Jentasmic! on Lucasfilm Acquisition: Do’s and Don’ts for Disney

2 Nov
Minnie Mouse as Princess Leia

At Star Wars Weekends 2008

When news broke earlier this week about Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, all my geeky internet feeds simultaneously exploded with joy and surprise. And I don’t just mean the Disney geeks. The anime geeks, the gaming geeks, the sci-fi geeks . . . everybody was freaking out. And almost everybody seemed overjoyed.

But I’m feeling a good bit more cautious about this acquisition. Sure, it could mean good things; I’ve enjoyed the results of Disney’s collaboration with Lucasfilm over the years. I’m a big fan of Star Tours 2.0, and had a great time at Star Wars Weekends. But I also fear there are many ways this could go wrong. From my Jentasmic! column today at StudiosCentral:

DO learn from your experience in the Pixar merger. The response to Brave from both critics and fans, plus the increasing reliance on sequels, has me a little worried that Pixar may be losing its identity as some of its key players have taken on significant roles in other areas of the Walt Disney Company. And I’m sure there’s plenty to be learned from the Marvel experience as well. Don’t be afraid to look squarely at your mistakes and learn from them. It’s equally important to look carefully at what you’ve done right, so you can do it again.

Head on over to StudiosCentral to read the rest. I promise you there’s a non-gratuitous mention of the Star Wars Holiday Special, which isn’t usually all that easy to pull off.

Jentasmic! on Limited Time Magic

19 Oct

Limited Time Magic! It sounds so, so . . . so much like legalese! So entirely unmagical, in fact, that I have a hard time believing it came out of Disney. But despite the lackluster name, I do like the concept. From this week’s Jentasmic! at StudiosCentral:

But now that I’ve got my bitterness out of the way. . . Oh man, I am loving the concept of this new promotion, which I’ll just refer to as LTM to contain my annoyance. As a regular Guest at Disney Parks, I like to plan my trips around special events, whether Disney-hosted (like Star Wars Weekends) or fan gatherings (like Reunion 2012 – be there or be square). I enjoy seeing special decorations, going to talks or shows that just aren’t offered every day, and yes even buying special merchandise that you can only get at a certain time. As much as I hate the phrase “limited time,” there is something special about things that are only available, well, for a very limited time.

Head on over to StudiosCentral to read the rest.

Jentasmic!: Disney’s Influence on Florida 2012 Elections

5 Oct

In this week’s Jentasmic!, I muse about Disney’s involvement in Florida’s electoral politics. A snippet:

Based on recent political contributions by Walt Disney World, we should probably be singing “It’s a Republican world after all” as we glide along through a classic indoor boatride. According to the Orlando Sentinel, “Walt Disney World has spent nearly $2.5 million on political candidates and causes in Florida so far this election cycle” (as of September 27, 2012), with approximately 90% of that money going to Republican candidates or Republican-leaning interest groups.

And I’m sure I’m just scratching the surface; Disney has a long and complex relationship with politics in Florida (and nationwide — let’s not forget Sonny Bono’s Mickey Mouse Protection Act). Vance at StudiosCentral points out that Disney’s also recently been involved with preventing a paid sick-leave question from appearing on the Florida ballot. From HuffPo:

Thanks largely to the pressure brought by the business lobby in Orange County, Fla., it appears the most magical place on earth won’t include mandated sick leave for workers anytime soon.

Last month, Orange’s Board of County Commissioners voted to put off a ballot vote on a hotly contested measure that would require employers to provide workers with one hour of sick leave for every 37 hours worked, capped at 56 per year. By delaying the vote until after the printing deadline for the Nov. 6 ballot, the board’s move at least temporarily scuttled an initiative that 50,000 voters had petitioned to put to a public vote.

I took a quick look at the current union contract for full-time WDW Cast Members, and full-time Cast Members can earn up to 48 hours of sick leave per year (assuming one works 8-hour days, that’s 6 days worth). That’s below the average for full-time workers in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And I’m well-aware that many Cast Members are neither full-time nor covered by the union. Any Cast Members have stories they’d like to tell? Plenty of room here in the comment section below.

Should Disney Celebrate Oswald’s 85th?

18 Sep

As an Oswald fan, I’m glad to see his merchandise showing up in more places. I’m even willing to accept that his image is being updated with the times, much as Mickey doesn’t look like he did in the 1920’s anymore.

But I’ve gotta stop a moment and take note of the fact that Disney’s spinning some of this new merchandise not with the Epic Mickey 2 release, which makes sense, but rather with Oswald’s 85th birthday. Oswald was at Universal for 78 of those 85 years, and for most of that time he just sat in a vault alone.

Should we think of this 85th birthday celebration as a make-up party for all those milestones missed? Or is this a little bit like celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary, despite having been legally separated and living apart for 47 of those years?

All I’m sure of is this: There’s no such thing as a bad reason to watch an Oswald cartoon. So here’s one of my favorites: The Mechanical Cow. I’m especially enamored of the scene with the baby, which starts around 3:20.

Walt Disnizzle Mixtape!

11 Sep

Attention Disney hipsters: You’re already at least 20 seconds late for downloading Walt Disnizzle Mixtape. Here’s how to fix that.

Hat tip: BoingBoing.

Disney Store Selling Bust Enhancement Cream

6 Sep

Bounce Back Bust Butter

Yeah, I know that title might land this straight in your spam filter. But it’s true! The new Disney Baby collection that many of us Disney fans got email about this morning includes skin care products for new moms, including Bounce Back Bust Butter. And I find this hilarious.

Jentasmic! Have You Thanked a Cast Member Lately?

24 Aug
Towel animal

Towel animals don’t just make themselves, y’know. And yeah I have no idea what animal this is. Sloth? Puppy? Reindeer?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Cast Members need love too. This week I’m saying it at Studios Central in my Jentasmic! column.

If you’ve ever had a great, magical time at Walt Disney World, there have been Cast Members to thank for it. Perhaps it was a cheerful face as you boarded an attraction, or a Princess lavishing attention on your child, or a friendly bus driver welcoming you aboard. Or maybe it was something truly exceptional, such as the time a kind Guest Services Cast Member gave my son a new Buzz Lightyear mug to replace one he’d lost in the mens’ room, or the manager at Le Cellier who replaced my entire outfit after an unfortunate experience with a tray of drinks. Or maybe it was people you never saw: The Imagineers who designed an attraction, the housekeepers who left towel animals on your bed, or the people who prepared your meals.

Head on over to StudiosCentral for the full article.

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