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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Disney Toe Stubs of 2013

Did you ever stub your toe? Sometimes it hurts a little. Sometimes it hurts a lot. These were Disney toe stubs for 2013.

Disney just didn't stub a toe with The Lone Ranger. They dropped an anvil on their proverbial foot with a movie bomb that is right up there with the infamous John Carter debacle. The monetary loss on the film was close to $200 million and proof that throwing Johnny Depp in any half baked idea of a movie on the screen doesn't always guarantee money in the bank.

Thor might have been a fine movie from the Disney/Marvel gang - but it couldn't hold my interest for more than 15 minutes and I slept through most of the rest of it. I'll give it another chance when it comes to video, but sleeping through what's supposed to be an action superhero movie is never a good thing.

Planes was an enormous success for Disney's bank account. The only problem is that it was made on the cheap and was supposed to go directly to home video. After the Cars Land success, Disney quickly redid the film for a theatrical release complete with all the marketing hype which pointed to Disney Consumer Products. None of this is bad I suppose, but for a company that has always prided itself on quality, Planes smacked of cheap opportunism.

Over at Disneyland, Limited Time Magic was the year's ongoing promotion of itself and quite a silly idea. It came off as far-reaching and half-baked rather than a fully thought-out marketing concept. The Dapper Dans singing Boy Band music? The person who came up with that Limited Time Magic idea should be fired. And they did that one a couple of times during the year. P.S. Valentines Day and similar calendar events are not Limited Time Magic. They happen every year and Disney makes the most of them without wrapping them up with something called Limited Time Magic.

Billy Hill & the Hillbillies got the boot from Disney Productions after 21 years of performing (and delighting) people at the park. Why? People want to know. My guess is after this amount of time, the groups founding members are pretty well paid as highly trained performers and musicians with all their years of service. If Disney is looking to cut corners and increase their profit margins a bit, a cheaper Golden Horseshoe act would seem logical, except the knuckleheads that run the park are cutting out a piece of Disneyland's heart and soul. As Billy said in one of his final performances - maybe after 3000 - 4000 performances, if a Disney exec actually took the time to see the Hillbillies perform, maybe they would have a different way of thinking. 

Billy Hill (Kirk Wall) with a former friend

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has been down since last January. Originally scheduled to return on Halloween, BTMRR stayed boarded up as Disney worked on Cal/OSHA safety improvements around the park. Worker safety is never a bad thing but with BTMRR, Disney never really got around to saying why the ride stayed closed and what was causing the delay. With Disney, the less you know about the inner workings of the park, the better off you are.

A year later and still waiting for re-opening of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

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