Written by Russell Meyer
Published: December 22, 2004 at 10:52 PM
There’s finally some news out of Sea World California as two stories break in the course of a week. On Tuesday morning, the newest killer whale was born, the 19th calf born at a Sea World Park. The new calf has yet to be given a unique name, but can be seen at shamu.com. It’s amazing how well Sea World takes care of their animals, and how successful they have been as a model marine biology institution.
In other news, the California park announced that the new sea lion and otter show will open on March 19, 2005. The new show will be titled Clyde and Seamore in Deep, Deep Trouble, and will follow the two mischievous sea lions on a submarine voyage. The Clyde and Seamore shows have become Sea World trademarks, and are highly entertaining. In fact, I find the sea lion shows to be even more entertaining than the dolphins and the Shamu shows. It sounds like this new show will not disappoint.
Disney, Kermit, and Mariah Carey?
Everyone is probably aware of Disney’s purchase of the Muppets and most of Jim Henson’s empire in February. Disney will soon be capitalizing on their investment by giving some of the most beloved children’s characters of all time the exposure they deserve. The exposure of the Muppets will be equal to that of Winnie the Pooh, as Kermit and his friends will be seen just about everywhere you see a pair of Mickey ears. Movies, TV appearances, and even the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade are just a few of the places Disney is pushing the Muppet brand. They even look to take advantage of the Muppet Baby characters on the Disney Channel. The Muppets are truly great characters, and its wonderful to see them marketed again after a very long hiatus. Aside from old films, Sesame Street, and Muppetvision 3-D, the Muppets had nearly vanished from public view. Now if Disney could only revive the greatest Jim Henson characters - The Fraggles!
That’s right, even MTV can provide theme park news as Mariah Carey has been announced as a feature performer in the annual Walt Disney World Christmas Parade. She will sing (lip-sync) two songs along the parade route which will be aired on ABC, go figure, on a Christmas Day telecast hosted by, you guessed it, Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa. The parade will also feature performances (lip-sync and dance numbers) by Ashanti, Kelly Clarkson, Diana Degarmo, Wynonna, and Shedaisy. Maybe I shouldn’t have given Universal such a hard time for their selection of David Lee Roth for New Year’s Eve, because Disney’s Christmas Parade line-up is even more nauseating.
Universal Beats Disney to the Punch
Universal Studios Japan has announced the new attractions that will be added for Spring 2005. The former Wild Wild West Stunt Show will be replaced with the “Snoopy Action Stage” featuring the Peanuts characters. The park will also add a new parade including Hello Kitty, an incredibly and universally popular animated character celebrating her 30th anniversary. The park is also planning to add a new attraction called Fullmetal Alchemist based on the anime series of the same name. Anime is really beginning to make an impact around the globe. For those who haven’t been in a Best Buy in a while, almost 1/3 of the DVD section is devoted to Anime movies and series. Disney does own a number of anime franchises, including the distribution rights to a number of movies by Miyazaki. These might provide fodder for attractions that would be popular in both the U.S. and abroad.
Now this is what I call the most important vote of the year!
Which is the better movie: Toy Story or the Black Cauldron?
Which is the best attraction at Disneyland? Pirates of the Caribbean or Winnie the Pooh?
Which is your favorite attraction in "A Bug's Land?"
If you had the choice between using your money to cure cancer, or buying 7-day "Magic Your Way" tickets for your entire family, which would you do? Would your answer change if they were old Length of Stay passes instead?
I could go on all day....
Merry Christmas all.
Anime does NOT always have half dressed women and violence just watch "Spirited Away."
The reason people seem to think it does is that the Genre is NOT children only and CAN have adult themes. Only in the US and to a lesser extent Europe, is Animation considered a children only art form.
Again, if there is one quality that distinguishes great theme parks and great attractions, it is storytelling. Disney, indeed, any theme park company, should be looking for great storytellers, especially those working in independent media and for smaller companies who dream of the chance to work with a larger budget and for greater pay. Forget the medium for a moment. Find those great storytellers, and brainstorm with them new adventures that might work in a theme park environment. The best storytellers will create something great and unique and, quite possibly different than anything they've done before.
I love how serious all the folks were about making sure it really seemed like it was live on Christmas Day. Anyone check out the weather in Orlando on Christmas? Wow, it was the rainiest day of the entire month! But the high was still 63 degrees, which of course explains why everyone was bundled up (at least they avoided sunburn!).
How about the establsihing shot of the park they used? Hey, what's all the water back there in Fantasyland? How long has it been since the 20K lagoon was drained?
Look, it's the army men from Toy Story!! Oh, my mistake, it's the army men from the "Disney Production of the Pixar animated film Toy Story." The idea that someone could spontanteously say that sentence and not bust into laughter amazes me.
Or how about when they went over to see what's happening at Animal Kingdom "for the holidays?" The two minute bit, while it did showcase the Kilmanjaro Safaris and Dinosaur attraction, somehow forgot to have anything whatsoever to do with the holidays.
Wow. Magical Gatherings. Give it up, guys.
And, the most amazing thing about the whole "parade:" Where the hell was George Lopez?
So yeah. I taped it.
Then again, now that they've plastered the entrance to WDW with that crap, maybe they figure they got their point across.
Snoopy Action Stage? No offense to the late great Charles Schulz, but I don't think the Peanuts have enough action in them to do a live show (unless the full fifteen minutes feature Snoopy fighting the Red Baron--and even then, you just see him sitting on top of his doghouse).
News of a Fullmetal Alchemist attraction is hot stuff, however. The anime recently made its US debut on the Cartoon Network during Adult Swim and is drawing quite a crowd here in the States. Doubt we'll ever see a clone, though... what a rip. Although our Universal Orlando Beetlejuice show was retooled using the Japanese version as a basis, so maybe there's a chance? Depends on how hot the Fullmetal Alchemist attraction is... it might fit in cozy in The Lost Continent at IOA.