The BLOGFlume—Frozen Over
Homage to Disneyland in Washington, "The Feud" ends, and Kennywood grows.
Written by Russell Meyer
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As I had reported about a month ago, Michael Eisner presented the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History with some memorabilia from Disneyland in honor of its 50th Anniversary. Much to my surprise, the exhibit is actually not a huge Disneyland advertisement, and despite its rather prominent location in the museum, it’s actually smaller than I would have expected. The two main focal points of the exhibit are an elephant from the Dumbo attraction and teacup from the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party attraction. There is also a display case with a few Disneyland trinkets including: a souvenir book, scrapbook, serving tray, and a guide map. The display is nothing to go out of your way for, but is appropriate for the museum’s pop culture collection. I’m not sure how long the exhibit will continue to be on display, but there is word that the entire American History museum could be closing for up to two years to complete renovations. It had actually been quite a few years since I was in this museum, and it’s a real mess right now with exhibits all over the museum’s three massive floors. The Smithsonian is currently trying to decide whether renovations should be done while keeping the museum open, which would take significantly more time and money, or close the museum to complete the renovations faster and cheaper. At least for the time being, though, there’s a little piece of Disneyland in Washington, D.C. right now.
In Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, the human race comes incredibly close to extinction, and if my eyes aren’t deceiving me, we may be coming close. Roy E. Disney’s website has issued a statement that unofficially ends the feud between the Disney/Gold and the Walt Disney Company. On the surface, the reasoning behind this statement is clear – there was a pay-off. In exchange for ending the fight, Roy E. Disney will be named “Director Emeritus and consultant,” and Disney and Gold will acknowledge Michael Eisner’s contribution to the Walt Disney Company. Disney/Gold have agreed to drop all lawsuits against the Walt Disney Company, and will also refrain from running a rival board, while the company will agree to follow established company policy to rotate board members on a regular basis. This sounds like the fairy tale ending that no one ever thought was possible, and I’m not really sure where this came from, unless Roy was wondering whether he was ever going to get his invitation to the Disneyland 50th Anniversary Party next week. While I can sense a little grumbling from both sides in the statement (Disney has to be begrudgingly recognizing Eisner’s achievements as Disney’s CEO, and the company is definitely stretching to give Disney an official title in the Walt Disney Company), to finally have an end to this bitter feud could not come at a better time. The big question left is how long this “truce” will last. I know one thing for sure; Disney stock is going up big tomorrow morning.
Yet another seemingly impossible development has occurred in western Pennsylvania. Kennywood Entertainment Company has purchased land adjacent to the theme park contingent upon the completion of a highway. The park is possibly one of the tightest parks in the country in terms of available space, and every square foot of extra space the park can find is as valuable as gold. Because of space limitations, the park has upgraded more attractions than it has built from scratch over the past five years. As it stands right now, Kennywood would have to remove a number or smaller attractions or one of its signature coasters in order to add a more modern roller coaster. Kennywood has not said how they intend to use the additional space if the terms of purchase are met, but some options may include a hotel or parking garage. The latter would allow the park to use all or part of the existing parking lot for park expansion. Immediate expansion plans are not evident, but this potential purchase could be quite beneficial for one of the best “old fashioned” theme parks in the world.
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