Roundtable Contributors: Alan Mize, Blake Taylor (BlakeOnline.com), Andrew (Disney Hipsters Blog), and yours truly.
Blake Taylor (BlakeOnline.com)
Walt Disney Animation Studios is going super with its just-announced November 2014 feature, Big Hero 6, based on a little-known Marvel comic series. Set in a make-believe city colliding the aesthetics of San Francisco and Tokyo, Big Hero 6 involves a little boy and his robot teaming up with a group of superheroes to fight evil. It will be the first Marvel property to be adapted by Disney Animation.
Laughing Place introduces an intriguing question: Will Disney be able to do anything with Big Hero 6 in WDW? A contract states that even though Disney now owns Marvel, Universal Orlando has sole rights to anything Marvel-related in Florida. Disney has gotten away with small things like the Avengers monorail wrap, but WDW will not likely ever have any big-budget attractions utilizing Marvel characters because of this contract. But what about a franchise that's never been used in any capacity by any theme park company before like Big Hero 6? Where is the line drawn for what Disney is allowed to do? Character meet & greets are habit in the parks for new films, not only for promotional reasons but also to welcome new faces to the Disney family.
While surely the presence of characters in the parks doesn't make or break a film's box-office success, the limitations of the Marvel deal for WDW could hinder the lasting imprint that Big Hero 6 could have had on the Disney legacy. If we can't even expect a parade float (much less an E-Ticket attraction) later on down the road if the film becomes a classic, the future is restricted for its reach beyond the silver screen.
Andrew (Disney Hipsters Blog)
Newly designed guide maps appeared at Disney World this week, the first major re-design in a few years. In addition to the new information provided the general 'look' of park landscape has been drastically revamped. For those of you familiar with the My Disney Experience app, these new maps have a very similar look. Much more sleek and less convoluted than before, I find the new layout very practical for day guests... though the photos and information section can get a little jumbled. One thing that seems a little strange is the exclusion of the new "Tangled toilets" soon to appear in Fantasyland... strange.
As if I wasn’t already excited enough about my next trip to Walt Disney World this October, I now have reason to grow more excited because details about the 2013 Food & Wine festival are starting to appear online. This week, Disney announced a few of the performers for the Eat to the Beat concert series including the Spin Doctors, the Go-Go’s, and Edwin McCain. They also name dropped a few of the celebrity chefs that will be doing demonstrations including Robert Irvine, Jamie Deen, and Rock Harper.
All of the bands and celebrity chefs are great, but let’s be honest: that’s not why we go to the Food & Wine Festival. We go for the food and the drinks. After all, it’s not called the music and celebrity chef festival. Thankfully, Disney is starting to let us know a little bit about the food as well. Brazil will be making a triumphant return to the festival after a one year vacation. Fan favorite Hawaii will be back again with their Kalua Pork Sliders, and those of you that are vegan have the Terra Booth offering up vegan dishes. New this year is a booth dedicated to Scotland. Color me intrigued. I’m definitely not an epicurean expert, but Scotland is not exactly the first place I think of when I think of delightful culinary creations. Aside from a flight of scotch samples, I am really stumped on the type of food they will offer up. Having said that, I’m excited to hear more about it and I am definitely open minded when it comes to food so I’m willing to give it a chance when I’m down there. This is one of the first announcements about this year’s festival, and I am looking forward to more announcements as autumn gets closer. I can’t wait to get down there to sample the various booths. Only 141 days to go.
Ryan P. Wilson (Main Street Gazette)
In a seemingly benign sense of news, Adventurers Outpost opened in Disney's Animal Kingdom this week. Pair this along with the construction taking place in Harambe that will give Festival of the Lion King a new home and we are a lot closer to a new land opening in the youngest of the parks. However, what the Adventurers Outpost brings to the park is far greater.
I visited the new outpost today, and it doesn't allow for a lot of guest room, but the line also moves quickly. Think about the set up with Town Square Theater and you're on the right track. There is a main waiting hall, filled with photographs from Mickey and Minnie's explorations, and a radio station that occasionally updates with comical reports from explorers in the field. There is a small waiting room next, and then it is into Mickey and Minnie's office with a map of the park, Mickey-sized gear, and bulletin boards.
The Adventures Outpost adds layers to the story that was once just a simple meet and greet, into a story that unfolds throughout the queue. It also gives the meet and greet a prime piece of real estate in the center of the park on Discovery Island, rather than in some distant land without much of a draw. With Goofy and Pluto already having set up shop in DinoLand, is it only a matter of time before we see Donald and Daisy with their own specialty meet and greet location in Disney's Animal Kingdom?