MickeyBlog News – 5/20/19 – Hulu, Buzzy, & Much More
What’s going on with the wide world of Disney this week? Disney has a new batch of Legends, the Japan Pavilion will go Signature soon, Hulu has become 100% Mouse, Jose Andres did yet another awesome thing, and the Great Buzzy Mystery gets connected to…Haunted Mansion? Yes, it’s a strange week of MickeyBlog News. Let’s get you all caught up.
They Are Legend
A favorite part of the annual D-23 Expo is the induction of the new class of Disney Legends. Disney recently revealed the upcoming class, and you will know most of them by name.
This year’s class of Disney Legends are:
- Wing Chao
- Robert Downey, Jr.
- Jon Favreau
- James Earl Jones
- Bette Midler
- Ming-Na Wen
- Kenny Ortega
- Barnette Ricci
- Robin Roberts
- Diane Sawyer
- Hans Zimmer
Chao is a former Imagineer and Disney executive often lauded for his work with Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland. Kenny Ortega is the director and choreographer best known for the High School Musical franchise. Ricci is a legendary show director at Disneyland whose work goes all the way back to the 1950s. She also came up with the concept of Fantasmic!. Everyone else is an actor/celebrity whom you know except for legendary composer Hans Zimmer.
Signature Dining Is Coming to the Japan Pavilion
Last year, Disney revealed that they planned to open another upscale restaurant at the World Showcase. The Japan Pavilion already has two Table Service restaurants in operation, Tokyo Dining and Teppan Edo, both of which are wildly popular.
Since Japanese cuisine is such a reliable seller, park officials decided to add another establishment. They spoke with Mitsukoshi about a third place. The Japanese company agreed to create a Signature Dining experience. Called Takumi-Tei, this new restaurant will open at some point this summer.
Disney suggests that the menu will celebrate the “wonderful collaboration between nature and takumi, the artisan.” Takumi-Tei translates as “house of the artisan” in English. Perhaps the most important part of the story here is that Wagyu Beef will be an integral part of many dishes. So, don’t stand between me and this restaurant. Nothing’s going to stop me from eating here.
Disney Takes Full Control of Hulu
In the wake of Disney’s acquisition of most major Fox assets, the company took a controlling interest in Hulu. This over-the-top (OTT) streaming service is an integral part of their future broadcasting plans. They still had a stumbling block, though. Comcast owned a third of Hulu, even after Disney bought Fox’s share.
Anyone with experience in a large conglomerate understands that controlling interest isn’t the same as total ownership. Minority owners can be problematic, especially if their goals conflict with the majority owners. Fearing future problems, Disney executives spoke to Comcast about Hulu and hammered out a deal this week.
From this point forward, Disney has total control over all aspects of Hulu. In a complex agreement, Comcast agreed to give up their 33 percent ownership stake in five years. They also agreed to extend all NBCUniversal licensing agreements on Hulu through 2024, although Comcast has a potential opt-out after three years.
In exchange, Disney ceded full digital rights to their licenses. That’s a lot of gobbledygook that simply means that NBCUniversal will have its own OTT service next year. They can exhibit the shows that are currently on Hulu on their streaming service, too.
Basically, everybody wins here. Frankly, it’s refreshing when major corporations are this reasonable in negotiating contracts. Disney is now in charge of all things Hulu. At a later date, they’ll pay Comcast at least $9.2 billion for Hulu, one-third of its lowest possible 2024 valuation, $27.5 billion. In exchange, when the free, ad-supported NBCUniversal OTT service launches next year, everything on Hulu will be available on it, too.
Jose Andres Steps Up Again
The internet was abuzz with news about a worker at a New Hampshire high school this past week. A woman named Bonnie Kimball was fired for giving a student $9 worth of food. The business that supplied the food, Café Services, informed the woman that what she did was tantamount to theft.
Several aspects of the story were noteworthy. Kimball was friends with the parents of the child. She knew that they would pay her back when they could, something that they actually did within 24 hours. The zero-tolerance policy by the food industry company reflected that they didn’t care whether children at a school went hungry if they couldn’t pay, which is problematic since many of their clients are schools.
The internet outrage machine went after Café Services long and hard. The business quickly relented, promising to compensate Kimball for her trouble. She understandably refused to work for such a heartless organization, though. Plus, she had a better offer.
Chef Jose Andres, the owner and operator of Jaleo at Disney Springs, heard about the story at the same time as the rest of us. The celebrity chef has turned the war against hunger into his personal crusade. When he heard what Kimball had done and the repercussions she had faced, Andres immediately offered her a job with his company. Here’s the original tweet.
Almost everyone who works at/with Disney is a good person, but Jose Andres is a genuinely special human being. Here’s hoping he wins the Nobel Peace Prize in October.
I Just Said ALMOST Everyone
One of the strangest Disney stories in recent memory was the theft of Buzzy. At the time, the police dismissed talk that this was an inside job. Weeeeeeeell, we have an addendum.
A 24-year-old Disney cast member has been arrested. Allegedly, he used his Cast Member ID to take illegal photographs of backstage areas of Walt Disney World. He also stole some Haunted Mansion costumes, which he sold as authentic Disney memorabilia.
As police officials know, most criminals are idiots. That’s certainly true in this case. When investigators pulled up photographs and videos on the perpetrator’s phone, they found pictures of a dress from the Ballroom scene of Haunted Mansion. After a bit of research, they discovered the contact info of the buyer, who had paid $1,000 for the dress.
The huge shocking twist in this story involves another set of pictures. The phone had images of various Audio-Animatronics including the infamous Buzzy from Cranium Command. Apparently, this rather brazen thief would take photos of possible items he could take, post the images online to see if he could find any potential buyers, and then grabbed the illicit goods to make a quick buck. He earned at least $7,000 this way.
Then again, the criminal is also a special kind of fired and looking at some jail time. He’s facing multiple charges involving burglary. And he’s almost certain to be banned from the Most Magical Place on Earth for the rest of his life.