little sense, and we wondered what the heck Imagineering was thinking. After investigating this further, we discovered that, during a late-night telephone conversation, John Lasseter misunderstood a poorly pronounced "Tia Dalma," and when his orders came down the next day for the addition of the Dali Lama figure, nobody had the guts to stand up and say he was completely insane.

Go figure.

Disney’s Olympic Spirit

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

Yesterday, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s evaluation committee began their two-day visit to investiage whether the Disneyland Resort will be the U.S. candidate to host the 2016 Summer Games. This would be the first time in the history of the Olympics that a private corporation — as opposed to a city — hosted the games.

Said Claudia Fabulosa, Disney Olympic press liason, “We have high hopes for a positive result from the evaluation committee’s visit. The Disneyland Resort is a wonderful, magical place, and by combining our magic with the magic of the Olympic games would truly create an ultra-magical synergy.”

Disneyland Resort boasts facilities that could easily be repurposed for the Summer Games. There are copious accommodations, plenty of dining establishments, numerous bodies of water for use in swimming competitions, and Disney’s California Adventure, which can be used to absorb crowds of people when other venues are full. A track and field stadium would need to be built, but Disney has already petitioned the city for permission to build such a stadium on land formerly earmarked for the building of low-income housing.

“We’re very serious about this,” said Fabulosa. “This isn’t something that Disney is taking lightly and we aren’t going to make fun of our Olympic heritage. There will be no discus throwing on Main Street, no marathons run on the PeopleMover track, and no fencing competitions in Pirates of the Caribbean. Well, maybe a little, but just for fun, not for medal contention.”