The BLOGFlume—All Disney All The Time

Disney news from around the world.

Written by Russell Meyer
Published: April 13, 2005 at 8:25 PM

Cirque de Japan 4/13/05

The Cirque de Soleil has finalized plans to build a permanent 2,000 seat theater at the Tokyo Disneyland Resort in Japan. The $140 million project is slated to hold its first performance sometime in August 2008, with the Oriental Land Company, the majority owners of the park, providing $115 million of the total cost. The show will be a unique show, much like the other permanent Cirque shows, and will take advantage of a city that has purchased more Cirque tickets than any other city in the world. The Cirque phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down, with elements of Cirque shows popping up in just about every theme park in the world, and tickets for authentic Cirque de Soleil shows about as hard to come by as a non-stop ride on Spaceship Earth. Cirque’s popularity is almost unmatched, and another permanent theater should prove to be very popular, with another one about to open in Las Vegas, Nevada later this year. There’s no word yet as to what types of elements will comprise this new show, but guests can expect a show like nothing else with stunning acrobatics and mesmerizing visuals and music.

Drink Coke
Disneyland Report 4/13/05

All of you Coca Cola drinkers, it’s time to cash in your frequent flier miles, and get moving. Coke and Disney have teamed up to offer a “Gold Cap” promotion in China that will offer 10,000 lucky winners a 3-day trip to experience Hong Kong Disneyland before it is even opened to the public on September 12, 2005. Coke and Disney have been partners for 50 years, and their relationship is still as strong as Disneyland’s opening day when Coca Cola became the official beverage of the park. What I find interesting is the combination of two of the biggest symbols of capitalism teaming up to cross-promote in the world’s largest socialist country. It was one thing when Disney announced the construction of Hong Kong Disneyland, in a city that is probably as close as you can get to capitalism in China, but with the weight of Coke behind Disney on this promotion that will run all across mainland China, the mighty powers of capitalism have the Goliath of socialism in their sights. Let the conversion begin!

Magical 4/13/05

Kendi, the first of 4 white rhinos born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom nearly 6 years ago, recently had a baby of her own. Kayla, who was born in February, has just weighed in at a healthy 233 pounds, and can be viewed on the Savannah with her mom. We all know that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Nahtazoo, but animal stories like this one are always nice to see, especially when they involve endangered animals. It’s wonderful to see that the DAK staff is doing a great job with their animals, and hopefully this success story will bring many more throughout the lifetime of the park. In contrast, my home zoo, the National Zoo in Washington, DC, has had nothing but bad news, and seems to be doing more to harm their animals than help them. They did attempt a Giant Panda artificial insemination recently with as yet unknown results. To me it’s pretty sad when theme parks like Animal Kingdom, Sea World, Busch Gardens, and even Six Flags can take better care of animals than a zoo.

Power Ranger Invasion 4/13/05

The Power Rangers have arrived at Disney/MGM studios as part of the Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade. The amazingly popular live action and animated series has begun to be capitalized upon by its new parent Disney. Not only have the Power Rangers begun popping up at Disney parks, but they can also be found at Disney retail stores in all of their varying forms. I personally cannot stand this obvious rip-off of Voltron, one of my favorite childhood cartoons, but one cannot deny their longstanding popularity with kids just about everywhere. There have been several incarnations of the Power Rangers series, and they seem to show no signs of slowing down, especially with a semi-permanent place in Disney parks. While families are not going to hop off their couch to catch the Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade and the Power Rangers, they will probably snatch up Power Rangers merchandise after seeing them in the parade. If Disney plays their cards correctly, Japanese animation acquisitions could bring huge financial gains, and a breath of fresh air to a stagnant United States animation industry.

Readers' Opinions

From J Jackson on April 15, 2005 at 6:03 AM
I am a theme park junkie, but I also am a volunteer at the National Zoo that you so politely bashed in your most recent article. The Zoo just had four cheetah cubs born. These animals have been nearly impossible to breed in captivity and are nearly extinct in the wild. This was an amazing accomplishment.
Also if you bothered to read the report released by the National Academy of Sciences, you would know that the reason for everything at the zoo was lack of funding. The zoo has free admission as part of the Smithsonian system and so our funds come from Capitol Hill. Congress negelected to fill even our minimum budget requests for the last five years. What would you expect from an underfunded zoo.
As for your comment on the Giant Pandas, I happen to volunteer at that exhibit. Every year a female panda goes through an actual or psuedo pregnancy. Their hormones act the same way even if they are not pregnant. There is no peeing on a stick test that would confirm anything. We simply track her hormone levels and when they drop off we watch to see if she gives birth or we announce that she has completed another psedo-pregnancy. We, like all other zoos with pandas, will perfom regular ultrasounds, but as the cub only weighs 4-6 ounces at birth and is about the size of a stick of butter, they can be very difficult to find.
The staff at the National Zoo is amazing and do so very much for every animal in their care and any animal that passes is very difficult on them. Don't just simply bash, do your research and find out why things are bad and try and do something to help.
From Russell Meyer on April 15, 2005 at 7:45 AM
Perhaps the National Zoo should get a better P.R. person, because I had no idea about the cheetah cubs. However, you can not say last year was a good one for the zoo with all of the negative publicity, particularly the accusations of rat poison being left in animal habitats. From the news on TV to the venerable Washington Post, the general public probably though, and many still think, that the National Zoo has not done the best job in caring for their animals. Let's just say last year was not a great one for the National Zoo, and the intense scrutany of the DC media uncovered a whole slew of stories involved questionable care of animals. Lately, however, the zoo has not had any bad news, aside from an endangered camel dying from what appeared to be natural causes prior to being moved to another animal park, but the National Zoo does have work to do to improve its reputation.

As far as funding of the zoo, yes, since it's run by the Smithsonian it has free admission, just like all of the museums downtown, but from what I understand, the zoo has a very strong list of donors that give the zoo a large chunk of its funding through FONZ (Friends Of the National Zoo), and a number of private donors that donate anonymously. Every zoo could use more funding, and it would be great if everyone could give a little to the zoo, but the reality is that the National Zoo had a number of instances of carelessness last year that resulted in a lot of negative publicity.

From Robert OGrosky on April 15, 2005 at 9:31 PM
If i remember right the National Zoo in DC was in danger of losing there acreditation due to the injuries/deaths that happened to animals under the care of zoo personnel.