DisneyBiz has moved!

You will be automatically redirected to the new address. If that does not occur, visit
and update your bookmarks.

April 19, 2010

DisneyBiz Has Moved!

DisneyBiz has moved to its own domain and upgraded to version 2.0! For the latest in Disney business analysis, visit disneybiz.com!

April 16, 2010

Unexpected Disney Musical Artists

Everyone knows Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers are part of Disney's musical stable. With multiple labels including Walt Disney Records, Hollywood Records, and Buena Vista Records, digging a little deeper (as Mama Odie from The Princess and the Frog would say) turns up some interesting names.

The Hollywood Records label, home to Miley, Selena Gomez, and many others is also home to Atreyu. Wikipedia refers to Atreyu as "an American metalcore band from Orange County, California, formed in 1998." Their latest album is titled Congregation of the Damned and is quite the opposite of the Jonas Brothers.

Also on Hollywood Records is Breaking Benjamin, an alternative-rock/post-grunge band from Pennsylvania. A few of their better-known songs include "So Cold", "The Diary of Jane" and "I Will Not Bow".

Walt Disney Records, in addition to releasing the soundtracks to Disney movies, hosts a few artists. None of them are very surprising. The list includes Billy Ray Cyrus, the Imagination Movers, and Hannah Montana. Apparently Hannah is a different entity than Miley, which is not all that surprising when you think about it. It gives Miley some freedom and keeps Hannah's "image" squeaky clean. The only unusual name under Walt Disney Records is a band called KSM. Their best known song is a cover of "I Want You to Want Me" for the ABC Family series 10 Things I Hate About You based on the movie of the same name. To me they look like a rock version of the Spice Girls.

Most surprising to me, however, is another group on Hollywood Records: Queen. Even though Queen is not currently writing and recording new material, the sales from people wanting to replace their records and tapes (and even CDs in some cases) and new listeners is worth having Queen as an artist.

The examples above are why record companies have many labels. It allows record companies to define a label's image. Breaking Benjamin wouldn't fit on Walt Disney Records, home of the Disney soundtracks. The Imagination Movers don't really fit in on Hollywood Records even with the stable of Disney Channel stars that populate the label. It's good business sense to have multiple labels; by just reading Hollywood Records on a Queen album, most people won't even associate it with Disney. It gives Hollywood Records freedom to work without the Disney name but still generate profits for The Walt Disney Company.

April 12, 2010

Catering to Your Audience Part 2: Tickets

Second of a multipart series comparing and contrasting Walt Disney World and Disneyland. If you missed it, the first part on hotels can be found here.

Both Walt Disney World and Disneyland sell tickets to enter the theme parks. Although the tickets use similar terms, the meanings and costs associated with these terms can be different. A one day, one park ticket at Disneyland is $72, while a similar ticket at Walt Disney World is $79. Each offers a similar amount of entertainment; a day at Disneyland and a day at the Magic Kingdom are fairly comparable. For someone just stopping by, buying a one day ticket at either resort is about equal (but cost inefficient).

Going down the line for multi-day tickets, a base ticket at Walt Disney World and a Park Hopper at Disneyland are still comparable in price. At 6 days, a Park Hopper at Disneyland costs $254 and a base ticket at Disney World costs $231. While comparable in price, I find it somewhat strange that Disneyland's ticket is higher than Disney World's. There is much more to experience at Disney World than Disneyland when you stay for six days. Also, all Disneyland multi-day tickets are Park Hoppers; at Disney World it costs $52 to add the Park Hopper option. However, Disneyland only has two theme parks, while Walt Disney World has four.

Tickets at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World expire 14 days after first use. At Walt Disney World a No Expiration option can be added to the ticket for $104. Disneyland does not offer this option, probably because the park caters to the local crowd and the option could be used as a pseudo-Annual Pass for locals who only want to come a few times a year. The No Expiration option at Disneyland would also get around the Annual Pass blackout dates (more on this in a moment).

Walt Disney World also offers a "Water Park Fun and More" option which provides a number of visits to Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, DisneyQuest, ESPN Wide World of Sports or the Oak Trail golf course. It costs $52 to add Water Park Fun and More, and the number of visits added to the tickets depends on the number of days. Disneyland, however, has no such option because the resort has no water parks or other attractions.

For tourists visiting Southern California, an option exists to visit Disneyland and other Southern California attractions at a discount. This ticket is called the Southern California CityPass and includes a three-day Park Hopper for Disneyland plus single day tickets to the San Diego Zoo or San Diego Wild Animal Park, Sea World San Diego and Universal Studios Hollywood. My wife and I purchased this ticket when we visited Disneyland and it was perfect for a week of touring Southern California. Currently the Southern California CityPass costs $269 but the value of the tickets included is $379. At $110 discount from gate prices, this ticket package is a great way to visit multiple Southern California destinations.

Because Disney World is an international tourist destination, no similar ticket package exists that includes Walt Disney World. The intent at Disney World is to have you stay on-site, visit only Disney parks, eat at Disney restaurants and spend all your vacation money at Walt Disney World.

Catering to the local crowd, Disneyland offers four Annual Passport options for its parks. These passports range from $169 to $439. The two cheapest Annual Passports are only available to Southern California residents. All except the highest-priced Premium Annual Passport include blackout dates that disallow passholders from coming to the parks on peak dates. From cheapest to most expensive, an Annual Passport can get you into the Disneyland parks for 170, 215, 315 or 365 days. The various Annual Passports come with certain privileges; for example, only the Premium Annual Passport includes parking for the year.

Walt Disney World only offers full year Annual Passes to everyone. The standard Annual Pass ($489) allows the passholder into all four Walt Disney World theme parks every day of the year as well as Park Hopping privileges. A Premium Annual Pass ($619) adds admission to the water parks and DisneyQuest. Parking is included with both Annual Passes, and Florida residents and Disney Vacation Club members receive a discount for these passes. However, Florida residents also have the option to purchase passes with blackout dates as well as an Epcot After 4 Pass. The Epcot After 4 pass is just that; the passholder can visit Epcot any day of the year after 4pm. Disney is hoping to get a lot of World Showcase dinner purchases out of these passholders. Parking is not included with either of the seasonal passes nor the Epcot After 4 Pass.

The circumstances surrounding Walt Disney World and Disneyland again influence each resort's ticket policies. Walt Disney World takes advantage of its size to try to monopolize the visitor's vacation dollars while Disneyland works with the tourism community around it. Disneyland also focuses more on the local visitor than Walt Disney World, but the Florida resort also offers a number of Annual Pass options to Florida residents. In part 3 I will tackle the various dining options for both resorts.

April 6, 2010

A Little-Known Way to Invest in Disney

Since 1940, everyone has been able to own a part of The Walt Disney Company. All one needs to do is purchase stock. Usually, purchasing stock requires going through a broker who charges various fees and imposes minimum purchases to make it worth the broker's time.

However, Disney has an alternate program called The Walt Disney Investment Plan. Through this program, investors can purchase stock directly from Disney. A $250 minimum investment is required and there are a few fees involved, but investors deal directly with the company instead of a broker. Investors can purchase additional amounts at any time, and Disney will hold your stock certificates if you prefer. Disney will also take the dividends and reinvest them into Disney stock automatically. Sales are also handled through the program; investors can sell at any time.

For an investor who wants to hold Disney shares for the long term, I think this is an excellent way to invest in Disney stock. The program is a simple way to purchase and sell Disney shares. It may not be as ideal for a frequent stock trader since the program is for Disney stock only.

An FAQ for The Walt Disney Investment Plan can be found here.

See more great Disney articles at the second Disney Blog Carnival.

April 5, 2010

The Tronorail: Dangerous?

Let me get this off my chest right off the bat: I think the Tronorail looks awesome. Putting it on the Epcot monorail line fits in perfectly with Future World. I also enjoy science fiction and can't wait to see Tron: Legacy, so maybe this is the geek in me getting out. The only thing that could make it better looking in my opinion is if they figured out a way to make it glow.

However, I also think the Tronorail is dangerous. Obviously not dangerous like the recent bus accidents, but dangerous. The Tronorail is setting a precedent for decorating a monorail with a full wrap like a city bus to promote anything. Imagine a Pirates of the Caribbean monorail with Captain Jack Sparrow being chased down the length of it. Perhaps Disney feels the need to promote the newest Disney Channel show Good Luck Charlie, so they slap a giant picture of a baby on the side of the monorail. Since Hannah Montana's final season is coming, Disney wants to promote it with a larger-than-life Miley Cyrus laying along the length of the monorail. I can come up with some more ridiculous examples, but I'll stop there.

I understand that Disney wants to promote Tron. I also understand that a whole lot of people ride and see the monorail every day. And yes, even though I like the look of the Tronorail, I worry about future fully-wrapped monorails. I hope Disney also sees this danger and avoids it before monorail advertisements are looked at like city bus advertisements.

Special thanks to Scott Smith for the incredible Tronorail photo.