SeaWorld Floats – At Macy’s 87th Annual Thanksgiving Parade!

SeaWorld are braving the storm rather well, in fact better than many anticipated, despite many PR hurdles over the recent years.
This Thanksgiving, SeaWorld will be part of the big parade!
Not at the Magic Kingdom of course but in New York.

As a forerunner to SeaWorld’s 50th birthday celebrations next year, “A Sea of Surprises” float takes to the streets of the Big Apple this November Holiday, complete with rolling waves, penguins, fish and of course Orcas (Shamu to me and you!)

Catch Shamu ‘s float at Macy’s parade or watch live on NBC-TV and watch millions line the streets from 9am – Midday on November 28th 2013.

SeaWorld plans float for 2013 Macy's Parade

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Are Disney Playing Games With New Playmation?

Disney appear to have registered the trademark “Playmation” according to totalorlando.com.

I admit to being unsure how to check their claims, but the same contactless RFID technology that Disney’s new Magicbands rely upon looks set to head its way into a number of toys and games according to their blog post.

Totalorlando confess that it is too early to tell just yet what the final brand will cover, but Disney appear to have covered everything but the kitchen sink in their application to register the trademark.
One theory that the author puts forward suggests that the Playmation products may become an extended version of the Vinylmation plastic Mickey figures.

If that is the case, RFID interactions in the resorts, theme parks and homes could become an amazing development as Disney work even harder to upsell their brand and engage customers in more elaborate and immersive ways.

The prospect of Vinylmation (Playmation) figures interacting with each other sounds awesome, and even better if kids take their favorite character inside WDW to literally be part of their vacation!

This could be VERY exciting!

A New Turtle Attraction Coming To SeaWorld?

According to the Theme Park Insider site, SeaWorld have just recently applied for a trademark under the name of “Yonaguni”.

Wow!  Big Deal!     (I hear you say, just as I kind of did!)

Robert Niles however, is a different kind of blogger than me, he digs and digs in the right places until he gets a result.  His research reveals that “Yonaguni” is one of the Western Islands of Japan, again nothing dazzling until we learn that the region is famed for a huge underwater rock formation that resembles a giant turtle.

At that point, I began to see some sense in the trademark.  I also realised, that the name is not just limited to SeaWorld, but potentially Aquatica, which is already slated to enjoy some hefty expansion programs over the coming years, possibly to double in size.

More realistically, it would be fair to assume that SeaWorld Parks will be getting some kind of new ‘Turtle based Show’ some time in the future!

Here’s the excerpt from the public filing:

IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Entertainment services in the nature of an animated television series for children; production of live-action and animated entertainment shows and interactive programs for distribution via audio and visual media, and electronic means; amusement park and theme park services; educational and entertainment services rendered in or relating to theme parks, namely, live stage shows, live amusement park shows, live performances by costumed characters, and presentation of live theatrical performances; presentation of live stage shows; theater productions

Disney CEO announces Magicbands for all Very Soon!

Disney’s $1.5 technology project is nearing its full roll out according to Chairman Bob Iger.

Speaking in front of analysts, he announced that the MyMagic+ system will be launched ‘very soon’, suggesting perhaps that we could expect to see all services up and running for all park guests in time for the very busy Christmas Holidays.

The whole purpose of the MyMagic+ system is to get guests to spend more, stay longer and eat more at Walt Disney Resort, so why miss a golden opportunity to make the most of the busiest season of the year?

Having tested the system out with 200,000 selected park and resort guests already, Disney should have enough performance data and corrective actions to get some fine tuning done over the fall.

For Disney, the maths is incredibly easy to justify such a huge ($1.5bn) spend.
Imagine that the turnstiles ‘click’ 47 million times a year at Walt Disney World alone.
To get a payback, Disney need to persuade each park guest to spend $32 per person extra and they have their money back in one year!
While $32 might seem ambitious, perhaps bear in mind, that is per park day, and their marketing starts long before you arrive at the resort, with add ons, promotions and offers such as their Disney Dining Plan.  Add in a few extra sodas, a snack and a gift, which are all much easier to buy thanks to the ‘ever ready’ wrist bands and you are set to make Disney’s dreams come true!

Just be very careful that you don’t overspend on your next Disney vacation!

Disney Stamp Out Disability Access Cheating

I can’t begin to imagine how frustrated parents of disabled kids must feel when clearly ‘able’ guests take their place in the disability access lines at Walt Disney World.

Disney are kind.  Yes they take our dollars, up the prices and over charge for burgers, but, they are without doubt one of the kindest businesses to deal with in the USA.

Sadly, thanks to a bunch of idiotic people that offered ‘able’ guests access to their parks, including the entitlements to quick line access into attractions, Disney have been forced to fully review their disabled access policies.

Disney have announced that an upcoming change is due shortly, but the precise details remain unknown at this point.

Disney have announced that the ‘Guest Assistance Cards’ will be phased out from October 8th 2013.  A new ‘Disability Access Service Card’ will be introduced and will offer a different method to the existing ‘walk-on’ privilege that guests had enjoyed.

Soon guests will be given a return time based upon the line wait at their time of arrival.
Once they return at that time, they may walk up front and enjoy the attraction.

My Opinion

Firstly, I have no experience with Disability Access.  I’m not in a great place to offer accurate comments, however it is fair to say, that a system that worked very well for disabled guests was being severely abused by guests that were clearly able to wait in line, but chose to be selfish instead.

The new system appears to be as good as Disney can get it right away.  They had to do something.  Sadly, having to visit an attraction, leave the attraction, and return some time later, is no mean feat if you are pushing your friend’s or family member’s wheelchair.

I note that Disney will be watching and learning quickly once the new system is in place, so rest assured, guests will get a better chance to access the attractions fairly as an ‘improved system’ is fine tuned over the coming weeks.

Disney is a kind business to its guests, but abuse of their kindness always means that someone less fortunate suffers if they need to clamp down.

My thoughts?  Don’t abuse Disney by seeking advantage when you don’t deserve it!
My real thoughts?  I simply daren’t tell you what I feel about those that abuse the systems because they are too lazy to wait in line!

SeaWorld Invest in A ‘Treadmill’ for their Killer Whales

Heavily under fire from the press, SeaWorld appear to be doing as much as possible to offer their performing killer whales a better environment.

Since the ‘Blackfish’ Movie, even die hard fans of SeaWorld like my family, are finding it tough to accept that its not time for change at this gorgeous marine life park in Orlando.
Sure, we are guilty  of sitting high up in the dry zone on those Shamu Stadium bleachers, and at times had a tear in my eyes during the ‘Believe’ version of the show, but never for one minute did I think about the conditions endured by the animals.

I’m a fairly intelligent person aren’t I?  (I’m asking myself that by the way haha!)
How on earth did I not accept that the animals had to endure some intense training in order to perform those tricks that ranged from high speed leaps, down to a simple, shake of the head?
In this day and age, there’s no place for that kind of animal performance, and that seems likely to change the course of SeaWorld’s parks forever.

Would I still like to see the Orcas at SeaWorld?  Of course.
A thoughtfully designed environment, great viewing areas and a change of policy as to how inmates qualify to be part of the SeaWorld team and I think that there is a recipe for success!

Hopefully the recent news that SeaWorld are developing a ‘Treadmill’ for the Killer Whale zone is a sign of the future.  Leaving a load of guests to peer into a still tank, might not inspire SeaWorld enough to change their format, but, if this high volume wash of water can stimulate the killer whales, we might just have the small beginnings of a truly magnificent viewing area that can show these beautiful creatures their full glory, albeit in captivity.

If it does work, the wary public will be happier accepting that they are going to see the beautiful creatures ‘having fun’ rather than forcibly engaged in head nods and other unnatural activities that we have sadly become so accustomed to enjoy.

Please don’t get me wrong, please don’t boycott this beautiful park, I’m no animal rights activist, just a normal family guy with a blog.
Please support SeaWorld, take your kids and enjoy and make the most of what is going on right now, before it all changes forever and for the better!

 

Disney ‘Foodtopia’ Event looks set to be a regular thing?

From October the 1st Downtown  Disney looks set to be one of the hottest places on the dining circuit as Disney work a little harder to boost attendances at this already popular dining and shopping area in Walt Disney World.

The concept is familiar to Orlando regulars during fall.

It very much mirrors the Orlando wide ‘Magical Dining’ program that fills restaurants for $33 per person for an amazing 3 course meal during September.

Disney’s Foodtopia follows in many ways, it lasts a month (October in Disney’s case), select restaurants are participating, and a special ‘prix-fix’ menu for the event runs alongside the regular offerings.
Disney have also borrowed the a similar price point, and in fact at $30, they are a few dollars less than the Magical Dining’s $33!
I bet the ‘Disney Bashers’ don’t thank them though!

Amazingly, Disney have pulled out the stops in their restaurant offerings, and from the list of 8 participating locations in Downtown Disney, only the Raglan Road is notable in its absence!

Bongo’s Cuban Café, House of Blues, Paradiso 37, Planet Hollywood, Portobello, Splitsville Luxury Lanes and Wolfgang Puck Café make up the list of 7 for $33, and Fulton’s Crab House thunders in with a whopping $60 for a 3 course.

Sure Fulton’s is great, but our thoughts are that the saving just isn’t enough to justify going there instead of one of those that are offering some amazing dishes for just $30!

Is there a catch?  You bet!

All you need to do is find a table between 5:30pm and 7:30pm, and believe me, that is not going to be as easy as you think during this crazy Disney Dining Offer!

If you’d like to book a table for the Downtown Disney Foodtopia season during October 2013, call 407 WDW DINE