Written by Russell Meyer
Published: January 26, 2005 at 9:15 PM
Cypress Gardens seems to be having some problems. They’re having crowding problems and parking problems. It seems that the rejuvenated park has exceeded its own expectations, and on days that the park hosts concerts, the parking lot, which is designed to hold 1400 vehicles, overflows. Also, a number of guests who have tried to enter the park on busier days have actually walked away because the lines to enter the park can extend for over an hour. The park has topped the 200,000-guest mark in a little less than 3 months, and already has over 50,000 annual pass holders. The park is in the process of hiring 100 additional employees and will announce the addition of another roller coaster on February 1, 2005. According to owner Kent Buescher, the tracks for the coaster have already been completed and are in the process of being painted. Hopefully the coaster is not the universally panned Volare flying coaster that I wouldn’t ride on a dare. Regardless of what the new coaster is, it is still wonderful to see the park doing so great, and so far above expectations, because central Florida desperately needed a lower priced amusement option. Cypress Gardens has admirably filled that role, and unless it grows too big for its britches, the park will see many years of success.
Castles in the Sky
Screamscape and other Disney sources are reporting that Sleeping Beauty Castle is not the only Disney castle transforming for Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary. Cinderella Castle will also be seeing some changes to recognize Disneyland’s 50th. The castle will be draped in tapestries and trimmed in gold. There will also be a number of gold statues paying tribute to Disney characters and images throughout the years including Kaa the Snake, Simba, glass slippers, the Beast’s rose, Wendy, and Peter Pan. Also, there will be a giant “magic mirror” that will show images from the other Magic Kingdom parks around the world rotating throughout the day. It appears that the “global celebration” is really getting into high gear with tons of ads everywhere and many of the additions and improvements beginning to take shape. I was skeptical when many of these changes were announced, but from a theme park sector perspective, Disney is really staging an event that will be very special. Kudos to world-wide Disney park managers for working together to not only celebrate Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary, but making every park in the Disney empire better.
Disney and its subsidiaries landed a total of 24 Oscar Nominations leading all studios. Time Warner was a close second with 22. The Aviator led all films with 11 nominations including Best Picture and Best Director, while Finding Neverland also garnered a Best Picture nomination. However, the big story for Disney was the 4 nominations for Pixar’s The Incredibles. Not only was the computer animated film nominated for Best Animated Film, but was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. It probably should have also landed a nomination for Best Score, but 4 nominations is still very strong for an animated film, especially considering that the most critically acclaimed film of the year, Sideways, only managed 5 nominations. Comparing this year to last, Disney’s box office success may have been less spectacular, but I think Disney was able to finish the year very strong, and make up for the pitiful start to the year with laughers like The Alamo and Home on the Range. See you on Oscar night on ABC (how convenient!), Sunday, February 27, 2005.