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  1. #1

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    WDW1974's Thoughts on the Pond

    Just got back from lunch and the Disney shareholders meeting. I want to get over to Disneyland, but I did want to leave ya'll with some impressions based upon what I heard, saw, and people I spoke with.

    Bob Iger wasn't nearly as stiff as at DL's 50th, but he isn't yet overly comfortable in the spotlight.

    It was nice to see Roy Disney and wife Patty there -- and get acknowledged by Iger in a classy move. All's right in the Disney world again.

    It's obvious that animation will again be the creative focus that drives the Disney company, that much is certain. I loved when Bob started talking about huge animation news that rocked the industry ... and then up one the screen was ... Oswald saying 'I'm back.'' Kewl.

    You'll get all the basic stuff elsewhere, so let me just talk a bit about the mood. Enthusiastic ... cheerful ... excited ... Disney is going to be Disney again. You can just feel the tide of the past decade is gone.

    Tony Baxter will play a MAJOR role in what goes on in Glendale and what goes into Disney parks again ... you could tell just by watching him 'play the room' and crowd, that he was back on top on the winning team. He exuded confidence and optimism. Very different than when I've seen him/spoken to him in the past 3-4 years.

    People will be leaving WDI, and Tony will get more power. As one friend told me, ''Anything and everything seems possible again ... at least they want the ideas on the table,even blue sky stuff, not buried in filing cabinets.''

    John Lasseter got the biggest cheers of the day when he went up and spoke from the heart -- not of a teleprompter -- about what Disney means to him and how much he was looking forward to working with Disney Animation again AND BUILDING THEME PARK RIDES!

    Anyone who thinks John will just right the ship with animation, but not have any real power ... well, that just won't be the case.

    And while John's efforts will likely be first felt at DCA in the VERY NEAR FUTURE ... he'll have a role in some future attractions at WDW as well. I can confirm that Monsters will be invading the MK's old Timekeeper attraction and that two different concepts for an Incredibles attraction are indeed being bandied about.

    I've also heard rumors of attractions for both the Studios and another MAJOR attraction planned for DAK by 2010.

    I was also told that DSP's Toon Studios will be much better than just the simple addition they appeared to be.

    That's it for now ... I want to get to DL before the rain ...but I can honestly say its' been a very long time since I've felt this positive about the entire direction of Disney from parks to animation to ABC to technology.

    Creative folks are in vogue again at Disney and many old faces will be returning.

    Finally, saw a never before seen clip from Cars and the first trailer for Ratatouille and they both look like typical Pixar -- great. As does the new POTC -- Dead Man's Chest.

    Now I'm going to my happy place ... more to come over the weekend.

  2. #2

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    Re: WDW1974's Thoughts on the Pond

    Thanks for ALL the info!! Maybe the stock will finally take off again!!
    KAREN-NEW JERSEY
    ...remember..it was all started by a mouse!!!
    Been visiting DISNEY since 1972..
    MY FAVORITE IS WALT DISNEY WORLD!!
    LOVE Disneyland Paris!!
    Would love to live closer to DISNEYLAND!!

  3. #3

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    Re: WDW1974's Thoughts on the Pond

    Quote Originally Posted by Dizknee531
    Thanks for ALL the info!! Maybe the stock will finally take off again!!
    I don't care as much about the stock taking off again as much as I do with WDW1974's explaining the mood and the happy, optimistic feeling in the air. To me that is worth so much more than the stock increasing.

  4. #4

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    Re: WDW1974's Thoughts on the Pond

    Thanks for posting this, WDW1974! It's nice to hear some positive news coming out of those meetings for a change.

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    Re: WDW1974's Thoughts on the Pond

    Any rumblings about updating Star Tours? I would imagine with Tony Baxter gaining power that would be a high priority.

  6. #6

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    Re: WDW1974's Thoughts on the Pond

    Thanks for the report WDW1974! It's encouraging to hear all the positive news. It's been so long since anyone has felt that Disney is moving in the right direction, and now it finally feels like it is. Have a great time at Disneyland!

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    Re: WDW1974's Thoughts on the Pond

    Quote Originally Posted by tloolgb
    I don't care as much about the stock taking off again as much as I do with WDW1974's explaining the mood and the happy, optimistic feeling in the air. To me that is worth so much more than the stock increasing.
    I agree. Although $28 and change is better than a few years ago ... just not $43 like in 2000.

    But the mood is just so overwhelmingly positive right now. People at Feature Animation and WDI are walking with an extra bounce in their step -- with a few exceptions because deadwood will be tossed asunder -- because they realize they have a leader who gets in, who's going after talent, who's mending fences that were broken by the previous CEO, who realizes that everything that makes Disney $$$ flows from quality product whether it's show like Lost on ABC and MNF on ESPN, franchise films or signature theme park attractions. He also understand that the product ultimately comes down to QUALITY, CREATIVITY and STORY. And that everything at TWDC starts with animation. Gee, Disney had two Golden Ages that followed the same philosophy. You think he might be heading in the right direction?

    This may be 2006, but the rules haven't changed. Quality sells. It costs more short-term, but is priceless long term.

    I am just so freaking positive that I went to DL today and only went on two attractions.

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    Re: WDW1974's Thoughts on the Pond

    Quote Originally Posted by Pacha
    Thanks for posting this, WDW1974! It's nice to hear some positive news coming out of those meetings for a change.
    Pacha, I spoke with a lot of people today -- some names you'd recognize I'm sure, others important but in the background -- they all tell the same tale ... the attitude at TWDC has turned 180 degrees since its lowest point two years ago.

    There are going to be a lot of big things announced by the company in the next year to 18 months. And things are already so much better in most ways (the MK in Orlando, nonwithstanding) than they've been in a long, long, long time.

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    Re: WDW1974's Thoughts on the Pond

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghostbuster626
    Any rumblings about updating Star Tours? I would imagine with Tony Baxter gaining power that would be a high priority.
    I didn't get to bring this up with anyone, but I would think Iger will try and restore the relationships with Lucas and Spielberg that Eisner decimated.
    Star Tours needs an update, and with the TDS Stormrider technology, the ride can be more exciting.

    I thought it was interesting that Star Wars; Episode 3 was on sale at practically every WDW shop the past few months ... all near the register in prominent locations ... almost as if it was meant for George to see when on vacation.

    But just going on a gut feeling, I would expect to see a new version of ST within two years. But no inside knowledge here.

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    Re: WDW1974's Thoughts on the Pond

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974
    Tony Baxter will play a MAJOR role in what goes on in Glendale and what goes into Disney parks again ... you could tell just by watching him 'play the room' and crowd, that he was back on top on the winning team. He exuded confidence and optimism. Very different than when I've seen him/spoken to him in the past 3-4 years.
    While that may be so, several folks I know who spoke with Tony at DL's 50th kickoff last May, detailed similar displays of "confidence and optimism" after experiencing several years of seemingly opposite attitude and behavior from him, much as you've described.

    I wouldn't put too much stock in this one encounter with Mr. Baxter. Tony is so naturally predisposed to 'play the room' in most public situations, I would almost expect him to engage in lively conversation, simply out of reflex, with the coroner and medical examiners who'll perform his eventual autopsy.


    People will be leaving WDI, and Tony will get more power. As one friend told me, ''Anything and everything seems possible again ... at least they want the ideas on the table,even blue sky stuff, not buried in filing cabinets.''
    Until certain key executives in Glendale are relocated elsewhere, I'll withhold my enthusiastic celebration about Tony reclaiming his power. While Marty has been reinvented into a diplomat, the "Tony Tormentors" are still in control.

    Don't count your political coups before they're hatched.
    "Dope smoking insects and reckless driving always work." -- Cousin Orville

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    Re: WDW1974's Thoughts on the Pond

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974
    I thought it was interesting that Star Wars; Episode 3 was on sale at practically every WDW shop the past few months ... all near the register in prominent locations ... almost as if it was meant for George to see when on vacation...
    Have you noticed Star Tours too? Over the summer it was running all six simulators all day everyday. I honestly don't even remember if they did that back in the 25th Anniversary, let alone in years past. I think it's all subtle smiles for Lucas from Iger.

  12. #12

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    Re: WDW1974's Thoughts on the Pond

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy
    While that may be so, several folks I know who spoke with Tony at DL's 50th kickoff last May, detailed similar displays of "confidence and optimism" after experiencing several years of seemingly opposite attitude and behavior from him, much as you've described.

    I wouldn't put too much stock in this one encounter with Mr. Baxter. Tony is so naturally predisposed to 'play the room' in most public situations, I would almost expect him to engage in lively conversation, simply out of reflex, with the coroner and medical examiners who'll perform his eventual autopsy.
    I wasn't at the DL kickoff, so I can't attest to that. I can only tell you what I saw and heard. And how I've seen Tony in the past. Your point above has validity, as that's Tony's nature. But I also know things have changed. Fundamentally ...and I think that bodes very well for Tony. He thinks so too.


    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy
    Until certain key executives in Glendale are relocated elsewhere, I'll withhold my enthusiastic celebration about Tony reclaiming his power. While Marty has been reinvented into a diplomat, the "Tony Tormentors" are still in control.

    Don't count your political coups before they're hatched.

    THose folks, despite having their own PR firm on anotherdisneysite.com, may very well be gone before 2007 even is here. I'm not saying they will be, but creativity matters again ... Lasseter DOES have power there ... more than Goodman, more than Fitzgerald ... he isn't going to accept crap in the parks any more than he'd greenlight Bambi2 ... all of that bodes well for Disney fans ... and for Imagineers who understand what makes Disney parks so special.

    The coup already happened ...

  13. #13

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    Re: WDW1974's Thoughts on the Pond

    I still maintain that they've simply bought themselves a respite from the storm with Pixar and that all this happyness is short-lived.

    Most these shareholders don't care about the company, and don't care about what kind of shape it will be in six years down the road. They're concerned about their own portfolio, and where the stock will be at in six months. There will be no rennaissance once the stockholders again start putting pressure on the board to make results right now.

    PS: How do you feel about DL right now? I realize there's a lot of people in the park because a bunch of free tickets were given out, but was it jam-packed dead? Between FastPass, ride closures, and heavy AP marketing, I've begun to feel like DL is a little local's park now that's taking in too many people than it can handle (which is sad, since it used to only start sweating at 65,000 before Paul's Gang started making cuts and closures.)
    Last edited by MickeyMania; 03-11-2006 at 04:02 PM.

  14. #14

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    Re: WDW1974's Thoughts on the Pond

    Quote Originally Posted by MickeyMania
    I still maintain that they've simply bought themselves a respite from the storm with Pixar and that all this happyness is short-lived.

    Most these shareholders don't care about the company, and don't care about what kind of shape it will be in six years down the road. They're concerned about their own portfolio, and where the stock will be at in six months. There will be no rennaissance once the stockholders again start putting pressure on the board to make results right now.
    Well, I obviously don't agree with your conclusion. But I do agree somewhat with how you came to it.

    But the value of Disney is longterm. It always has been. With all the cutbacks in quality over the past six years why has the stock been so artificially low? It was close to $44 in spring 2000. Now, everyone's excited because it inched over $28. And let's not forget how long it hovered in the teens ... and that was with strictly short-term thinking and decision-making.

    It just doesn't add up. And if some on Wall Street don't like, tough. When Disney was annually producing double-digit growth for shareholders back in the gravy Wells and Eisner years, there was a reason for it -- quality products in all businesses.

    What has spinners in the MK, madmouses in DAK, cheap parks like DCA and DSP, cutbacks in upkeep and quality, overbuilding of resorts in Fla., going to a mostly parttime CM base, putting out lousy films, destroying ABC for years by placing Millionaire on five nights a week etc ...done for the bottom line? As a stockholder, let me answer -- NOTHING!

    Creativity and quality lead to financial success. If people don't like it let them sell their Disney stock and buy stock in some empty media company like Viacom.

    Quote Originally Posted by MickeyMania
    PS: How do you feel about DL right now? I realize there's a lot of people in the park because a bunch of free tickets were given out, but was it jam-packed dead? Between FastPass, ride closures, and heavy AP marketing, I've begun to feel like DL is a little local's park now that's taking in too many people than it can handle (which is sad, since it used to only start sweating at 65,000 before Paul's Gang started making cuts and closures.)
    I have been an APer at DL since 1997 and I've rarely known times when it hasn't been busy. This weekend, the LACK of crowds surprised me. I think the local weathermen had people worked up in a frenzy because the roughest weather in Anaheim was a 20 minute shower last night and one of maybe a bit longer this afternoon (followed by sunshine) and temps that hovered around 50 when I left DL around 11:30 tonight.

    But everything except for Space Mountain was either a walk-on or under 20 minute waits tonight. In a little over an hour, I did Buzz, Star Tours (which I hadn't done in Anaheim in years), Splash Mountain and Mansion. The latter two were walkons and, believe it or not, only Star Tours had a significant wait -- 15 minutes.

    Other observations ... Monsters Inc is very popular at DCA. Waited almost 25 minutes to ride. Aladdin is still the best stateside show BY FAR! The genie today was hilarious. Almost none of the reported changes to Mansion have been done yet ... just voices of different men saying 'I do' in the attic. People say the bride's been changed, but I honestly can't tell. Storyteller's Cafe is a great place to eat, but stick with ala carte menu as $26.99 for a very basic buffet is way overpriced. This isn't Boma or Vegas ... or even Crystal Palace or Cape May Cafe variety. Second night in a row fireworks canceled due to high winds (at high altitudes). And one BAD, BAD thing ... the old Pendleton shop in Frontierland has been turned into yet another pin shop. ENOUGH WITH THE PINS ALREADY!!!! The ones they are selling at DL for the 50th Magical Moments are already at the WDW outlets in Florida for $4.99!!!!! Let's get some land specific merchandise again, guys. Every shop doesn't need Grumpy sweatshirts, Tink purses and Stitch plush. Just embarrasing.

  15. #15

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    Re: WDW1974's Thoughts on the Pond

    Thank you for your many observations, WDW! Great to see that there's positive news on the horizon finally...

    Barry
    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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