The BLOG FLUME -- I Can't Believe It's Not Butter

Disney deals, Orlando develops and the best theme park ride EVER comes from... Nike?

Written by Russell Meyer
Published: October 21, 2004 at 12:17 PM

Disney Execs Have Intelligence?
Associated Press, October 20, 2004

In a bit of a strange development, Disney has been able to negotiate a lucrative deal with The Children’s Place Retail Stores Inc. of Secaucus, NJ to take ownership of their failing Disney Store retail chain. In the deal, Disney still maintains licensing and royalties of existing and future merchandise sold in the chain, and the stores will still bear the Disney name for at least 15 years. While Disney does not get a lump-sum payment in the deal, they basically eliminate a “white elephant” and still maintain their market presence without having to take any further financial hits. Now if only Disney could peddle ABC and ABC Family off to some unsuspecting third world entertainment conglomerate.

Oversaturation in Orlando?
Orlando Business Journal, October 15, 2004

While competition is the source of all capitalistic success, it’s also the source of failure when a market is oversaturated. The $18.3 million Mercado Village Shopping Plaza on International Drive has been placed on the auction block, and its future is uncertain. Many shopping centers come and go, especially when there are vacancies in many other higher profile areas, but Mercado was once one of the most desirable shopping centers in the area, and once housed the Hard Rock Vault. Could Orlando development finally be reaching a breaking point, and equilibrating? I doubt it, but perhaps this is the sign that developers should take a deep breath and learn two very important words, “Smart Growth.”

Happenings in Europe?
Screamscape, October 20, 2004
Screamscape, October 13, 2004

The first story is a bit of a development with a construction crane hovering over Walt Disney Studios Paris, reportedly preparing to begin construction of another Tower of Terror. The attraction has been rumored for the park for some time now, and considering the financial state of things, it’s a bit of a surprise to see Disney jumping full force to add what will probably be a $80-$100 million E-ticket attraction. Maybe Disney can install a Tower of Terror in my back yard so I can feel like I’m in France!

The second story is somewhat sketchy since the source refers to a website that is rather cryptic, and possibly fake. may be a legitimate Alton Towers-created site hinting at a launching coaster coming to Ug Land in the near future. 0-100(kph) in 2.8 seconds sounds like an Intamin Rocket Coaster, especially since the design is proliferating around the U.S. However, fake websites are a part of the world we live in, so take this tidbit with a grain of salt.

Michael Vick Roller Coaster?

Broadband users should get a kick out of this recent Nike commercial. I meant to include it in my last BLOG FLUME, but it didn’t fit very well. For those who haven’t seen it, the commercial previews the newest in theme park technology, as riders live the Michael Vick Experience (MVE). MVE will be housed in a large domed building containing one of the most exciting amusement park attractions conceived. The inverted roller coaster, which appears to have a capacity of about 100 people per hour, puts guests into Michael Vick’s shoes. It hurls riders down the infamous Georgia Dome turf at break-neck speeds, dodging menacing linebackers, strafing ominous safeties, and flipping head-over-cornerback into the end zone for a touchdown. While Falcons owner Arthur Blank has not announced a completion date for the attraction, Nike hopes that every football fan will line up for shoes and wait to ride this one-of-a-kind, bone-shattering attraction. This may not be in Disney’s playbook, but it should be.

Readers' Opinions

From Robert Niles on October 21, 2004 at 12:25 PM
I was waiting for someone to mention the Vick commencial in a Flume. This is HILARIOUS. And I ride I would pay good, good money to ride on. (Oh yeah, and its one heck of a good effect-laden commercial, too.)

Of course, if Disney/Universal/Six Flags, et. al. think labor costs on their attractions are bad now, imagine paying 21 NFL-caliber football players to run a play for every single rider.... Disney would have had to cut Mike Ovitz's fringe benefits by, oh, 10 whole percentage points to make that happen.

From Robert Niles on October 21, 2004 at 12:27 PM
As for, the domain is registered not to Alton Towers or Tussaud's, but to , a UK-based ISP. It was registered on 24 Sept, for a period of just one year.

Given that the site's legal info claims that it is the work of A.T., one would think there's no need for such secrecy in the registration record.

So, putting two and two together....

From Chris Edison on October 21, 2004 at 1:34 PM
That micheal vick ad made me chuckle...Wish we had the technology now to put a ride like that out for the consuming masses...sure is a heckuva lot better than what any six flags park has ;)
From Scott Battrick on October 21, 2004 at 2:04 PM
Work has begun on 'RideRita' at Alton Towers and they expect to complete it in record time for opening day of next season (march 15th?). Unfortunately this means UGland and the corkscreew will be closed for the remainder of this season. 'Rita' will indeed include a launch of 1-100kph in 3 seconds and at least one tunnel. One thing to notice is that the imaging used to advertise it is in fact the image(or a very close liekness) of Uma Thurman from the film 'Kill Bill.
From J. Dana on October 21, 2004 at 2:52 PM
The Mercado suffered from an over-abundance of cheap, tacky knick-knack shops....sure, it had the Titanic attraction, but that peaked with the movie. The Hard Rock Vault was a dumb idea from the start. The Mercado's pub was pretty popular with the Brits...actually, British tourists are what kept this languishing center afloat for as long as it was. Here's the thing: Pointe Orlando is just a few blocks away and has an Imax theater, 15 normal Muvico theaters, two night clubs, an FAO Shwartz, modern "mall" stores, XS video/virtual reality playground, top-flight restaurants, AND it's across the street from the Convention Center hotels. Mercado looked reallly cool, but c'mon, it was basically a garage sale comparatively speaking. Mercado used to have dueling pianos, a World Record museum, etc. It's restaurants are pretty nice, but between the two, we always chose Pointe because it was so much more artificial as it sounds, the shopping center that has the movies and entertainment will have the crowds. It's not oversaturation, it's just poor, poor planning.
From Jason Lester on October 21, 2004 at 3:42 PM
Don't I wish a ride like MVE existed. Now that would be kick a$$!
From Derek Potter on October 21, 2004 at 8:20 PM
Interestingly enough, that appears to be SFNE in the background of the commercial. Coaster looks like Superman ROS.

I can just see it now. The only ride that costs 40 million over 3 years with an option for the fourth year.

From Derek Potter on October 21, 2004 at 8:20 PM
Interestingly enough, that appears to be SFNE in the background of the commercial. Coaster looks like Superman ROS.

I can just see it now. The only ride that costs 40 million over 3 years with an option for the fourth year.

From Ben Mills on October 22, 2004 at 2:52 PM
Straight from deep inside Tussauds:

Alton Towers WILL be getting a launched coaster in what will previously be known as Ug Land, and it WILL NOT be particularly amazing. The plans are underwhelming at best.


From Kenny Hitt on October 26, 2004 at 11:16 AM
Speaking of X-S...

There is a game inside the arcade that, I kid you not, consists of a pair of legs, an impact-sensing ass, and a whack-a-mole mallet.

From steve lee on October 27, 2004 at 8:38 PM
J Dana, that FAO Schwartz has been closed for a while, so strike that anchor from the PointeOrlando list. I used to love going there, but the loss of FAO, combined with the downhill slide of X-S (though that whack-a-mole game sounds... um, stimulating) is going to keep me away for a while.
From J. Dana on November 2, 2004 at 1:33 AM
But if you had to choose between Pointe or Mercado, which would you choose? Pointe still has the great movie theaters, lots of cool stores...and I guess FAO Schwartz is actually in bankruptcy right now, which sucks, because that was one cool store.

Park tickets

Weekly newsletter

New attraction reviews

News archive