Prep and Landing

I know I have been gone a while…and a lot of major stuff has happened at The Walt Disney Company since then.  While I could talk about the Marvel acquisition, the D23 Expo, Dick Cook, Rich Ross, Jay Rasulo, or Tom Staggs, I want to talk about something small.  Elf size as the case may be. 

While it might be early to talk about Christmas, I figured the parks are already decorated so why not.  And what I am most excited about this holiday season.  While I enjoy the synergistic artistry of the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade (note the name change); I am more excited about another example of different business units working together.  Prep and Landing.

This new Christmas special was made by the folks at Disney Animation Studios and was conceived as a short by Bolt’s director Chris Williams.  But John Lasseter went across Riverside Drive and convinced ABC to air it as a holiday special along with ABC’s strong stable of other specials such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas.  (We won’t mention Shrek the Halls).  Listening to ABC’s Steve McPherson talk at D23, he didn’t take a lot of convincing on John’s part because the folks at ABC love Disney.

Now I found this interesting…and as I talked to more ABC folks, they told me that they feel integrated with Disney.  Now I am sure since the 1995 acquisition, there were many bumps in the road.  In fact, I’d venture to say that this integration didn’t happen until Bob took the reigns.  Why do I think this?  Well, Bob welcomed ABC employees, of which he was one, in to the Disney service award program.  And isn’t this type of collaboration one of the reasons Bob replaced Dick Cook with Rich Ross? 

There is no longer a separation between Disney and ABC.  And with great shows like V, Modern Family, and Lost, I am proud to be a Disney fan and I include ABC in that fandom.  If ABC is now a fully integrated part of The Walt Disney Company, how can I not?  I can only wonder how long it will be or if it will even be possible for the Marvel acquisition to reach the same level of collaboration.  While I don’t want Disney to ruin the creative culture of Marvel, I do hope they feel like a part of the Disney family. 

As far as the fruit of this integration turns out, you can judge for yourself when the special airs on December 1.  But I got to see the yet to be completed special at D23, and I can only say that I can’t wait to see Lanny and Wayne again. 

Quick Takes:

Parks and Resorts:  The giant gingerbread house opened at the Grand Floridian today.  Personally, I would rather have had the Lights of Winter.  But I might be biased because I hate gingerbread. 

Studio Entertainment:  Mary Poppins opened at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday and is running until February 7.  If you live in the area, check out this show.  I wanted to hate it, but I loved it.  Its not the movie, but it doesn’t turn its nose up to the film either. 

 Disney Interactive Media:  Speaking of Prep and Landing.  Here is’s site for the special.  In the recent earnings conference call, future Disney Parks Chairman mentioned that while this segment doesn’t generate a lot of operating income, it does support the rest of the company.   This is just one example. 

Consumer Products: Andy Mooney is going to be the buisness unit head with the most time in their position come January 1.  Andy has been in his role since May 2003 and has been with Disney since January 2000.  I hope he doesn’t start to feel bored in his role.  If he does, he could end up running ESPN. 

Video of the Day: I love this new Disney Parks holiday spot.  Almost as good as the classic Disneyland “Let’s go play” ad.

News from Around the Web:

ABC News:  ABC News is asking if GM will be spending taxpayer money on overseas operations.  The question I want answered is will GM spend taxpayer money on sponsoring an Epcot pavilion.  If so, I want access to the VIP lounge. 

NY Times:  The New York Times reports that GM lost $1.15 billion.  Perhaps they shouldn’t sponsor Test Track. 

USA Today: Sybase CEO, and Disney board member, John Chen shares his inside look on China’s influence.  Hmm, I wonder what his thoughts on Shanghai Disneyland are. 

 LA Times: The LA Times looks at the incredible legs of Disney’s A Christmas Carol.  The film retained  74.2 % of its opening weekend audience.  Somewhere, Dick Cook is on a train enjoying the last laugh. 

Orlando Sentinel:  The Orlando Sentinel looks at the changes to Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain.  Haven’t done it myself yet, but I can’t wait to give it a whirl.   

Variety:  The much maligned 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea remake has been beached.  Good move Mr. Ross…. Good move.