Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee, it's Round-Up day for me! The MiceChat Round-Up brings you the latest news and discussions on Disney and theme parks. What a wild and wacky weekend it was! The D23 Expo came and went and there is tons to talk about regarding the future of both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Al got an earful during his Expo booth appearances about the many problems attendees were having at the event, he took your questions to D23 and has answers for you. Now, although they were left out of the convention, we get info on the Toy Story Midway Mania construction in Tokyo and an update from Hong Kong. But that's not all. There's even news from the Queen Mary's Dark Harbor, discussion of who will end up in the Knott's Hanging this year, and much much more. Have fun! - CakvalaSC
New Partner statue for DCA shown
Ever since the DCA Rehab was announced, some different artistic renderings of a DCA Walt and Mickey statue were released, and after a long wait, the final design for the new statue was announced. See it here!
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As I mentioned in my last post in MiceChat's D23 forum during the Expo this past weekend, I got an earful from many of you stopping by the MiceAge/MiceChat booth about the problems you were experiencing during the event. The questions tended to fall into a few categories, which I summarized, and then relayed to Jeffrey Epstein, the Disney Geek. He was quick to respond with what the folks at D23 had to say (despite dealing with everything involved in dismantling such a huge event). I've added a note or suggestion with any other info I could locate on the subject...
Al - Q. Why were the smaller stage events, such as the Van Dyke and any of the Lasseter panels not moved to the bigger arena and/or offered in overflow areas with TVs? Maybe some of these events should be offered later for members only as online videos?
D23 - A. Given space and scheduling constraints, we did our best to maximize the seating and spaces available to us. For example, we expanded Stage 23 from 750 seats to over 1,000 seats to accommodate demand for certain presentations. For future events, we are looking into alternate viewing opportunities as well as various overflow and waiting time solutions.
(Al - Note/Suggestion: One of the reasons you may not see complete video online of the panels has to do with union rules and copyrights, generally any use of this material beyond the one time or excerpts might involve additional and rather steep royalty/performance payments. That shouldn't be a problem though if they just pass on a live feed to other viewing areas. While limiting of seating at popular panels may also be part of a broader plan to increase sales of premium access programs, (my educated guess here) I think they could still accomplish meeting their sales goals for such a program by offering backstage meet and greet access to performers or personalities instead of limiting seating.)
Q. D23 was very slow to notify people in line as to when an event was full, so time was lost not being able to better utilize the time waiting somewhere else. (Oddly enough most people understood the Comic-Con long lines, they were just very upset they were not given capacity info quickly.)
A. By adding the D23 Expo app and the @D23Expo Twitter account—in addition to consistent audio announcements throughout the venue—we worked hard to make sure guests knew when panels were full. The guest control teams walked the lines to let people know if they were guaranteed a seat, in stand-by or if the line was full.
(Al - Note/Suggestion: Many attendees noted the app was not very helpful. Designed as a web browser to an online event schedule (likely so it could be updated much more quickly), this configuration may have introduced other problems. Also venue announcements were difficult to hear, and many people tend to tune them out after a while. Many attendees also noted the lack of informed staffers which appeared to be an increasing problem on both Saturday and Sunday. One suggestion? Video screens were seen in many places were all showing promotional material, with smaller breaks in the feed showing that days' schedule. Why not dedicate one display in each cluster for continuous schedule and capacity notifications?)
Q. The event appeared to be flooded with discount or free tickets on Saturday. I understood ABC made a buy to support the event, maybe that should be clarified?
A. D23 partnered with local and regional TV/radio stations on a few promotions providing viewers and listeners the chance to win tickets to the Expo. Disney cast members and employees were able to purchase tickets at a discounted price, which was subsidized by Disney.
(Al - Note/Suggestion: While one suggestion may be that free/comp or discount tickets should have reduced/no access to limited seating venues (CM's excepted?); another suggestion would be that at least charter/regular D23 members should get priority for line-ups.)
Q. The glacial transaction processing at the stores, in particular the Treasures store upstairs, was an issue. (And the seemingly endless supply of what had been promised as limited edition previous event merch there.) Do note Mattel offered a pre-pay voucher fast pick up system for two items that was a huge hit with folks.
A. We were obviously thrilled that guests responded positively to the items we were offering in the Treasure Trove. And we definitely will be looking at improving the transaction process for the next Expo.
(Al - Note/Suggestion: As I understood it, the problem in the Treasures store involved having to enter UPC numbers manually, as apparently nothing they stocked could be scanned by a barcode reader. The Mattel booth pre-sales were a big hit with attendees, who should also let D23 know about how they feel about the continuing availability of merchandise promised or sold as limited editions.)
Q. Gawd-awful food – although the service was noted as good.
A. We were not responsible for food services presented at the convention center.
(Al - Note/Suggestion: After asking around a bit more I understand this is an issue for all companies in booking events there, and it may be the same across the country in other venues. The Anaheim Convention Center won't negotiate on this point. I wonder how much more business they could welcome with a more flexible policy?)
Q. The upper level premium package holders were paraded publicly into the venues before the events leading to some uncomfortable moments between them and the regular admission folks later on.
A. This will be addressed for the next D23 Expo.
Again I want to thank Jeffrey (the Disney Geek) for his quick follow-up on the questions we had for D23.
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One of the new Bobsleds was being tested on the Matterhorn! D23 unveiled what DCA's Walt and Mickey statue will look like, and also has spurred some controversy with a couple of announcements for Disneyland's Hub area. And we have some extraordinary photos from around Disneyland, and front row seats for Soundsational! ~ Aladdin
Mac Daddy's 2011 Summer Photo Thread
The best keeps getting better, if that was even possible. Mac Daddy returns with a fantasmagorical photo report!
Mickey's Soundsational Parade
Almandot has a wonderfully edited video of Soundsational, for us!
Testing new Materhorn Bobsleds right now!!
Take a look here for a look at the new bobsleds, as they are being tested on the Matterhorn!
Koutesu's Trip 2011-The Video!
Koutesu has a few videos from their recent excursion to Disneyland and the surrounding area!
Jolly Holiday Bakery Confirmed
The popular Carnation Cafe will be expanding into the current Blue Ribbon Bakery, and the Blue Ribbon Bakery will open with an expanded menu in the Plaza Pavillion, however the new name is causing controversy, as it will not be called the Plaza Pavillion, nor will it be called Blue Ribbon Bakery. Read up here, and find out how this location will be losing the USA theme!
New Fantasy Faire Experience coming to Disneyland!
Princess Fantasy Fair will be moving out of the Fantasyland Theater, and out of Fantasyland's current border, into the Carnation Garden Stage area. Yes, that means another part of Main Street USA will be going away. More details in this topic!
Best rides to experience at night?
Some attractions have a different atmosphere after the sun goes down. Stolen Moments asks which is your favorite night experience at the Disneyland resort!
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Well, the Expo is over for another 2 years, but that doesn't mean there isn't anything to talk about until then. Let's see what people are talking about in the Walt Disney World forum. ~yoyoflamingo
There are plans to fix the Yeti on Expedition Everest
Quentin shares with us word from the Imagineers that the Yeti will be fixed, albeit in a modified form. Thankful for the change; or will you complain it wasn't done sooner?
Flags- Who do I ask?
Drac asks who he can get in contact with regarding flying a flag above the parks in some capacity? Come read his story, offer advice, and thank him for his service here.
Video of what Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster will look and feel like
Straight from the D23 Expo, here's a video of a virtual ride through of the upcoming Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster Train. Looks pretty good!
Romantic dinner and beach trip
For a honeymoon in Walt Disney World, where are some romantic dinners and places to spend time with a special someone?
HKDL Halloween 2011 Plans
HKDL adds a haunted circus to this year’s fantastic Halloween lineup. A great CGI miniseries about Halloween at the park is being released episode-wise to market the event.
Hong Kong Disneyland Construction
A new video shows progress on the construction of HKDL’s 3 upcoming lands with Toy Story Land gearing for an opening in the coming months.
SHDL Enchanted Storybook Castle Revealed
Shanghai Disneyland’s massive castle is finally revealed in a animated video shown to D23 attendees.
TDS Toy Story Mania Construction
Mcstewart37 brings us a update on the Toy Story Mania construction!
Major TDR website update
TravisMT81 reports about how the TDL has updated their website!
On va · Disneyland!
MactheMan has a unique look and review of their recent trip to Disneyland Paris!
Queen Mary's Dark Harbor: Interview with talent Director David Wally
Haunt fans will want to read this interview of one of the creative forces behind the Queen Mary's Dark Harbor.
Who will be in the Hanging 2011?
Speculation abounds as Rocker poses this question about this popular show at Knott's Scary Farm.
D23 has come and gone and is the talk of Disney Business this week. With so much that went on at the expo, be sure to check out the D23 Live sections in the D23 forum to catch up on the exhibits and panels that took place this weekend. ~DLandFansAZ
What were the hits of the D23 Expo? Was there anything there that was phenomenal and you are glad you didn't miss? Share your insights and see what other have to say was the best of this year's expo.
Not everything thing can be the best. So what were the things at this year's D23 Expo that just didn't meet up to your expectations?
Al's D23 Expo Observations
MiceAge Columnist Al Lutz shares his observations from the expo.
Two weeks to go!
Coconut Wireless takes us on an inside look of the soon to open Disney's Aulani Resort. Be sure to check out the link to the pictures at the bottom of the article.
Beach Boy Brian Wilson's songs 'In the Key Of Disney' coming Oct. 25!
Radiobarry brings us news that Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and now solo act is releasing a new album of Disney Favorites.
Swensen's Ice cream Coming to O.C
Watch out Farrell's You have some competition moving in!
8/22: Mega Disney World Construction Update
Construction, construction, construction! That is the theme of the week as photos of all your favorite Disney World and Orlando parks are featured today. From Halloween to Tinker Bell's Magical Nook, there's something for everyone to see in today's update. Fantasyland construction has really come a long way. You can really see where the project is headed. Tinkerbell has a fancy new meet and greet location. Howl-O-Scream construction. SeaWorld trip report. Universal Studios update and much more in store today.
8/22: Jolly Holiday Bakery, Buena Vista Street Storytellers, Fantasy Faire +MORE!
Over the course of the last week, Disney announced two significant projects for Walt Disney's original Magic Kingdom, including upgrades and improvements to the dining offerings along Main Street, U.S.A and a highly-themed new princess meet-and-greet area at the edge of Disneyland's Central Plaza. These projects are already starting as work continues on the major construction in Cars Land and demolition in Sunshine Plaza across the way at Disney California Adventure.
8/19: D23 Expo Live Coverage
Join us all weekend as we bring you live coverage from Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim, California. Live blogs, comments and photos from the Expo floor, pavilions, panels, sessions and more. Find out what's coming to the Disney parks, movies, TV, consumer products, and all divisions of the Disney Company. Our regular weekend columns In The Parks, Weekend Update, and Vacationeering will all return next week so we can focus on bringing you the most comprehensive coverage from the D23 Expo.
8/17: From The Library: SAMLAND Reviews Three Essential Disney Books
It's been a long Summer. Time to slow down and read a good book. Join Sam as he pulls three essential Disney books off the shelf. One about Walt's brother Roy, One about Walt and Disney trivia, and the last one an interesting look at Disneyland past and present. Let's turn some pages, shall we.