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Brought to fans, investors, entrepreneurs, executives, teachers, professors, and students by columnist, economist, novelist, reviewer, podcaster, business reporter and speaker Ray Keating

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Happy 40th Birthday, EPCOT!

 by Beth Keating

Lifestyle

DisneyBizJournal.com

October 1, 2022

 

Today, EPCOT celebrates 40 years of bringing joy, great food, and sometimes even a little learning to Disney fans of all ages. On October 1, 1982, the doors opened on six Future World and nine World Showcase pavilions, bringing the living showcase that Walt Disney himself envisioned into being.



Walt Disney actually coined the phrase EPCOT in 1966, and the acronym stood for the “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.”  “EPCOT Center,” as it was initially called, did not end up mirroring the experimental neighborhood Walt visualized, however.

 

EPCOT has undergone many changes over its four decades, and there’s more to come. If you’ve ridden the monorail through EPCOT lately, you’ve no doubt taken a peek into the ongoing construction happening behind the walls as the Imagineers bring Moana and her world to life.  The six Future World pavilions are now history, making way for World Nature, World Celebration and World Discovery.  



As Walt Disney himself said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” And while there are certainly things about EPCOT’s past that we miss, EPCOT’s spirit of imagination and curiosity offers us a park that will continue to change.  

 

Happy birthday, EPCOT! 

 

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Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Hurricane Ian Closes Walt Disney World

 by Ray Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

September 27, 2022

 

If you were planning to visit Walt Disney World on Wednesday (September 28) or on Thursday (September 29), forget it. Hurricane Ian has other plans.



Disney has announced that its Walt Disney World parks will be closed due to the storm. That means, no one will be visiting the following parks on Wednesday or Thursday:

 

  • Magic Kingdom Park
  • EPCOT
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park
  • Winter Summerland Miniature Golf
  • Fantasia Gardens
  • Fairways Miniature Golf

 

On its website, Disney said: “Partially used multi-day theme park tickets with a validity window impacted by closure due to Hurricane Ian will be automatically extended to allow use of the remaining unused ticket days through September 30, 2023. In order to enter a park, both a park reservation and valid ticket for the same park on the same date is required.”

 

As for Disney World resorts, guests and Disney Vacation Club Members will need to check in by 3:00 p.m. on September 28, with no check-ins accepted on September 29. For those needing to cancel or reschedule, cancellation fees will be waived. The Grand Floridian Spa will be closed at noon on Wednesday.

 

For resort guests’ dining options, Disney stated, “Dining options for Guests staying in our Resort hotels will vary, and in some cases may be very limited. Where available, restaurants will accept walk-ups only; Guests will not need dining reservations.”

 

In addition, the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will be closed from Wednesday, September 28, through Friday, September 30. 

 

And you know what that means? No Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.

 

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Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com; and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries, and the Alliance of Saint Michael novels; and assorted nonfiction books. Have Ray Keating speak your group, business, school, church, or organization. Email him at raykeating@keatingreports.com.

 

The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right? Full disclosure: Keating is Disney shareholder.

 

Two great ways to order Cathedral: An Alliance of Saint Michael Novel, which is Ray’s sixteenth work of fiction, and the first in the Alliance of Saint Michael series. Signed paperbacks here and the Kindle edition here

 

Two great ways to order Ray Keating’s new nonfiction book – The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist. Signed paperbacks here, and paperbacks, hardcovers and Kindle editions here.  

 

Get all of Ray Keating Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries in paperback and for the Kindle at Amazon.com and signed books at www.RayKeatingOnline.com

 

Also, check out Ray’s podcasts – the Daily Dose of DisneyFree Enterprise in Three Minutes, and the PRESS CLUB C Podcast.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Two Disney World Rides Win “Golden Tickets”

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

September 26, 2022

 

Most guests at Disney World would agree – the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind ride at EPCOT (2022), and the almost-new Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios (2019) are among the best rides of all time!



Now, there is official confirmationAmusement Today has honored the two rides with wins at the 2022 Golden Ticket Awards. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind won “Best New Attraction Installation,” and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance was named “Best Dark Ride” for the second year in a row.  (Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure at Shanghai Disneyland came in number two.)


Amusement Today is a monthly trade periodical focusing on news within the amusement park industry.  The Golden Ticket Awards were established in 1998, and recognize “the Best of the Best” across the theme park industry in 27 different categories. According to Amusement Today, 23 of the categories were “voted on by the world’s most experienced park aficionados, industry journalists and ride suppliers.” Additionally, five special awards were given to recognize significant contributions to the amusement park industry, including lifetime achievement awards.

For a complete list of all the winners, head to the Golden Ticket magazine. 

 

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Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.

 

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Edible Orlando “Field to Feast” Event Returning

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

September 24, 2022

 

Disney chefs are famous for their wonderful cuisine, with many guests anxiously poised at their keyboards in the pre-dawn hours, sixty days from arrival at their Disney resort, waiting to leap in to secure dining reservations at their coveted restaurants. Those top spots often disappear within seconds. 


Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog


Disney chefs are also noted for their participation in a number of excellent food festivals every year, and this year is no exception.  Edible Orlando and Walt Disney World are bringing back their “Field to Feast” event for an eighth year, and chefs from nearly a dozen Disney restaurants will be dishing up their best using locally-sourced ingredients.  Imagine being able to visit that many top-tier Disney restaurants in a single evening!

 

The casual, open-air event will take place November 5, 2022, at Long & Scott Farms in Mount Dora from 2:30-5:30 p.m., and tickets for the event are on sale now. Tickets are $195 per person (available here),  and all proceeds go to the Kids’ Café program at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. The Kids’ Café provides after-school meals to children in need in Orange, Seminole, and Osceola counties. Disney and its volunteers often lend a helping hand to Second Harvest.

 

Participating Disney chefs this year include chefs from: 

 

• Cinderella’s Royal Table (Magic Kingdom)

• Tiffins  (Animal Kingdom)

• Sanaa (Animal Kingdom Lodge)

• Cítricos (Grand Floridian Resort & Spa)

• The Hollywood Brown Derby (Hollywood Studios)

• Flying Fish (BoardWalk)

• Amorette’s Patisserie (Disney Springs)

• Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera (Riviera Resort)

• Port Orleans Resort Bakery (Port Orleans Resort)

• EPCOT Festivals and Global Catered Events

 


As if all those great restaurants weren’t enough, master sommelier George Miliotes from Wine Bar George at Disney Springs will be pairing unique wines, beer and cocktails with the dishes.  Guests will also get a special take-home goodie, provided by The Ganachery at Disney Springs. The afternoon’s entertainment will feature farm tours, live music and a raffle.

 

The event typically sells out quickly, so get your tickets soon if you’re interested in sampling all the delicious creations from the Disney chefs.

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Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Special Treats Debut for EPCOT’s 40th Anniversary

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

September 23, 2022

 

When you invite friends over for a party, there’s a list of things to accomplish.  You straighten up the house, clean the bathroom, put away the clutter, whip up some special treats, and maybe select a few fun tunes for the background.   

 

October 1 will mark the 40th Anniversary of EPCOT, and it’s been somewhat radio silent from Disney on any special celebrations being planned for the park’s big day.  It’s probably not all that surprising, given the fact that large swaths of EPCOT are still under construction, and the Food & Wine Festival with its own “Eat to the Beat” concert series is still going on.  And at the recent D23 gathering in Anaheim, it was announced that the fireworks show “Harmonious” will be leaving next year as Disney World’s 50th Anniversary fades away.  So, no special fireworks show for EPCOT’s 40th, either.  (But given that we are getting a new night time show that is NOT Harmonious next year, we’ll happily bide our time. Hopefully, someone will make the “taco” barges go away.)  


Courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog


So, what is Disney dreaming up for EPCOT’s 40th, a mere week away? Well, they’ve offered up a quasi-retro clothing and merchandise line with the EPCOT 40 logo, and today we have news of new specialty treats being served. (Truthfully, some of these snacks look more interesting than the Disney 50th ones we’ve tried in the parks, and there are a few that we’ll be hurrying over to grab in the limited time they will be available!) 

 

As Figment fans, we’re looking out for the Figment Sponge Cake with honey-lime mousse with its cute little orange wings and purple “poof.”  It will be available at Sunshine Seasons.

 

Another really interesting entry, though we aren’t personally fans of sake, is the EPCOT 40th Saketini at Tokyo Dining and Teppan Edo.  It’s a creative way of highlighting EPCOT’s history, because the Saketini was on the menu when the Japan Pavilion first opened.  


Courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog


According to the Disney Parks Blog, these locations will be dishing up the following eats and treats, fit for a four-decade long celebration:

 

Connections Café (Available Sept. 29 through Oct. 3)

  • EPCOT 40th Liege Waffle

Choza de Margarita (Available beginning Sept. 30 while supplies last) 

  • 40th Fiesta: Celebrate the colors for the anniversary of EPCOT with this frozen margarita in a “MEXICO 40” souvenir cup

Funnel Cake (Available Oct. 1 and 2) 

  • Celebration Funnel Cake with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, sprinkles, and 40th candies

Garden House (Available Sept. 29 through Oct. 3) 

  • Sake Cocktail Flight featuring Samurai, Mt. Fuji, Tokyo Sunset, and Violet Sake

La Hacienda de San Angel and San Angel Inn (Available beginning Sept. 30 while supplies last)

  • Flan: Vanilla custard topped with blueberries, whipped cream, and a “MEXICO 40” white chocolate garnish
  • Clarified Margarita: Tequila, orange liqueur, lemon, and simple syrup in a “MEXICO 40” souvenir cup with glow cube


Courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog


Nine Dragons Restaurant (Available Sept. 29 through Oct. 3) 

  • Dan Dan Noodles: Spicy pork with Sichuan sauce, peanut butter, sesame, shredded cucumber, and green onion

Space 220 Restaurant (Available Sept. 29 through Oct. 3) 

  • Crema Catalana: Vanilla cream custard, lemon snow, citrus segments, and spicy ginger crumble

Sunshine Seasons (Available Sept. 29 through Oct. 3)

  • Figment Sponge Cake with honey-lime mousse

Teppan Edo (Available Sept. 29 through Oct. 3) 

  • EPCOT 40th Saketini: The saketini was on the menu when the Japan Pavilion first opened. This version combines sake and butterfly pea flower to create the color reminiscent of the night sky of EPCOT

Tokyo Dining (Available Sept. 29 through Oct. 3) 

  • EPCOT 40th Kaisen Chirashi Don: Celebration sushi bowl 
  • EPCOT 40th Saketini: The saketini was on the menu when the Japan Pavilion first opened. This version combines sake and butterfly pea flower to create the color reminiscent of the night sky of EPCOT

 (Note: All offerings are subject to change and availability.) 

_______________

 

Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.

 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

10 Key Points from an Anti-Activist Activist Letter to Disney

 by Ray Keating

News/Analysis

DisneyBizJournal.com

September 22, 2022

 

Activist investors like to pen letters to the management of companies in which they are invested. That most certainly is the case with The Walt Disney Company.



Last month, investor Dan Loeb offered Disney a letter with some ideas. This month, Vivek Ramaswamy, who is the executive chairman of Strive Asset Management, penned a letter to Disney CEO Bob Chapek. What’s interesting about the Strive letter is that it amounts to an activist investor arguing against political activism, either left or right, with company resources.

 

Here are 10 key points from Ramaswamy’s letter (bolded emphasis in original letter):

 

• “On behalf of our clients, we write to ask your board a fundamental question: how do Disney’s politicized behaviors advance the economic interests of Disney’s stockholders? We believe they do not, and we respectfully suggest that Disney rectify its missteps ahead of next spring’s proxy voting season.”

 

• “If Disney can avoid being conscripted into political warfare, we believe the company is well positioned for growth.”

 

• “Over the past year, Disney has become embroiled in political controversies that have unquestionably damaged Disney’s brand. We ask a simple question: what risk-reward calculus justifies taking controversial political positions that risk derailing Disney’s otherwise strong economic prospects by alienating a majority of your customer base?”

 

• “We respectfully remind you that while you are free to use your own vast personal resources to advance social causes that you favor – Disney shareholders rewarded you this year with a $20 million annual bonus on top of a $2.5 million base salary – your sole purpose in making a corporate donation must be to advance the financial interests of Disney’s stockholders.”

 

• “We remind Disney’s board it owes a fiduciary duty solely to Disney’s actual owners, not to a minority of its employees, activist organizations, or to large financial institutions who promote one-sided political agendas.”

 

• “Like Disney’s customers and Americans more generally, Disney’s shareholders are not monolithically progressive. Thus even if these investors wanted their capital to be used for political purposes – and most do not – not all of them would agree with the positions Disney chose to adopt.”

 

• “And the only way to represent a brighter tomorrow for all of these customers – to be, in your words, “everything to everybody” – is for Disney to focus on delivering an excellent customer experience without repeating the mistakes of its recent past. Disney must make clear that it will no longer take political stances on issues unrelated to its core business operations. The company must make clear that it will hold firm to this promise, and that it will not waver no matter how important a particular social cause is to Disney’s employees or its followers on Twitter.”

 

• “If Disney continues speaking out on political issues that do not affect its business, it will face even greater pressure to act when they do. And the sides Disney will be expected to take won’t be the ones that are favorable to its business. Disney may be pressured to stop operating its cruise line in the name of environmental concerns – even though its cruise business generates an estimated $1.6 billion per year. The company may be pressured to stop using certain companies in its supply chain based on social issues, even if those suppliers are the best suited to meet Disney’s business needs. The possibilities are endless, yet real.”

 

• “Once Disney makes clear that it will no longer wade into political controversies, and it abides by that commitment, the company’s failure to speak out in any specific instance will eventually be a non-event – just as it is when Disney meets the financial guidance that it sets for Wall Street analysts meeting its own financial guidance that it sets for analysts. Would-be protestors will learn that their efforts would be better directed elsewhere.”

 

• The letter concludes with a call for Disney to “not take public positions on political controversies that are unrelated to the company’s core business operations,” to “commit to political nondiscrimination amongst its employees and customers,” and to make “all decisions based on long-term profitability of Disney alone, without regard to social, cultural, or political pressure from employees, activist groups, or other stakeholders.”

 

This is called business common sense. After all, when a company dives into political controversies that have nothing to do with their business, the potential ills for shareholders – that is, the actual owners of the company – can be substantial.

 

__________

 

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com; and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries, and the Alliance of Saint Michael novels; and assorted nonfiction books. Have Ray Keating speak your group, business, school, church, or organization. Email him at raykeating@keatingreports.com.

 

The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right? Full disclosure: Keating is Disney shareholder.

 

Two great ways to order Cathedral: An Alliance of Saint Michael Novel, which is Ray’s sixteenth work of fiction, and the first in the Alliance of Saint Michael series. Signed paperbacks here and the Kindle edition here

 

Two great ways to order Ray Keating’s new nonfiction book – The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist. Signed paperbacks here, and paperbacks, hardcovers and Kindle editions here.  

 

Get all of Ray Keating Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries in paperback and for the Kindle at Amazon.com and signed books at www.RayKeatingOnline.com

 

Also, check out Ray’s podcasts – the Daily Dose of DisneyFree Enterprise in Three Minutes, and the PRESS CLUB C Podcast.

 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Listen to Walt Disney, Roy O. Disney, Stan Lee, Captain America, Phineas and Ferb, and More!

Have you checked out the Daily Dose of Disney with Ray Keating Podcast? Each week we turn to a particular person, character or theme in the Disney universe, and see what insights and/or fun we can garner from a quote on each weekday.

Tune in and enjoy right hereor wherever you listen to podcasts!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

New Halloween Treats Begin Showing Up at Disney World Theme Parks

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

September 17, 2022

 

It’s still in the 90s during the day here in Florida, but the smell of pumpkin spice in the air leaves no doubt about the fact that the Autumn season has already begun at Disney World.  With the change of seasons also comes the debut of tons of spooky and spicy new treats for Halloween. 




Among the most gorgeous treats we’ve spied?  The “Minnie Ghost Pinata” from The Ganachery at Disney Springs impresses us the most.  So adorable!  (All photos courtesy of Disney Parks Blog except for the Glow-in-the-Dark Mickey Mummy Popcorn Bucket.)



As big Dole Whip fans, we’re also looking forward to trying the “Witch’s Flight” at Swirls on the Water at Disney Springs. It’s a trio of Pumpkin soft-serve, purple cheesecake soft-serve, and DOLE Whip. 

  
And for those of you collecting souvenir popcorn buckets and sippers, this year’s Donald Duck Candy Corn sipper is sooo stinkin’ cute, and will soon be available at a number of kiosks throughout the parks. 



Keep an eye out, as well, for the Glow-in-the-Dark Mickey Mummy Popcorn Bucket, which has already popped up around Disney. (We found ours in Magic Kingdom at the Castle hub popcorn stand two weeks ago.)

 

If you’ll be hitting the ground running at Disney World in the next few weeks, the Disney Parks Blog has shared this delicious sounding list of all the special upcoming treats for you. 



Check in with Disney Parks Blog’s extra list of all the treats at the resorts.  



We actually think the resorts are showcasing some of the more charming treats, like the “Tamatoa,” a chocolate chiffon cake resembling a certain Moana crab, with Hawaiian Chantilly filling and shiny sprinkles at Capt. Cook’s and Kona Island at the Polynesian; or the “Monster Mousse,” made of pistachio mousse, morello cherry, and milk chocolate crumble at Le Petit Café at Riviera Resort; or the “Whoopie Monster,” a purple and green whoopie pie with tiny little fangs and big eyes, jazzed up with spiced apple and marshmallow buttercream and caramel. You can find it at Pop Century.




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Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.

 

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