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Disney Withdraws “Seal Team 6” Trademark Application

25 May

Did you happen to miss the story about Disney and the US Navy fighting over the rights to the phrase, “SEAL Team 6?” Well, it’s now a bit of a moot point, as Disney’s dropped its application. According to the Wall Street Journal:

Walt Disney Co. said Wednesday that it will withdraw its applications to trademark the term “SEAL Team 6” for use on toys, games, and other consumer products.

A lawyer for the Los Angeles-area entertainment giant filed the applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on May 3, two days after the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6 unit killed Osama bin Laden.

All of which means this Tom the Dancing Bug cartoon is obsolete. But still amusing. And no, you really don’t want to read it if you’re troubled by criticism of The Mouse.

Major Changes in Store for Disney’s California Adventure?

17 Jul

Al Lutz of MiceAge.com reports today on the rumored plans for $1 billion in major changes are in store for Disney’s California Adventure (DCA) (hat tip to Mousevine Feed):

What has been agreed upon is the concept that as DCA is fixed and expanded over the next five years that WDI will go in to fix an area only once. Instead of dividing projects up over years and distributing them throughout the park, the thought is that it would be best to just go in to each area of DCA with guns blazing and fix it completely once and for all. And if that means closing off entire sections of the park for extended periods of time, then the hostesses taking complaints at the Guest Relations desk need to be ready for that. But it’s those types of logistical hurdles that could push the debut of Wonderful World of Color back to 2010, or stall next years new Pixar parade for a year or more. By the end of this summer the basic timeline for DCA construction should be determined, and some of the new entertainment already in the pipeline may be delayed because of it. We’ll keep you updated, or course.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that DCA’s grown on me over the years, perhaps because it’s got such a mellow vibe compared to its more glamorous sister across the plaza. Or perhaps because the lines are always short at the DCA Tower of Terror, or because it’s now the home of the Electrical Parade (Baroque Hoedown, anyone?). But I won’t shed a tear if and when they significantly re-work the place. As long as they keep the parade, they have my blessings to bring on the backhoe.

HK Disneyland Attendance Shows Double-Digit Growth in May

27 Jun

From CNNMoney.com:

Hong Kong Disneyland said Tuesday it recorded double- digit growth in mainland Chinese visitors last month, but it was unclear if it can boost business enough to keep banks happy with current lending arrangements.

“The next few months are key for us…This is the biggest quarter where roughly 50% of our business is done,” Managing Director

Bill Ernest told reporters. “We are expecting solid performance all summer.” Hong Kong Disneyland, owned 43% by Walt Disney Co. (DIS) and 57% by Hong Kong’s government, declined to say how many visitors it has attracted, though executives said mainland Chinese account for 30% to 50% of the total.

The park has twice missed performance targets set by its lenders and it acknowledged in May the banks could withhold future funding if it fails to meet those targets, which are linked to a US$294 million commercial loan and a line of credit that hasn’t been used.

This comes shortly after LaughingPlace.com reported a rumor (which I saw via The Disney Blog) about possible commitments to improve Hong Kong Disneyland:

We’ve heard that the Disney board are due to meet in the next week to determine whether to approve the remodelling plan for DCA. However a separate plan for Hong Kong Disneyland is to be presented in the same session and is competing for the same available resources. There is a possibility that the board could approve both but split the available capital accordingly. It seems that Jay Rasulo has a perference [sic] for concentrating on DCA initially but Bob Iger has an eye on improving the fortunes of the Company in China.

Might not be a coincidence that these two stories came up around the same time. Certainly the argument for improvements and expansions to Hong Kong Disneyland becomes even stronger if the park is seeing a badly-needed surge of attendance; the park doesn’t yet have a sufficient number of attractions to keep Guests occupied. And given Disney’s apparent eye on long-term strategies in China, they should want to strengthen that park, even at the expense of the much-maligned Disney’s California Adventure.

Nara Dreamland: Another Disney Clone Park

16 Jun

Thank goodness for the Interweb. How else would I have friends like Eric from MouseGuest, who send me links to awesome things I may have otherwise missed?

Nara Dreamland is another Asian Disney clone park, this time in Nara, Japan. The illustrated trip review at ThemeParkInsider presents it as a wonderful mass of contradictions. One minute you’re in Disneyland, the next you’re in that haunted, abandoned theme park from Spirited Away. And Hello Kitty is there too!

Haven’t had enough? Need a little spin on the Screw Coaster? Here’s a YouTube for you, from the same good people:

Video of Chinese Fake Disney Park

10 May

Have any doubts about whether Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park is a Disneyland knockoff? Just watch this:

Man, seeing those beloved characters represented through ill-fitting, cheaply-made fur costumes . . . and when they take their heads off in front of Guests . . . I can’t help but shudder.

But does anybody else find this all a bit amusing, especially in the context of the Mickey Mouse Protection Act? And the fact that many of Disney’s best-loved classic characters are based on public-domain folklore?

And there’s more on the Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park situation today from DIS News:

Disney bosses are in crisis talks with the owners of a ‘fake’ Chinese version of the famous amusement park.

The Shijingshan Amusement Park included a raven-haired woman with seven men in elf suits, a ‘Mickey’ mouse and other Disney-style characters.

Deputy general manager, Yin Zhiqiang, said: “The characters in our park just look a little bit similar to theirs. But the faces, clothes, sizes and appearances are different.”

“We do not have any agreements with Disney.”

Disney Beaten by British Porn Producer

3 Mar

From metro.co.uk:

Entertainment giant Disney has been forced to back down over its ‘dreams come true’ slogan – as it’s already used by a British porn producer.

45-year-old Michael Wightman from Newcastle, has trademarked ‘A Place Where Dreams Come True’ for his mobile phone blue film company.

I’m a little unclear on the implications here, as I’m not well-versed in trademark law. But it’s my hunch that this only affects European operations (ie, Disneyland Paris but not Walt Disney World).

Dreams display

Will Disney actually stop using the slogan? The article says they’ll be switching over to “The Place Where Dreams Come True.” Or will it try to buy the rights from Wightman? Seems to me they’ve probably invested a certain amount in merchandise, banners, press kits, etc, which they’d have to re-print and replace, a costly matter even if it’s just adding a couple words.

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