following essay was produced as part of my 2013 effort for the
November National Novel Writing Month effort. As such, please
understand that while I did give it a quick review, it has not
gone through the same proofreading and editing I normally try
to give all of the material posted on this site.
always make some mistakes. There are errors to be found throughout
this web site, and many exist despite dozens of attempts to correct
problems. That said, ask that you approach this material in the
spirit intended – a basic thought, slightly worked out and very
informally researched, delivered in the hopes of writing more
than 50,000 words by the end of November.
~ ~ ~
may have heard that over the past few years, Disney has made some
significant and substantial moves in multiple industries. As examples…
Marvel Entertainment and LucasFilm have been purchased since
2009. Disney spent, according to most reports, just shy of $9
billion for these acquisitions. The deal with LucasFilm included
both the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises.
should mention Pixar. Around 2006, Disney purchased Pixar. They
had worked together releasing Pixar films up until that point.
But, with the contract essentially done, and some words going
back and forth (not important for this essay, especially given
the ultimate results), Disney spent more than $7 billion on
came to an agreement with James Cameron and his group to bring
Avatar to Disney World and the Animal Kingdom theme
park. This should prove to be a huge arrival for a park that
is incredible, gets plenty of visitors, but really could use
an exciting addition.
more-or-less response to Harry Potter arriving in Orlando at
Universal Studios? Well… the direct response appears to have
been the overhaul and expansion of Fantasyland in the Magic
Kingdom. (But… yeah… don’t discount that Avatar news
being a part of that response, or even the whispers of Star
Wars heading in to expand the Hollywood Studios. Still…
major response… Fantasyland.)
there are other things…
right now is at an interesting point. (Though I suppose Disney
last theme park built in Disney World was the Animal Kingdom,
which opened in 1998. The last theme park built in the United
States by Disney was the California Adventure, which opened in
2001. The 15+ years since the Animal Kingdom opening, and the
12+ years since the California Adventure opening, reflect the
longest stretches of time without a new Disney Park either for
Orlando or the U.S. since Disney World opened in 1971.
yet… parks are being built, such as in China.
is releasing multiple movies each year… Iron Man and
Thor had franchise entries in 2013, with Captain
America and the new Guardians of the Galaxy heading
to the screen in 2014.
could be a big hit… though that is still to be determined. This
film is being regarded with interest as a potential true return
to animation significance for Disney. Plus, Pixar is beginning
work on sequels for Finding Nemo and, rumors… rumors…
rumors… for Cars and The Incredibles.
say whatever you want about The Lone Ranger, the movie
studio offerings appear strong.
all of those details bring us back to the general concept of the
title of this little essay (a play on the words of Yoda). When
Disney arrives at the party, everyone knows they are in the room.
All reports indicate that Universal Studios experienced a HUGE
bump in attendance at Islands of Adventure (and a more modest
gain, but still good gain, at their original Orlando park). And
yet, HUGE gain included, Islands of Adventure is apparently
still shy of 8 million annual visitors.
does that mean? Consider…
Studios and Animal Kingdom both seem to clear 9.5 million visitors
each year, and have cleared that mark each year going back to
2008. (I didn’t go back any earlier in my not-to-exhaustive
sure… Epcot… that park clears 10 million per year.
the Magic Kingdom? Well… the two Universal theme parks of Islands
of Adventure and Universal Studios Orlando combined
don’t reach what the Magic Kingdom does each year on its own.
Disney World’s original park regularly clears 17 million guests,
and could conceivably approach 18 million as the new Fanstasyland
is mostly open and nears its completion in 2014.
in the near future… Star Wars is ramping up for a yearly
presence in movie theaters… Marvel is considering expanding to
three and possibly even four major films each year… and we aren’t
even going down the road of what might happen next with Pixar,
Pirates of the Caribbean, and that little talked about
but still in the background Indiana Jones property… we
aren’t considering that they run the ABC family of television
networks (which, oh yeah, involves ESPN)… and, sure, The Muppets
run out of Disney as well.
easy to look at the House of the Mouse and not really understand
how strong of a presence this company has.
when you hear all the hoopla surrounding Harry Potter and the
Wizarding World and ginormous attendance and jumps in sales of
theme park merchandise, you would even believe Universal is closing
ground by the hour and ready to contend with Disney.
hear about the money spent on blockbuster underperformers, and
you might believe that the movies will need to really watch budgets
and reduce their release numbers.
either light up the sky as an industry leader, or, every so often
fizzle and pop with projects that don’t deliver major dollars.
Far more often than not these days though… massive displays of
fireworks decorate the evening.
always goes big. And that normally means blazing trails and setting
standards for others to follow.