It does, in fact, seem as if the skies are blue over the Walt Disney Company these days!
The buzz on World of Color is having a great impact on attendance at Disney California Adventure. Seems guests are very pleased with what they see. For the first time at the Disneyland Resort, the nighttime show Fantasmic! is having some competition. Although the Disney suits are hesitant to say so, seems more guests are translating into more evening dining in the park. Maybe even an increase in purchasing at the shops.
Regardless, folks are staying longer in the park, and there is no way they cannot notice all the change and construction going on. For better or for worse regarding the new design choices and direction for this place, this little sister of a park could become a more serious contender for Disneyland's dollar once Ariel's Undersea Adventure opens along with Cars Land's Radiator Springs Racers. A newly constructed Buena Vista Street only adds to the atmosphere as does the revamped Paradise Pier.
In Florida, Walt Disney World continues to pull in the crowds as it is more of a vacation destination than the west coast resort. Eventually, the suits will have to approve some additional attractions for the third and fourth gates, as both Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom remain substantially less satisfying an experience. The new Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom will be a pull, but will take away more guests from the aforementioned parks versus increasing their attendance. And we all know increased attendance means increased spending for Walt Disney World's captive audience.
I won't address the overseas parks here and now, but we can pretty much be assured the Tokyo Disney Resort will remain profitable while Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland Paris continue to bleed, with Shanghai Disneyland remaining a mystery until plans are unveiled.
These blue skies continue for fans in the realm of film. Pirates of the Caribbean 4 is on the horizon, and Johnny Depp certainly draws a crowd. Closer to today's date, the newest animated film, Tangled, (hate the title!) is generating good word of mouth. Hopefully, the film will be better than its advertising and usher in the next wave of feature animation greatness. The one Princess and the Frog almost delivered. It was a very good movie, but for some reason, crowds stayed fairly disinterested.
ESPN remains a successful brand for the Company. Perhaps ABC Television shows will muster some ratings clout. Results for daytime shows seem much stronger than the evening fare, although Castle is great fun. Yet this season of Grey's Anatomy once again lost me as a viewer as did the now horrible Private Practice. Seems creator Shonda Rhimes cannot leave a good thing alone. The first season's characters and storylines of both shows were much stronger and far more appealing than what we see now. (Kevin McKidd's terrific Owen Hunt aside. And why has the gifted Kate Walsh seen her character morph into this insecure, "gotta have a man" no longer alpha female? Makes her amazing and powerful entrance at the end of Season One Grey's seem like two different women.)
Consumer Products? Well, let's just say with the Christmas holidays coming up, I am sure Disney has some tricks up their sleeve- even if it isn't the "fabulous" overhaul of the Disney Stores that I hoped for!Just more cheap plastic and plush... so, I guess it is not Blue Sky Disney everywhere.
If it is blue skies now, will it stay that way? It certainly will be interesting to see the state of our favorite company a year from now. Will Disney delight us or disappoint? Should delight be the end result, we will certainly and happily give them our hard earned cash.
Should we be disappointed, well, Robert Iger will need to lead the company into trying a bit harder. Remember, even Walt Disney himself had some cloudy days in between all his creative and financial success. Anything is possible but the sky's the limit!