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Disney Mega Post!

Wrapping up some general Disney news from the week's Quarterly Report and D23.

Disney Quarterly Report flat with Lone Ranger losses
The Walt Disney Company reported quarterly results for its third fiscal quarter with earnings per share increased to $1.03 from $1.01 during the same last year but revenue missed the mark overall at $11.58 billion, down from Wall Street expectations of $11.64 billion.

“We are pleased with the results we delivered in the third quarter,” said Disney CEO Robert A. Iger in a statement. “We are confident that our strategy of creating high-quality branded content positions us well for the future.”
Studio entertainment dipped 2% from last year to $1.59 billion in sales with “Iron Man 3,” ESPN and “Monsters University” helping offset “The Lone Ranger’s” pre-released marketing costs.

Box office underperformer “The Lone Ranger,” which was released July 3 and won’t impact the studio until next quarter, could cost the studio as much as $190 million in Q4.

Media Networks was one of the few highlights of Tuesday’s earnings report, with revenues increased 5% to $5.4 billion and segment operating income increased 8% to $2.3 billion.
Parks and Resorts also increased 7% to $3.7 billion and segment operating income increased 9% to $689 million.

The theme parks have especially performed strongly for Disney, with Rasulo saying that investments to upgrade Walt Disney World and Disneyland “continue to pay off.” Overall, attendance at its domestic parks rose 3% and set new attendance records during the company’s third quarter.
Disney said it hasn’t seen “any backlash” from recent price increases at its theme parks. In fact, California Adventure is continuing to see strong attendance levels after the opening of “Carsland” last year. “California Adventure is lapping the success of a year ago, a bit,” Iger said.
While Walt Disney World will add an “Avatar”-themed park at Animal Kingdom, no opening date has yet been announced. “It will be a couple years out, at least,” Iger said.
Additional plans to upgrade Disneyland will also be announced over the next couple months, Iger added.
Disney’s stock rose $1.03 to close at $67.05, gaining nearly 1.6% on Tuesday but shares lost that ground in after hours trading, when the stock fell $1.05 to close at $66.

Will the Third Time Be the Charm for Disney's D23 EXPO?

Starting tomorrow, Disney fans from around the world will be pouring into the Anaheim Convention Center, eager to sample all of the wonders that the Mouse will be unveiling at this year's D23 EXPO, a trade show / Comic-Con clone that the company presents biannually.

"What sort of wonders?" you ask. These will range from relatively intimate, heartfelt affairs -- like that panel Disney author Dave Bossert will be hosting on Friday afternoon which then pays tribute to the late Roy E. Disney -- to celebrity-filled extravaganzas which will be presented inside of the cavernous Anaheim Arena. Which is where Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Pictures will all be offering sneak peeks at upcoming projects at these elaborate presentations which will be held on Friday & Saturday morning respectively.

Mind you, when there are 45,000 die-hard Disney fans who are expected to take part in this three day-long event and your biggest onsite venue only seats 4000, there are bound to be some disappointed people who get turned away. So what has the Official Disney Fan Club done out ahead of this year's event in an attempt to mitigate that disappointment? As Steven Clark -- the head of D23 -- explained in a recent interview, his organization has taken the hard lessons that it learned at the first two EXPOs to heart. Which is why -- for the third go-round of this Ultimate Disney Fan Event -- D23 has put a number of changes in place that it hopes will lead to a better overall guest experience for EXPO attendees.

"One of the great things about the team at D23 is we really do listen to feedback from our members. This year we added a 2,000-seat overflow theater for the D23 Expo Arena so a guest who may not make it into an arena presentation will still be able to see these spectacular events such as Disney Legends, the presentations from The Walt Disney Studios and 'The Disney Songbook' concert with Richard Sherman and Alan Menken," Clark stated. "We also expanded the capacities for Stage 23 and Stage 28. To help alleviate lines, we create StagePass this year, which works similar to FASTPASS and will allow guests to pick up tickets for presentations in Stages 23 and 28. And we created a more dynamic D23 Expo mobile app with complete schedules, talent bios, a show floor map, trivia and much more."

So will these changes be enough to placate D23 members, who are among the most passionate & dedicated Disney fans on the planet? Who, more to the point, were very quick to jump on Twitter and Facebook back in 2009 and 2011 and then complain bitterly about how they were being forced to stand in a lengthy queue in order to see a particular panel or presentation. This is why Clark and his team decided to developed StagePass, which will allow event attendees to obtain free tickets that then guarantee them a spot in many panels ahead of time. Provided -- of course -- that they actually show up 20 minutes ahead of when these presentations are supposed to begin.

And once these D23 members no longer have to wait in hours'-long lines in order to guarantee themselves a seat at a particular panel or a presentation... well, it's hoped that these people will now go off and explore the show floor, where they'll then discover some of the real treasures hidden there. Take -- for example -- the collector's forum, which is where much beloved fan artists like James Silvani and Amy Mebberson will be selling prints and doing sketches over the course of the show.

Just please keep in mind that the D23 EXPO is a dynamic event and its schedule in ever-changing. Take -- for example -- that Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. screening, which will now help close out the show on Sunday afternoon. The screening of this highly anticipated ABC pilot was only just added to the EXPO's schedule this past Tuesday.

So with the help of StagePass and that new mobile app, Clark and his team are hoping that the third time really will be the charm for the D23 EXPO, which officially gets underway tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. out on the Grand Plaza in front of the Anaheim Convention Center, which is when Disney will be unveiling Dr. Doofenshmirtz's most evil "inator" yet, the Waffle-inator.

Yes. You read that right. A Waffle-inator. Ask your family's resident Phineas & Ferb fan. They'll be able to explain it to you.

In A Tomorrowland Not So Far Away: The announcements Disney can't make at D23

On Friday, almost every public-facing division of the Walt Disney Company will arrive in Anaheim to host the bi-annual open house known as D23 Expo. The Burbank teams will try and create buzz for the media networks and movie studios with star power, while less savvy divisions like Disney Consumer Products will simply roll out a static display of stuff to buy like at any home show or mall, and the Imagineering group from Glendale will be muzzled from saying much of anything about the very real projects they’ve got coming to the American parks in the next few years. In this update we’ll get you up to speed on just what those projects currently are for the Anaheim parks, why they won’t say much about them at D23, and what else is coming to Anaheim before the bulldozers arrive.

After the D23 Expos in 2009 and 2011 when senior execs gave splashy keynote addresses revealing big new theme park projects, it was a surprise to Disney fans when the D23 Expo schedule was announced and Tom Staggs wasn’t listed as a keynote speaker and no Parks & Resorts session was scheduled for the Anaheim Arena. If the schedule is to be believed, no major announcements of new products and upcoming attractions will be announced at this D23 Expo. Although WDI has expanded the footprint of their super-popular pavilion, and it’s really the crowd generator for the entire weekend amongst the smaller and more mundane displays from Consumer Products, the Internet Group, or ABC Television. But the interior of the WDI pavilion will house displays and exhibits of how Imagineers go about their work, a cautiously staged open house of sorts, instead of revealing any of the new rides and shows they are actually working on in Glendale.

Although a few carefully edited images will be placed around the pavilion for sharp eyed fans to find; like sketches of the Star Wars land project coming to both Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, or of the Monstropolis miniland and Door Coaster E Ticket planned for DCA. But overall, D23 Expo has been neutered of nearly everything that helped it create what buzz it had in ’09 and ’11.

It’s not that WDI doesn’t want to share their new toys, it’s just that the timing isn’t right for the corporate bean counters to be announcing major new capital expenditures just yet, and officially the Door Coaster and Star Wars projects have yet to be greenlighted by Burbank. There’s also another round of white collar layoffs coming to TDA (Team Disney Anaheim) and TDO (Team Disney Orlando), after similar downsizing happened at ABC, the Studios and ESPN in recent months. And Jay Rasulo as Disney’s CFO has been telling New York bankers for the past year that Disney is scaling back on their parks investments after going big with over 1 Billion at DCA in recent years, plus two new cruise ships, Aulani, and New Fantasyland. After that much capital expenditure, the Wall Street crowd wants to see a company scale back and earn back some of that investment before they announce more spending. And finally, the MyMagic+ program at WDW has had more hiccups than successes thus far and is still far from a full rollout and thus isn’t ready for prime time and a major public reveal at the Expo. The timing of the D23 Expo in early August, agreed to over a year ago, just isn’t right for big parks announcements this year. Perhaps if it had been held in October or November, when most of the current projects will have a better chance of being announced, then D23 Expo could have offered big news for theme park fans.
(The source for this has A LOT more of projects that are actually getting more time on D23, but lbr they are snorefests no1curr about fixing the GAC problem more than the new attractions)

I will be keeping an eye on everything D23 comes up with and report back to ONTD this weekend :)

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