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MouseStation 217 - MousePlanetWatch news

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Walt Disney World News

  • The end of an era is at hand, as after 19 years of being the nighttime place to be at Walt Disney World, Pleasure Island on September 27 closes its six remaining nightclubs of the Adventurer's Club, Comedy Warehouse, 8Trax, Mannequins Dance Palace, BET SoundStage Club, and Motion. In their place will be... more stores and restaurants. Some additional resources:
  • As I reported in my blog last Thursday, new discounts have been announced for most nights August 3 - September 27. To get these rates, you must book by July 27. Rate codes:
    • Magic Your Way – DCT
    • Magic Your Way with Dining – DDK
    • Magic Your Way with Deluxe Dining – DDN
    • Magic Your Way with Dine & Wine – DDL
    • Magic Your Way with Deluxe Dine & Wine – DDO
    • Room Only – DDH
    • Room Only Canadian DDU
  • MousePlanet's Tony Phoenix reports that the Disney Cruise Line has modified the recommended tipping guidelines for any Disney Cruise sailing beginning July 13, 2008. The new suggestions are: Dining Room Server, $4 per night; Asst. Dining Room Server, $3 per night; Dining Room Head Server, $1 per night; Stateroom Host/Hostess, $4 per night; Totals Per Guest, $12 per night
  • Osceola County Sheriff's detectives are working with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials to investigate the death of a Disney employee who was injured while working on a high-lift vehicle at the All-Star Music Resort on June 13. Deputies indicate that the death appears to be accidental.
  • Three weeks ago, we reported that the new hybrid car for the Tomorrowland Speedway was getting ready to go out on the track for final clearance and live The end of an era is at hand, as after 19 years of being the nighttime place to be at Walt Disney World, Pleasure Island on September 27 closes its six remaining nightclubs of the Adventurer's Club, Comedy Warehouse, 8Trax, Mannequins Dance Palace, BET SoundStage Club, and Motion. In their place will be... more stores and restaurants.Country Bear Jamboree, Soarin', Toy Story Mania and Lights Motors Action. Also on the list are replacement of designated World Showcase Promenade light fixtures in Canada, United Kingdom, France, Japan, American Adventure & Italy and replacement of 150 cabin doors and frames on guest cabins in loops 100, 200 and 2100 through 2800 at the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. There are more permits that were filed, and you can see them in Monday's Park Update.
  • Quick Takes:
    • Last Thursday at Disney's Hollywood Studios, the theme park's Prince Caspian character rode in on a horse to open the new Journey Into Narnia: Prince Caspian soundstage attraction.
    • The Australian city of Melbourne is in the running to be featured as one of four featured "great food cities" at this year's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, according to a story in the Melbourne Leader.
    • The Expedition Everest Challenge is now 65 percent sold out, and the Walt Disney World Marathon is now 70 percent full.
    • The Great Wheel Corporation has announced that it will begin construction on the Great Orlando Wheel, a 400-foot-tall "observation wheel" that will feature 25-mile views in each direction.
  • The herd of African elephants at Disney's Animal Kingdom grew again this weekend as 26-year-old Moyo became the first to give birth at the park twice with a 327-pound male elephant on Saturday. The calf, as yet unnamed, is the heaviest elephant calf born at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Both mother and calf seem to be doing well, and veterinarians and elephant managers are optimistic about the calf's likelihood of survival.
  • While it still hadn't been "officially" confirmed as of yesterday morning, Walt Disney World has made a bunch of interesting dining changes that lead to the conclusion that Disney is shrinking the advance dining reservation window from 180 days to 90 days. More details in Mark's blog.

This and other news can be found in this week's Walt Disney World Park Update.

Disneyland News

  • Disneyland celebrates Independence Day with an all-new 20-minute fireworks show, Disney's Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky, scheduled for a performance at 9:25 p.m. on Friday, July 4 and replacing the "Remember... Dreams Come True" Fireworks Spectacular for the night. Disneyland is open from 8:00 a.m. to midnight on the Fourth of July, while Disney's California Adventure is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • A large limb broke off a tree in the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland Thursday night, prompting a temporary closure of the area. MousePlanet reader Alan Joyce was at the park when the incident happened and sent photos from the scene to MousePlanet. Alan reported that people in the immediate area said they heard what sounded like fireworks going off, followed by a few small branches falling before the larger limbs fell across the railings and walkways.
  • A few months ago, we got wind of an expanded "healthy foods" initiative planned for the Disneyland Resort, and were told to expect some major changes to restaurant menus throughout the resort. You may recall that, as part of a "Healthy Kids" program, Disney replaced french fries and soft drinks in the children's meals (at least on the menu) with carrot sticks and juice boxes. Parents could still order chips, fries and soft drinks for their kids if they wanted at most locations, but it was no longer the default. Now the Disneyland Resort is doing much the same to adult meals, and the French Market is the first restaurant to receive an all-new menu featuring "healthier" entree options.
  • Members of Local 681 staged two informational pickets last week to draw attention to their ongoing labor dispute with the Disneyland Resort. Union members, some dressed as Disney characters, carried picket signs and marched between the Paradise Pier and Grand Californian hotels Thursday night. This is the second such protest in recent weeks as contract negotiations between Disney and the union continue.
  • This n That:
    • Northern California fans can catch four former members of Disneyland's Dapper Dans nightly at the Alameda County Fair (link) in Pleasanton. Tim Reeder, Phil Gold, Jim Campbell and Dan Jordan perform as "The Perfect Gentlemen" (link) on the Heritage Stage nightly through July 6. Admission to the show is included with fair ticket.
  • The MousePlanet crew is planning a series of social events for readers this summer and fall, and you're invited! On July 17, you are invited to come celebrate the 8th anniversary of your favorite Disney Web site (and Disneyland's 53rd birthday). Details are forthcoming, but MouseAdventure fans can look forward to a little treat.
    Finally, our second annual MousePlanet night at Mickey's Trick or Treat Party is Friday, October 3. This is one of the annual passholder discount nights, and tickets are already on sale through the AP Web site.
    Stay posted for additional details and events throughout the summer.

This and other news can be found in this week's Disneyland Park Update.

The Walt Disney Company News

  • We're going to switch things up and open with the box office report this week, as WALL-E had the third-best opening weekend of any Pixar film with nearly $63.1 million at the domestic box office. That means that WALL-E has already taken in more money than College Road Trip, which pulled in under $100,000 in its 17th week for a total of $45.2 million. Prince Caspian is still chugging along, taking in just over $1 million, down 42 percent from last week, in less than half of the theaters than last week, for a 7-week total of almost $137.7 million. Miramax's Reprise is continuing to slow, with a 7-week total of almost $470,000. The next films to open will be Miramax's Brideshead Revisited and Disney's Swing Vote, both on August 1.
  • Of course, what movie is complete without its own slew of video games? WALL-E is no different, as games based on the new Disney-Pixar film for the Wii, Xbox 360, Playstations 2, 3 and Portable, Nintendo DS, Windows, Mac and mobile phones will be released in more than 69 countries including the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Australia. The game has you controlling WALL-E and EVE through more than nine environments from the film and roughly follows the plotline of the movie. To download a free demo of the WALL-E video game, you can go to www.wallevideogame.com, or click the link in the show notes.
  • Meanwhile, in live-action land, the contract between the Screen Actors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers has expired, but actors are still working at this point. While the union hasn't asked the actors for a strike vote at this time, it has threatened it during the negotiations. After the tumult caused by the 14-week writers' strike during the winter, it's unlikely that the actors will vote to support a strike, as a 75 percent vote by the union would be necessary to approve a walkout.
  • The Fitch Ratings service has upgraded The Walt Disney Company's Issuer Default Rating and senior unsecured debt rating to "A" and the company's commercial paper (CP) program rating to "F1", with an outlook of Stable. In addition, Issuer Default Ratings and senior unsecured debt ratings for Disney subsidiaries ABC Inc. and Disney Enterprises, Inc. were also upgraded from "A-" to "A". Fitch noted that "Disney's ratings continue to reflect the company's leading market positions in core businesses, unique brand franchises, strong cash flows, and significant financial flexibility," and that "Disney has benefited from strong multi-year performance at its cable networks which has resulted in significant increases in stable, incrementally high-margin carriage fees."
  • While Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po said that Disney will open a theme park in Shanghai by 2012, Disney continues to state that "There is no agreement and there is no deal," Meanwhile, Wen Wei Po stated that there would be a formal announcement in August to coincide with the Beijing Olympics.
  • While Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po said that Disney will open a theme park in Shanghai by 2012, Disney continues to state that "There is no agreement and there is no deal," Meanwhile, Wen Wei Po stated that there would be a formal announcement in August to coincide with the Beijing Olympics.
  • Disneyland Resort Paris will be undergoing a six-year project to replace its current phone system with a Voice over IP product from France Telecom's Orange Business Solutions. The existing 15,000 phone lines will need to be upgraded.
  • Camp Rock broke records with its online streaming event last week. The event, which ran from 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, June 23 through 3 a.m. Eastern Time Wednesday morning, attracted 863,000 video plays, increasing traffic to the web site as a whole by 37 percent over the previous day. The online viewings followed the TV movie's big ratings showing for its three runs over the preceding weekend, where 24.5 million viewers saw it on Friday on the Disney Channel, Saturday on ABC and Sunday on ABC Family. The unique traffic to Disney.com XD on Mondau was more than twice the previous one-day record, and the Camp Rock Channel in Disney XD had more page views in one day than any other Disney XD Channel has pulled in in a week.
  • Meanwhile, the Camp Rock soundtrack debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart and #1 on the Soundtrack and Children' charts, selling 188,000 units in its first week. It was a hot download, as well, with 37,500 albums and 454,000 single tracks from the Camp Rock soundtrack purchased digitally. Three songs off of the album were in the Top 10 on the iTunes Top Songs chart, "This is Me," "Play My Music," and "Gotta Find You." Work has already begun on a sequel to the film, with stars the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato already set to return.

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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).