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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

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Disney+ Trailing Netflix … in a Big Way

 by Ray Keating

News/Analysis

DisneyBizJournal.com

January 26, 2023

 

When it comes to streaming, we all hear that content is king. And Disney+, with the impressive studios and franchises that Disney owns, was supposed to challenge the top dog. But the Nielsen streaming rankings for 2022 show that Disney has plenty of work to do.

 

In general, Netflix remained the king of streaming in 2022, with Disney ranking tops in streaming movies.



As noted by The Hollywood Reporter, in the overall streaming category (i.e., original series, acquired series, and movies), Netflix held 11 of the top 15 spots, with Disney holding two, and one series (Criminal Minds) crossing over three streaming services (Netflix/Hulu/Paramount+).

 

How do these ratings/rankings work? As the Reporter explained: “Nielsen’s streaming ratings cover viewing on TV sets only and don’t include minutes watched on computers or mobile devices. The ratings only measure U.S. audiences, not those in other countries.”

 

Looking at original series, which is often viewed as the streaming Holy Grail, Netflix held 13 of the top 15 spots, with Amazon Prime Video earning the other two spots. None of the Disney+ big shows – for example, Moon KnightObi-Wan KenobiAndorMs. Marvel, and She-Hulk – cracked the top 15 for 2022.

 

As for acquired series, Disney+ had two in the top 15 – the children’s cartoon show Bluey and The Simpsons. Ten went to Netflix, one for HBO Max, one for Amazon Prime Video, and then Criminal Minds across three streaming services.

 

But Disney+ was the clear leader in terms of streaming movies, holding 10 of the top 15 spots, with Netflix holding the other five. The following list offers the top streamed movies (again, based on minutes viewed) and it points to Disney benefiting from material leaning toward younger children, or families with younger children. 

 

1. Encanto (Disney+), 27.4 billion

2. Turning Red (Disney+), 11.4 billion

3. Sing 2 (Netflix), 11.3 billion

4. Moana (Disney+), 8.6 billion

5. The Adam Project (Netflix), 6.1 billion

6. Hocus Pocus 2 (Disney+), 5.7 billion

7. Don’t Look Up (Netflix), 5.1 billion

7 (tie) Frozen (Disney+), 5.1 billion

9. Luca (Disney+), 5 billion

9 (tie) The Gray Man (Netflix), 5 billion

11. Zootopia (Disney+), 4.4 billion

12. Coco (Disney+), 4.3 billion

13. Eternals (Disney+), 4.24 billion

14. Frozen II (Disney+), 4.2 billion

15. Uncharted (Netflix), 4.18 billion

 

That’s not surprising, of course. After all, this is Disney. But Disney has made clear that in order for its streaming service to be a success, it needs to offer more than that. At least in 2022, its big franchises – Marvel and Star Wars – didn’t make that happen.

 

It should be noted that Season 1 of The Mandalorian – the Star Wars show on Disney+ - ranked fifth on Nielsen’s 2019 measure for original streaming series, and it ranked fifth again in 2020. Also, Marvel’s WandaVision ranked 14th in 2021. But that’s been it for Disney+ in terms of original streaming series.

 

The good news for Disney+? The Mandalorian Season 3 arrives in March of this year.

 

__________

 

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? 

 

Consider books by Ray Keating…

 

 The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist. Signed paperbacks at RayKeatingOnline.com or paperbacks, hardcovers and Kindle editions at Amazon.com.

 

• Cathedral: An Alliance of Saint Michael Novel. Signed paperbacks and/or paperbacks, hardcovers and the Kindle edition at Amazon

 

• The Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries. The latest in the series is Persecution: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel. Get the signed books here, or paperbacks and Kindle editions right here.

 

• The Lutheran Planner: The TO DO List Solution combines a simple, powerful system for getting things done with encouragement, inspiration and consolation from the Christian faith.

 

• Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York  –  signed books  or at  Amazon.

 

•  Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know is available at  Amazon  in paperback or for the Kindle edition, 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, January 25, 2023

“Roundup Rodeo BBQ” Opening March 23!

 by Beth Keating

News

DisneyBizJournal.com

January 25, 2023

 

Yeehaw, cowboys! We got some very exciting news from Disney today…. We now have an opening date for the long-awaited Roundup Rodeo BBQ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Though you can’t make advanced dining reservations quite yet, Woody and Andy’s new restaurant in Toy Story Land will be opening March 23, 2023

 

Courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog


Over the past few weeks, the anticipation has been growing as we’ve watched Imagineers and construction crews add the finishing touches to the outside of the new eatery.  This western-themed, family-style restaurant will be serving up platters of barbecue, with house-smoked meats, lots of unique side dishes, and a selection of sweet desserts.  Disney does barbecue pretty well (Hello, Flame Tree in Animal Kingdom and Regal Eagle in EPCOT!), and we’re hoping this new locale lives up to the hype.


The ambiance promises to be a lot of fun for your little cowboys and cowgirls, too.  Andy has used his toys to create a rodeo arena where his own toys can play.  (And you will be the “honorary toys” coming for a visit in Andy’s backyard!)

 

Here’s the new menu, released today by Disney

 

Salads:

  • Tomato Salad: Tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickled red onions tossed in a white balsamic vinaigrette and garnished with fresh dill (plant-based)
  • Rex’s Romaine and Kale Salad: Romaine and kale mixed with green apples, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries tossed with green goddess dressing
  • Watermelon Salad: Cubed watermelon garnished with freshly torn mint leaves (plant-based)

 

House-smoked meats, including: 

  • Evil Dr. Smoked Ribs: Fall-off-the-bone pork ribs, slow-cooked for hours in the onsite smokehouse 
  • Buttercup’s Beef Brisket: Hand-sliced beef brisket, smoked then slow-cooked to juicy perfection
  • There’s a Sausage in My Boot: Spiced pork sausage fire-grilled over live oak to give it an added kick 
  • BBQ Chicken – with Style! Chicken brined for 48 hours, rubbed with secret backyard BBQ spice and smoked to tender juiciness

 

Plant-based offerings (available upon request):

  • Slow-smoked Cauliflower topped with sweet harissa drizzle and crunchy walnut gremolata 
  • Oven-roasted “Bratwurst” that is tender and juicy, sliced to perfection
  • Impossible “Rib Chop” seasoned with spices, then roasted and glazed with sweet BBQ sauce and skewered on a sugar cane “bone”

 

All entreés are served with an assortment of sweet, traditional, and spicy BBQ sauces.

 

Choose four of the following sides for the table:

  • The Married Spuds: Loaded potato barrels drizzled with green goddess dressing, cheese sauce, and seasoned BBQ spices
  • Force Field Fried Pickles: Jumbo pickle spears coated with a dill-flavored breading and fried to perfection
  • Slinky Doooooooooog Mac & Cheese: Spiral pasta in a creamy house-made cheese sauce topped with crumbled cheddar crackers 
  • Buckin’ Baked Beans: A traditional BBQ picnic favorite (plant-based)
  • Cowpoke Corn on the Cob: Grilled and seasoned with a chili-lime spice blend, cilantro, cotija cheese, and lime juice
  • Mean Old Potato Salad: Homestyle with red-skinned potatoes
  • Veggie Slaw: Crunchy shredded veggie slaw that is a summertime favorite! (plant-based)
  • Campfire-roasted Vegetables: A variety of roasted seasonal vegetables (plant-based)

 

Chuckwagon desserts (Choose from a selection for the table):

  • Cupcake à la Forky: Forky is up to something sweet! A classic chocolate cake with a gooey chocolate ganache center topped with velvety graham cracker buttercream and a sugar cookie
  • Lemon and Blueberry Cheesecake: An iconic creamy dessert that balances the tanginess of the cheesecake with the natural sweetness of blueberries and lemon
  • Billy’s Chocolate Silk Pie: Layers of graham cracker crust and silky chocolate mousse topped with chantilly cream
  • Goat’s Apple Pie: A picnic classic! Tart apples and warm pie spices balance perfectly with the creamy sweet filling under a crumble crust
  • Gruff’s Peach-Strawberry Pie: With its silky sweet peaches and tartness of strawberries, this dessert is a fruit-centric delight! (plant-based)

 

Grown-up Craft Cocktails:

 (A selection of beer, hard cider, and wines by the glass are also available):

  • Snake Eye Margarita: Inspired by a summertime BBQ featuring watermelon, smoke, and a bit of spice! 
  • Rum Punch: Rum punch with vibrant flavors of passion fruit and pineapple finished with a smoky spiced garnish
  • Chocolate with a Grown-up Twist: A blend of chocolate rum, horchata liqueur, cocoa, and flavors of toasted marshmallow
  • Frozen Peanut Butter & Jelly: A fun frozen twist on the classic peanut butter & jelly featuring peanut butter whiskey 
  • Whiskey Lemonade: A fresh take on a strawberry lemonade made with Tennessee whiskey and Italian bitter aperitif
  • The Rodeo Mule: A classic “patio sipper,” this mule mixes vodka with fresh juices and ginger beer

 

Nonalcoholic offerings:

  • Molly’s Frozen Iced Tea: A frosty concoction with iced tea and citrus flavors
  • Frozen Cocoa: A frozen blend of cocoa and vanilla topped with miniature marshmallows
  • Partysaurus Tex: Strawberry lemonade is even more fun when you garnish it with gummy worms!

 

Advance Dining Reservations should be available soon. Keep checking Disney Parks Blog to find out when you can start booking your family’s Roundup reservations.

 

_______________

 

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

Monday, January 23, 2023

From America Sings to Splash Mountain to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

 by Chris Lucas

Guest Column

DisneyBizJournal.com

January 23, 2023

 

America Sings to Splash Mountain? The following are photos of characters from America Sings, which was an attraction in Disneyland that opened in 1974. 



It used the rotating theater that formerly held the Carousel of Progress. There were many people upset over the change at the time.

 

America Sings was designed to celebrate the upcoming Bicentennial in 1976.

Shortly after it opened, sadly, an 18 year old cast member was killed on the attraction. They closed it for a few weeks, then it reopened. 

 

In 1983, Tony Baxter had an idea for a log flume at Disneyland. America Sings was past its Bicentennial prime, and made no sense in Tomorrowland, so they decided to build another attraction in the park around the characters from America Sings. The log flume fit the bill. 

 

To have that make sense, Baxter lifted three of the characters and some of the music from Song of the South, a movie that Walt Disney himself had pulled from the regular seven year release rotation of Disney films, after protests during its initial 1946-1947 time in theaters.

 

Baxter intended to call his ride “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Run.”

 

Disney CEO Michael Eisner suggested naming the ride after the hit 1983 Disney movie Splash - which made no sense.

 

America Sings closed in 1988, Splash Mountain opened shortly after that. 

Splash Mountain was a ride using animatronics from an obsolete Bicentennial attraction with a dark history, characters from a movie that most of the public wasn’t familiar with, and the name of a film about a mermaid. 

 

An odd combination. 

 

Splash Mountain had a popular run, but the time has come for a new story on Disney’s log flume.

 

The attraction and all of its elements (boats, cute critters, great music, a protagonist in trouble, dastardly villains, a few small drops and then a big one, just before a joyous ending) will remain pretty much the same. Disney has a habit of incorporating classic attractions in a re-theme, and they will likely keep some nods to Br’er Rabbit and his friends. 

 

Farewell, Splash Mountain. Welcome, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

 

__________

 

Chris Lucas is the author of Top Disney: 100 Top Ten Lists of the Best of Disney, from the Man to the Mouse and Beyond.

 

On the PRESS CLUB C Podcast, enjoy two of Ray’s discussions with Chris Lucas. The first was about Chris’ career as an actor, author and Disney expert. Tune in right here! The second was a chat about the Disney World’s 50 anniversary. Listen here!

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Splash Mountain Takes Its Last Bow at the Magic Kingdom

 by Ray Keating

Commentary

DisneyBizJournal.com

January 22, 2023

 

Whenever asked what my favorite ride is at the Magic Kingdom, the answer always has been easy: Splash Mountain. But today (January 22) is the last day I can answer that way, as Splash Mountain will be officially closed on Monday (January 23) to undergo a refurbishment/retheming. It will become Tiana’s Bayou Adventure inspired by the movie The Princess and the Frog.



So, why has Splash Mountain been my favorite? I love log flume rides, and this is the most interesting one I’ve ever ridden given the length of the ride, the many twists and turns, how a story unfolds as one travels along, and of course, the major log-flume drop and splashdown that usually gets you wet. And yes, especially during hot-and-humid times in central Florida, this ride was cooling and welcome.



What’s odd is that Splash Mountain feels like it’s always been around. But Splash Mountain first opened in Disneyland on July 17, 1989, and then in Walt Disney World on July 17, 1992. There’s also a version in Tokyo Disneyland that opened on October 1, 1992. When it first opened, the 52-foot plunge was the longest flume chute in the world, according to Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia.



There’s no word yet on when Splash Mountain in Disneyland will close, and no plans exist to close the Tokyo Disneyland ride. The refurbished ride is schedule to open sometime in 2024.



My son and I took two final spins on Splash Mountain on the evening of Thursday, January 19. We enjoyed it, as always, but of course, there was a tinge of melancholy this time. When my wife and I took vacations to Disney World as our boys grew up, Splash Mountain was always a must-ride for myself and our sons (my wife could be prodded onto the ride now and then, but she’s not much for speed and big drops). So, we were leaving Splash Mountain behind.



Without getting into the debate over why Splash Mountain is being replaced, the ride will be missed. One hopes that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will provide at least half the fun and the memories.

__________

 

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? 

 

Consider books by Ray Keating…

 

 The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist. Signed paperbacks at RayKeatingOnline.com or paperbacks, hardcovers and Kindle editions at Amazon.com.

 

• Cathedral: An Alliance of Saint Michael Novel. Signed paperbacks and/or paperbacks, hardcovers and the Kindle edition at Amazon

 

• The Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries. The latest in the series is Persecution: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel. Get the signed books here, or paperbacks and Kindle editions right here.

 

• The Lutheran Planner: The TO DO List Solution combines a simple, powerful system for getting things done with encouragement, inspiration and consolation from the Christian faith.

 

• Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New York  –  signed books  or at  Amazon.

 

•  Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know is available at  Amazon  in paperback or for the Kindle edition, 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.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Checking Out the Food Studios at Festival of the Arts

 by Beth Keating

Review

DisneyBizJournal.com

January 21, 2023

 

There are so many great restaurants at EPCOT that we just haven’t gotten around to visiting, mainly because our family likes to snack our way around the food booths during EPCOT festivals.  The nice part of festivals is that each family member, with different tolerance levels for both the types and amounts of food they enjoy, can find a comfortable and tasty journey through World Showcase. And with nearly year-round festivals at this point, there aren’t too many openings to try some of the long-awaited sit-down restaurants. Your stomach simply can’t hold both a full sit-down meal and the food booth snacks in the same day. Way too much goodness!

 

Among our favorite food booths are the Food Studios at the EPCOT Festival of the Arts.  The presentations are just so colorful and so creative that the dishes are some of the most fun foods served up at the festivals.  With that in mind, we set out to have dinner at a couple of booths and discover a few new plates this past week, the first week of the just over five-week-long festival.

 

The Artist’s Table Studio in the American Adventure will see our smiling faces again this season, the dishes were that good!  Our family members tried the options separately, at different times of the day, and we all came to the same conclusion:  Wow, that was unexpected! Who goes to a theme park food festival expecting good meatloaf?  But we enjoyed it so much that we’ll definitely come back for it again.  (And that’s saying something, since I make a pretty good meatloaf at home!)



The Three Meat Meatloaf with “Peas and Carrots” ($6.50, and nope, no explanation available in the guide as to what the three meats were, but they were delicious!) was tender and scrumptious.  The meatloaf itself was small, petitely cute but definitely worth the money.  It was served with a mini-tower of potatoes, seared crisp on top yet soft and buttery below. The tiny tower was adorable, and was no more than two bites. The “green pea pudding” side-kicking the meatloaf was smooth and creamy, with a strong, pure pea flavor, served with two crunchy snap pea pods perched on top.  It contrasted with a circle of thinly “shaved carrots” sitting in the middle of the pea pudding. Carrot “ketchup” completed the dish, which according to our Disney cast member, was meant to invoke the memory of the old TV dinners of American childhood, but with a complete twist.  The line for this booth was long, but our amiable cast members kept the guests entertained with Disney trivia and Jungle cruise worthy punny jokes as we waited. 



We also really enjoyed the brand new Duck and Dumplings ($7.00) at Artist’s Table. We are a family who loves roast duck, and even had it for Christmas dinner this year.  The Artist’s Table rendition was fabulously tender, with just a hint of smokiness. A bit of saltiness gave it a flavor akin to what you’d get with a baked fresh ham.  The three pieces on my plate were easy to cut with the side of the plastic fork. While the potato puree base that anchored the duck to the plate was light, it didn’t add much flavor to the dish, but rather, acted as a kind of canvas for the rest of the foods. The duck was accompanied by a few crisp-on-the-outside and compact-on-the-inside ricotta dumplings that flirted with having a teensy bit of a sweet note to it.  The dumplings were firmer than expected, browned on the outside, but still welcome in the dish.  A few strips of sliced carrots added a little color, and the duck jus drizzled over the dish was a thin coating resembling gravy, but without the overly salted flavor that sometimes haunts typical gravy. 



Hubby is a huge dessert hunter, so he, of course, opted for the hummingbird cake ($4.75), a sweet offering that was totally unexpected in presentation.  A small, oblong banana cake topped with a squiggle of cream cheese frosting and a scoop of pineapple and coconut, served with a side of chopped pecans and a very tasty banana sorbet, the cake hit the after-dinner spot without being obnoxiously sweet. 

 

It would have been impossible to go to the Festival of the Arts without visiting Figment’s Inspiration Station at the Odyssey building.  Thank you, Disney, for giving us this treat!  While we had snacked our way through other parts of the festival already, and didn’t have room for the rainbow cake this time around, we did opt to try the Grape Smoothie ($5.50), which would have been pricey for the size of the drink, except for the fact that you got to keep your charming Figment cup.  The small plastic drinking vessel features Figment’s face on one side, with the back of his head on the other.  It’s especially cute when filled with the grape smoothie, giving Figgie his purple colors.  Topped with whipped cream and a rainbow of freeze-dried Skittles, the “grapeness” of the drink was reminiscent of the grape bubble gum (Grape Bubblicious?  Bubble Yum?  Hubba Bubba?  Dubble Bubble maybe?) of your childhood.  This is where it turned out to be a good thing the cup was small.  While it was a thinner drink, definitely more yogurt drink consistency than milk shake thickness, its strong grape flavor would have been way too much to drink in a bigger glass.  So, about those freeze-dried Skittles on top… I kind of liked them better than regular Skittles.  The texture was crunchy and airy, a big improvement over the chewiness of normal Skittles. It was a fun treat, but I don’t know if I’d go back for a second round.



Our family members have also been frequent flyers at the food booths in Japan during the various festivals, and this festival was no exception.  Unfortunately for our readers, this year’s stop at the Goshiki Studio was well after dark, and our ability to take photos of the dishes was disappointing, and our photos disappeared with the setting sun.  The food, however, was not a disappointment. 

 

First up was the new-this-year Rainbow Katsu Sando ($6.50). This colorful selection was excellent, and this came from a person who is not at all fond of pork. But this pork cutlet sandwich turned out to be a delicious mix of tangy (courtesy of the Tonkatsu sauce), sweet (due to the rainbow bread), and crunchy (thanks to the cabbage). It’s more of a half sandwich in style, but worth the effort.

 

And as for the returning Sushi Donut at Goshiki ($8.25), this was another thumbs-up. The salmon, tuna and shrimp were each fresh and flavorful, with cucumber adding some crunch. The sauces on this small plate - Wasabi Aioli, Sriracha Aioli, and Eel Sauce - ranged from a touch of spice, to downright hot. And we loved the creative donut-shape.

 

There are a few more dishes we are still hoping to try, but with the Festival of the Arts being one of the shortest festivals, we only have until February 20 to get there.  Looks like I’ll get at least one more night off from cooking dinner! 

 

_______________

 

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