The BLOGFlume—Everything Big and Small, or Vice Versa

Small parks making news and Disney news.

Written by Russell Meyer
Published: February 13, 2005 at 8:57 PM

Small Parks Making Noise
Morey’s 2/11/05

Morey’s Piers, on the New Jersey Shore, is adding a new drop tower called AtmosFEAR. The tower will be 140 feet tall and actually launch riders downward (similar to the larger S&S thrust towers) accelerating to speeds up to 50 MPH before hitting the magnetic brakes, which will bring passengers smoothly back to earth. The attraction will also feature special lightning, fog, and sound effects that will enhance the riders’ experience. Morey’s Piers is recognized as the largest seaside amusement park in the western hemisphere, and is actually a collection of four piers stretching along five miles of the Jersey shore. I’ve never been a huge fan of the seaside amusement parks, but just the fact that someone has enough money to add a new attraction is surprising. Many of these once great bastions of family entertainment are falling faster than Grammy Award TV ratings. 2/9/05

Speaking of seaside parks falling by the wayside, Jubilee Park in Carolina Beach, North Carolina will be demolished and rezoned for a residential and retail complex. The park was just up the coast from Myrtle Beach, but is yet another beach amusement park that just was not able to survive. As inland theme parks become much more popular, and continue to draw people away from the sun and sand, more and more of these classic amusement parks will slowly disappear.

The Salt Lake Tribune 2/10/05

Speaking of disappearing, precious real estate just disappeared on the top of the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas, Nevada, as Insanity was air lifted to the top of the massive tower. Insanity is a truly “insane” ride that will fling riders around in a circle face down over the edge of the 109-story tower. There was a one-week delay in airlifting the attraction to the top of the tower because of high winds, which will push the grand opening of the ride to March 10, 2005. Xscream pushed thrill rides to a new level, but Insanity looks to be one of the most thrilling and terrifying rides ever constructed.

New York Times 2/14/05

It appears that leaked copies of the recently released DisneyWar by James B. Stewart have not made a huge dent on Robert Iger’s chances of becoming Disney’s next CEO. The Walt Disney Company made a plea to have the book held up because of the author's use of unnamed sources which paint many people in Disney's top ranks in a poor light including the heir apparent Robert Iger. The book repeatedly refers to Iger as insecure, arrogant, and weak. However, despite the biting criticism, preliminary reports from the annual meeting held last Friday in Minneapolis, Minnesota show that 92% of stockholders' votes were cast in favor of Michael Eisner remaining on the Walt Disney Board, and very little noise was heard from the Roy E. Disney/Stanley Gold camp. This latest vote appears to pave the way for Robert Iger to become CEO in 2006. In fact, Michael Eisner painted a very rosey picture for shareholders at the annual meeting citing strong rating this season for ABC, the lowest performing sector of the Disney empire, thanks to the huge hits Desperate Housewives and Lost. Michael Eisner seems unwavered from the latest attacks from James B. Stewart's DisneyWar, and almost seems to be taunting his most stauchest critics Disney and Gold as Disney is seeing a return to the success it saw in the early and mid 1990s.

Readers' Opinions

From Robert Niles on February 13, 2005 at 10:06 PM
Um... the annual meeting was last Friday, the 11th. And Eisner and the board got reelected with 92 percent of the vote.
From mark walker on February 14, 2005 at 2:36 AM
Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
From Russell Meyer on February 14, 2005 at 7:31 AM
It's bad for me, because I was foolish enough to trust a story in the New York Post before they made their editorial corrections. Lesson learned--never trust a story from a rag until at least a day has passed from its publication date. I will rework my story, and correct this eggregious error. Robert is correct, and because of my desperation for a story got the better of me. The New York Post article was published less than an hour from when I citied it, and was clearly edited after I cited it, before press early this morning. It presented an interesting story, if only it were true, but unfortunately themeparkinsider is not a tabloid, and I should not have cited one for a story.
From Derek Potter on February 15, 2005 at 7:59 PM
ABC sure has done better, but what about the rest of the Disney company. How did the film division, the parks division, and the rest of the TV networks do? What about ABC family, which ranks just below the food channel in terms of quality programming. ABC has come back, and Eisner sure doesn't miss a chance to tell people. Despite the Desperate Housewives phenomenon, I'm still skeptical as to how long ABC's success will last. Call me a cynic I guess, but eventually ABC will come back to earth, and when it does, will the rest of the company be in condition to keep the train going?
From Jason Moore on February 16, 2005 at 9:36 AM
The cynic in me is also waiting for the other shoe to drop on the ABC improvments. This group of execs has proven time and time again that they don't know how to properly handle potential successes. Sure, they have some very well recieved shows on the air right now, and the big guns (Eisner & Iger) are more than happy to talk up those successes every chance they get. The intersting thing to me though is that they didn't even like the current hits and tried on more than one occassion to kill them. Had their personal opinions prevailed they would still be without any successful shows. Is this a team that's going to hang on to the current success and make it last? I don't think so.