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The BLOGFlume—Two More Days

With the official 50th Anniversary of Disneyland mere hours away, the BLOGFlume goes all Disney for this week's installment.

Written by Russell Meyer
Published: July 13, 2005 at 9:11 PM

Spirit of Radio
Reuters 7/13/05

Disney is in the process of gauging interest in the selling of “non-core” assets, and it appears that there is some interest in its radio division. Sirius, one of the two primary satellite radio providers in the United States, has officially denied having interest in the ABC Radio unit, but sources within Sirius expressed interest. ABC Radio includes Disney Radio, a station geared towards children and young teenagers, ESPN Radio, and ABC News Radio. ABC also owns a number of local radio stations that would also be a part of a purchase, something that Sirius would not be interested in, since Sirius broadcasts nationally. While a quick look at the potential Sirius purchase does not make much sense, in the world of satellite radio it would make Sirius a serious challenger to take over the lead in the burgeoning market. With exclusive rights to ESPN Radio, Sirius would establish itself as the home for radio sports, and the other major satellite provider, XM, would have to remove ESPN from its program lineup or pay a rights fee directly to its only competitor. My wife and I actually just got a trial subscription for Sirius yesterday, and while I’m still skeptical about its potential as a pay radio concept, it definitely takes radio to another level. The variety is simply amazing, and the ability to know exactly what you’re listening to is really cool. If Sirius does eventually buy ABC Radio, it could be the deal that tips the scales in the two-horse satellite radio race.

Cover Your Ears
Yahoo Finance 7/11/05

With Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary just a couple of days away, Disney has released results of its first Golden Ears Survey. The poll of 8,000 people from all 50 states posed questions about their favorite aspects of Disney parks. While I doubt the survey was done completely scientifically, it does present some predictable results.

Favorite Disney Attraction

Space Mountain 63%
Pirates of the Caribbean 62%
Haunted Mansion 49%

Favorite In-Park Character

Mickey Mouse 18%
Goofy 17%
Mary Poppins 15%

Disney Celebrity Tour Guide

Oprah Winfrey 16%
Clint Eastwood 11%
Julie Andrews 8%

Most Memorable Part of a Disney Vacation

Attractions 46%
Castle 25%
Character Meets 12%

So what does this say? Not much, other than what people here find popular is what most other people like. I guess the most telling question of the survey was that 46% of survey respondents have worn Mickey Ears, and 72% of them can sing that dreaded song, “It’s a Small World.” I’m not sure if this survey was conducted at theme park gates, but if it were a random survey away from the parks, and nearly ¾ of those people could sing that song, Disney should be happy that their brainwashing over the past 50 years has been very effective.

Another E-Ticket?
Mice Age 7/11/05

There has been a bit of rumbling at WDI on a potential e-ticket attraction for Disney’s California Adventure. This new attraction has seemed to gather steam since Tower of Terror has failed to affect DCA attendance to the desired degree. It would be themed around the upcoming release of Disney/Pixar’s final collaboration under the current deal, Cars. The ride would use a modified version of the TestTrack/Rocket Rods ride system, and could lead to the development of an entirely new area of the park. The last time WDI started designing an attraction around a movie prior to its release was Atlantis, so Disney would understandably be wary about green lighting $100 million for a ride that’s themed around a movie that no one has seen. Universal was fortunate to have also pulled the plug on an attraction themed around a future movie, Van Helsing. It’s a great idea to have an attraction ready to debut at the same time a movie comes out, but if that movie turns out to be a bomb, or not the type of movie to inspire audiences to want to experience the movie in ride form, the attraction could be a big waste of money. However, if a movie is a hit, a ride experience that parallels the movie could play a double role - with theme park fans wanting to watch the movie over and over in the theaters, and theater-goers wanting to experience the ride over and over in the theme park. Unfortunately, no one can accurately predict the popularity of a movie far enough in advance to be able to warrant a risky $100 million investment into a theme park attraction. Also, with Pixar’s recent failure to meet revenue estimates because of the declining DVD market and possible cooling-off of the computer animation business, Disney may not want to take such a massive risk on a movie that has questionable popularity. A Cars attraction could be a big hit, but I think Disney is better off sticking with its current crop of characters to build theme park attractions around, or here’s an idea: come up with an attraction that is completely independent of a movie. Some of Disney’s most popular attractions are not based on movies or existing characters, they create their whole story in the queue and on the ride. Turning DCA into Pixar-land is not going to save that park.

Readers' Opinions

From Chuck Campbell on July 14, 2005 at 2:57 PM
I guess a "Cars" attraction coud be tied into a district themed to southern California's car culture. How about re-creating a few Big Daddy Roth creations?
From Robert OGrosky on July 14, 2005 at 9:10 PM
Russell, no mention of the biggest news of the week, Holiday World's expansion and" Voyage" there new wooden roller coaster that is suppossed to be the 3rd longest with most airtime.
From Russell Meyer on July 15, 2005 at 6:13 AM
Yeah, that's coming on Sunday, assuming no one pilfers the story before then. I had already finished writing when the announcement was made. The Voyage and Thanksgiving will receive full coverage this weekend.
From Robert OGrosky on July 15, 2005 at 4:24 PM
Looking forward to it and your comments, thats why i didnt start my own thread.

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