Welcome to DisneyBizJournal.com - News, Analysis and Reviews of the Disney Entertainment Business!

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

Friday, October 11, 2019

Epcot Food & Wine Festival: A Delight for the Palate and the Wallet?

by Ray Keating
Review
DisneyBizJournal.com
October 11, 2019

A visit to Disney World isn’t cheap. That’s not really in dispute. The real issue is value. Are you getting value for your money? Or, to put it another way: Do you get a bang for your buck on a Disney vacation? My quick answer is “yes,” especially when taking advantage of events like the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.


Of course, there are various ways to save money when booking a Disney vacation, including on your room, your park tickets, and your food. For example, Walt Disney World currently is offering savings on park visits with entrance after 12:00 PM each day with Mid-Day Magic tickets through December 15. Disney World also is offering savings on stays at a Disney Resort Hotel – ranging from 15 percent to 25 percent – if one books up to January 1, 2020, for stays between January 1 through April 25, 2020. 

And then there are periods of time when Disney offers its dining plan for free as the key part of a vacation package. Among those who compare the details, debate rages on if the dining plan is worth it or not when paying for it in full. But for this foodie, what’s not to like about a package featuring a free dining plan? The key is to keep an eye out for when free dining plan offers are made available. (For example, DisneyTouristBlog.com tells readers that if you sign up for their newsletter, you’ll be notified early on the day a dining plan is released.)

The bottom line remains that when compared to other ways to spend one’s recreation or vacation dollar, Disney remains a darn good value, especially considering everything included in a park visit and/or hotel stay. 

But right now, there’s an annual event going on worth highlighting under the Disney value question, especially if one ranks as a foodie. Depending on how one’s vacation is set up, I have found the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to be a delight for the palate and the wallet – especially if you’re enjoying a free-dining-plan stay.  Plus, it’s a lot of fun to try miniature versions of dishes you might otherwise not try if they were full-sized entrees (read: high cost meals) at your favorite country’s restaurants.

This year’s is the 24th festival, running through November 23, and it has more than 30 global marketplaces with widely varying offerings for the taste buds. Indeed, my visits to the Food & Wine Festival this year and last didn’t disappoint. 

Among the items my group enjoyed this year were the following:

• The Moqueca – Brazilian Seafood Stew featuring Scallops, Shrimp and White Fish with Coconut-Lime – was delicious.

• In Canada, the Canadian Cheddar Cheese and Bacon Soup with a pretzel roll, and Le Cellier Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle-Butter Sauce were tasty, hearty choices.

• The Alps booth offered Warm Raclette Swiss Cheese with Baby Potatoes, Cornichons and a Baguette this year, with the cheese scooped warm and gooey off of a large wheel of cheese and layered onto the baguette.  If you’re a cheese lover, definitely make a stop here.  (It’s also one of the selections on Emile’s Fromage Montage, a type of specialty food crawl, which, surprise, rewards you with a tiny cheesecake as a prize for completing the challenge and collecting all of your cheese stamps.)

• And yes, I love China’s Mango Bubble Tea with Assam Black Tea and milk.

• All three offerings at Coastal Eats were excellent: 1) Lump Crab Cake with Napa Cabbage Slaw and Avocado-Lemongrass Cream, 2) Baked Shrimp and Scallop Scampi Dip with Sourdough Baguette, and 3) Pacifico True Striped Bass Tostada with Slaw and Fire-roasted Tomatillo Sauce.


• At Flavors From Fire, The Steakhouse Blended Burger: Blended Beef and Mushroom Slider with Brie Cheese Fondue, Arugula, and a Truffle and Blue Cheese Potato Chip on a Brioche Bun was terrific, and we went back for a second round on another day.

• At the Ireland marketplace, I wouldn’t miss the Roasted Irish Sausage with Colcannon Potatoes and Onion Gravy.


• As East Coasters, we never pass up a Lobster Roll, and at the Hops & Barley Booth, the New England Lobster Roll: Warm Lobster with Fresh Herb Mayonnaise and Griddled Roll was a yummy selection, and a superb use of a snack credit at $8.25!

• Japan’s Teriyaki Chicken Bun, which is a steamed bun filled with chicken, vegetables and a sweet Teriyaki sauce, was a big hit.

In fact, as we made our way around World Showcase trying various dishes with our snack credits, the only dish that disappointed was Japan’s Frothy Ramen: Chilled Noodles and Dashi Broth with a Light Foam Topping.  Food & Wine Festival selections are generally an excellent use of snack credits, with a number of plates costing upwards of the $6.00,  $7.00 and even $8.00 range, well worth the expenditure of a valuable snack credit. Savvy food hunters can certainly max out the value of their snack credits at the Festival booths.

Having said that, our experience at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival was a hit better than 98 percent of the time. That not only warrants no criticism, but high praise. And yes, we enjoyed selections with our free dining plan, but the value would have been there even if we had stayed at Walt Disney World resort under another plan.  Wonder what they are cooking up for the Festival of the Holidays?

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.




Thursday, October 10, 2019

Walt Disney – An Excellent Example of Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise

by Ray Keating
Analysis
DisneyBizJournal.com
October 10, 2019

Lots of people miss the point of entrepreneurship and free enterprise. Too often, they fail to recognize the role and actions of entrepreneurs, and/or they don’t get how free enterprise actually works. For clarity, they only need to look at Walt Disney.


Interestingly, Neal Gabler, in his massive biography Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, acknowledged Walt as an entrepreneur, but called him “a reluctant one.” Gabler went on to perform a psychoanalysis on Walt, and along the way missed the fact that most of the attributes and characteristics evident in Walt’s intentions and actions fit the classic portrait of the entrepreneur. There was nothing reluctant about Walt Disney’s entrepreneurship.

That brings me to an article published earlier this week in The Wall Street Journal titled “A Disney Story for Young Socialists: Kill the free market? Mickey Mouse would be collateral damage.” Written by Art Diamond, author of Openness to Creative Destruction, the piece is an answer to those who wrongly assume that a fraudster like Bernie Madoff is the symbol of true capitalism. Diamond, instead and correctly, points to Walt Disney. I highly recommend reading the full article, but here are four key points from Mr. Diamond:

• “A better capitalist exemplar is Walt Disney. He took risks, sacrificed and innovated to produce what people wanted.”

• Walt Disney “learned skills that helped him create cartoons a couple of years later at his Laugh-O-Gram Films startup, where Disney slept in his studio and subsisted on canned beans. Later he said it wasn’t so bad—he loved beans. After the studio went bankrupt, Disney tried again in California. He recruited his brother Roy; their parents took out a mortgage to invest in their sons; and an uncle lent them his garage.”

• “Disney was a ‘project entrepreneur,’ investing the earnings from one project into the next, more ambitious one.”

• “When Disney took his daughters to amusement parks, he imagined something better. Walt Disney Productions was overextended with movies and short on cash, so he founded a startup to build Disneyland. He had little money in his name, so he borrowed against his life-insurance policy.”

I chose these four quotes because they capture the nature and fundamentals of entrepreneurship, which lies at the center of free enterprise or capitalism. Entrepreneurs do indeed take risks, sacrifice and innovate. They usually fail along the way but persevere. They use their own funds, and look to family and friends to finance their enterprises. They reinvest and build their businesses. And they see something better or new where others don’t, and they find ways to get those new products or improvements to the market, i.e., they innovate.

Yes, if you want to grasp some of the essentials of entrepreneurship and free enterprise, Walt Disney serves as an excellent example. Thanks to Mr. Diamond for a nice take on the topic.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.




Monday, October 7, 2019

Casey’s Corner Hot Dogs During Baseball Postseason

by Ray Keating
Review
DisneyBizJournal.com
October 7, 2019

The baseball postseason is in full swing, and that gets me thinking about the fact that my Cincinnati Reds, once again, are nowhere to be seen. On the positive side, the baseball playoffs also get me thinking about food – in particular, hot dogs. After all, baseball and hot dogs simply go together; the combination is so American!


Among the many times I’ve visited the Magic Kingdom, I rarely stopped at Casey’s Corner on Main Street, U.S.A. Shame on me. During my latest visit in September, though, I finally managed to stop in – and the visit was too brief.

If you’re looking for a hot dog in Walt Disney World, Casey’s Corner is the place to go, and yes, it offers baseball d├ęcor. (Don’t forget that Mighty Casey struck out.)


The menu rates as a hot dog lover’s dream. There are the stalwarts, namely, the Bacon Macaroni & Cheese All-Beef Hot Dog and the Chili-Cheese All-Beef Hot Dog (each also available as a foot-long). And then there are dogs available for a limited time. Currently, that specialty offering is the Fried Pickle Hot Diggity Dog, featuring a dog topped with roasted green and red peppers, shredded cheddar cheese, fried pickles, chipotle ranch and green onions. This baby comes as a foot-long as well, and there also are Fried Pickle Loaded French Fries.

I had the Bacon Macaroni & Cheese dog with fries. I ask: How could I not? Bacon, Mac & Cheese and a hot dog. It didn’t disappoint. The key with any such offering is the hot dog itself, and Casey’s serves up a strong, thick, hearty dog. A weak tasting hot dog is, well, just not worth it. The bacon and rich Mac & Cheese made for a sloppy, delicious combo. 


My only disappointment was that my schedule only allowed for a limited tasting. Next time, it’ll be about testing most of the menu at Casey’s Corner. Hey, somebody has to do it.

As I’m writing this, I have the playoffs on in the background, and I find myself longing for that Casey’s dog. Ah, baseball and hot dogs ... and the Magic Kingdom!

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.




Friday, October 4, 2019

Streaming Wars Going Hot – No Netflix Ads on Disney Networks

by Ray Keating
News
DisneyBizJournal.com
October 4, 2019

Ever since Disney announced that it would be launching its own streaming service, the company, unsurprisingly, become engaged in a kind of Cold War with the largest competitor, Netflix. So, we saw Marvel shows on Netflix, like “Daredevil,” become casualties, unfortunately. But now, based on a report from The Wall Street Journal, it’s safe to say that the war is going hot as the November 12 launch date for Disney+ fast approaches.


Today, the Journal reported that The Walt Disney Company was banning advertising from Netflix, Inc. across Disney-owned television networks. According to the report, Disney had decided to ban ads from competing streaming services earlier this year, but then reversed course and came to agreements with everyone – except Netflix.

The Journal noted: “Netflix spent $99.2 million on U.S. TV ads during 2018, with some 13% going to Disney-owned entertainment networks, according to estimates from ad-measurement firm iSpot.TV.”

Toss Amazon, Apple, Comcast, AT&T and others into the streaming providers mix, and let the war rage – all to the eventual benefit of consumers who will decide who succeeds and who fails.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.




Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Reminder: “Epcot Forever” Debuts on Livestream Tonight

by Ray Keating
News
DisneyBizJournal.com
October 1, 2019

After a 20-year run, Epcot’s “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” wrapped things up last night. Naturally, Disney doesn’t waste any time, so “Epcot Forever” debuts tonight. 


Disney describes the show as, “‘Epcot Forever’ will be an all-new, limited-time spectacle of fireworks, music, lighting, lasers and choreographed special effects kites. The show takes us on a journey through the past, present and future of Epcot, featuring a stirring collection of songs that paint a colorful picture of the park, with a look towards the future and all the magical possibilities still to come.”

For those not in Walt Disney World, however, Disney will be livestreaming the debut at 8:50 PM EST tonight on its Disney Parks Blog. Here’s the link.

Enjoy!

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.


If you enjoyed this article, and since I am the author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories, and other books, can I ask you to take at least one (preferably more) of the following steps?

1) The new Pastor Stephen Grant novel – DEEP ROUGH – has arrived! You can order the Kindle edition, the paperback, or the signed book.

2) Please join the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories email list, and get the upcoming short story, THE TRAITOR, for free! Sign up here.

3) Buy one of the other Pastor Stephen Grant novels or short stories at Amazon.comor signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

4) Become a member of the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship, and get all kinds of FREE stuff, including each new book in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Check out the levels and benefits here.

5) Order my newest book – FREE TRADE ROCKS! 10 POINTS ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW – at Amazon.com for the Kindleor in paperback, or signed books at https://raykeatingonline.com/products/freetrade.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

A Different Entry Into the Nominations for “Best Park Award”

by Beth Keating
Review/Commentary
DisneyBizJournal.com
September 29, 2019

If you’ve been following the DisneyBizJournal’s entries over the past few days, you may have contemplated the answer to this question on your own: Which of Disney World’s four parks ranks best among the venues?  


Editor-in-Chief Ray opened the debate when he postured that Hollywood Studios was the best of the World’s theme parks.  Reading his piece that night, I wholeheartedly disagreed. And told him so.  He responded, “Make your case.” Thus touched off what has been a three-day debate at DisneyBizJournal. 


Personally, as a dedicated foodie, before September 8th and the slow descent into construction purgatory, I very likely would have said Epcot.  While I am enthusiastically looking forward to the new future of Future World and its environs, “Wall-cot” is just not going to do it for me right now. In previous visits, I would have to spend the entire day at Epcot because I simply couldn’t eat all the things I wanted to sample without pacing myself. As much as I enjoy the Food and Wine Festival, it does have a downside.  It just makes it soooo hard to enjoy the phenomenal restaurants in World Showcase on an already full tummy.  Hollywood Studios has two restaurants that I particularly enjoy (plus those unbelievably good grilled cheeses at Woody’s Lunchbox), but Epcot has nearly a dozen that hold my attention, with another dozen or more kiosks if you include Festival booths, and several new restaurants coming soon. Epcot, the gate with perhaps the fewest perceived number of rides, actually has more rides that are on my to-do list than Hollywood Studios. Soarin’ is arguably my favorite Disney ride (it usually jockeys for position with Toy Story Mania and Space Ranger Spin.)


My number one park, then, at least at this moment in time, is Magic Kingdom.  The sheer diversity of rides for all ages and tolerance levels, the variety of ride styles, and the history of the park make it a good choice for the whole family.  It is usually the first place we head when we arrive in Lake Buena Vista, and typically the final stop before heading home as well.  

The iconic rides that we have come to love through generations of visits make their home in the shadow of Cinderella Castle. Historical opening day rides like DumboJungle CruiseHaunted Mansion, and It’s a Small World live side-by-side with new iterations such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Under the Sea: Journey of the Little MermaidSkipper Canteen is among our new favorite restaurants, offering upscale food choices and superb service (with just a touch of the kitschy-ness and cheesy humor that makes Jungle Cruise so much fun). I get choked up every time I watch Happily Ever After, and will watch it online at least once a week. Parades come in a number of different varieties – Christmas, Halloween, daytime Festival of Fantasy, even the “Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It” Street Party type (if that counts). Plus, there are giant turkey legs and Dole Whips.  Need I say more?

Disney World is ever-changing - some years, more than others!  Parks that suit a family’s make-up and interests during one visit may not be their favorite choice on their next visit, and there’s a good chance that the face of the park itself may have changed yet again by their next visit. I do love Hollywood Studios, and will continue to look forward to what it may offer in days to come, but for me, it just doesn’t earn the award for Disney’s top park.  Have a great big, beautiful tomorrow!

Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.


A message from Ray Keating, editor and publisher of DisneyBizJournal.com...

If you enjoyed this article, and since I am the author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories, and other books, can I ask you to take at least one (preferably more) of the following steps?

1) The new Pastor Stephen Grant novel – DEEP ROUGH – has arrived! You can order the Kindle edition, the paperback, or the signed book.

2) Please join the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories email list, and get the upcoming short story, THE TRAITOR, for free! Sign up here.

3) Buy one of the other Pastor Stephen Grant novels or short stories at Amazon.comor signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

4) Become a member of the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship, and get all kinds of FREE stuff, including each new book in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Check out the levels and benefits here.

5) Order my book – FREE TRADE ROCKS! 10 POINTS ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW – at Amazon.com for the Kindle or paperbacks, or signed books at https://raykeatingonline.com/products/freetrade.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Ad Astra: Solid Movie, Poor Box Office

by Ray Keating
Review
DisneyBizJournal.com
September 28, 2019

DisneyBizJournal.com Movie Rating: 4 stars out of 5
DisneyBizJournal.com Box Office Rating:  $ out of $$$$

Ad Astra, one of the films passed to Disney via the Fox acquisition, is the space sci-fi version of Field of Dreams.What do I mean? 


Well, on the surface level, one would say that Field of Dreams is a baseball movie. But in reality, baseball is used to tell a father-son story.

Likewise, on the surface, Ad Astra is a space movie. And on that level, it’s well done. No, it definitely isn’t anything like Star Wars or that type of pacing, but instead it has much in common with The Martian and, even more so, the space biopic First Man

Brad Pitt brings a reflective gravitas and depth to the role of astronaut Roy McBride. It’s arguably one of Pitt’s best performances in a career that continues to grow in stature, including his Cliff Booth in Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood this year as well.

In the end, though, Ad Astra turns out to be a father-son story, and one that’s very different from the aforementioned Field of Dreams. This develops into a story of a son trying not to be like his father, and a man wrestling with what’s truly important – that is, what ultimately matters – in life and what doesn’t. It’s about deciding to share one’s life with loved ones or not.

The Box Office

Unfortunately, Ad Astra seems to falling into the classification of a well-done film that struggles at the box office.

It’s been reported that the production budget for Ad Astra was $80 million, with some saying it was pushed up to $100 million with reshoots. Meanwhile, BoxOfficeMojo.com reports that Ad Astra, from its opening on September 20 through September 27, earned $55 million globally. While it still has not opened everywhere internationally as yet, such as China still to come, it’s hard to see this film registering a profit.

Ad Astra and Brad Pitt deserve better than what this movie apparently will achieve at the box office.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.


If you enjoyed this article, and since I am the author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories, and other books, can I ask you to take at least one (preferably more) of the following steps?

1) The new Pastor Stephen Grant novel – DEEP ROUGH – has arrived! You can order the Kindle edition, the paperback, or the signed book.

2) Please join the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories email list, and get the upcoming short story, THE TRAITOR, for free! Sign up here.

3) Buy one of the other Pastor Stephen Grant novels or short stories at Amazon.comor signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

4) Become a member of the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship, and get all kinds of FREE stuff, including each new book in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Check out the levels and benefits here.

5) Order my newest book – FREE TRADE ROCKS! 10 POINTS ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW – at Amazon.com for the Kindle or in paperback, or signed books at https://raykeatingonline.com/products/freetrade.

7 Reasons Why Hollywood Studios DOES NOT Rank At the Top of the Walt Disney World Parks

by Beth Keating
Review/Commentary
DisneyBizJournal.com
September 28, 2019

Disney’s Hollywood Studios as the best of the four theme parks in Walt Disney World?  Ummm, no. Contrary to what was posted earlier this week by the chief prognosticator of this website (see “7 Reasons Hollywood Studios Ranks Best Among Walt Disney World Parks” by Ray Keating), Disney’s Hollywood Studios doesn’t take the top spot.  Galaxy’s Edge may be the hot new commodity drawing visitors to the park (although most days, a visit to Andy’s backyard in Toy Story Land is still king, with longer wait times for Slinky Dog than a visit to outer space), but there’s more to the Studios than the citizens of Batuu. 


Here are a few reasons that make Hollywood Studios a lower priority in my book.

1) Thrill Ride Heaven. Unless you’re a thrill-ride seeker, Hollywood Studios offers few rides for those not looking to spill their lunch.  As a motion-sickness prone guest, I’m not going anywhere near Tower of Terror or Rock ‘n Roller CoasterMillennium Falcon: Smugglers Run was a one-and-done for me, and I got tricked onto Star Tours twice by a youngling who wouldn’t ride without me.  (I don’t blame him – Rex was a terrible pilot.) My son is an upper-teen now and doesn’t need my chaperone skills. So, Bon Voyage C-3PO - Watch out for the storm troopers, and have a nice flight. Even Slinky Dog makes my stomach bounce, and Alien Swirling Saucers makes my head spin.  That leaves me with Toy Story Midway Mania. Which I adore.  And rode four times last trip.  By myself. While they were riding the big thrillers.

2) Too much sitting. See item #1.  If you aren’t doing the thrill rides, the rest of the park is just too much sitting. Voyage of the Little MermaidBeauty and the Beast - Live on StageIndiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, and Muppet Vision 3-D are all fabulous shows, and I would miss them terribly if they were gone, but it is a lot of time spent sitting in a theater in one day. On the last trip, I saw For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along three times in one day because it was inside and air-conditioned while I was waiting for the rest of the thrill-ride seekers to use their FastPasses. (I also thought it was a funny show, and slightly different each time, so I didn’t mind too much.) Plus, it fit the schedule.


3) Timing. See item #2. If I am relegated primarily to stage shows, it makes my day a lot tougher to schedule, since I am now on Disney’s clock, rather than mine. Many of the shows operate according to precise schedules, and you can’t just wander up to a turnstile when you darn well please.  I actually left the park at one point on a particularly hot day to go throw in a load of laundry back at the resort, and met up with the family later.  How weird was that?

4) Stupid Tier System.  Hollywood Studios’ new Tier System, which took effect the same day Galaxy’s Edge opened on August 29th, makes it hard to get FastPasses for the big attractions.  All of the rides except Star Tours are now Tier 1 (meaning that you effectively only get one Tier 1 per day, since you can only choose one of the rides from Tier 1 as one of your day’s three FastPass selections).  Sure, you can squander FastPasses on shows that you don’t really need FastPasses for anyway because they hold large capacity crowds, just so you can get to that sweet spot where you can get a fourth FastPass after you’ve used the first three, but by then there are no FastPass slots open for the big attractions. Maybe by some stroke of luck someone gave up their FastPass, and you refreshed your My Disney Experience App several dozen times, did the hokey pokey and turned yourself around while facing southeast on the third Tuesday of the month, and were granted an extra FastPass by the FastPass gods, who just happened to be in a giving mood.  Maybe then you had FastPasses for Tower of Terror and Slinky Dog on the same day.  Consider yourself fortunate. If not, well, at least the queue lines are well-themed and interesting. We had to spread it out over several days.  Hurray for Park Hopper!

5) Closed Attractions.  While Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is an exciting new venue (it should really have been made into a fifth gate!) and totally immersive and stunningly designed, I still miss the attractions that have left our planet. Catastrophe Canyon was so much fun, and I inexplicably miss both the Hunchback of Notre Dame stage show and Bear in the Big Blue House (those were the days with my sweet little toddlers!)  The falling confetti and streamers from Hunchback’s Feast of Fools scene was a thrill, and I even have a few pieces of the streamers in my scrapbook. And while the Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt show was ungodly hot all the time, it really fit with the theme of seeing inside the movie-making magic. Right now, the Chinese Theater also stands silent.  I miss The Great Movie Ride immensely.  It was one of my favorite attractions of all time. No doubt I will love Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway when it eventually opens, but right now, there’s a big ole hole in the center of the park. They tried to hide it behind a Star Wars stage, but it didn’t work.  Oh, I did try to watch the Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away live action stage show several times, but never made it all the way through. Standing directly in the mid-day sun while the Star Wars characters paraded out on stage with some movie clips and a few fireworks effects behind them didn’t make up for the loss of John Wayne and the Yellow Brick Road.


6) Magic of the Movies Process.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love the immersive quality of Batuu (especially at night, when it becomes particularly captivating), and was even willing to rope drop at 5:45 in the morning to be there before the larger crowds. But I miss the days of Disney-MGM Studios, when we got to see the water effects tank, the costume departments, and the movie props on the Backlot Tour. I even miss walking past the working artists on the tours, seeing them sketching upcoming movie scenes. Visiting Batuu may make you feel like you are a character in the movie, but the old backstage tours were an interesting look at how the movies were actually made.

7) Osborn Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  Don’t. Get. Me. Started.  This is one of the things that I truly miss about this park. It is one of the most magical memories I have of the holidays at Disney. Oh, the amazing feeling of watching my then-four-year-old absolutely dazzled by the lights, his eyes nearly popping out of his head.  I have the 3-D glasses tucked away that turned the streetlights into Christmas angels. As much as I liked CarsLightning McQueen’s Racing Academy just doesn’t have the same pizzazz as the millions of dancing lights and all the hot chocolate you could drink. 

So, what would I rank as #1? Interesting question.  Let me think about that for a while.  I’ll get back to you tomorrow. Right now, I’ve got a debate to finish.

Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.


A message from Ray Keating, editor and publisher of DisneyBizJournal.com...

If you enjoyed this article, and since I am the author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories, and other books, can I ask you to take at least one (preferably more) of the following steps?

1) The new Pastor Stephen Grant novel – DEEP ROUGH – has arrived! You can order the Kindle edition, the paperback, or the signed book.

2) Please join the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories email list, and get the upcoming short story, THE TRAITOR, for free! Sign up here.

3) Buy one of the other Pastor Stephen Grant novels or short stories at Amazon.comor signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

4) Become a member of the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship, and get all kinds of FREE stuff, including each new book in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Check out the levels and benefits here.

5) Order my book – FREE TRADE ROCKS! 10 POINTS ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW – at Amazon.com for the Kindleor paperbacks, or signed books at https://raykeatingonline.com/products/freetrade.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Spider-Man Back in the MCU – Told You So

by Ray Keating
News
DisneyBizJournal.com
September 27, 2019

Spider-Man is back in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with widespread news reports today noting that Disney and Sony have come to an agreement. Told you so.


As the Hollywood Reporter noted, “Terms of the new deal were not revealed, but it will allow Marvel and its chief [Kevin] Feige to produce and run creative point on one more movie that would star Tom Holland, the actor who is the current incarnation of the web-slinging superhero. Depending on how things go, more movies could be in the offing.” In addition, it was noted: “Also as part of the arrangement, Spider-Man will appear in a future Marvel movie.”

The Sony Spider-man movie already has a release date: July 16, 2021.

The strange thing is that this outcome was doubted by so many, with the Reporter’s headline screaming, “Spider-Man Shocker.”

Really? There was nothing shocking about this. It wasn’t a matter of “if,” but only “when.”

Indeed, DisneyBizJournal.com expected this outcome, as I wrote the following when the news of a split first materialized last month: 

Call me a crazy optimist, but I  don’t think Tom Holland’s Spider-Man will be exiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe, despite news that Spidey’s out and the Internet is freakin’ out...

In the end, it’s unclear who needs whom more. I suppose given the MCU track record of success, a case can be made that Sony needs Marvel/Feige more. But in reality, this, again, is a clear case where each company benefits enormously from a partnership. And for that reason, while it might be a rough road along the way, I expect Sony and Disney to arrive at an agreement that results in Spidey remaining in the MCU. So, try to stay calm while these two entertainment companies fight it out over superheroes.

Yeah, I have to say it again: Told you so.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.


If you enjoyed this article, and since I am the author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories, and other books, can I ask you to take at least one (preferably more) of the following steps?

1) The new Pastor Stephen Grant novel – DEEP ROUGH – has arrived! You can order the Kindle edition, the paperback, or the signed book.

2) Please join the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories email list, and get the upcoming short story, THE TRAITOR, for free! Sign up here.

3) Buy one of the other Pastor Stephen Grant novels or short stories at Amazon.comor signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

4) Become a member of the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship, and get all kinds of FREE stuff, including each new book in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Check out the levels and benefits here.

5) Order my newest book – FREE TRADE ROCKS! 10 POINTS ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW – at Amazon.com for the Kindle or in paperback, or signed books at https://raykeatingonline.com/products/freetrade.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

A Big Welcome for the Disney Skyliner

by Ray Keating
Commentary/Analysis
DisneyBizJournal.com
September 26, 2019

Even the biggest fans have something that bugs them about Walt Disney World. For me, it’s the buses that move people between the parks and Disney resorts. That’s why I’m looking forward to the official launch of the Disney Skyliner on September 29th.


In general, I’m not a bus person. In fact, it’s hard for me to think of a form of transportation that I dislike more than buses. Take that anti-bus predisposition and factor in being on vacation, perhaps after a long, hot day in a theme park, standing on a long line waiting for a bus to take me back to my hotel room, and my outlook on buses fails to improve.



Of course, I understand that the daunting task of moving around thousands of people in Walt Disney World – that is, in effect, running a city transportation system – isn’t easy, and at times, it will not be ideal. While I’d like every move between a park and hotel to be as enjoyable as the Disney FriendShip boats taking people, for example, from Epcot to Disney’s Yacht Club and Beach Club Resorts, the Boardwalk area, the Dolphin Hotel and Hollywood Studios, I get the need for buses.

My hope is that I’ll be able to take to the skies more often aboard the Disney Skyliner, and thereby avoid the dreaded buses. The Skyliner holds great promise. Consider the following that Disney is telling us about this new addition to their transportation system:

• The Skyliner will connect “Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios with four resort hotels – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and the new Disney’s Riviera Resort, a Disney Vacation Club resort that will open Dec. 16, 2019.”

• “Many of the nearly 300 cabins will feature graphics based on Disney films, attractions and characters – giving the sensation that Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Pluto and Goofy, Chip ’n Dale, the Pirates of the Caribbean and many others have joined the fun.”

• “Each Disney Skyliner cabin can accommodate up to 10 guests, including those traveling with wheelchairs or assistive devices. With the system in constant motion, guests will arrive at their destination in minutes; and they’ll arrive relaxed – in the comfort of cabins mindfully tailored for the Florida climate.”

Following are a few photos taken of the Skyliner from earlier this month...






I love the idea of traveling around Walt Disney World by sea or, now, air. Anything to avoid those buses.


Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.


If you enjoyed this article, and since I am the author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories, and other books, can I ask you to take at least one (preferably more) of the following steps?

1) The new Pastor Stephen Grant novel – DEEP ROUGH – has arrived! You can order the Kindle edition, the paperback, or the signed book.

2) Please join the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories email list, and get the upcoming short story, THE TRAITOR, for free! Sign up here.

3) Buy one of the other Pastor Stephen Grant novels or short stories at Amazon.comor signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

4) Become a member of the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship, and get all kinds of FREE stuff, including each new book in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Check out the levels and benefits here.

5) Order my newest book – FREE TRADE ROCKS! 10 POINTS ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW – at Amazon.com for the Kindle or in paperback, or signed books at https://raykeatingonline.com/products/freetrade.