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

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.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

7 Reasons Hollywood Studios Ranks Best Among Walt Disney World Parks

by Ray Keating
Commentary
DisneyBizJournal.com
September 24, 2019

Disney’s Hollywood Studios ranks as the best of the four theme parks in Walt Disney World. In fact, it leaves Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom in the dust.


Right now, Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom aficionados are outraged, and ready for a debate. Well, a Disney debate is always fun. So, here are my 7 reasons for making this bold claim.

#1. The Vibe. I’m a movie buff – especially loving classic films. Since it opened in 1989 (as Disney-MGM Studios), Hollywood Studios has served up a great Hollywood vibe. In fact, the two streets – Hollywood and Sunset Blvds – offer a great old-time movies feel. Indeed, as far as streets go in Disney World, these two boulevards only rank behind Main Street, U.S.A., in the Magic Kingdom in terms of being iconic.


#2. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. While I’ve been a top fan of Hollywood Studios since it opened, the immersive Galaxy’s Edge is unparalleled as a theme park land, and Smugglers Run rates as one of the best rides around – especially for a Star Wars fan. Check out my take on Galaxy’s Edge – “9 Reasons to Love Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World.”

#3. Star Tours – The Adventures Continue. Disney imagineers did a very nice job in upgrading the Star Tours attraction, which first opened in 1989. The new Star Tours – The Adventures Continue opened in May 2011, with new sequences added in November 2015 and November 2017. Even given what’s happening in Galaxy’s Edge, this remains a great attraction.

#4. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. A welcome from Rod Serling, The Twilight Zone, an old, scary Hollywood hotel, and a thrill ride with great views and drops – nothing more need be said.


#5. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. It's hard to think of better ways to celebrate Hollywood than coming in from the Florida heat and humidity, sitting down in a replica convertible, watching old sci-fi movies on a huge screen under an evening sky, and enjoying some solid food, including excellent burgers and shakes. I always love going to the Sci-Fi Dine-In, but for some reason I failed to stop in on my latest visit. What the heck was I thinking?


#6. 50’s Prime Time Café. How can you not enjoy taking a trip back to the 1950s, sitting at the formica kitchen table (no elbows on the table, please!), a black-and-white television offering some TV classics, and solid comfort food served up family style. (Make sure you know what color the soap is if you use the restrooms... you might get asked to make sure you washed!)


#7. Indiana Jones. As I wrote in a recent article – Dear Bob: Disney Needs to Step It Up on Indiana Jones – Disney needs more Indiana Jones in the parks, including Indy merchandise. But what Disney does offer, of course, is to be discovered in Hollywood Studios, namely, the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, and the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost. Hollywood Studios gets an automatic thumbs-up for being the home of Indiana Jones.


So, I could go on, but there are seven solid reasons why Disney’s Hollywood Studios ranks as the best theme park in Disney World.

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.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Discovering Delicious Dining at Disney’s Skipper Canteen

by Ray Keating
Review
DisneyBizJournal.com
September 22, 2019

Oh, sure, the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. knows how to do a Jungle Cruise, but do they know how to run a restaurant? The answer is: Yes, definitely!


It turns out that Alberta Falls, granddaughter of Dr. Albert Falls, who started the Jungle Cruise Company in 1911, was wise in shifting the company’s focus away from moving cargo up and down rivers to offering guided tours to visitors. That effort was so successful that Alberta decided on an additional service. As she puts it, “I decided to open our home offices to hungry travelers. The crew’s mess hall, our old family room and even my grandfather’s old secret meeting room are now open to our diners!”

By the way, that secret meeting room was known as the S.E.A. Room—the meeting place for the Society of Explorers and Adventurers! (A wink-and-a-nod to those intrepid explorers who long for the days of the now-defunct Adventurers Club at Pleasure Island.)


Well, recently, we not only took a journey on the Jungle Cruise, but decided to have dinner at The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen in the Magic Kingdom. It was not on our original itinerary; the somewhat daring menu for a theme park initially made us hesitate to book an ADR (advanced dining reservation). Recommendations from previous travelers encouraged us to take the leap, however, and we were glad we did.

In the end, three things matter when it comes to a restaurant – service, ambience and, of course, the food. Skipper Canteen scores big on all three.

Our skipper-turned-waitress was a delight. She was knowledgeable about the menu as well as our adventurous environment. For good measure, she carried over into the restaurant the unique sense of humor that visitors experience on the cruise. (Thanks for showing us your favorite “highlights,” Kim!)

The relaxed atmosphere and fascinating décor of Skipper Canteen – including the aforementioned family and meeting rooms – added enjoyment to the overall dining experience.

And as for the food, the alluring offerings on the menu made it hard to choose which to have. The food’s presentation was attractive to eyes, and the flavors ranked as a celebration for the taste buds. 

I had the Sankuru Sadie's Seafood Stew – a mix of shrimp, mussels, bay scallops, octopus, and sustainable fish in a coconut sauce. It was overflowing with flavor. 


One person in my party enjoyed the Trader Lamb – tender, spiced-rubbed lamb chops. That was not what she originally thought about ordering, but followed the recommendation of the waitress, and had no regrets whatsoever. 


As for beverages, in response to the jungle heat and humidity of the day, I had the Schweitzer Slush, described as “Frozen Apple Juice and Passion Fruit topped with Bursting Green Apple Boba Balls, first concocted by the noted explorer and humanitarian, Dr. Albert Slush.” Kudos to Dr. Slush, it was wonderfully refreshing.


My fellow travels and I enjoyed two of the desserts – the Coconut Bar with Pineapple-Basil Compote and Vanilla Ice Cream, and the Kungaloosh! – a chocolate cake with caramelized bananas and cashew-caramel ice cream. Wow. (Incidentally, “Kungaloosh!” is the traditional greeting for members of the Adventurers Club, as well as a fondly remembered adult beverage at the Downtown Disney club ... there’s that wink-and-a-nod again!) 


Yes, Alberta and her team at Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. do well at running a Jungle Cruise, but they truly excel at providing delicious eats to travelers at the Skipper Canteen.

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.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Disney’s Salute to Jack Kirby Terribly Disappointing

by Ray Keating
Review
DisneyBizJournal.com
September 21, 2019

On August 23, just over a week before I would be journeying to Walt Disney World, Disney announced that Hollywood Studios would be celebrating Jack Kirby for a limited time. I was pleased that this event would be open while I was visiting. 


Disney’s tribute comes before the release of its November 2020 The Eternals movie. Kirby created The Eternals. But, of course, Kirby created or co-created (often with Stan Lee) a very long list of characters, with many becoming part of mainstream pop culture, such as Captain America (created with Joe Simon), the Avengers, Iron Man, Bucky Barnes, the X-Men, Baron Zemo, the Warriors Three, the Red Skull, Silver Surfer, Nick Fury, Ant-Man, The Wasp, the Fantastic Four, Thor, Black Panther, Loki, the New Gods, and many, many more.

Kirby was a fantastic artist, wonderful storyteller, an innovator, and a fount of creativity. 

So, would Disney do a salute right with “Jack Kirby: The Man Behind The Eternals”? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

This salute was limited to one room, with a few Kirby items on display, including an issue #1 of The Eternals, and a wall of artwork/covers.


It was disappointing. This tribute came across as something done in slapdash manner with little serious thought or heart. Quite frankly, it was all very un-Disney.

Jack Kirby has long been recognized as the “King of Comics.” But he receives woefully little attention today for his vast contributions to comics and pop culture beyond the comic book community. Disney could have started to rectify this situation with a worthy tribute to Kirby. But they didn’t, unfortunately. 


However, it’s not like they won’t have another chance. The Eternals was all Kirby, but it also arguably was one of his more minor contributions. Well, that is, unless The Eternals hits it big at the box office. Perhaps then Disney will take real steps in celebrating Kirby, and all of his work; letting the rest of the world know what the comic book community has understood for decades – that Jack Kirby was a unique talent.

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.