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Angry the Clown

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Everything posted by Angry the Clown

  1. Chapek quote regarding the forthcoming Genie app from yesterday's earnings call: "My Magic Plus was sticking our toe in the pond of this type of transformational work. Disney Genie is the program on steroids. This is going to revolutionize the experience. Guests are going to spend less time waiting and more time having fun in the parks with a dramatically-improved guest experience that's going to make their navigation of their day and planning of their day much easier. Essentially it is going to take the consumer preferences that we note from our consumers, given what we note from them and blend that with basically industrial engineering data in terms of how the park is operating that day and meld them together to make suggestions on the fly that not only will lead to the improved guest experience and lead to substantial commercial opportunities for us as the guest navigates their days."
  2. Hmm. That's a very odd glitch indeed. You might have better luck asking over at the L-Camera forum: https://www.l-camera-forum.com/index.php Have you got a Leica store near you at all?
  3. If you can be flexible about when in the year you'd go I think there are still some windows where crowds are not quite as obscene. It does seem true that there are no longer quiet seasons at Disney, which fascinates me as one has to wonder how so many families are getting their kids out of school outside of holiday times, but we tend to hear about the worst of it because more people like to go for Easter, Summer, October and Christmas. Aiming a trip between Spring break and Easter is what I have looked at in the past as there seems to be a tolerable window of opportunity there if you can time it just right, but I do sense that, no matter what time of year I pick, to get anywhere close to the more leisurely experience I was used to in the 80s and 90s would require a longer stay (which obviously means a more expensive holiday to allow for the time to fit in everything I'd want to do). If I take into account there being four Disney Parks I'd visit, and three Universal parks once Epic Universe opens, I'd personally want a minimum of twelve days really. A full two weeks would be better if I wanted to ensure that I could comfortably account for a trip to NASA and what I suspect will be a desperate want for chill out at the hotel/shopping days in my old age (I finally understand why my dad needed that kind of time in the years we'd go Florida together ) . For most international visitors I think it's perfectly fine to allocate a single day for each park, a day or two for park hopping between parks to catch things you missed or to re-ride some favourites, a day trip out to Kennedy Space Centre and a day for relaxing. So around ten days with that kind of itinerary would be sensible. I also think one thing I overlook as an adult considering going back is the opportunity to hit every park from opening until park closure. If you don't have really young kids with you then that freedom does still seem to give you an upper hand over many guests, so a lot of park hopping time to re-visit parks you've been to to re-ride something, or have a better chance of getting onto a ride with a shorter wait, could be done in the evenings. Even at Magic kingdom ride times plummet to next to nothing at the parks once the firework shows kick in at night. Unless I'm mistaken I think Universals parks close earlier than Disneys too as they don't stage the kind of nighttime events Disney do. That might change with Epic Universe, we'll see, but one could do their full days at Universal then Uber back to a Disney park to take advantage of quieter evening opportunities leading up to park closing. That's the kind of planning I can tolerate. It's the thought of actually choosing many of the Disney rides you want to get passes for in advance of even travelling, and worse, having to lock in where you want to eat and on what day so far in advance, that has really been a turn off for me as I want a greater opportunity for spontaneity. I respect things aren't going to be like they were for me three decades ago, but this almost military style assault one needs to adopt to visit Disney World these days remains the biggest turnoff to me. August/September seems like another decent bet for reduced crowds, but you're up against the risk of hurricane season. All my 80s and 90s visits were in August though. So I think there are still ways to make the trips tolerable as far as crowds are concerned. For me it's still more the expense of such a trip that I'd find the most concerning.
  4. I thought the paid fastpass discussion was good Disney Dish this week, and I thought Len was pretty frank about it there, but I know what you mean. Sometimes I wonder if Len has to be cautious on Disney Dish as from stories he has ultimately shared in the past it's clear his contacts at Disney do break NDA with him off the record on lots of stuff, which has to make it difficult for him to talk about things in the news that he'd love to say something about. I imagine it also must also be difficult if something makes it into the news/rumour mill that's not entirely accurate and he knows the actual details but can't share them. That may influence whether they opt to talk about something in their news segment or not. It's been good to hear him being openly critical of a lot of things going on. You'll catch his frustration and disappointment on Disney Dish here and there, but find him away from that show and he doesn't seem quite so restrained. I respect him for that as, obviously, that doesn't place him in Disney's good graces when it comes to press events which would typically be very valuable to someone like him who runs a site like Touring Plans.
  5. I really cannot recommend the latest episode of The Tomorrow Society Podcast enough. https://tomorrowsociety.com/len-testa-think-tank-podcast/ Len Testa's accumulation of data is fascinating, and he's very well connected at the parks to know the how's and why's behind the way management has shifted. He talks in great detail about many of the things we've been discussing so if you have 90mins to spare I'd consider it an essential listen (and, again, it's been my favourite parks podcast for a couple of years now since I first came across it. It's a brilliant archive of fantastic interviews with former parks imagineers, technicians and more).
  6. There's really no evidence right now of anything driving guests away. For as much as many of us might complain about some of the ways in which the company operates, I can't let the most rabid faction of the brand's fanbase entirely off the hook because in many respects those who rushed to sell out $200 Halloween event tickets in under an hour, during a deadly pandemic no less, are in many ways facilitating the company's behaviour. If there's one thing the pandemic has shown Disney, it's the amount of things they can get away with not doing anymore and still have people scrambling over themselves to visit. The majority of Bloggers and Vloggers do the general public no favours either as they will never be critical of the company because they get far too many press event perks for sharing only positive things about the parks and experiences. If Disney were to ever see negative effects of the changes they are currently implementing then I don't see it hurting their revenue for a couple of years as the parks are going to be fit to burst once COVID is truly behind us (assuming Florida can ever even get to that point). The next couple of years are likely to be highly lucrative for the parks even if customer satisfaction goes into decline as there's going to be that huge bounce from international travellers being able to get out there, and just a major uptick of travellers from all over the world in general who will have previously delayed their planned visits during the pandemic. You also have to factor in the first time/one time visitors will have no point of reference for what might be better or what might be worse about the experience today compared to ten, twenty or thirty years ago, but if they come away with some negative baggage then that word of mouth will spread over time. So, interestingly, if Disney are to see a hit to revenue and guest satisfaction it's probably going to begin to manifest right around the time Universal is ready to open Epic Universe. The one element that could see things blow up in their face sooner rather than later however could be triggered by staffing problems and whether they can refill enough positions in time for things returning to normal. They're struggling to get people back right now, and should anyone be surprised? Putting aside whether anyone would truly want to work at a venue with thousands of people passing through daily in the COVID capital of America, they laid off tens of thousands of staff (so called "Cast Members") from the parks last year when they could have placed them on furlough. What incentive does that give former employees to return (and they're already underpaid to begin with)? Cast Members, whether they're checking you into a hotel, helping you at the parks, cooking your food, cleaning your rooms...etc, deserve so much more respect as ultimately they're more invested in helping guests enjoy their visit than the company itself is. That assumes they're chasing new revenue streams as a means to expand future investment in the parks though, which really isn't the case. Despite COVID I'm not ready to believe that Disney are strapped for cash, and much of what we're seeing now has been in the works for a long time (the pandemic has merely fast tracked everything coming online). This is brought up in good detail in the podcast I mentioned above, but in many respects these new revenue options they are exploring are likely to give Disney less of an incentive to build new rides and attractions once you factor in the money they could make immediately off the implementation of pay to ride schemes, vs implementing those schemes on top of 200-300m losses they might make in investments for every new notable attraction they might decide to build. It would certainly be unfair not to acknowledge the investment the parks have received during Iger's tenure. Not counting Tokyo where Disney isn't responsible for the budget or management, at the parks elsewhere in the world there's been over a dozen major attractions built, an entire theme park in Shanghai, investment in trying to fix up California Adventure and similarly (soon) Disney Studios Paris, plus entire themed lands based on Star Wars, Radiator Springs, Toy Story and Avatar. And they didn't just build one Star Wars land, but two for twice the price! All that said, I do think there is a good argument to be made that the kind of investments they've put into new lands, attractions and hotels over the past decade is not nearly as bold or industry leading as they were at the height of Eisner/Wells era. I also have major questions with regard to how they end up spending quite as much money as they reportedly do on rides and themed lands these days too, particularly something like Tory Story Land which reportedly had a budget of $275m (higher according to some), while Universal completed Hogsmeade and Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey for around $165m back when it opened. Toy Story Land isn't an especially impressive or immersive land, and it partly incorporates an older ride that was already built and operational for the best part of a decade. Then there's the matter of just how long it takes Disney to build anything! Epcot's Guardians of the Galaxy coaster is now in its fifth year of construction, and still a year away from opening. While certainly the pandemic has slowed things down, let's not forget that vertical construction on Universal's Velocicoaster began in early 2020 and the ride opened to critical acclaim a little over a year later this past Spring. Two things in particular strike me when thinking about a lot of the new attractions we've seen as far as park crowding is concerned. 1) A good number of new rides have been replacements of existing ones, rather than additions to the parks. Consequently they haven't been able to help spread guests out more because capacity wise, little has actually changed. 2) Disney are no longer in the business of building rides of varying lengths anymore. In modern times Rise of the Resistance is certainly an outlier at around eighteen minutes, but the average for the company today is around four to four and a half minutes at most for the majority of attractions. As I wrote the other day, I was genuinely surprised that even the Na'vi River Journey turned out to be a sub-five minute attraction when Pandora opened. By comparison to other Disney boat rides, It's A Small World at Magic Kingdom is around fourteen minutes, and while Florida's Pirates of the Caribbean is notoriously short at just under right minutes compared to the sixteen minute original at Disneyland, you still see and experience a hell of a lot more than you do on the Na'vi ride. The Storybook Land Canal Boats ride at Disneyland is longer! So people are being spat back out into the streets, shops and queues for others rides quicker than they used to be as the average ride duration has become strikingly similar across the parks. I think crowding could also be eased by keeping they parks open for longer. The average park hours have declined over the past thirty years, and that's simply because Disney would sooner not have to pay for the staffing and operational costs to keep things running for longer.
  7. Second Sight are making good use of their relationship with Icon (4k discs of The Babadook, The Guest, a recent Blu-ray of Paranormal Activity, plus we know they're working on the UK 4K edition of Drive). It'd be great if they did UHDs of The Nice Guys and It Follows someday too, both of which belong to Icon in the UK. Icon also recently acquired the UK rights to the first Austin Powers, and they did release a Blu-ray themselves but it's the same dated master that's been doing the rounds for years. It'd be great to see that re-done in 4k as the international cut of first Austin Powers is the only version of the film as far as I'm concerned. Second Sight were the last in the UK to have the rights to A Hard Day's Night, so I wonder if they still have them and whether Criterion's US UHD might compel them to do their own for the UK market. I believe the 4k release is already available in Japan on UHD (minus HDR, but there's no knowing whether the Criterion edition will get HDR either yet. I suspect we will see some SDR discs from Criterion).
  8. Amazing looking Mae West box set coming in November from Indicator in the UK: INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY BOX SET SPECIAL FEATURES 4K restoration of I’m No Angel 2021 restorations of Belle of the Nineties, Go West Young Man and Every Day’s a Holiday from 4K scans 2018 restorations of Goin’ to Town and My Little Chickadee from 4K scans 2017 restoration of She Done Him Wrongfrom a 4K scan High Definition remasters of Night After Night, Klondike Annie and The Heat’s On Original mono soundtracks Audio commentary on She Done Him Wrong by critic and film historian Pamela Hutchinson (2021) Audio commentary on I’m No Angel by critic and writer Farran Smith Nehme (2021) Audio commentary on Klondike Annie by academic and curator Eloise Ross (2021) Audio commentary on Go West Young Man by writer and film historian Nora Fiore (2021) Mae West at UCLA (1971): archival audio recording of the great performer in conversation at the University of California, Los Angeles Introduction to My Little Chickadee by Harriet Fields, granddaughter of W C Fields (2021) Lucy Bolton on Mae West (2021): the writer and academic discusses the irrepressible stardom of West Christina Newland on Mae West (2021): the writer and critic looks at West’s glamour and attitudes to sex Two Super 8 versions of I’m No Angel: a pair of original cut-down home-cinema presentations, each consisting of unique scenes Super 8 version of The Heat’s On Original theatrical trailers New and improved subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing Limited edition exclusive 120-page book with a new essay by Iris Veysey, archival articles, a critical archive, and film credits World and UK premieres on Blu-ray Limited edition of 6,000 numbered units MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED! https://www.powerhousefilms.co.uk/products/mae-west-in-hollywood-1932-1943-le?mc_cid=68c76cb296&mc_eid=4035790484
  9. An unexpected UHD coming from Second Sight in the UK, 2014's 'The Guest' I never did get around to seeing that one. It was very well received critically.
  10. It's really interesting when I look back at my gaming history. My days as a collector really ended with the Gamecube, and in all honesty there hasn't been a console that has meant as much to me since that late 90s early 2000s period where we had the Dreamcast, Gamecube and PS2. I still have most of my games from those days, and I still have all my SNES and Megadrive games too (my NES and its games were stolen many many years ago, so sadly I do not have that. My Gameboy collection remains MIA too which I am very frustrated about as I cannot think what might have happened to those). I held onto libraries when I had my PS3 and 360, but when it came time to retire those systems I felt nothing about giving away/selling the games I had accumulated. With the PS4, unless I bought something digitally as I would occasionally do, I would buy a game and then trade it, which is really how I approach the PS5. The PS3, PS4 and PS45 have some wonderful games, but I'm just not as engaged with the Playstation brand, and more specifically gaming in general, like I was two decades ago, to feel any great connection to what I've played like I did as a child and as a teenager. The Switch is interesting as I've treated that as a digital only console due to convenience of it serving as a regular and handheld system, but in hindsight I probably should have just been buying carts for most titles as there aren't that many titles in my Switch collection I could see myself revisiting, so I've lost out on trade in potential for certain things in that respect. My future Switch purchases may well end up being cartridges. The SeriesX is rally the only system I cannot imagine buying a game physically for. It is truly a Gamepass box for me, and for anything I want to buy digitally in a sale. Of all the digital ecosystems on console, Xbox by far has the best in my opinion (especially once you take into account the way they've approached enhanced backward compatibility). I demand the gaming Gods shine down on you to help you get some version of the PS5 this year, damn it. I do think with the disc model you get the freedom of choice, which given the higher prices of many PS5 games I really appreciate as that's what ultimately killed my plan to originally go for the digital model. I would think that the disc models will hold value better when re-sold/traded in years to come too.
  11. I've mentioned it before, but the Tomorrow Society Podcast has long been my favourite parks related podcast to listen to. On the latest episode Dan has Len Testa on as a guest and if you love to hear him talking stats and hear his thoughts on the problems with WDW (and he does not hold back) then it's a must listen.
  12. Quick note of interest. I wanted to check who's let them have Menace II Society and The Piano. The former is New Line, so another Warner licence like Kane and actually marks another old Criterion laserdisc returning to the collection. The Piano is Miramax in the US (Studio Canal in the UK) which is REALLY interesting as Criterion haven't been able to get anything from the Miramax library since the DVD days. If there's a chance we could have some more old Miramax Criterion laserdisc titles back in the library, whether they be BD or UHD, I'd be very happy as that could mean them having titles like The English Patient and Trainspotting again at some point in the future. Pulp Fiction was another Criterion laserdisc licensed from Miramax too and it would be great if they could have that again. I know Warner have been softening on letting indie labels have some titles for a while now, but letting Criterion have something as prestigious as Kane leaves me wondering if they'd let them have King Kong and Singin in the Rain again (as Criterion did laserdiscs of those too back in the day). Kong might be more likely as Warner might want to do Singin in the Rain themselves. They've shown zero commitment to anything black and white on UHD which still amazes me as I long expected them to be amongst the first to release a B&W movie but other studios beat them to it. It would be interesting if Warner leave Criterion to do a UHD of Barry Lyndon as it's hard to know if they are going to commit to anything but the biggest Kubrick titles themselves in 4k. It's a shame their recent announcement of Uncut Gems will not be a UHD as you can stream that in 4K/DV I believe (in the US anyway).
  13. I suppose we can cut them some slack for taking so long only to announce six at once. I'm going to have to offload my Red Shoes and Hard Days Night discs for the double dip on those. Also I'm glad the rumours were true about Warner giving them Citizen Kane as that was Criterion's first laserdisc, so it's nice to see it back in the collection.
  14. Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds will release on October 12th from Universal in the US: I'm curious to know what will happen with a UK release. It was one of Arrow's teaser postcards packed into some of their Blu-rays in 2019, but I'm wondering if they've handed the rights back to Universal or whether they might handle a UK UHD exclusively (it's possible they never even had UHD rights to begin with, just BD, and have abandoned plans to do their own release).
  15. Hah. I'd still argue the disc edition is the better investment, at least if you're happy to sell some games after competition, but if you're absolutely focused on amassing a digital library then the choice is understandable. Amazon did indeed get some digital ones up within the last hour after I alerted you to the possibility again, but they disappeared in the blink of an eye apparently. By comparison the physical drive models that went up earlier hung around for a good five to ten minutes. I haven't held onto any PS4/PS5 games I've purchased physically (the only one I still have is Last Guardian as I got the statue+steelbook ltd edition gift set on release), so while my initial plan was to get the digital PS5 I've more than made up the difference in having made money back from selling the games I've bought and played over the last eight months.
  16. It's definitely a little tricker given that you want the digital edition as Sony still seem to be producing fewer of them compared to the £450 models.
  17. The Virgin Trains plan collapsed a good while ago. Brightline are working on the line route but there's regional debate over what that route should be (pushback from residents, and Universal are also making a plea for it to be routed to stop near Epic Universe and the Convention Centre before going on to Disney Springs). I stumbled upon this video just the other day as I was curious to see where progress stood on the project and whether it would truly solve any issues. So I think the key take away is that it's important to note that it's not specifically designed to be an express route from MCO to Disney no matter how they route it and it's still actually not going to be as convenient as the old Magical Express. With Magical Express you could have your bags taken care of, and then you get on a bus that would take you to your specific resort. If a train stops in Disney Springs, aside from their being no telling how busy the train carriages might be with people travelling to various other destinations, you'd still have to somehow make your own way to your hotel with all your bags, which would mean relying on some kind of bus service or Uber/lyft. The Mears paid for bus service from MCO to Disney will no longer be hotel specific like it was when run as the Magical Express either, so it will make stops at every hotel until reaching yours (assuming yours isn't first on route, obviously). Add in the fact Disney charge $33 (PER NIGHT!) for parking your own car at one of their hotels you'd think they're now doing their best to prevent people from visiting WDW entirely, never mind trying to do their utmost to keep guests on property like they used to. There's a growing belief that Disney are in fact shifting their charges and park practices in such a way as if to say that they don't really want guests who aren't high earners anymore. People who spend years saving up, or visit on the smallest budget they can, are likely to spend only limited amounts on dining and merchandise, and are surely going to have issues with a paid fastpass system. Those who visit these theme parks with the primary interest in, you know, riding some rides, are probably the worst kind of guest for Disney today as, rather grotesquely, everything now seems to be aimed toward those who wouldn't bat an eyelid at paying $230 to park their car at the resort for a week, or $50 to get on Ride of the Resistance immediately. People used to joke in the 90s about "Disney owning everything" and the parks really only existing as a cynical means to fleece visitors of their money. That was tiresome and exaggerated criticism decades ago. For the most part back then I felt that they successfully walked a very find line between art and commerce, with Frank Wells being an integral part of helping to maintain that balance, but today the company has in many ways become the very thing many once joked about it being. I probably can't lay all blame with the company alone though. The last ten or fifteen years has definitely seen a very unhealthy degree of brand loyalty build up amongst a large proportion of Disney fans, particularly in grown adults, and I doubt anything will change on a corporate level unless the habits of its most rabid fanbase do too.
  18. Trailer for the Scream UHD (October 19th): Special features: A Bloody Legacy: Scream 25 Years Later— NEW! Audio commentary by director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson Production featurette Behind the Scenes On the Scream Set Drew Barrymore Q&A with Cast and Crew What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie? Why are People so Fascinated by Horror Films? I love that box artwork. I haven't seen the disc specs shared yet. I'd imagine it would be Dolby Vision knowing Paramount. What version of the movie it'll be is anyone's guess. I'd assume the theatrical cut.
  19. I love the look of the Graphite Milanese Loop I must admit.
  20. What size watch face do you have? My suspicion is my wrist will favour the 40mm, so I'd wonder if the added weight of the steel model at that size would bother me. I do actually quite like a watch to have some weight to it. Your point about the SS model being preferable for formal occasions has been on my mind since I seriously began thinking about getting one this year. I'd never really envisioned having an Apple Watch to wear 24/7 as in previous years I'd really only looked into one for fitness purposes, but as time as gone on I've recognised more daily usefulness that I could get out of the watch, so my view has changed as I can certainly now see it as an all occasions piece of apparel.
  21. Here's something on my mind, and similarly to the potential for mass guest confusion, it's another way in which what Len described (if true) could maybe backfire on Disney. Given the significant savings (hundreds, in some cases thousands) one can make by staying off site, how much better off might guests be if they decided not to stay in a Disney hotel and instead took a small fraction of the savings they'd make and put that into paying for Lightening Pass/Lightening Pass+ in order to give themselves a more relaxed and spontaneous experience in the parks? If you're going to pay to ride then it's not as if extra magic hour perks of a deluxe Disney hotel are going to be of much relevance, and sure you might lose out on ease of transport, but if you're also going to pay for rides then it probably doesn't matter if you get to the parks immediately for rope drop...etc. Disney must have thought about this right? That's the only scenario where I think I would ever consider the pay to ride options.
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