MickeyBlog News Update – Edition #9
Disney’s Parks and Resort division has a lot going on in this week’s news. Then again, so does their media branch, the focus of the latest update. There’s a lot going on, and some of it’s going to put a huge smile on your face. Let’s get started!
Finally, Baby Tattoos for Everyone!
You’re never too young to get your first ink. That’s apparently Disney’s thinking. They’ve recently added an unusual incentive for guests to eat at Restaurant Marrakesh, the pride and joy of the Morocco Pavilion. It’s already one of the best Quick Service restaurants at the World Showcase, but now it provides a fun amenity.
All children 12 and under are eligible for a free Henna tattoo at the restaurant. The only rule is that you have to order a meal there. Guests over the age of 12 can also get a Henna tattoo. Alas, you have to pay for them if you’re not a kid. And just to be clear, Henna tattoos are the ones that aren’t permanent. If your kid wants one of those Mike Tyson face tattoos, you can breathe easily. It’ll fade away in time.
PS: You should take your kids to Restaurant Marrakesh anyway. The food is exquisite.
Get Your Discounts!
You can also start planning your 2018 Disney trips today (assuming you haven’t already done so). Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line both have new offers available. In addition, 2018 military discounts are now open. As of right now, you can book a cheap vacation for most of the year. The only unlisted dates are March 25th – April 5th, and December 20th -31st. To learn about all the various discounts available to you, contact an agent at Mickey Travels. The information is posted below.
You should act quickly, though. The opening of Toy Story Land will lead to quick sellouts of many of these discounts.
Disney also extended their Annual Pass holder discounts at eateries. If you’re like a Disney obsessive like me and have one, you can get 10-20 percent off of your bill at 45 participating restaurants. Most of them are Table Service establishments, and so you’re saving as much as $10 per person just for owning an Annual Pass. It’s a wonderful deal. Disney’s gotten much better in recent years about rewarding loyal customers.
Disney Movie Lovers Had a Good Week
Okay, we like to focus on the parks here at MickeyBlog, but there was just too much media stuff going on last week to ignore. For starters, the new Star Wars trailer is out. Star Wars: The Last Jedi debuts in theaters on December 15th. I’ll save you the math. That’s only two months from now! You still have about 60 days to break down every frame of the trailer, though.
You can also buy your Star Wars tickets at Fandango and other outlets. I would advise that you do so, and I’m not saying that as Disney writer. I’m also a well-known box office analyst, and what I can tell you based on 2015 is that you really could wind up missing the film on opening weekend if you don’t buy tickets now. As you may know, Star Wars: The Force Awakens shattered box office records. Sellouts are rare in the movie industry today. The latest Star Wars film is the exception, though.
Amok! Amok! Amok!
Disney isn’t the type of studio that has a lot of cult classics. The power of their marketing arm guarantees the box office success of most films. There are exceptions, though. John Carter and Mars Needs Moms are a couple of recent high-profile bombs from Walt Disney Studios. If we go back to the 1990s, a quirky Halloween movie opened in June. It was a strange decision that led to a quick rejection by North American movie goers.
Over time, people started to see Hocus Pocus in a different light. They appreciated its charm and unique humor. Roughly a decade after its release, the rise of DVDs elevated the film to cult status. Today, Disney even offers a show and an entire merchandise line at Mickey’s-Not-So-Scary Halloween Party based on Hocus Pocus.
Based on its newfound popularity, Hocus Pocus is worthy of a new film. Disney agrees, and the only surprise is that they’re not making a sequel or theatrical reboot. Instead, Hocus Pocus will become a TV movie on Disney Channel. The timeline suggests an October of 2018 release, but that’s certainly not set in stone.
She Was So Sweet in The Parent Trap
A lot of recent Disney news involves their channels. For example, their popular film franchise, Freaky Friday, is getting another reboot. The original film starring Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster was so beloved that Disney remade it in 2003. They nailed the mother casting with Jamie Lee Curtis but would probably like to have the Lindsay Lohan part back. It’s hard to believe that Lohan was once a Disney kid, isn’t it?
Anyway, Disney later developed a stage production of Freaky Friday. That version was a musical, and Disney is now adapting that musical back into a TV movie. So, it’ll be the Freaky Friday that you know and love, only with songs. Actually, Lohan was a rocker in the 2003 version, but you’ve probably forgotten that because of the…later unpleasantness.
More about Disney’s Channels…
Combining several discussions at once, Disney fans have noticed a change in their online streaming options. The company previously had different apps for Disney XD, Disney Junior, and Disney Channel. It was a clunky method that didn’t show a firm understanding of modern media consumption.
Disney has now gotten with the times by unifying all of their television properties under the same umbrella. The DisneyNow app will let you watch all of your favorite Disney programs on your smartphone or tablet. Yes, you can now watch Girl Meets World, Tangled: The Series, or Gravity Falls no matter where you are!
And Disney’s Other Streaming Services…
As previously mentioned, Disney’s also building their own answer to Netflix. This streaming service will host thousands of hours of Disney entertainment, including television shows and movies. Initially, there was some confusion about whether Disney would include Marvel and Star Wars properties in this service. The first announcement made no mention of these properties. Disney CEO Bob Iger has since confirmed that your favorite Superheroes and Jedi will air on the service!
Disney has also negotiated to improve its current digital locker system, Movies Anywhere. While most major studios chose Ultraviolet as their preferred digital locker, Disney built their own. Today, studios are hedging their bets against revenue losses with DVDs, Blu-Rays, and movie tickets. Several competitors have now joined Movies Anywhere.
What does this mean for you as a consumer? Well, that’s a tricky debate. Presumably, most of you own some movies in your Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) locker. Moving forward, you can add other digital codes to what was once your DMA library. It’s now called your Movies Anywhere library (MA), and you must create a new account for it.
All your movies from your DMA library will instantly transfer, something I’ve personally verified. When you load the app, you will have access to those as well. In other words, Disney’s giving you the ability to grow your online movie collection. The surprising turn of events is that Ultraviolet will participate in MA.
Studios have chosen MA as the preferred digital locker, according to this Variety article. They’ve simultaneously decided to consolidate into one service. If you’ve purchased movies from Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, those will also appear in your MA folder. So, if you were an early adopter of digital movies, this turn of events is great news for you. The MA site is now live, and you can download the app on your smart device later today.
To a larger point, the issue that all Hollywood studios face today is that consumers no longer look to buy their entertainment. Yes, everyone makes exceptions (I have roughly 2,000 titles in my Vudu and DMA libraries), but the Spotify/Netflix mentality is more popularity. People now expect to get lots of titles included for a single monthly fee. It’s a problem without a great solution for anyone in the movie or record industry right now.
As a consumer, you should hedge your bets. Get as many digital codes as you can to stock your library. Also expect to pay for Disney’s various digital services. If you were paying attention, you may have noticed that I mentioned Disney has streamlined their three previous apps into a single app…and then I discussed two other types of Disney streaming, a Netflix killer and DMA. Obviously, Disney still has a long way to go to consolidate their viewing options. Just pick whatever works for you right now.