Written by Russell Meyer
Published: December 22, 2004 at 10:52 PM
There’s finally some news out of Sea World California as two stories break in the course of a week. On Tuesday morning, the newest killer whale was born, the 19th calf born at a Sea World Park. The new calf has yet to be given a unique name, but can be seen at shamu.com. It’s amazing how well Sea World takes care of their animals, and how successful they have been as a model marine biology institution.
In other news, the California park announced that the new sea lion and otter show will open on March 19, 2005. The new show will be titled Clyde and Seamore in Deep, Deep Trouble, and will follow the two mischievous sea lions on a submarine voyage. The Clyde and Seamore shows have become Sea World trademarks, and are highly entertaining. In fact, I find the sea lion shows to be even more entertaining than the dolphins and the Shamu shows. It sounds like this new show will not disappoint.
Everyone is probably aware of Disney’s purchase of the Muppets and most of Jim Henson’s empire in February. Disney will soon be capitalizing on their investment by giving some of the most beloved children’s characters of all time the exposure they deserve. The exposure of the Muppets will be equal to that of Winnie the Pooh, as Kermit and his friends will be seen just about everywhere you see a pair of Mickey ears. Movies, TV appearances, and even the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade are just a few of the places Disney is pushing the Muppet brand. They even look to take advantage of the Muppet Baby characters on the Disney Channel. The Muppets are truly great characters, and its wonderful to see them marketed again after a very long hiatus. Aside from old films, Sesame Street, and Muppetvision 3-D, the Muppets had nearly vanished from public view. Now if Disney could only revive the greatest Jim Henson characters - The Fraggles!
That’s right, even MTV can provide theme park news as Mariah Carey has been announced as a feature performer in the annual Walt Disney World Christmas Parade. She will sing (lip-sync) two songs along the parade route which will be aired on ABC, go figure, on a Christmas Day telecast hosted by, you guessed it, Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa. The parade will also feature performances (lip-sync and dance numbers) by Ashanti, Kelly Clarkson, Diana Degarmo, Wynonna, and Shedaisy. Maybe I shouldn’t have given Universal such a hard time for their selection of David Lee Roth for New Year’s Eve, because Disney’s Christmas Parade line-up is even more nauseating.
Universal Beats Disney to the Punch
Universal Studios Japan has announced the new attractions that will be added for Spring 2005. The former Wild Wild West Stunt Show will be replaced with the “Snoopy Action Stage” featuring the Peanuts characters. The park will also add a new parade including Hello Kitty, an incredibly and universally popular animated character celebrating her 30th anniversary. The park is also planning to add a new attraction called Fullmetal Alchemist based on the anime series of the same name. Anime is really beginning to make an impact around the globe. For those who haven’t been in a Best Buy in a while, almost 1/3 of the DVD section is devoted to Anime movies and series. Disney does own a number of anime franchises, including the distribution rights to a number of movies by Miyazaki. These might provide fodder for attractions that would be popular in both the U.S. and abroad.