Best Disney Links for January 2021
The Walt Disney Company had hoped to leave many of its problems in the past when the calendar turned to 2021.
Alas, that hasn’t happened yet. In fact, Disney is now facing some new ones.
The company continues to make headlines, not always for the best reasons.
If you’ve focused on other news items so far this year, you’ve missed a lot.
Here are the best Disney links for January of 2021.
News from the Parks
Disney has made several recent moves at the parks, a few of which you may not understand. I actually try to make sense of it in the next Disney Rumors article.
However, I respect that others possess strong opinions and different insights on the subjects. So, I have several links to share.
For example, Robert Niles at the OC Register has thoughts about Disneyland’s recent decision to end the Annual Pass program.
The theme park expert makes a fascinating assertion that more than one million people own annual passes at Disneyland. As such, this policy change affects a LOT of people.
Fodor’s Travel also shares some thoughts on the topic. A point they make is that one huge loss here involves passholder discounts, which is a valid concern.
The Hall of Presidents has somehow become another area of concern at Walt Disney World.
Park officials received criticism for the amount of time needed to add an Audio-Animatronic for the 45th President.
Now that the 46th one has been sworn into office, Disney has attempted to correct that mistake by acting quickly. The attraction is already on hiatus for retooling.
Remarkably, Disney has now absorbed criticism that it acted more quickly with 46 than with 45.
Some believe that it’s a demonstration of the company playing politics, which seems absurd to me.
Still, some theme park analysts have called for a new show to replace the Hall of Presidents. Since this argument comes from the Orlando Sentinel, it bears consideration.
More from the Parks
Already in 2021, Disney parks have altered several other longstanding practices.
For instance, the parks have ended annual pass sales. In fact, Disneyland has closed its annual pass program.
Orlando Weekly believes that Disney had planned this tactic for five years. This link asserts the following:
“Some passholders have made a career out of abusing the system, either via social media or by reselling items purchased within the parks.”
The author’s main arguments focus on annual passholder entitlement and eBay/resales.
I’m confident that you’ve watched entitled customers remind cast members of their importance.
These park guests feel they deserve special treatment since they’re better customers, as demonstrated by their annual passes.
Then, some of them turn around and buy a large number of limited supply merchandise. Afterward, they immediately list it on eBay, a practice that Disney officials despise.
Vox reported on a previous Disneyland crackdown on merchandise resales. The change to annual passes represents a more substantial attempt to discourage such behavior.
That’s far from the only controversial move.
You know the deal by now. Extra Magic Hours at one park will become half-hour early entry at all four Walt Disney World parks. However, Magical Express will end in 2022.
This news didn’t surprise MickeyBlog readers, as we’d alerted you to the Brightline station coming to Disney Springs.
Both parties expect this high-speed railway station to open to the public during the second half of 2023.
That doesn’t help anybody from the start of 2022 until then, though. Some wonder whether this decision marks a fundamental change in Disney’s tourism strategy.
Disney Business News
I’m going to relay this news from as neutral a perspective as I can. It’s a topical story that evokes strong feelings on both sides.
Last year, The Walt Disney Company froze executive pay for a while due to the pandemic. By the end of the year, the company restored its executive salaries.
According to Forbes, former Disney CEO Bob Iger possesses a net worth of $690 million.
The Executive Chairman stepped down as CEO last February but still earned $21 million in 2020.
Iger earned more than his replacement, Bob Chapek, as the latter gentleman grossed $14.2 million, the lowest tally for a Disney CEO in 15 years.
Chapek, while a wealthy man, doesn’t possess the affluence of his old boss. Critics have complained that Iger still earned $21 million while furloughed cast members struggled.
You can read the details in this Orlando Sentinel piece.
According to Deadline, Iger’s salary includes the following:
“Iger’s package in 2020 also included $6.9 million in stock awards, $9.6 million in option awards, $1.8 million in what’s called “change in pension value and nonqualified deferred compensation earnings” and $1.1 million in other compensation.”
Draw your own conclusions about all that and feel about it any way that you like. Since it’s a story that many are discussing, I wanted you to know all the pertinent facts.
More Disney Business Discussions
From a business perspective, The Motley Fool has fallen in love with Disney lately.
This author believes Disney will dethrone Netflix, which strikes me as overly ambitious in the near term.
Another argues that Disney has Lucasfilm to thank for its secret weapon in the streaming war.
No, it’s not Star Wars or Indiana Jones. Instead, it’s a groundbreaking filmmaking technology.
Another contributor (incorrectly) believes that Disney has joined the war on movie theaters. Let me be clear that Disney could and maybe even should have done that. They chose not to do so.
Marvel stubbornly held to a theatrical release for Black Widow, which currently possesses a May release date.
Alas, the next James Bond movie, No Time to Die, just received yet another delay until October 8th.
Disney cannot afford that with Black Widow due to the structure of Phase Four of the MCU. So, it may yet alter plans. However, Disney really wants a theatrical release.
Here’s a comment from Variety on the subject:
“As for ‘Black Widow’, expect the 2020 delay treatment should the theater situation not improve over the spring. Since it’s the first 2020s film from the franchise that propelled the studio to a now fictional-seeming $11 billion global gross in 2019, another delay before a last-ditch Disney+ release is more likely to occur.”
Thanks to clever positioning in the marketplace, Disney’s safe either way. Black Widow will boost the profile of Disney+ and increase subscriptions if the film cannot debut in theaters.
Still, Wall Street maintains one critical concern about Disney’s core business.
Okay, that’s everything for this month. I realize I skipped the entertainment section, but it’s mostly WandaVision stuff anyway. Seriously.