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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 – Disney Year in Review

2009 was an odd year. Instead of facing the normal news and stories normally associated with Disney we got hit time and time again with shocking news or news that didn’t fit Disney.

The year started poorly. Disney fired people left and right. No one was safe. From the top to the bottom people lost their jobs. Disney cut down to the bone and then got out the hack saw.

Disney cleaned their movie studio with a vengeance. Forget about service, loyalty, or longevity. None of it mattered. Things were going to change. The movies weren’t the only segment to change. The parks also saw their saw change with the heads of some of the parks being changed.

Other things changed that Disney couldn’t control. Roy E. Disney is gone leaving a huge void in the Disney community. Wayne Allwine, man who voiced Mickey Mouse also passed away this year. That kind of ran under the radar but was none the less a big loss. A lot of people forgot the connection between Disney and Britney Murphy. She was announced as the voice of Tinkerbell.

Some things changed but as the same time didn’t change. Disney raised prices again. Who’s shocked about that? They’ve done that every year. You can set your watch by it. The less for more mentality continued to dominate the business plan. Disney also pushed DVC hard this year. We saw two new DVC resorts spring up at existing resorts. That left me wondering when the Poly is going to get a DVC update. Don’t laugh it will happen.

The Tree House Villas made a comeback. They sound cool but they are too expensive for me. If you got a bunch of people together it might be worth it.

Some classic rides changed this year. Space Mountain got an overhaul. It may not have been up to peoples expectations but it was still a great enhancement. The Tomorrow Land Transit Authority also got an overhaul. Visually this was a good enhancement but many people have complained that the sound track cannot be compared to the original and really took a lot away from this ride.

Also in the ride change category was Stich. Stich was force fed to us once again. The first instance was his Supersonic Celebration. I’ve had sneezing fits that lasted longer than this attraction. If there was ever an attraction that DOA it was this one.

The American Idol Experience opened. I was happy about this because when this is showing the crowds will be less wherever I’ll be. Yes you couldn’t pay me to see this attraction but I enjoy anything that reduces my wait in line somewhere else.

Fantasmic was cut down to two nights a week. All I have to say about that is BOOOOO! I’ll never see it now.

Kim Possible exploded onto the World Showcase. People seem to like but I haven’t had a chance to experience this yet. I might try it on my next trip.

Disney decided to slap many people in the face and come out with its own official fan club. D23 hit and left a ton of people wondering: why would you pay that much to join? D23 could be huge but until Disney remembers a few of the classic business tricks it’ll stay a source of contention and not generate any where near the revenue that it could. The one thing people seemed to like about D23 was the expo. That was great if you were in or could afford to go to California. For everyone else, go pound sand.

2009 also had a lot of odd or shocking news. The biggest splash was Disney buying out Marvel. It made me wonder where that came from. It seemed to happen overnight. It’ll be fun to see what happens in the next year as far as Marvel is concerned.

Another shocking event was the monorail accident. It truly was shocking. Some people didn’t think so but when you consider how many people have ridden the monorail over the last three decades and when you consider there had never been a fatality, it was shocking. If you do the math you find out that the monorail is a safer form of transportation than walking.

The Fantasy Land expansion was announced. It got leaked in advance but it still shocked a lot of people because of the size and scope of the project. I still can’t wrap my head around the sheer size of the new land. It’s hard to imagine.

The final shocker I’ll mention was the lady who sued Disney for making her stand in line to ride the Tower of Terror. If you didn’t hear about this one, let me give you some of the details. The plaintiff claimed the Tower of Terror is therapeutic to her condition and prevents her from having to have surgery. Her condition is a stomach ailment. Most people find the Tower of Terror to worsen an ailing stomach but not her.

In movies Up exploded and proved all the critics wrong. G-Force fell flat and showed money and a famous movie icon doesn’t make a successful movie. Not learning their lesson at all A Christmas Carroll fell even flatter when compared to its cost. The Princess and the Frog proved to be one of the most underrated movies in recent memory and for some reason people didn’t go out to see it in the throngs you’d expect. The 20,000 Leagues prequel was canned but a remake of the Black Hole was green lighted. Don’t think about that too long or you’ll get a nose bleed.

Buy 4 get 3 free was a huge success and drained a lot of the crowds out of the summer season. The free dining wasn’t as big of a hit because people didn’t see it as a value anymore. Despite that fact the crowds during December were higher than predicted.

“What Will You Celebrate?” was the promotion of the year. I really didn’t care too much for this promotion. It cost more than the “Year of a Million Dreams” and it seemed like people got less from it. If you couldn’t go on your birthday you really got nothing out of this.

There were a ton of other things that happened this year too. One could go on for pages and pages covering all of it. I’ll leave that up to Ricky Brigante. His 4+ hour podcast that was released through Inside the Magic covered everything.

In the end this year was a mixed bag. Not good but not bad either. Hopefully next year will be better.

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