Longtime park sponsor Kodak reportedly has decided against renewing its contract with Disneyland. The photo pioneer has been tied to the park since the early years, as camera shop lessee, official film provider, and attraction sponsor, among other roles.
"As far as I know, Kodak was there from the beginning, although there were several periods where they were gone from [Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom]," said former head of participant affairs, Pete Clark. "I think that Kodak didn't think Disney couldn't get along without them. One of the replacements was GAF, which was trying to challenge Kodak. The other was Polaroid. Both were short-lived."
The 132-year-old company filed for bankruptcy in January and ever since has been shedding jobs and assets, while continuing to lose millions of dollars a day.
Kodak currently sponsors the park guide maps, picture stops, and merchandise stand near "it's a small world." The Kodak kiosk will be decommissioned January 6, 2013. Formerly a Fantasyland ticket booth, the structure is said to be the last original ticket booth left in the park that is still being used for guest services.
Sources say the kiosk will either be torn down or relocated and "retasked." As yet another piece of Disneyland history disappears, let's hope for the latter.
At the same time, Starbucks will be moving into the Market House on Main Street after the holiday season. Starbucks had earlier vowed to maintain as much original theming as possible as it opens outlets in each of Disney's domestic theme parks and has enjoyed early success with its first—inside the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Café at the end of Disney California Adventure's "main street."
Yet how much of the Market House's original interior will remain is unknown. Starbucks' promise to design the coffee shops "to fit the theme of their surroundings" does not necessarily mean they'll preserve any original theming. Many of the furnishings date back to the Market House's opening in 1955. In addition, few other buildings on Main Street, with the exception of the cinema, have retained as much of their "look" from the days of Walt as has the Market House.
With California skies finally beginning to dry, the nightly Candlelight Ceremonies and Processionals are underway. What began as an intimate, couple-of-nights event 54 years ago has now grown to 40 performances (twice nightly from December 1 to 20). Expect crowds to pack Town Square and Main Street every single night.
Consequently, the Entertainment division is planning to relocate Candlelight to DCA's Hyperion Theater for 2013. The number of days will be increased from 20 to about 30. With a dedicated, easy-to-darken venue, there's no telling how many performances Disney could schedule per day—although they do have to keep in mind they're working with a 600-member choir of volunteers. The move would also allow Disney, if it so chose, to charge admission to the event.
Finally, I want to wish you all a blessed Christmas season. I apologize for not being able to turn out the feature articles quite so regularly of late, as I've been busy promoting Mouse Tales' release as a Kindle e-book, as well as my new Danny Kaye book. Danny Kaye: King of Jesters and The Danny Kaye Show blog. I hope to dive into Disney at lightspeed in 2013.
In the meantime, why don't you celebrate with the latest priceless offering from the masterful Disney artistes known for their fine craftsmanship, subtle charm, and tasteful use of beloved characters?
Enjoy the new Mickey Hoisting a Turkey Leg Christmas ornament.
(Send an email to David Koenig)
David Koenig is the senior editor of the 80-year-old business journal, The Merchant Magazine.
After receiving his degree in journalism from California State University, Fullerton (aka Cal State Disneyland), he began years of research for his first book, Mouse Tales: A Behind-the-Ears Look at Disneyland (1994), which he followed with Mouse Under Glass: Secrets of Disney Animation & Theme Parks (1997, revised 2001) and More Mouse Tales: A Closer Peek Backstage at Disneyland (1999) (All titles published by Bonaventure Press).
He lives in Aliso Viejo, California, with his lovely wife, Laura, their wonderful son, Zachary, and their adorable daughter, Rebecca.