Sunday, September 6, 2009

Despite Buyout, WDW stays WDW - For Now...

When I heard about Disney's buyout of Marvel, I predicted a series of worst case scenario, particularly in the theme park world. I live not only near WDW, but near its rival theme park resort, Universal Orlando. The park in question and under threat at the time of my prediction was Islands of Adventure, where its Marvel Super Hero Island teems with the likes of Storm and Spider-Man. There are "what ifs" and fears in the buyout as I predicted earlier:

  • the implantation of the few popular of all the 5,000-odd Marvel characters in the parks in the likes of rides and meetable characters
  • the Islands of Adventure outsourcing Hulk coaster, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, and other rides to Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Marvel merchandise in the shops at the aforementioned park and elsewhere
  • appearances of Marvel characters in parades and shows, possibly in Fantasmic!

I was then too afraid to go to WDW, feeling that those formerly soon-to-be former Universal Orlando characters would be out of place. It did not then seem right to me, as I was not interested in the Marvel franchise that much. (I used to own the Spider-Man Cartoon Maker software when I acquired my first PC back in 1995.) I'm pretty OK with the likes of Chewbacca and Miss Piggy in Disney's Hollywood Studios (as someone who experiences Star Tours and Muppet-Vision 3D, respectively), as well as the Power Rangers, American Idol, and even Indiana Jones in that park. I'm really not a Disney purist, but I want to leave for England so I won't have to fuss over Spidey playing games with Chip and Dale.

When I read an article over the Orlando Sentinel, I breathed a huge sigh of relief - Universal Orlando has a contract stating that it would continue using those characters in the parks and that Islands of Adventure will be the sole park east of the Mississippi to utilize them in advertising and the like. I think of that as a benediction for Central Florida, where locals like me frequent it for outings, out-of-state visitors vacation, and the likes of Argentinian or Brazilian tour groups see the world north of their nations. (For the latter, they usually do Universal Orlando and Sea World and its sister park here in Tampa Bay, Busch Gardens, as well as WDW, in their itineraries.)

As for the rest of the Disney parks, Disneyland included, I'm staying here in Florida - bring on the heat, humidity, Brazilians, Argentinians, and anoles!

Then again, at WDW, I as a Disneyphile would take the news as a wait and see approach - maybe 20 years from now, when the pact expires, Spidey would shake hands with Goofy.

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