Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
Written by Kenny Hitt
Published: September 29, 2004 at 10:18 PM
"Please Open Your Storybooks to Chapter 11"
Euro Disney to Undergo Financial Restructuring...AGAIN
Reuters - September 28, 2004
Euro Disney's parent company suspended its shared on Tuesday with the expectation that the resort is going to go through yet ANOTHER financial restructuring. At last trade, the stock was passing at .32 Euros -- or, for all you Toydarians out there who "need something more real", $0.40 per share. The parks only have until the 30th (wait...that's TODAY!!!) to approve the new financial plan. Barring that, the only other option the company has would be bankruptcy. The company has been nursing a debt of $3 Billion since August of last year, with no real relief in sight. This comes after Disney and its partners in the Paris property attempted to extend the deadlines with a quick financial patch...unfortunately, the deal fell through and left the parks with $78.3 Million, enough to keep the door open for two months. We should know by the end of the day how it all plays out.
"The Happy Pessimist"
Roy & Stan Respond Cautiously to the Disney Board's Search for a New CEO
SaveDisney.com - September 28, 2004
The Dissident Duo released a statement Tuesday showing that they are cuatiously support the Board of Directors in their decision to begin the search for Michael Eisner's successor. In a press release, the board stated that it would indeed be hiring a search firm to find the next CEO, rather than simply naming one from its own internal ranks. It is currently unknown whether that search firm will employ the services of Simon Cowell, Donald Trump or Jeff Probst, but hey, we can dream.
"The Not-So-Wonderful Thing About Tigg...I Mean Goofy"
Disney World Furry Suspended...AGAIN
Local 6 News, Orlando, FL - September 16, 2004
Local 6 News, Orlando, FL - September 23, 2004
Disney fursuit performer Michael Chartrand has been suspended yet again after more touching allegations, this time made by two Kodak photographers who claim that Chartrand shoved them while working as the character Goofy at Animal Kingdom. A week after these allegations surfaced, two more Animal Kingdom cast members came forward claiming Chartrand had touched their breasts. His lawyer claims that Chartrand was portraying Goofy, so he was "goofing around" when he shoved the photographers. This has to make one wonder if, during the Tigger case, any references were made to things bouncing.
"It's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, Cuz the Governor Just Called!"
Carousel Gets a Stay of Execution, Timekeeper Makes an Appointment with the Imagineering Grim Reaper
Jim Hill Media - September 28, 2004
Jim Hill is reporting a new salvo fired by WDW moanagement at Carousel of Progress and Timekeeper fans. According to his sources within the company, Timekeeper's death knell will be sounded with the opening of Stitch's Great Escape this fall, with possible seasonal operation this winter. After that, it looks like the former Circlevision Theater will be the home to an updated version of the classic Disneyland Flying Saucers attraction. Disney Dorks such as myself will recall that that ride died a rather quick death thanks to a myriad of maintenence problems. Imagineering hopes that having the attraction indoors will reduce some weather-related wear and tear. The Carousel, long rumored to be a twin conjoined to the Robin-bot at the jugular, will apparently continue to operate long into 2006 as part of Disneyland's 50th birthday. After that, parts of the attraction may be moved to Innoventions at Epcot, where that rediculous final scene with the voice activated oven and the virtual reality and the granny and the burning and the tv watching and the datedness and the BLAAAAIIIVEN can fade into A-Ticket obscurity, as it should be. Imagineering is reluctant to give the attraction (or at least the final scene) an overhaul, since the attraction's main voice talent, humorist and deejay Jean Shepherd, passed away some years back.
"If you Can't Buy the Stadium, Steal a Seat."
Sony and Comcast Buy MGM - A Death Knell for Disney-MGM Studios?
The Los Angeles Times - September 24, 2004
Sony got an equity parter in Comcast's contribution of $300 Million toward the hardware & entertainment giant's offer for the purchase of MGM. This is yet another strange twist in the continuing rumors surrounding Disney's license with MGM. Comcast's newfound stake in Comcast almost seems like they were looking for ANY media company to swallow...if it couldn't get Disney, it could get one of Disney's business partners. Will Sony choose not to extend the licensing agreement? If it does, what will it mean for the upcoming high-definition format war, Sony's Blu-Ray versus HD-DVD? Whichever HD format Disney chooses to get behind, will it still make the idiotic choice of selling versions that self-destruct, creating landfills full of non-biodegradable plastic and metallic dyes?
"No. Not Gonna Make the Joke."
Guest Injured at Universal Orlando's Revenge of the Mummy...AGAIN
Local 6 News, Orlando, FL - September 23, 2004
While overshadowed by the death of a 34-year-old man the previous day, a woman was slightly injured when her arm became caught in a handrail at Universal's Revenge of the Mummy in Orlando. I'll save all speculation about curses to those with less taste than myself. I will say, however, that one has to wonder whether her arm would still be intact, had this been BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN. Hey, the Mummy's Curse thing is immature, yeah...but you can't expect me not to make a joke at the Mouse's expense, should the opportunity arise. I worked there, I have that right.
Poor Choices in Closed-Circuit Programming.
MousePlanet - September 27, 2004
Maybe it's just me. But a movie called "Armageddon" seems like a pretty poor choice to show on your hotel's closed-circuit movie channels in the midst of your state's third hurricane in two months.
"There's the Fence, All I Need's a Motorcycle!"
Stitch Gets Ready to Bust Outta the Joint
One of my sources has let me in on a few additional tidbits regarding Stitch's Great Escape. S.A.R.G.E., a newly-upgraded version of Alien Encounter's S.I.R., will be voiced by Richard Kind of "Spin City" and the movie "Stargate". Also returning to the attraction is Skippy, the cute little extraterrestrial guinea pig who was fried to a crisp in the original attraction's preshow. Construction is more or less complete, with training to begin in the next week or so, with clandestine testing going on in Mid-October. November 5-7 should be the date for the AP holders and Disney Vacation Members preview, with an official opening on November 17.
Well folks, that's all for now...remember, vote for me, and I was for Eisner's removal before I was against his re-election!
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