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The BLOGFlume—Mammals, Reptiles, and Anime

Sea World celebrates, Disney markets, and Universal gets nerdy

Written by Russell Meyer
Published: December 22, 2004 at 10:52 PM

Sea World News
Screamscape 12/22/04

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.

Disney, Kermit, and Mariah Carey?
Reuters 12/22/04
MTV.com 12/21/04

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
Screamscape 12/22/04

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.

Readers' Opinions

From Joe Lane on December 22, 2004 at 11:18 PM
Snoopy Action Stage? No offense to the late great Charles Schulz, but I don't think the Peanuts have enough action in them to do a live show (unless the full fifteen minutes feature Snoopy fighting the Red Baron--and even then, you just see him sitting on top of his doghouse).

News of a Fullmetal Alchemist attraction is hot stuff, however. The anime recently made its US debut on the Cartoon Network during Adult Swim and is drawing quite a crowd here in the States. Doubt we'll ever see a clone, though... what a rip. Although our Universal Orlando Beetlejuice show was retooled using the Japanese version as a basis, so maybe there's a chance? Depends on how hot the Fullmetal Alchemist attraction is... it might fit in cozy in The Lost Continent at IOA.

From Ben Mills on December 23, 2004 at 5:12 AM
Not completely relevant, this, but absolutely hilarious...

http://www.intercot.com/boards/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/8/5582.html

Now this is what I call the most important vote of the year!

From Derek Potter on December 23, 2004 at 10:00 AM
Thats pretty funny. What's even funnier is that some people actually think that it's a hard vote to cast.
From Robert Niles on December 23, 2004 at 12:05 PM
Other Intercot polls:

Which is the better movie: Toy Story or the Black Cauldron?

Which is the best attraction at Disneyland? Pirates of the Caribbean or Winnie the Pooh?

Which is your favorite attraction in "A Bug's Land?"

If you had the choice between using your money to cure cancer, or buying 7-day "Magic Your Way" tickets for your entire family, which would you do? Would your answer change if they were old Length of Stay passes instead?

I could go on all day....

From J. Dana on December 23, 2004 at 11:39 PM
Sorry to disagree, but those Clyde and Seamore shows are at the bottom of my "to see" list. The kids'll love em, though.
From kyle sussman on December 24, 2004 at 7:17 AM
Seaworld is treating there animals well? I do not think taking animals out of their native enviroment locking them in a tank and making them preform in many shows a day is good care.
From J. Dana on December 24, 2004 at 12:27 PM
In case you didn't hear, Kyle, the whale was born in captivity--it wasn't snatched from the wild. You may think that inhumane, but consider this....SeaWorld routinely rescues animals damaged by us "dumb humans." Their manatee exhibit is comprised almost entirely of those animals saved from injury in the wild and being rehabilitated. They are one of the largest contributors to wildlife preservation and conservation. And although some people have a fundamental belief that no wild animal should be kept by humans (everyone's due his own belief), the fact remains that it happens. And SeaWorld is one of the best research facilities for this in the world. It brings us face-to-fin with all the other inhabitants of this planet that most of us would otherwise never know about. And although it may not be a consolation to you, the SeaWorld dolphins live MUCH longer than their counterparts in the ocean--why? Because they are valued and taken care of. True, we sholdn't make a habbit of catching large numbers of dolpins or whales. And they don't. But they do allow us to see, and know, a sampling. SeaWorld's dolphins are in excellent health, and won't be prey to fishing lines, boat motors, polution, etc. It's not a bad thing. And it promotes love and understanding for them. Just think of it this way: the animals you see at SeaWorld are the good-will ambassadors of their kind.
From patrick sayre on December 25, 2004 at 9:09 PM
Let me tell ya...to my way of thinking nothing screams Christmas like questionable B-list celebrities, canned music numbers, and micro dress clad, prozac popping, silicone enhanced MTV spawn.

Merry Christmas all.

From Tonya Gaddy on December 26, 2004 at 11:02 PM
Anime, I do not agree with that genre of movie. Because of their usual half clothed women, and their violence; I do hope Disney does not put any sort of anime in the park.
From patrick sayre on December 26, 2004 at 11:22 PM
Anime is and has been HUGE around the globe. The US is about a two decades behind the times on Anime as a serious artistic style.

Anime does NOT always have half dressed women and violence just watch "Spirited Away."

The reason people seem to think it does is that the Genre is NOT children only and CAN have adult themes. Only in the US and to a lesser extent Europe, is Animation considered a children only art form.

From Robert Niles on December 27, 2004 at 5:28 PM
Thanks for that excellent point, Patrick.

Again, if there is one quality that distinguishes great theme parks and great attractions, it is storytelling. Disney, indeed, any theme park company, should be looking for great storytellers, especially those working in independent media and for smaller companies who dream of the chance to work with a larger budget and for greater pay. Forget the medium for a moment. Find those great storytellers, and brainstorm with them new adventures that might work in a theme park environment. The best storytellers will create something great and unique and, quite possibly different than anything they've done before.

From steve lee on December 27, 2004 at 5:45 PM
Garsh, I can't believe anyone would have something negative to say about the Walt Disney World Christmas Day (shot weeks in advance) Infomercial (with four minutes of parade!). That telecast was full of side splitting "huh?" moments.

I love how serious all the folks were about making sure it really seemed like it was live on Christmas Day. Anyone check out the weather in Orlando on Christmas? Wow, it was the rainiest day of the entire month! But the high was still 63 degrees, which of course explains why everyone was bundled up (at least they avoided sunburn!).

How about the establsihing shot of the park they used? Hey, what's all the water back there in Fantasyland? How long has it been since the 20K lagoon was drained?

Look, it's the army men from Toy Story!! Oh, my mistake, it's the army men from the "Disney Production of the Pixar animated film Toy Story." The idea that someone could spontanteously say that sentence and not bust into laughter amazes me.

Or how about when they went over to see what's happening at Animal Kingdom "for the holidays?" The two minute bit, while it did showcase the Kilmanjaro Safaris and Dinosaur attraction, somehow forgot to have anything whatsoever to do with the holidays.

Wow. Magical Gatherings. Give it up, guys.

And, the most amazing thing about the whole "parade:" Where the hell was George Lopez?

So yeah. I taped it.

From Derek Potter on December 27, 2004 at 10:09 PM
Disney magic at it's finest.
From Jason Moore on December 28, 2004 at 8:12 PM
I was at least pleased that they chose to spread around the comercialness to a lot of stuff rather than just keep repeating the words
magical Gathering" every 10 seconds like they did for the entire 2 hour show last year. It was nice to see that at least some of the singing was live as well.
From steve lee on December 28, 2004 at 9:37 PM
Yeah, they did go over the top repeating is last year (especially as just a regular expression i.e., "look, George Lopez just had a magical gathering in the men's room!).

Then again, now that they've plastered the entrance to WDW with that crap, maybe they figure they got their point across.

From Derek Potter on December 29, 2004 at 6:34 PM
I'll believe that the singing was live after I examine the computer rigs they used for running sound.

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