Walt Disney Co.’s theme-park and resort unit has coasted through months of mounting U.S. economic woes, but an expected decline in consumer confidence could hurt even resilient vacation spots like Walt Disney World.
In late July, company officials said September bookings at Disney’s U.S. resorts were on par with last year, and that bookings for the holiday season were slightly ahead.
The company hasn’t provided any updated booking information since then. But analysts and other industry observers expect the global economic situation to soften demand for rooms at the company’s resorts and attendance at its parks in early 2009.
So far this year, a weak dollar has succeeded in luring crowds of international visitors to Disney theme parks in Orlando, Fla., and Anaheim, Calif. During a July 30 conference call to discuss the company’s fiscal third-quarter earnings, Disney executives said that while overall attendance was down slightly at both parks, the business was generally defying predictions that it would be hit hard by high gasoline prices, the U.S. housing slump and general economic malaise.
“We aren’t immune to the challenging economy, but we continue to be pleased with the level of business activity we’ve seen so far,” Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger told analysts on the quarterly conference call. “The parks’ performance has been particularly noteworthy.”Mr. Iger added that visits to Walt Disney World area also are unlikely to be affected by a continuing reduction in airline-seat capacity, noting that less than 50% of visitors to Disney World arrive by plane, and those that do tend to book their seats early when seats are plentiful.
« READ MORE »
On IMDBâ€™s trivia section for â€œIron Man,â€ thereâ€™s a line stating that at some point in the flickâ€™s development, Tony Stark was supposed to fight his actual father, Howard Stark, and not father surrogate Obadiah Stane.
Not true, â€œIron Manâ€ screenwriters Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby told MTV News. Well, unless you mean that they would fight metaphorically. And inâ€¦â€Captain Americaâ€?
Could Howard Stark, of whom so little is known in the official Marvel canon, be one of the scientists responsible for creating Captain America, thus tying the shared universe that much closer together? Can you think of a MORE plausible scenario given what Fergus says below?
« READ MORE »
Sharon Stoneâ€™s suggestion that her 8-year-old son get Botox injections to rid him of smelly feet is just one of her many parenting overreactions detailed in court papers released the other day.
The 50-year-old actress was shot down last week by a San Francisco Superior Court judge when she sought to modify a 2007 custody decision that gave primary parenting duties for Roan to her ex-hubby, Phil Bronstein.
The court contended that Stone is a drama queen of a mother who has gone off the deep end over and over, and refused the â€œBasic Instinctâ€ starâ€™s request to move her son to Los Angeles for â€œbetter medical attention.â€
« READ MORE »
In this undated Metropolitan Police handout, x-ray images show how a teenage boy cheated death when a five inch knife was plunged into his head. The 16-year-old and two other young men were injured when they tried to stop a friend being robbed at a bus stop. He was rushed to hospital with the kitchen knife still stuck in his forehead after the attack in Walworth, south London.
Gerard Mortier, New York City Opera’s general-manager and artistic-director designate, announced today that the company has commissioned Philip Glass to compose a new opera based on the life of Walt Disney. The opera, titled The Perfect American, is scheduled to open the City Opera’s 2012-13 season, and will honor Philip Glass’s seventy-fifth birthday.
Based on Peter Stephan Jungk’s novel Der KÃ¶nig von Amerika, in which a fictional Austrian cartoonist recounts the unseemly final months of Walt Disney’s life, The Perfect American will be staged in a production by the Improbable theater company, which took part in the Metropolitan Opera’s recent presentation of Glass’s earlier opera Satyagraha. The Perfect American will be Glass’s twenty-fourth opera.
“The story of the last days of Walt Disney, American icon and creator of perhaps the most pervasive fantasy world on our planet, is surprisingly gripping and at times disturbing,” Glass said in a statement issued today by City Opera. “But, on the face of it, how could it be anything else? The pulse of his life has to be the pulse of our own American culture. And, like other aspects of life here, it is unimaginable, alarming, and truly frightening. I am looking forward to beginning these collaborations with Gerard Mortier at the New York City Opera.”